"With the losers let it sympathize, / for nothing can seem foul / to those that win." King Henry in Henry IV, Part I, Shakespeare.
Sunday, September 04, 2005
THE INAUGURAL POST
In a nation and world where people are dealing with war and natural disaster, I use a combination of my two favorite pastimes as a therapeutic diversion: writing and sports. Here, as well as in my weekly sports column in CapitalUniversity’s student paper, The Chimes, you will see them fuse together. I plan on posting every day, if only a few sentences, but every column or story I publish will also appear here. Though many see only a mere entertainment value in sport, I believe the values of teamwork, sportsmanship and dedication all help participants achieve in lives outside of sports. For spectators, sports provide unparalled catharsis, something everyone needs whether they realize it or not. Events like Hurricane Katrina and 9/11, approaching its fourth anniversary, make us realize that the aspects of life that bring us the most joy are the ones we most cherish.
Now, moving beyond the introduction, let’s delve into hot topics of the Labor Day sports weekend, beginning first with what’s most dear to us here in Ohio: OSU football. For those of you who actually realized Earth was still spinning between and about yesterday and didn’t watch or attend the game, the Buckeyes defeated the Miami University Red Hawks 34-14. OSU led at one point 34-0 before Miami added two late touchdowns. Quite honestly, I believed it would be a much closer game as three years of “Tressel ball” have jaded me into thinking OhioState’s offense just isn’t that good. I highly underestimated them as they took the kickoff and scored a touchdown, Zwick to Holmes, to cap a long opening drive. The spread offense with between three and five wide receivers kept the defense off balance. Zwick threw short slants and out patterns, the defensive middle was soft for Antonio Pittman—who ended up with 100 yards rushing for the game—and, basically, the offense ran like a well-oiled machine. It reminded me of the Purdue offense led by Drew Brees a few years ago that carved up the Buckeyes among many other Big Ten teams.
As good as the offense was—Ginn was…well, Ginn, Holmes had a great game and Zwick limited his mistakes to one interception on a busted play—the defense was even better. The Buckeyes limited Miami to 48 yards rushing, most of which was gained on the second team defense. Carpenter, Hawk and Schlegel all look Texas-ready, as does Donte Whitmer, who returned an interception for a touchdown.
It was a tremendous performance all around, and I am now very confident in the Buckeyes ability to best Texas next weekend, especially because it’s at home in primetime. The question which will have call-in shows and newspaper columnists in Columbus buzzing all week is: Zwick or Smith? It’s a question that has lingered since the beginning of the 2004 season and is now more important than ever. Troy Smith, having served his one-game suspension for accepting funds from an athletic booster, is eligible to play, and more than likely will. I, however, differ from most of the Buckeye fans I’ve asked about this. Everyone overwhelmingly chooses Smith. I like Zwick. The offense was in command this week under him. It was tremendous in the Alamo Bowl, also. I think he has earned the right to start, especially with his commitment to the program and his stay-out-of-trouble, businesslike approach. I think Smith should get some snaps, perhaps in the second quarter, but Zwick has proved he belongs under center just as much, if not more than, Smith does. Post a comment on this if you’d like, leaving me with your vote for starter. Then we’ll see what Tressel does.
In Division III, the Capital Crusaders went on the road and throttled Wittenberg, a team ranked higher than them in the national rankings, 54-0. This is completely staggering. You just don’t go into Witt, a school with a lot of tradition and a few national championships in Division III, and embarrass them in their home opener. The Cap passing attack was unstoppable, the Cap defense forced turnovers and the rout was on. After the first quarter, the Crusaders had their opponents completely demoralized. They had a mental edge, and they never gave it up. It’s almost sad they have a bye week coming this Saturday because after you cream a great team like Wittenberg, you probably have a fair amount of momentum. The next game is at , Saturday, September 17, at Otterbein. They will be christening their new stadium that day, also. I hope that have the light bulbs working in their scoreboard; they’ll need them under the word “visitor."
In other college football news, Notre Dame, under new coach Charlie Weis, destroyed Pitt on the road. The Irish will deservedly be ranked next week, and they get to go to Michigan. Seventh-ranked Oklahoma was beaten at home by TCU.
The major league baseball wildcard chase has become so exciting that it’s almost overshadowed Rafael Palmeiro and the steroid scandal. As I write this, the AL has a three-way tie for the wildcard with my beloved Cleveland Indians only one game behind. They go for a series win today in Minnesota. The Philadelphia Phillies lead the NL race by a half game over the Marlins and Astros. Still in striking distance are the Washington Nationals and the New York Mets. September baseball will make it particularly hard for me to get homework done in the evening.
I could keep going, but I want to give you a reason to read tomorrow. In the meantime, enjoy the remainder of the weekend.