Hey it is Kansas Hate Week

Reasons to hate Kansas. Or at least feel really sorry for them:

* Tornados. Lots of them.
* A state so bad, even it’s namesake city refuses to be in the state.
* Just like the Wizard of Oz suggests, the entire state is colorless.
* Wikipedia says the name means “people passing wind”:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kansas or something like that
* The first us state to adopt prohibition — the least fun most humor impaired state ever.
* There is an official state soil. If all you have to celebrate is your dirt, you are one sorry state.

And a joke:

Q. How do you know the toothbrush was invented in Kansas?
A. If it was invented anywhere else, it would have been called a teethbrush.

Stunningly, OSU pretty much controls its own destiny in the Big10 race

Despite losing two games to MSU and Nebraska, OSU can control its own destiny in the Big10 race. If OSU wins out, they will have 2 losses in the Leaders division.

* Wisconsin will have at least two losses — MSU and OSU — and thus would lose a tiebreaker to OSU
* Purdue would have at least two losses, including one to OSU, and thus would lose the tiebreaker. OK, seriously tho, Purdue will have many more losses.
* Illinois would have at least two losses, and would lose the head-to-head tiebreaker with OSU.
* The only stretch is Penn State. They’d have one loss to OSU, and then you have to accept they will lose at least one more, and they stil have Illinois, Nebraska, and Wisconsin on the schedule. Fairly reasonable to expect them to drop another.

OK, so this edition of the Buckeyes may not have it in them to get it done this season, but even having a chance is surprising.

Today’s NCAA FB roundup — reactions to Buckeyes andUSC; required NCAA FB reading

I watched bits of LSU/WVU (LSU is my #1), Toledo/Syracuse, ND/Pitt, UW/Cal. But key games I watched yesterday were OSU and USC.

* OSU is in for a tough year. Yes they tackled better yesterday, but it was Colorado. If we give up 17 to Colorado, we will give up 24+ to MSU/Nebraska/Wisconsin, and the OSU offense does not have the firepower to score enough against those teams. I’m glad Braxton and other young players are getting the reps, this is a team for next year.
* USC shot themselves in the foot over and over again, and Erickson was clearly the best coach out there. The ASU offensive game plan and adjustments were very effective and USC could never crack it.

On broader college football issues, if you haven’t already seen the below, read immediately. As money continues to pour into the sport, the issues discussed are going to become more prominent, not less.

* If you haven’t already read the “the Quad’s story on college football fan distribution”:http://thequad.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/09/19/the-geography-of-college-football-fans-and-realignment-chaos/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+nyt%2Frss%2FSports+%28NYT+%3E+Sports%29&seid=auto&smid=tw-nytimessports, do so. Excellent explanation of the market facts underpinning realignment chaos.
* “Study about poverty and student-athletes (PDF)”:http://assets.usw.org/ncpa/The-Price-of-Poverty-in-Big-Time-College-Sport.pdf. Excellent, record revenues and expenditures in college football, but many players struggle.
* Of course. the “Atlantic article”:http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2011/10/the-shame-of-college-sports/8643/ on the inherently corrupt economics of college football.

And on a lighter note, “Matt Sarz’s TV listings”:http://mattsarzsports.com/football2011.aspx. Finding USC on the Root network last night was tricky.

NFLand NCAA step in it on Pryor decision

I am glad that the NFL has allowed Terrelle to pursue his career and wish him the best of luck. But man did the NFL and NCAA step in it big time as “CBS blogger Mike Freeman notes”:http://mike-freeman.blogs.cbssports.com/mcc/blogs/entry/6264363/31396933. By enforcing these arbitrary NCAA rules, the NFL has made it clear that it is fully cooperating with the NCAA to establish and control the labor market for football players. These two organizations have always claimed in the past that they are separate, it is hard to maintain that fiction. There is clear collaboration to limit the opportunities for 18-21 year olds, and no representation of these players in the system at all.

College football amateurism — time to go

Kirk Cousins, the returning MSU QB, got all kinds of kudos over the last week for his nice speech about what a privilege it is to play college football, but I am underwhelmed. As others point out — “Kirk Cousins and Privilege”:http://www.elevenwarriors.com/2011/08/kirk-cousins-privledge — Kirk is letting himself be used by the monied powers in the system to protect their interests. The schools, the NCAA, the media companies are making billions of dollars off of college sports, and throwing peanuts to the players. And the players don’t even have a voice in the system — maybe the players would vote to spend all the proceeds from their sports on non-revenue sports, on university facilities, on salaries for university staffers, etc — but shouldn’t they at least have a say? Kirk, being part of a football team at a good college is a great experience, but that doesn’t change the fact that you are being used.

Frank Deford says it well — “Frank Deford on amateurism”:http://www.npr.org/2011/08/03/138919312/ncaa-still-stalled-by-amateur-hour-thinking. The time has come to abandon the amateurism requirement for college athletes in the revenue sports. A family friend made this same argument to me today in an email, I am all for it.

Other college football reading today — “Bodog season win total odds”:http://sports.bodog.eu/sports-betting/college-football-team-props.jsp (hattip @darrenrovell). OSU and Wisconsin both at 9. I’d take the over on both.

After the offseason of infinite pain, football tickets arrive!

Thank goodness that tickets arrived in the mail today! We can get back to playing football and enjoying the games, and quit focusing on all the activity off the field.

Despite all the offseason turmoil, or maybe because of it, I am actually looking forward to this season quite a bit. There is an uncertainty about OSU this season that has been lacking in recent years. Key positions are major question marks. A new coaching philosophy will be in play. That School Up North has a new staff and some new life. The entry of Nebraska into the league is great news, I would love to get to the OSU/Nebraska game this year. The divisional lineup of the Big10 is a new element. It all adds up to an exciting season.

OSU’s home schedule is interesting, tho not great. Nebraska and Michigan are away which is too bad. But Michigan State, Wisconsin, Penn State at home are great games.

No idea which games we are going to get to. Our schedule is very complex this late summer and fall. But hope to see some of you there…

The Rehabilitation of Jim Tressel

About a month ago, Tressel resigned under pressure from the university as the many allegations swirled around the program. Cars, cash for memorabilia, cover ups, etc etc etc. A tough day for Tressel and a tough time for the program.

It is interesting to look at some things that have happened since then:

* “The car investigation has largely been dropped”:http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2011/football/ncaa/06/21/ohio.state.cars.ap/index.html?sct=cf_t2_a6. There were no special deals done for the players or families. Pryor may still have some issues but there is no wide ranging scandal here.
* “More and more players deny selling memorabilia”:http://www.dispatch.com/live/content/sports/stories/2011/06/22/more-buckeyes-deny-selling-memorabilia.html?sid=101. The feeling that there was even more dirt to uncover doesn’t seem to be warranted.
* “The North Carolina allegations have dropped”:http://aol.sportingnews.com/ncaa-football/feed/2010-08/unc-investigation/story/north-carolina-football-facing-several-serious-ncaa-violations. Academic fraud, improper benefits, agent involvement — this is what a mess really looks like. It is interesting that North Carolina so far is standing by its coach. Ohio State is held to a higher standard — by itself, and by outsiders. I wouldn’t want this to change.
* “OSU’s Football APR top among top 25”:http://www.ohiostatebuckeyes.com/ViewArticle.dbml?DB_OEM_ID=17300&ATCLID=205157100. Clearly the program has been doing some things right.
* “John Hicks comments on Tressel’s motivation”:http://ohiostate.rivals.com/content.asp?CID=1233937. Responding to Desmond Howard’s idiocy, Hicks makes the argument that Tressel was focused on player welfare — admirable, even if it leads one astray at times.

Clearly mistakes were made; coverups always turn out bad, and Tressel has paid a significant price for his role. But looking at all the accumulating evidence about the state of the program and what was provably a violation, it certainly seems that the opinions on Tressel should have bottomed out and should start to rebound. And you have to wonder if perhaps the University didn’t move a little too fast, and was a little too responsive to the flurry of press coverage. Allowing due process some time to run might have served everyone better. The University and the program may have arrived in exactly the same spot, Tressel did make mistakes, but allowing investigations to run their course might have been prudent.

Where are the great sports apps?

I am a huge sports enthusiast. I love the Buckeyes (despite all their current woes!). I follow with interest the Seahawks, the Browns, USC, UW, the Big Ten, the Pac Ten, the SEC. I watch excessive amounts of college football, college basketball, pro football, and pro basketball. And of course I get sucked into Olympics, the Stanley Cup, World Cup, or pretty much any other major sports event. Except baseball, which is incredibly boring.

I spend waaay too much money on sports. It is embarrassing to add it up.

* Season tickets to OSU football games, parking pass, and all the travel and other costs associated with attending OSU games — thank goodness my folks and sister usually cover the tailgate, thanks!
* Occasional bowl tickets and bowl trips. The 2002 National Championship win against Miami was the greatest trip ever.
* Other sporting event tickets a couple times a year. Latest: Rat City Roller Derby here in Seattle. Highly entertaining.
* A stupid amount on cable/satellite service. Because despite all the promise of IPTV and sites like Hulu, if you want to watch live HD sports, you pretty much need to pay for cable or satellite. And not just the basic package either, but the packages that pick up all the ESPN channels, the Big Ten network, and the Fox Sports channels. And given all the recent NCAA football TV deals, I am sure my costs will just go up here.
* And of course I buy magazines, t shirts, jerseys, “giant foam fingers”:http://www.overstock.com/Sports-Toys/Ohio-State-Buckeyes-1-Fan-Foam-Finger/5967412/product.html, “Fatheads”:http://www.fathead.com/, and all other kinds of fan gear.

My daily web reading includes all the online sports media. The major branded sites of course, but also all the blogs covering college football, and there are some great ones — “EDSBS”:http://www.everydayshouldbesaturday.com/, “Dr. Saturday”:http://rivals.yahoo.com/ncaa/football/blog/dr_saturday, “Smart Football”:http://smartfootball.com/, and oh so many more. And the beat writers for local media covering the teams I care about — the “Dispatch”:http://www.dispatch.com/live/content/buckeyextra/dispatch-stories/osufootball.html, the “Plain Dealer”:http://www.cleveland.com/osu/, the “Seattle Times”:http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/sports/, the “Orange-County Register”:http://www.ocregister.com/sections/sports/usc/, the “LA Times”:http://www.latimes.com/sports/college/usc/, etc. I hit the web sites, consume the RSS feeds, subscribe to the tweet streams.

NCAA basketball pools? Bowl Pickem contests? Regular season pickem challenges? Of course, though I have never really gotten into fantasy football, thank goodness, because I would probably love it and burn way too much time playing it.

I’m not alone in my obsession or my spending. Thank goodness sports mania is more socially acceptable than other bad habits, the amount of time and money spent on sports each year is mindboggling. College football as a business took in $3.2B in revenue last year, making $1.1B in profit (“PDF”:http://www.sbrnet.com/pdf/college-football-financial-stats-by-division.pdf). There are games on nearly every day of the week now, and possibly spinning into Sunday in a big way if the NFL labor problems continue. And TV coverage is growing apace, with all the major conferences following the Big-10’s lead and spinning up dedicated networks. 50 million fans attended games last year, a “record”:http://blogs.orlandosentinel.com/sports_college/2011/02/record-setting-year-for-college-football-attendance.html — only stadium capacity limits prevents this from being even larger.

The NFL is an even larger beast in revenues — $9B in revenue (“PDF”:www.thebostoncompany.com/core/…/May11_Views_Insights_NFL.pdf). Not as many people attend the games as at the college level, but the media rights, merchandising rights, etc. are worth far more.

Expenditures don’t stop at watching games — fans will obviously buy anything having do to with their teams. I consider my collection of jackets and hats to be fairly modest. I haven’t begun to tap into the richness of the market. The range of products and services available is stunning, for example:

* “Grill grates”:http://www.ohiostatealumni.org/shop/marketplace/Pages/OhioStateGrillGrates.aspx.
* “Longaberger baskets”:http://www.ohiostatealumni.org/shop/marketplace/Pages/LongabergerTallTissueBasket.aspx. These first two make some sense given the tailgating scene
* “Pottery”:http://www.ohiostatealumni.org/shop/marketplace/Pages/OhioStatePottery.aspx.
* “Furniture”:http://www.collegechair.com/. Starting to get a little far afield
* “Credit cards”:http://alumni.usc.edu/benefits/bankofamerica.html.
* “Travel”:http://www.texasexes.org/travel/find_trip.asp. Not just physical goods!
* “Toys”:http://www.buckeyeshoppingdeals.com/fan/ohio-state-buckeyes-mr-potato-head
* “Wine”:http://www.personalwine.com/catalog/site_affiliate_index_label.php?name=texas
* “Fishing reels”:http://ardentreels.com/products/viewProduct2.asp?prodId=92.
* “Fashion Apparel”:http://www.meeshandmia.com/UniversityofNebraskaAll.html. For some definition of “fashion”
* “Perfume.”:https://masik.com/index.php/university-of-florida. What does a Florida Gator smell like? Or aspire to smell like? and how is that different than the fragrance aspirations of an LSU Tiger
* “Galvanized Buckets”:http://www.amazon.com/NCAA-Oklahoma-Sooners-5-Quart-Galvanized/dp/B003M9YPRU

My smartphone/tablet doesn’t really deliver much to me. Given all this enthusiasm, it is suprising to me that the iPhone (and other smartphone) and iPad experience for sports is so tepid, so undeveloped — no one has figured out how to extract money from me on my mobile device. My #1 app for following sports on the go is Twitter. I download a bunch of free score apps (ESPN and Yahoo Sportacular are both reasonable) which are fine, but I don’t pay a dime for any app or service. Given the willingness of people like me to pay for damn near anything, this is surprising. There are a bunch of sports checkin apps, but they don’t provide any real value — no better game info, no scores, no video, and honestly the enthusiasts just aren’t on these services.

What’s missing?

* Video. Realtime, clips. This is the biggest glaring problem. Particularly on football Saturdays. I want to see highlights of my team, highlights of other games, full videos of other games, plays of the day, video summaries of action in other conferences. During the week, video highlights of the upcoming opponent, clips from last year’s game, etc. And I want it on demand. I can get some of this flipping around channels on the TV but I can’t get it on my device. I’d pay for it but no one is offering.
* Opponent information. The tweet stream is good but I’d love more. What are all the opponent blogs says. What are the opponent mainstream press sites saying. Latest updates on injuries. Some curation/editorial would be good here. In the week we play Nebraska, where do I go to read all the pregame Nebraska material — blogs, newspapers, analysis, forums, etc? Where do i load up on Nebraska Hate gear? Where do I find Nebraska jokes?
* On site experience. There are some real challenges to deal with with respect to on-site, game day services. The load of 150K people all trying to use their phones around Ohio Stadium is crushing. If I was a carrier I’d offer a peak location package, truck in some antennas (cell and wifi), and charge more for peak location use. No idea if the economics would work out here. Beyond just connectivity, I’d like “PointInside” like features at the game. Where and when does the band perform. Where are various other pre-game festivities. Where is the best tailgating activity. Where can I grab a pedicab. Where are the porta-potties.
* Scores and stats. The ESPN and Yahoo Sportacular apps are fine, but they totally break down under Saturday load. There must be a way to better architect these for load. I am always super frustrated at some point on Saturday due to the lack of current reliable score info.
* Deep focus. The existing mobile apps from ESPN, etc, are all super generic, covering all sports and all teams. I’ll pay for depth coverage of college football or of Ohio State. I won’t pay for apps that cover tennis, golf, baseball, and football equally well.
* Gaming. Fantasy football is obviously popular at the NFL level. Nothing comparable really exists at the college level. Yet the level of personal identification with teams, the level of passion is probably greater at the college level. A great college game will need to leverage the intense rivalries in the game.

Sports enthusiasts have proven they will spend stupid amounts of money on their sports mania. It is surprising to me that no smartphone apps have done a good job targeting this user base and trying to separate them from some of their money. I spend more money on stupid casual games apps on my smartphone than I do on one of my main avocations in life, and this seems out of step.

It’s a Great Day to be a Buckeye!

Seriously. We have much to celebrate. #1 Men’s basketball team heading into tourney season. Big 10 champion women’s basketball team, again. The next 2-3 weeks should be awesome and we should enjoy our successes.

And yes, well, we have this hiccup in the football program. Mistakes have been made by many people at many levels. It is a little embarrassing and not in keeping with the standards we have set.

But the mistakes are magnified by those high standards of on-field and off-field performance we have established. If Ohio State had some 3rd tier football program, no one would care (including us). But we have a great and proud program that has accomplished a great deal and we should remain proud despite the news of the past week.

We all have successes and failures, we all have moments of great personal performance and moments when we stumble. The measure of a person is not how many successes they have — it is how they handle themselves in times of success and failure. When successful, do they share the credit, do they acknowledge the team, do they remain humble, do they treat the less-fortunate with respect? And in moments of personal failure, do they accept responsibility, do they learn from mistakes, do they bear down and fix them?

Our football program has a great opportunity now to act like a winner, to set an example for others, as it deals with the issues at hand. And I expect the people in the program to work hard and handle the problems well and make us proud of how they deal with adversity. There are coaches and administrators in the land who run to new jobs or the NFL when times get tough, I am proud of our staff for putting their nose to the grindstone and working through the troubles.

Again we have great success in so many sports, and exciting basketball to follow, and a great opportunity to show the world how to deal with adversity, and so it truly is a great day to be a Buckeye.

10 Reasons to Hate Arkansas…

I don’t really have any feelings good or bad about Arkansas, but of course now that they are the Buckeyes’ next opponent, I have to foster a deep hatred of all things Arkansas. Here’s a quick list:

# Walmart. Destroying the retail economies of small towns all over America, while sending jobs to China.
# Philandering ex-president. And if you are going to be a philanderer, at least do it well. “Ohio’s philandering president”:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Warren_G._Harding was a much better philanderer, actually having a child out of wedlock.
# Philandering president’s wife. Hilary stood by her man and swallowed her pride. “Harding’s wife probably poisoned him”:http://www.trutv.com/library/crime/terrorists_spies/assassins/warren_harding/6.html. I know who I want with me in a fight.
# The name means “land of downriver people”:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arkansas as in “Don’t drink the water there, the Midwest has been dumping its crap in the rivers forever and letting it flow downstream”.
# Ryan Mallett. Once a Michigan man, always a Michigan man. The taint of Michigan will doom him.
# No MLB, NFL, NBA teams in the state. Hardly qualifies as a state.
# Arkansas’s favorite son, Scottie Pippen, Jordan’s bag carrier.
# The name, again. Most of it stolen from Kansas. And can’t be bothered to say the last letter — do they think this is France?
# S-E-C! I’m sure Arkansas fans will trot this out, but remind them: Arkansas has been getting waxed by the same SEC leaders for years…
# Arkansas in name only. The majority of the “roster”:http://www.arkansasrazorbacks.com/SportSelect.dbml?DB_OEM_ID=6100&SPID=2419&SPSID=30724 is from other states. This is basically an indictment of the quality of football player in Arkansas. The team is really the Texas/Louisiana/Georgia/Oklahoma/Alabama/Florida Razorbacks.

Getting your Minnesota hate on

OK it is hard to really find great reasons to hate Minnesota football. Their current level of ineptitude is historic.

But I can always reach back to the events of early 1972 when the “UM team and fans attacked the visiting OSU basketball team, sending several players to the hospital”:http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/vault/article/magazine/MAG1085766/index.htm, and never really owning up to their responsibility and apologizing for their actions. Dave Winfield went on to great personal success but I’ve always viewed him as a dbag for his actions on that night.

So here is hoping that UM football is perpetually bad as a form of karmic payback, and here is hoping that OSU rolls up its second shutout in a row.

Odd/interesting college football numbers

* Michigan is a “25 point favorite”:http://www.vegasinsider.com/college-football/odds/las-vegas/ over Bowling Green this weekend. Really? Did anyone watch Michigan give up 37 to UMass? Not a betting man but tempted to start.
* Ohio State ranked “11th by Sagarin for purposes of BCS”:http://www.usatoday.com/sports/sagarin/fbt10.htm. With a string of weak opponents still on the slate, this is a little concerning, tho if OSU wins out, its position in the human polls is pretty unassailable. My gosh, USC who has looked awful is ranked well ahead of OSU.
* Yay Duke is “#1 in kickoff return yards!”:http://espn.go.com/college-football/statistics/team/_/stat/returning That happens when you are always returning kickoffs because you’ve been giving up scores left and right.
* Yay “OSU is #1 in field goals”:http://espn.go.com/college-football/statistics/team/_/stat/kicking. Ignoring the implications for red zone ineffectiveness, this might lead you to believe that OSU special teams are doing great. Which they are not.

Apparently Ohio State doesn’t want my money

A rough day to try to follow the Buckeyes from Seattle. Comcast sorry, Xfinity is only carrying one BigTenNetwork feed, the Michigan/UMass game. And while I am enjoying the schadenfreude of that game as Denard comes back to earth (and wow does Michigan’s D suck), I would rather watch OSU.

Yes if I had Dish or DirecTV I could watch, but I don’t want to go thru the brain damage of switching video providers just to watch one game that was over on the first possession. Fail one, why isn’t there a PPV option on Comcast?

Next try is to watch online via one of the many purported video streams. None of which work. The pure web ones all are hosted on various sketchy domains, most of which want me to bet on something, and none of them seem to show any video. Fail two, why oh why won’t the Big Ten Network let me buy a stream?

3rd try is to at least listen to the game via a stream from the official radio station, WBNS. They will let me pay for a single game or season of audio, $4.95 for a game, good for them! But of course their embedded player doesn’t work on a Mac.

Now I am reduced to listening to “Scarlet and Gray Sports Radio”:http://www.ustream.tv/channel/scarlet-and-gray-sports-radio on ustream which is a fairly amateurish play by play but at least it works. Oh and it appears to be on a delay, since the “ESPN gamecast”:http://scores.espn.go.com/ncf/gamecast?gameId=302610194 is ahead.

The best live option is Twitter.

Pretty terrible experience overall. I would happily pay a reasonable per-game fee to get something of quality on a Mac or an iPad.

The best of the day’s college football reading…

* Apparently “some Miami writers think that Ohio Stadium is not that loud”:http://www.thebuckeyebattlecry.com/?p=7515 and some Miami players think that “Everybody wants to come see us. They ain’t coming just to see Ohio State.” Yes that is correct, everyone will want to see the Miami Hurricanes, like they want to see a turkey on Thanksgiving or crabs in a crab boil — fully cooked, dismembered, bits of skeleton lying around.
* “EDSBS’s take”:http://www.everydayshouldbesaturday.com/2010/9/8/1676569/writer-ohio-stadium-is-not-loud on stadium loudness. The caption on the Tressel picture is understated and OUTSTANDING.
* Meanwhile the NCAA is hard at work “suspending players for selling jerseys”:http://rivals.yahoo.com/ncaa/football/blog/dr_saturday/post/A-J-Green-s-only-crime-was-trying-to-make-a-buc?urn=ncaaf-268222. OK perhaps this player is not that innocent, he did “sell” the jersey to an agent. But when universities are shoveling in the money from licensing fees, it is immoral to whack on this kid for making a buck off his jersey.

This is the best week of the season for Boise State

Congrats to them, they won a great game and got a nice pop in the polls and can dream of going to the championship game. Everyone is all like “OMG Boise might play in the championship”:http://bcsguru.blogspot.com/2010/09/boise-state-usc-two-paths-to-national.html?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed:+BcsGuru+(BCS+Guru).

But really this is it for them. The “rest of their schedule”:http://espn.go.com/college-football/team/schedule/_/id/68/boise-state-broncos dooms them. They have no chance to further impress voters, they only have opportunities to let voters down. Meanwhile the teams in the major conferences all have chances thru October and November to create buzz. Even if ‘Bama or OSU or other schools drop a game, they will still be able to make it up by clearing the rest of their schedules. Fair or not, I can’t imagine Boise holding a top 2 spot.

Looking back at Marshall, ahead to Miami

Quality start for OSU last night. Diversified offense — tight end and fullback catching balls! Pryor looked Rose-Bowl sharp. Defense was solid tho not as aggressive as you might hope — but that will come as they gel. Special teams obviously need some work!

How optimistic should we be about Miami game? Miami also pushed around an overmatched opponent, winning 45-0 over FAMU.

* Marshall is a much stronger program than FAMU (see “Sagarin ratings”:http://www.usatoday.com/sports/sagarin/fbt10.htm).
* Miami had a nice offensive outing, 405 total yards. OSU was even better, 529 total yards.
* Miami gained 155 yards on the ground, 4.3 per carry. Nice but OSU gained 280 on the ground, 6.8 per carry.
* And of course the game is at Columbus.

Servicing my college football addiction

Finally, the first week of college football. And the first week of servicing my addiction. Here is the plan for this year:

* In person attendance at games: We’ll make the November Penn State and Michigan games at Ohio Stadium. 4 tickets to each game at $70/pop comes to $560, we are able to easily sell the unused portion of our season ticket books. Oh of course to get the rights to buy 4 tickets and a parking pass, we had to join the “Buckeye Club”:http://www.ohiostatebuckeyes.com/ViewArticle.dbml?DB_OEM_ID=17300&ATCLID=1398165 at the appropriate level, and make ongoing scholarship donations which qualify us to join the “President’s Club”:http://giveto.osu.edu/donorsocieties/presidentsclub/index.html. But we will pretend those aren’t related — in fact we would donate the scholarship money anyway, to help Marion County students with demonstrated need make it through Ohio State. Oh and we will ignore the travel expense to Ohio as well, since we are going to be there primarily to visit family. Oh and I may sneak to a USC or UW game in addition but we will see. And depending on how the Buckeyes do, we may go the bowl game, count on another $2500 for tickets/travel/accommodations in Glendale (hey, go big or go home!).

* Watching all other weekends on TV: Sports, and particularly college football, are at least 50% of the driver for our cable/dish subscriptions. We subscribe to enough of a tier on cable to get ESPN, Fox Sports, and the Big-10 network in HD. And since we are splitting time between Seattle and Ohio this fall, we have to maintain subscriptions in both locations since cable and dish subscriptions are not portable. We’ve tried a variety of ways to get around this, but there are no quality solutions — ESPN3 is low quality, the various pirated feeds are even worse, slingbox doesn’t really work for HD content. So say half a cable bill monthly in two locations is attributable to football, that is $50/month * 2 locations * 6 months == $600.

* Tracking on the PC/iPad. When I’m at home watching game A, I want to track other games on a medium sized screen. ESPN, ESPN3, and SI are the best of a bad lot — all crammed with ads, tend to have load issues on Saturdays, tend to lag the real action, etc etc. I used to use Sportsline but investment in that site seems to be trending down. I’m not going to allocate any of our internet costs to sports, we would have the same connection if sports didn’t exist.

* Tracking on the iPhone. A real weak spot. The ESPN app is the best score tracker — customizable for just my teams, reasonable UI. But massive load issues on Saturdays, something has clearly been engineered poorly in the transaction model for this app, since it is way more load-sensitive than the web site which makes no sense at all. Backup are the websites for SI and ESPN. Twitter also critical since every major sportswriter/sportsblogger is active on twitter. Of course everyone of these data services fails totally when at a live game, as 100K people all try to hit the same cell tower at once. Google SMS is the fallback of last resort, it can sometimes work when the 3G/Edge networks are failing. You can certainly allocate half my cell phone data plan to sports for the 6 months of college football, so let’s say another $300. Yes I would look harder at a different data plan if I didn’t track sports. Overall the lack of a great app to track sports teams on the iPhone is a little surprising.

OK so $3100 in costs to attend games and bowl, $900 in telecom costs, so $4K in direct costs a year to watch college football. Plus the opportunity cost of time — at least 16 weekends, 8 hours of time, 128 hours. And I am probably not being honest with myself about that time commitment. But eternally hopeful that the Buckeyes will win the national championship, thereby justifying all of it!

The last empty Saturday of the year has passed…

…College football kicks off this week! Finally.

Getting ready for the season:

* “Live odds”:http://www.bangthebook.com/football-betting/live-football-odds.php. Not that I bet, nor do I believe that odds have much to do with expected outcomes, but still interesting to peruse.
* “CFB stats”:http://www.sports-reference.com/cfb/ — awesome site with comprehensive stats. For when you need to spew them at someone to prove your school is better.
* “Senator Tressel held in high regard by coaching ranks”:http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/collegesports/2012722914_survey29.html?syndication=rss. Pretty awesome.
* “Blogpoll”:http://www.sbnation.com/ncaa-football/rankings/college-football-blogpoll-top-25.

4.5 weeks to kickoff! Go Bucks!

Wow, August is upon us, only 4.5 weeks to “OSU’s kickoff with Marshall”:http://www.dispatch.com/live/content/sports/stories/2010/08/01/cfbx01-gi89c2m8-1.html?sid=101.

Super excited about the prospects for this year’s OSU team. An experienced offensive backfield and line, a beastly-looking defensive line, and great talent in most other areas. A gnarly in-conference road schedule tho and a strengthening Big-10 conference will make it a tough year tho. Around the nation, I’m also keyed up for the Nebraska-Texas game, I’d love the see the newest member of the Big-10 wax Texas. And I’ll have my eyes on USC, I think they could do very well in a so-so Pac-10. I’ll probably watch some Washington games tho I have never bonded with the team.

As of this moment, I’ll be attending the OSU November home games, Penn State and Michigan. And depending on the season, potentially the bowl game. I might attend a UW game. I wish I could get back to Columbus for the Miami game or to Iowa City or Madison for the big road games but not likely to happen.

Go Bucks!