Bauserman Out, Miller In

Sorry, but I’m going to be a bad loser here, as I stew in the wake of an embarrassing defeat.

Ohio State just lost a game they easily could have won.  The Buckeyes defense gave a tough, gutty performance, keeping Ohio State in the game and giving the offense opportunity after opportunity.  But the offense was horrible.  Putrid.  Rotten.  Beyond redemption.  Astonishingly awful.  An exercise in futility.

I lay this loss at the feet of Joe Bauserman and Jim Bollman.  The Buckeyes had an embarrassingly bad day in the air, but they were able to move the ball on the ground and up the gut — until Bollman stopped calling those plays.  And Joe Bauserman — at one point at the end of the third quarter, shown laughing, inexplicably, on the sidelines, when he should have been weeping at the futility of his dismal performance and inability to throw a spiral — simply is not the answer.  When the defense gave Bauserman opportunity after opportunity, he simply could not execute.  Tonight we learned, as if anyone had any doubt, that Bauserman is not a big game QB.  It wasn’t Miami’s defense that stopped Ohio State, it was Ohio State’s playcalling and ineptitude.  At least freshman Braxton Miller provides a spark and a new dimension.

So, the Buckeyes won’t win every game.  No rational person expected they would.  Now it is time to let Braxton Miller show us what he can do.  Sit Bauserman, play Miller, open up the playbook, and apologize to the defense for losing a game tonight that the Buckeyes very easily could have won.

Independents’ Day, 2011

Independents' Day, as seen from my Gay Street office window

Today, September 17, 2011, is Independents’ Day — on Gay Street in downtown Columbus, Ohio, at least.  It’s a day worth celebrating.

Every year, on a selected autumn Saturday, various Columbus “independents” — cultural organizations, food truck operators, local crafts people, beer sellers, restaurants, artists, musical groups, and many other — gather on Gay Street and in nearby Pearl and Lynn Alleys to put on what has become part party, part street festival, part music venue, and part general zaniness.  It’s one of the things (along with the presence of our law firm, of course) that makes Gay Street by far the coolest street in downtown Columbus.

This is, I think, the fourth year that Columbus has celebrated Independents’ Day.  I last went in 2009, and the event has grown considerably since then.  Once the music started at the Athens Business Remixed Stage, which is right beneath my office window — a really fine band called Enrique Infante that played Caribbean/Tex-Mex music that made you want to dance — there was really no point in trying to continue with work, so I did the circuit.

A food truck with a great sense of humor

There were dozens of food trucks, food stands, and places where you could wet your whistle with beer and wine.  Culinary offerings ranged from chocolate covered bacon and deep-fried peaches to vegetarian hotdogs to gourmet pizza to hot off the griddle grilled cheese sandwiches to fine food cooked by some of the local restaurants.  I like the humor you find in most food trucks, too.  Any pizza truck that can lampoon the ever-present “Eat.  Play.  Work.” ads for new mixed-use developments gets my support.  I bought some pastries for Kish from a Czech food stand called Kolache Republic and she gave them an enthusiastic thumbs-up.

There’s also a stand that combines a useful public service with point-of-purchase marketing:  at the intersection of Gay Street and Pearl Alley, those imbibers who might be concerned about their continuing compliance with Ohio’s impaired driver laws can take a free breathalyzer test, courtesy of Hastie Law Offices, which specializes in DUI defense.

"Pander Bear" stands guard in Lynn Alley

Lynn Alley, which runs parallel to Gay Street, is largely devoted to Craft Alley, sponsored by Crafty Cotillion.  Here you can find local comics, folk artists, and other crafts people showing off their wares.  I learned that Columbus has a vibrant independent comics community (who knew?), heard the story of “Pander Bear” — created to pander to passersby and lure them into the comics tent — and bought issue number 1 of Nix Comics Quarterly.

I was there right after the celebration started, but already the crowd was building.  The musical acts will be performing all day, and the event runs until midnight, C’mon, Columbus!  It is a perfect day to head to Gay Street, listen to some fine music from any one of five — five! — stages, eat, drink, and rub elbows with your fellow Columbusites.  Let’s show everybody that Columbus really celebrates Independents!

How Able Are The ‘Canes? (And The Buckeyes?)

Tonight the Ohio State Buckeyes play their first road game of the 2011 season, at 7:30 against the Miami Hurricanes.  Pundits are having fun with the fact that both teams have had to deal with off-season NCAA issues — emails about ‘Tats vs. ‘Tutes have burned up the internet in Columbus over the last few days — but let’s focus on football for now.

This is a young, inexperienced Ohio State team, and for young players going on the road is always a challenge.  In such games you start to learn about how players will perform in pressure situations, away from the encouraging crowds at Ohio Stadium.  When the key third-down play needs to be made, how will Joe Bauserman respond?  Can the defense rise to the occasion on a crucial series with the game on the line?  Miami’s Sun Life Stadium, with its warm temperatures and a crowd that is likely to include more than a few members of Buckeye Nation, is not going to be as intimidating as the trips to Nebraska or the Big House that the Buckeyes must make later this season — but tonight’s game may begin to give us a sense of the Buckeyes’ inner grit and fortitude.

Miami, playing without a number of suspended players, lost its first game last week at Maryland.  Forget that result.  For tonight’s game, Miami’s starting quarterback, Jacory Harris, and a slew of defensive players will return to the lineup, while the Buckeyes will regain starting running back Jordan Hall and starting defensive back Travis Howard.  Miami has a lot of talent on both sides of the ball and will try to put pressure on the young Buckeyes.  Ohio State, meanwhile, will try to work through the snags and missed assignments that appeared in last week’s struggling win against Toledo.

Pre-game analysis doesn’t mean much in these situations, where so many players will be playing in their first big away game.  When Luke Fickell — who will be experiencing his first road game as head coach — leads the team out onto the field for the kickoff, he will no doubt be thinking:  will our players be able to overcome the jitters and perform?