Finding Horrible New Ways To Lose

After years of great success, it’s like Ohio State is learning how to lose.  And doing it in so many different and awful ways.  Against Miami and Michigan State, it was offensive ineptitude.  Tonight, Ohio State built a three-touchdown lead and seemed to have the game in hand when a turnover, an injury, and the inevitably fatal appearance of Laughing Joe Bauserman caused the Buckeyes to give up the lead and lose to a Nebraska team that got crushed last week and was on the ropes tonight.

Tonight’s game showed what has become increasingly clear as the season has gone on — for all of the criticism of Jim Tressel’s conservative play-calling, he was a great in-game coach.  I’m confident that, with Tressel at the helm, Ohio State would not have lost tonight’s game.  Even after Nebraska scored after Braxton Miller’s turnover, the Buckeyes still had a two-touchdown lead, and Tressel would have run, run, run the ball — and Ohio State was moving it on the ground — milked the clock, and worn Nebraska’s defense down.  He would have kept the defense off the field, and he never would have put the game in Bauserman’s hands.

Instead, the coaches inexplicably went away from the run, and we got to watch the infuriating spectacle of Bauserman hurling the ball 40 feet over receiver’s heads out of bounds.  Here’s a tip for the Ohio State coaches — forget Bauserman!  He brings nothing to the table.  If Braxton Miller’s injury keeps him out of the lineup, play Kenny Guiton, or Taylor Graham.  They cannot possibly be worse than Bauserman, and you would be doing a service for the blood pressure of Buckeye fans the world over.

As for the defense, it’s time to show some guts and some pride.  Even when the offense returns to its state of torpid, Bausermanesque ineptitude, you can still play like the Ohio State Buckeyes, instead of the gang that can’t tackle.  We need the defense to step up, with the season now truly teetering on the brink of the abyss.


Drum Major Dreams

My friend and partner Carl Smallwood and his wife, Connie, are just about the biggest band boosters you can imagine.  It’s no surprise, really.  Their daughter, Jocelyn, is a Sousaphone player in the Ohio State University Marching Band — The Best Damn Band In The Land — and their son, Nate, is the talented drum major for the Upper Arlington High School Marching Band.

Carl’s dream, I think, would be for Nate to become the drum major for TBDBITL next year and lead Jocelyn out to dot the “i” when the Band performs Script Ohio in the home game against Michigan next year.  How cool would that be?

It’s not an impossible dream, either.  Jocelyn is already on target to be the i-dotter for next year’s Michigan game and — as this YouTube video of Nate’s performance at a recent OSU Marching Band Skull Session indicates — he’s got the ability to make Carl’s dream a reality.

The CBJ And The Arena District Deal

Columbus’ Arena District is one of the rapidly growing areas of the city.  The district is home to Nationwide Arena, where the NHL’s Columbus Blue Jackets play and rock concerts and other special events are held, as well as apartments, condominiums, offices, restaurants, bars, and Huntington Park, the home field of the Columbus Clippers.  It’s an area that is bustling with activity, day and night.

The only dark cloud on the horizon is that the Blue Jackets are struggling financially, and there is concern that the franchise might leave for greener (or in the case of the NHL, snowier) pastures and a better deal that provides them with more revenue.  Columbus leaders worry that if the arena’s anchor tenant leaves, the Arena District might wither on the vine.  So, a long-term deal has been worked out.  Columbus and Franklin County pledge a share of taxes to be produced by the not yet opened Columbus casino to buy and operate the arena — the total contribution over 27 years is expected to approach $250 million — and in exchange the Blue Jackets get to use the arena rent-free and promise to stay in Columbus until 2039.  Although local politicians and community leaders all seem to support the deal, some people are opposed.  They want the casino tax revenues used for other purposes, and they object to the fact that the deal won’t be put before local voters.

I think most people in the Columbus area are proud of the Arena District and will support the arrangement.  It sure would help, however, if the Blue Jackets were a better team, generated more excitement and attendance, and made the playoffs.  It will be a lot easier for the people of Columbus to swallow the cost of supporting a perennial Stanley Cup contender than a perennial also-ran.

Last night the NHL season began, and the Blue Jackets opened with a game at Nationwide Arena against the Nashville Predators.  The CBJ lost, 3-2.