The View From The Press Box

When I visited Ohio Stadium last week, I not only got to go out onto the field, I also got to go up to the press box.  It is an impressive facility with tons of electrical outlets, cubbies for the bags and belongings of intrepid sports reporters, hundreds of seats, multiple decks — and a stunning view of the field.  It wouldn’t be too much of a sacrifice to watch a game from up there.

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Gunning For The Gators

Tonight the Ohio State Buckeyes, ranked no. 3 in the polls, take on the Florida Gators, ranked no. 8, at Value City Arena.

Such early games make college basketball a lot of fun.  It’s great to see the powerhouses play each other, and unlike college football, an early season loss isn’t fatal to your chances to win it all.  In the meantime, you get a rough sense of how your team matches up and how far they have to go.  Ohio State and Florida have developed a pretty good basketball rivalry recently, and last year’s game, in which the Buckeyes beat the Gators at Florida, helped to show that the 2010-2011 team was going to be special.

This year, the Buckeyes have a lot of unanswered questions.  Last year’s team featured three great seniors — David Lighty, Jon Diebler, and Dallas Lauderdale — and this year’s team has only one in William Buford.  This year’s nucleus is strong, with Buford, Jared Sullinger, and Aaron Craft, but we don’t know whether the other pieces of the puzzle will fit well together.  It appears that Coach Thad Matta has tons of talent, but chemistry and playing defense count for a lot, too.  Florida, on the other hand, has a great team that will light up the scoreboards this season.  The Gators are led by guard Kenny Boynton — one of the best in the country — as well as point guard Erving Walker and forward Patric Young.

This is a game with many intriguing story lines.  Can Aaron Craft, the Buckeyes’ defensive whiz, harass and shut down Boynton?  Who’s going to guard Jared Sullinger?  And which heretofore unheralded player is going to step up and make a name for himself in this nationally televised clash?

Camp Closure

Overnight New York City police cleared Zuccotti Park, home to the Occupy Wall Street protesters.  According to the police, the decision was precipitated by health and fire safety concerns and allegations of criminal activity — the same issues that seem to have plagued the OWS camps elsewhere.

From news reports, it appears that most of the protesters left peacefully, although a number of them resisted and were arrested.  Some of the protesters chained themselves to trees and other objects in the park.  After the park is cleared of all of the tents, tarps, and debris and restored to its original condition, protesters apparently will be allowed back — but not allowed to stay overnight or set up an encampment.

After the last protesters are removed this morning, three questions will remain to be answered.  First, will the OWS protests continue with the Zuccotti Park semi-permanent headquarters closed down?  Second, what kind of stuff was found in the debris removed from the park?  And third, who gets the thousands of dollars that apparently were contributed in support of the OWS protests?

Edited to add:  A judge has upheld the city’s decision to evict the protesters and to refuse the erection of tents and other structures in the park.