Good morning, citizens of the Empire. It’s almost the first official weekend of the summer. You best be spending it wisely: by the water, with a family-friendly (or not) drink in your hand, and shielding your eyes with these bad boys.
ESPN is racking up more public relations victories every day. Tuesday, the network lost its lawsuit against Ohio State. Hours later, it unleashed a dedicated Buckeye blog. Wednesday evening, news leaked that CNBC’s Darren Rovell is headed back to Bristol, where he last worked in 2006. Since the calendar year began, the guy’s proposed to Kate Upton on national television (despite being married to a very pregnant Mrs. Rovell), created a Twitter account for his infant daughter, and been tricked by a teenager posing as a New York pimp who lost clients, and therefore money, during the NBA lockout. It didn’t look like it, but I guess he had a plan all along. In the past six months, he’s branded himself as the perfect ESPN employee.
Let’s ring the damn bell.
On Wednesday, the BCS conference commissioners came to a decision that nobody saw coming. We’re moving to a playoff system, pending the approval of the school presidents. After considering a host of options, the powers that be decided on a seeded four-team playoff. Equally significant to the system itself is the model for choosing for the participants: a selection committee, presumably similar to the one that oversees March Madness. The semifinals sites will be rotated among the existing bowls, and the finals will be held in a different location every year. Also, the BCS name is being trashed.
It almost goes without saying that this is a fantastic idea.
It’s great for the fans. The NFL playoffs are special. Add in the unique pageantry and passion of college football, and I can already tell you that the day the semifinals games are played will be among my favorite days of the year, particularly because the Buckeyes will be participating so frequently.
It’s also great for the conferences and teams, mainly because it’s a cash cow. The national championship will be held at the site that bids the most for it, which is about as blatant a money grab as you’ll ever see. The television and merchandising opportunities will be plentiful.
The next big question: what will this new behemoth be called? My guess: we’re getting a second Final Four.
Next year’s Spring Game is going on the road
The Horseshoe won’t be seeing spring football action next year, according to multiple news reports. The stadium is apparently scheduled to undergo renovations next year, which means that Urban and Co. need to find a new site. The proposed venue: Paul Brown Stadium, the home of the Cincinnati Bengals.
It’s disappointing that we’ll be denied a Saturday in the Shoe next spring, but something tells me that Urban won’t be crying himself to sleep tonight. In fact, the evil genius in him is likely licking his chops. The Buckeyes have had a notoriously difficult time pulling talent out of southwest Ohio, and hosting a Spring Game is that area is an excellent first step towards fixing that. If coupled with other programs designed to enhance the Buckeyes’ presence there, this move could pay dividends for years to come.
It’s too bad they can’t host one in Cleveland, too.
Ohio State football players are more smarter than almost all of their opponents
This year’s Academic Progress Rate (APR) scores were released today, and Ohio State outclassed most of the Big Ten. And the vast majority of the country, too.
For those who are unfamiliar, APR scores are designed to measure the progress that student-athletes are making in the classroom. A high score is an indicator that the players are earning their scholarship money by going to school when they’re supposed to be, uh, going to school. A low score is an indication that this is happening (here’s more proof). Anything less than a 925 is considered to be failing, which can lead to NCAA sanctions.
Fortunately for us, the Buckeyes have been doing their homework. The football team’s APR score was 988, second in the Big Ten to Northwestern and fourth in the country among FBS programs.
That Team Up North? Second to last in the Big Ten, ahead of only Minnesota, with a score of 943.
I’d say more, but this is a situation where the facts truly speak for themselves.
The substantive portion of Jerry Sandusky’s trial ends today, though the litigation surrounding the scandal has only begun in State College. On Wednesday, his lawyer made a curious decision: Sandusky won’t be taking the stand, despite the fact that he reportedly wanted to. That speaks volumes about the attorney’s confidence in his client (or lack thereof). He’s going away. For a long time.