“I’m way more comfortable,” Gardner said. “Last year was my first year starting, and it was rough, a lot of ups and downs, a lot of adversity. A lot of adversity I fought through, and I feel like I did a really good job of never giving up, never giving up on myself and my teammates. I feel my teammates recognized that, and my coaches recognized that, and I feel like that will help me.”
The first Sunday matinee game is going to be a trip.
Game: stepped up. OSU just announced a series with TCU starting in 2018, which is somewhat notable since they've already got Cincinnati on the docket. If TCU is notable, this is jaw-dropping:
"We will play two more BCS games that year," [OSU AD Gene] Smith told Yahoo! Sports via email Wednesday, using the parlance for a quality top six-conference opponent.
Even if those are Colorado-style one-off guarantee games, dang. OSU may be done with the Little Sisters of the Poor:
"That year  is a snapshot of future years," Smith said. "As we move forward, from 2018 and out, our goal is BCS only. We are looking at top ranked teams, 1-50 teams."
Here's a thing I never thought I'd say: Gene Smith, I am impressed. If OSU puts together a full slate of BCS opponents in 2018, that will be their first time since 1995 (4-8 BC, 7-4-1 Washington, and 2-9 Pitt) and second time since 1990.
Michigan's last all-power-conference lineup was in 1997, and Dave Brandon has a lot of work to do to keep up with the Joneses what with the Notre Dame series ending*.
*[ : ( ]
Playoff: a motivator. Wetzel points out a key motivator behind the sort of scheduling seen above:
In 1988, before the creation of the Bowl Alliance, the precursor to the BCS, there were 15 non-conference games where both teams were ranked in the AP preseason top 20. This year there were just two featuring AP preseason top 20 teams: Alabama-Michigan and Clemson-South Carolina.
While one of the BCS's oft-repeated talking points was that it protected the regular season, it was, in fact, destroying the non-conference portion.
Now it's back to the future as athletic directors across the country place their faith in a selection committee that will rationally analyze a body of work, not just blindly follow records.
For example, Oregon was ranked fifth in the final BCS standings last season, one spot behind Stanford. The Ducks had two losses, but one was to then top-ranked LSU on a neutral field. Stanford had just one loss, but it was to Oregon, by 23 points at home. The Ducks also won the Pac-12 title.
The BCS didn't care. It claimed Stanford was better. An informed selection committee would never make that decision and thus penalize Oregon for playing a challenging non-conference schedule. Conversely, a weak non-conference schedule might cost you on selection day.
Even Wisconsin says it will seek out "at least" two major opponents in the non-conference schedule. Man, the BCS sucked. Not only did it pick the wrong team about half the time, it also created the worst scheduling practices since things like Iowa Pre-Flight stopped existing.
Money is another factor, of course. With ticket prices rising along with guarantee requirements the money has started coming in on the side of actual games.
Trouba: the devil on skates. Three tweets from the immediate aftermath of Jacob Trouba's first practice at Michigan:
Couldn't sleep last night, kept having nightmares @jacobtrouba was going to put me out for the year in practice today
"The game is a mental game, it's a game of motivation and enthusiasm and teaching. Not wearing a headset, I get to teach on the sideline and be a part of it."
As for the question of whether or not he knows what play offensive coordinator Al Borges is sending in, Hoke says he doesn't need a headset to hear that.
"I do know what the calls are, because there's a guy standing right behind me who tells me every call that's going in," Hoke said.
People keep bombing the Vincent Smith call, but when two linemen don't pull that's not really on the playcall.
Also Hoke likes "Smoke on the Water," surprising no one. I would watch a sitcom based around the misadventures of 20-year-old Brady Hoke in Muncie. I would break that thing down.
Oh for the love of God. Two sentences from two PR things I received today:
Heart of Dallas, a newly minted nonprofit, exists to inspire Dallas millennials to become the next generation of influencers and philanthropists by leveraging a consistent calendar of sports and entertainment events. Proceeds from Heart of Dallasactivities will be used to invest in collective impact strategies that make Dallas a better place.
make it stop
Flagstar had an interest in co-branding with our digital properties and we’re excited to have them partner on our website and student loyalty program. We look forward to having Flagstar as a partner in our top-rated digital space on the collegiate level.
if you roll your eyes too hard do you evaporate into a mist of condescension
AAAAAAAAH!!! Do you need to bore someone to death? LITERALLY TO DEATH? DO YOU NEED SOMEONE SO BORED THEY MELT?!?!?! THIS IS WHAT YOU NEEEEEED.
I QUIT ENGLISH. EFF THIS LANGUAGE. I'M OUT. HOLA AT YOUR BOY.
I dream of a committee smart enough to pick between 1 loss teams as everyone plays a decent OOC schedule across the country. But the first time someone picks a 1 loss team that played a tough schedule over a BCS undefeated who played no one outside their conference will be the first time. Let's hope the people who are picked are different.
Because what I see more likely coming from OSU (if they go through with it) is fans who are complaining they're never playing for a national title because they are regularly biffing one OOC game, or coaches complaining to their AD that they're not winning Big Ten titles because even though they're beating a couple of middling BCS conference teams easily, the extra quality of those teams is causing more injuries and just generally wearing out and beating up their team so when they get into the heart of the B10 schedule they're an injured, tired mess, and finding ways to lose to Minnesota then, and not beating the Wisconsin because their QB was resting the whole second half vs. Eastern Michigan.
It's a great idea if you can get EVERYONE to do it. But there's always someone who blinks first. (It's like when ND and Michigan was supposed to be the first game of the season...till Lou Holtz felt he needed a warm-up game before we played each year).
I definitely agree. I won't go on a diatribe, but I just can't get myself to get my hopes up that this "committee", that is the future of College Football post-season, will be the savior we've been yearning. I just can't and won't do it. It may be a legitimate committee in the end, who knows, I won't 100% rule it out. But until I see it I'm not putting my hopes and dreams into that basket.
to drive to Muncie Indiana just to see if there is a sign outside town identifying it as THE BIRTHPLACE OF BRADY HOKE.
If there was none, I would immediately get to work on my own, featuring one of our standard Brady Hoke pointing photos with handpainted text below that reads THIS WAY TO MUNCIE INDIANA, BIRTHPLACE OF BRADY HOKE. Lover of Deep Purple and Hall & Oates. Tremendous.
LSUFreek needs to have some fun with that video; a pile of cash appears on the table. JT's email app breaks on his computer. The students, in the background, get tattoos. LSUFreek to the White Courtesy Phone, please.
To grab the direct quote you are referring to, he says -
In the return game Dennis Norfleet hasn't done anything major.
Which is kind of true. He is #9 in the country in total return yards, but only #42 for average per return. His long is only 36 yards and he needs to return one for a touchdown (just once) to get some heads to turn, and then we aren't even having this discussion. With that said, I think he is more than capable of taking a few back this year.
Have a family member in a higher position at Akron and the rumor scuttlebutt is that Tress is going to be the next president there. Not sure he's qualified but it's a total pr move.
What if when the hatches finally open out of the UFOs come thousands of 100ft Native American Indians? We're going to be watching like "F%&# those are huge Indians! Please tell me they're not huge Indians."