Big Ten Chumps (Cont.)

It’s bad enough that a 7-5 Wisconsin team won the “Big Ten Championship” game.  It’s bad enough that Nebraska, the other team in the “Big Ten Championship” game, gave up 70 points in getting crushed by Wisconsin.  It’s bad enough that the Ohio State Buckeyes, the best team in the conference, weren’t playing.  But the crowning indignity is that Wisconsin’s head coach, Bret Bielema, is now reportedly bolting the Big Ten for Arkansas and the SEC.

Don’t get me wrong here.  I don’t think that Bielema, the former Badgers coach who now reportedly will be leading the Razorbacks, is a great football coach.  He won or tied for the lead in the Big Ten three times — at least, according to the conference title game organizers — but I never thought he matched up well, in terms of coaching or recruiting ability, against Ohio State or other premier college programs.  Bielema always had a squinty, slack-jawed look on his face, seemed overmatched in in-game coaching contests, and rarely won the big games.  If Arkansas thinks they are getting a great coach, they may well be mistaken.

No, what’s embarrassing is that the “Big Ten Championship” coach is skedaddling the conference to go to a marginal team in the SEC.  Arkansas apparently was willing to pay him a lot more money than Wisconsin would shell out, and perhaps Wisconsin’s discretion in that regard is wise.  Still, if winning coaches are bolting for a second-division team in a different conference, what does it tell you about the Big Ten?

Big Ten Chumps

Tonight the Nebraska Cornhuskers play the Wisconsin Badgers in the Big Ten Championship game.  It’s a bit of a nightmare scenario for the conference.

https://i0.wp.com/www.waitingfornextyear.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/10/bo.jpgNebraska is not a bad team.  They’re 10-2 and have only lost one game in the conference — although it was a crushing loss, a 63-38 spanking at the hands of the Ohio State Buckeyes.  Wisconsin, on the other hand, is a different story.  The Badgers are 7-5 overall, and only 4-4 in the conference.  Wisconsin lost three of its last four games, all in overtime.

Wisconsin is not a bad team, either — but what does it tell you when a .500 team in the conference makes it to the championship game and has the chance to play in the Rose Bowl?  The reason, of course, is that undefeated Ohio State, easily the best team in the Big Ten, isn’t eligible to play due to NCAA sanctions.

https://i2.wp.com/media.scout.com/Media/Image/60/608537.jpgNot surprisingly, there’s not a lot of interest in the game.  Many tickets are for sale at a steep discount from face value, and organizers are expecting a number of empty seats.  I’m confident that the Rose Bowl organizers, too, are holding their breath and hoping that Nebraska wins, so the Granddaddy of all bowl games doesn’t feature a team that barely has a winning record.

I’m sure the Badgers will play their hardest and will be proud to represent the Big Ten in the Rose Bowl if they win.  I’d feel that way if I were a Badger, too, but for the rest of us Big Ten fans this game is an embarrassment.  It’s a pathetic conclusion to a year that — thanks to the sanctions imposed on Ohio State and Penn State, weak teams, a less-than-stellar out of conference record, and uninspired play by teams like Michigan State that were expected to be powerhouses — has been an embarrassment for the storied Big Ten conference.

Big Ten, Big Money, Big Changes

This week the Big Ten announced that, beginning in 2014, Rutgers and Maryland will join the conference.  That will bring the number of schools to 14 — and many people think the Big Ten is likely to add two more teams to end up at an even 16, with two eight-team divisions.  The pundits are talking about North Carolina, Kansas, Georgia Tech, and other schools as potential candidates.

One of the traditional Ohio State fight songs — Across the Field — ends with the line “so let’s win that old conference now.”   Thanks to Commissioner Jim Delany, it’s not the old conference anymore.  With the addition of Nebraska, and now Rutgers and Maryland, what used to be a northern, Midwestern conference now stretches from Nebraska to the Atlantic Ocean and from northern Minnesota to below the Mason-Dixon line.  Everyone knows, too, that the expansion is all about money.  The Big Ten wants access to the New York City and Washington, D.C. TV and fan base markets and believes that adding Rutgers and Maryland will provide that access.  Rutgers and Maryland are joining because they will get far more money from the Big Ten than they would from the Big East and the Atlantic Coast Conference, respectively.

What does it mean for Big Ten fans?  Sure, it means Big Ten teams will play schools who aren’t traditional powerhouses or traditional rivals — but Ohio State already does that, with its preseason schedule and with perennial Big Ten doormats like Indiana.  Rutgers and Maryland may not be top 20 football programs, but neither are most of the teams the Buckeyes play in their “pre-season” schedule.  If the addition of more teams means that the Big Ten schedule gets extended  and Ohio State loses a few games against the likes of San Diego State, I’m not going to cry about it.  The only problem I would have is if expansion causes Ohio State to not play Michigan every year, or puts the Buckeyes in a division featuring a bunch of new eastern teams.

What does this mean for college football?  I wonder how, with everyone chasing the almighty dollar, NCAA members can continue the pretense that college athletics is just about sacred concepts of amateur competition.  College football and, to a lesser extent, college basketball generate huge amounts of money — amounts so huge, in fact, that universities will abandon conferences they’ve belonged to for decades to get a bigger piece of the pie.  College football is saturated with TV money, product tie-ins, merchandising deals, sponsors, and other revenue generators.

So how can the NCAA justify suspending student-athletes who (in the recent case involving Ohio State) sell memorabilia for a few thousand dollars or a few free tattoos?  At some point, will someone choke on the hypocrisy?

Big Red Butt-Kicking

Well, now . . . that was quite a performance, wasn’t it?  I’m guessing the Nebraska fans who came to Ohio Stadium won’t soon forget their first visit to the Horseshoe.

After a lackluster first quarter, the Buckeyes roared back and blew out the Cornhuskers, 63-38.  Sometimes one play can turn a game around, and in this case it was a long run by Braxton Miller that set up the score that allowed Ohio State to close to 17-14.  After that, it was off to the races.  Ohio State scored 28 points in the second quarter to go into halftime with a 35-24 lead, and then kept their foot on the accelerator in the second half to score another 28 points and pull away. The Buckeyes are now 6-0 and are likely to move into the top ten.

The Nebraska defense that seemed so stout in the first quarter was eventually beaten to a bloody pulp by the Ohio State offensive line, which came to dominate the line of scrimmage.  Somewhere, Woody Hayes is smiling at a box score that showed Ohio State with 368 yards on the ground, six rushing touchdowns, and two 100-yard rushers.

There’s still room for improvement — in particular, I’d love to see better tackling by the Ohio State defense — but there is no doubt this was an impressive win against a pretty good team.  It hurt Nebraska when Rex Burkhead was injured and had to leave the game, but the key to the contest was that the Nebraska defense simply could not stop the Buckeyes.  Even as the game wound down, and it was obvious that Ohio State would try to run the ball and keep the clock moving, Nebraska could not halt the Buckeye ground game.  That single fact tells you a lot about how your offensive line is firing off the ball and knocking the defense off the line of scrimmage.

Nebraska fans, I sincerely hope you enjoyed your visit to Columbus — but I’m glad the Buckeyes dished out a butt-kicking.

Under The Lights At The Horseshoe

It’s a special day today, because the Nebraska Cornhuskers visit Ohio Stadium for the first time since the Big Red became members of the Big Ten.

What will make the game extra special is that it is under the lights at the Old Horseshoe.  Ohio Stadium is a classic, storied college football venue — you can’t walk into the Stadium without feeling the history sunk deep into the turf, the concrete rows and ramps up to B and C decks, and the pillars with their Block O capstones — but it becomes an especially spectacular place for a football game under the lights.  The Stadium itself is brightly lit, and the crowd is lit, too.

The tailgaters will have been out for hours, guzzling beers, spanking down tailgate food, and getting pumped for the game.  That additional tailgating time, and fact that the night games usually are big games against ranked teams, means that the Ohio Stadium crowd is much more raucous when darkness falls.  It’s a lot easier to scream your brains out when you’ve lubricated those vocal cords with a six-pack or a few warming toddies.  I’m hoping that tonight’s crowd is in full-throated frenzy and geared up to give Nebraska an especially loud and proud Ohio Stadium welcome to the Big Ten.

It should be an interesting match-up on the field, too.  Last year, Ohio State jumped out to a surprisingly large lead in Lincoln, then Nebraska shredded the Buckeye defense in the second half and pulled off an historic comeback.  It was an embarrassing performance by the Ohio State defense.  I’m hoping that the D uses last year’s game as motivation and comes out ready to play, because Nebraska has a powerful offense led by the arm and feet of quarterback Taylor Martinez.  If Ohio State is going to win this game, its defense needs to control the line of scrimmage and control Martinez’s scrambling.  Of course, the Buckeye defense has been used to facing Braxton Miller in practice, so they presumably should be well drilled in containment.

When I came back to Columbus yesterday, I saw a Nebraska fan in full regalia at Port Columbus.  I said hello, welcomed him to the Big Ten, wished him a fun time during his visit to Columbus, and then said I hoped the Buckeyes stomped the Cornhuskers tonight.  I meant every word.

Big Win To Start The Big Ten

I didn’t get to see most of yesterday’s Ohio State win over Michigan State — I was at a wedding, thank you very much — but that doesn’t mean I can’t savor the sweet taste of a hard-fought and much-needed Big Ten triumph.

Michigan State clearly is one of the better teams in the Big Ten, so any victory over the Spartans is one to be prized.  Beating the Spartans in front of the Michigan State faithful is so much the better.  Ohio State’s defense played its best game of the season — holding Michigan State to 34 yards on the ground makes a serious statement — and the offense played well enough to somehow overcome three turnovers.  How often do you see a team lose the turnover battle, 3-0, on the road, and still pick up a win?

That reality, in fact, might be the ultimate story of this game.  Last year, Ohio State found ways to lose games they should have won.  Yesterday they found a way to hang on to a win that easily could have been a loss.  Winning breeds winning attitudes, and winning attitudes and confidence breed more victories.  Now, if Ohio State could just figure out how to hold on to the football. . . .

The Buckeyes will need to make every possession count next weekend, when Nebraska comes to town for a night game at the Horseshoe, fresh off a come-from-behind home win over a Wisconsin team that let a big lead melt away.  (Sound familiar, Buckeye fans?)

Hearty Buckeye thanks to Mike N., who went to yesterday’s game, for taking the photo of the scoreboard shot that accompanies this post.

The Little Big Ten

Today the Big Ten kicks off league play.  It should be a competitive conference race, because the Big Ten clearly doesn’t have any powerhouse teams this year.

The results of pre-conference play were not kind to the teams in the Old Conference.  Michigan got pulverized by Alabama and then played badly in a loss to Notre Dame.  Wisconsin lost to Oregon State and has struggled mightily against mediocre teams like Utah State and UNLV.  Pre-season favorites Michigan State and Nebraska have fallen from the ranks of the unbeaten, with the Spartans getting pounded by Notre Dame and the Cornhuskers dropping a winnable game to UCLA.  Iowa, Penn State, and Illinois already have two defeats.  Minnesota is undefeated, but hasn’t played anybody.  The best team in the conference could be Northwestern, which has knocked off Syracuse, Vanderbilt, and Boston College.

The marquee games today are Wisconsin at Nebraska and Ohio State at Michigan State.  The Badgers will be trying to get their offense back on track against a Nebraska defense that was dismal in its only game against a tough foe.  The Ohio State-Michigan State contest is intriguing because MSU handed OSU an embarrassing home loss last year, when the Spartans manhandled the Buckeye offense.  Ohio State is undefeated, but it has played mediocre football against inferior teams and hasn’t played a road game yet.  The tilt in East Lansing today will tell us a lot about whether Ohio State is competitive — and also whether Braxton Miller can weave his offensive magic against a very stout defense.

Thanks to NCAA penalties, Ohio State can’t play in a bowl game or the Big Ten conference championship game this year.  If the team wants to make something of this lost year, it needs to win games like today’s match-up.

Seeming Disengaged

Ohio State won yesterday against winless UAB, 29-15.  They won, but there’s not a lot of positive things to be said about Ohio State’s struggling performance.

The good?  No Buckeye seemed to sustain a serious injury.  Ohio State finally got a runner other than Braxton Miller — in the case, Jordan Hall — more than 100 yards on the ground in a game.  The defense forced two turnovers, and John Simon and Johnathan Hankins are terrors on the defensive line.  And that’s about it.

The bad?  A complete breakdown on punt blocking that allowed the entire UAB team, and probably some of their fans too, to block a punt before it was even kicked and return it for a touchdown.  Poor kick coverage that allowed UAB to get good field position.  A defense that gave up more than 400 yards to the UAB offense, had some serious third-down breakdowns, and couldn’t get UAB’s offense off the field.  An offense that sputtered for most of the game, can’t seem to control the line of scrimmage, had countless three-and-outs, and had to punt six times against a UAB team that hasn’t won a game.  When the game was in the balance, the offense couldn’t produce the score that would put the game away.  The team had more stupid penalties.

Overall, the team seems somewhat disengaged, and doesn’t play with much urgency or killer instinct.  Urban Meyer reminded OSU fans after the game that this is a team that was 6-7 last year; it’s not reasonable to expect that they will crush every opponent.  That’s a fair point — but it’s also fair to expect a team to be improving at this point in the season, and I’m not really seeing that from the Buckeyes.  With the team now moving into the Big Ten schedule, starting with a road game against Michigan State and then a home game against Nebraska, some significant improvement had better come quickly.

Not Very Good Right Now

The Ohio State Buckeyes won today because Cal has a pathetic excuse for a field goal kicker.  Period.  Let’s not kid ourselves.  It’s nice to put a W in the record books, but Ohio State almost lost — perhaps they should have lost — to a team that just isn’t very good.

Don’t be swayed by the big plays; for much of the game the Buckeyes  looked clueless on offense.  Cal outgained the Buckeyes and easily won the time of possession battle.  The offensive line isn’t very good right now, and the team seems to be incapable of moving the ball consistently on the ground through a traditional running game.  The defense gave up a huge number of big plays and let a previously unknown, unused tailback make them look slow and stupid.  The D experienced repeated failures at the most fundamental level — tackling. And the team as a whole played an undisciplined game, full of stupid penalties and cheap, embarrassingly chippy behavior.  In short, the game was not a pretty sight for a Buckeyes fan.

Next week Ohio State plays UAB, and then it’s into the Big Ten schedule, starting with an away game at Michigan State.  The Big Ten looks like it isn’t very good this year, but I’m guessing that teams like Michigan State, Nebraska, Wisconsin, and Michigan are better than a Cal team that lost at home to Nevada earlier this year.  If the Buckeyes hope to be competitive, they’d better get focused and get better — pronto.

 

A Fine (Regular Season) Finale

Today the Big Ten regular season basketball season comes to an end.  Many consider the Big Ten to be the toughest conference, top to bottom, in the country, and the competitiveness of the teams has made for a wild and entertaining ride.

Many people will focus on the game at East Lansing, where Ohio State seeks revenge for the Spartans’ win last month.  The Buckeyes’ dreadful showing in that contest triggered several inconsistent performances that have tested Ohio State’s mettle and raised questions about its NCAA Tournament hopes.  A win against a top 10 team, coached by legendary Tom Izzo, in a brutal venue — and on Michigan State’s senior day, to boot — would answer those questions.  Ohio State will need to shoot a lot better and rebound a lot better if they hope to do so.

If Michigan State wins today, the Spartans win the conference outright.  An Ohio State win means at least a two-way tie, and the Buckeyes and Spartans could be joined by Michigan if the Wolverines avoid stubbing their toe at Penn State.

The Wolverines are one of several Big Ten teams that must be pleased with their regular season performance.  The Wolverines have shown grit and won several close games.  Wisconsin overcame a bad start and has played well down the stretch. Purdue and Indiana, who are playing today in one of the sport’s great rivalry games, both have beaten low expectations, played tough, and will end up with winning records in the conference.  And Northwestern – scrappy, always-on-the-brink Northwestern — beat Iowa yesterday and hope to win a game or two in the Big Ten Tournament and make it to the Big Dance for the first time.

The stories aren’t so pretty at the bottom of the conference.  Minnesota’s season has been crippled by injuries, but Illinois has experienced an outright collapse that probably will result in the ouster of coach Bruce Weber.  The Illini are baffling because they have one of the best big men in the conference in Meyers Leonard and a great scorer in Brandon Paul, but they play poor defense and lack the leadership and chemistry needed to win consistently.  Nebraska’s coach, too, is likely on the chopping block; the Cornhuskers look to be far away from being competitive in the conference.  And Penn State, which has a new coach this year, always seems to be rebuilding, but never quite getting to the top.

I’m a traditionalist.  I think the Big Ten regular season title means a lot more than does winning the Big Ten Tournament, because success in the regular season requires winning at hostile venues and consistently displaying the teamwork and character that is essential to success on the road.  If the Buckeyes can win at the Breslin Center today, they will have truly earned some bragging rights.

Bedbugs In The Big Ten

Some traditionalists objected to Nebraska joining the Big Ten.  Would the Cornhuskers have been invited if Big Ten officials knew that the University has an embarrassing bedbug problem?

Officials at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln admit that they’ve found bedbugs in student rooms and common areas in four dorms.  An article in the Lincoln Journal Star says the situation is “indicative of a growing wave of bedbugs in Lincoln.”  The college is using a bedbug-sniffing dog to try to locate the critters.

To make matters worse, some students believe the University tried to cover up the bedbug problem.  One intrepid student, after being bitten repeatedly on the neck by an apparently vampiric bedbug, captured one of the pests and took it to school officials — who promptly said it was dead.  The students says her resident director instructed her to put a sign on her door saying that her room was being remodeled to explain her absence from the room while it was being cleaned of the bedbugs.  The University denies that there was any attempted cover-up.

What?!?  Bedbugs in Big Ten dorms?  Hey, Nebraska — as the newbie in our conference, you need to understand that the esteemed institutions that make up the Big Ten have certain standards.  Cockroaches, bad food, excessive noise, childish behavior, and generalized filth in dorms is one thing, but bedbugs is where we draw the line!

The Big Ten Gets Interesting

I don’t like the idea of the “Legends” and “Leaders” divisions of the Big Ten, but I have to admit that the first years of the new format has turned out to be very interesting.  Even the most diehard Big Ten fans grudgingly must admit that there are no dominant teams in the conference this year — which means everything is up for grabs.

In the “Legends” division, Michigan State leads at 4-1, with Michigan, Nebraska, and Iowa right behind at 3-2.  Yesterday’s games made the division race a lot more interesting, with Northwestern gutting out a shocking win at Nebraska and Iowa toppling Michigan.  All of the leaders in the Legends division (pun intended) have tough games remaining; Michigan State must play Iowa and Northwestern; Nebraska plays Iowa, Michigan, and Penn State; Iowa has Michigan State and Nebraska; and Michigan still has Illinois, Nebraska and the Buckeyes.  The eventual winner of this division is anybody’s guess.

In the “Leaders” division, Penn State leads the way.  The Nittany Lions are undefeated in the Big Ten and have only one loss overall, but they aren’t getting much respect — largely because the general perception is that the team hasn’t played many tough games.  That will change straightaway, as Penn State must close with Nebraska at home and then Ohio State and Wisconsin on the road.  Ohio State and Wisconsin are 3-2, and both will be rooting for the other to knock off the Nittany Lions — but then lose another game, besides.

The Buckeyes hope to be in a position to win the division by winning out, but yesterday’s closer-than-expected win over Indiana shows the danger of looking ahead and coming out flat.  The Buckeyes can’t afford another uninspired performance.  They had better be ready to play when they travel to West Lafayette to take on the Boilermakers next Saturday if they want to stay in contention for the Big Ten title game.

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.

 

The Buckeyes Dodge A Rocket

Ohio State stayed undefeated today, beating a game Toledo Rockets squad 27-22.  By winning, the Buckeyes kept alive a 90-year-old streak against other Ohio teams — and woe betide the OSU head coach who sees that streak end on his watch — but they also gave their coaches lots to talk about in getting the team ready for the first road game of the year, next week against Miami.

Offensively, the big concern is the offensive line.  Ohio State never got much of a push against the Rockets front four, and that does not bode well for upcoming games against teams like Nebraska, Michigan State, and Wisconsin.  Quarterback Joe Bauserman had an up-and-down game, and running back Rod Smith made the crucial blunder of putting the ball on the ground when the Buckeyes were on the verge of running out the clock and putting the game away.  Fortunately for Smith, the Ohio State defense kept Toledo out of the end zone — but the fact that Smith has now fumbled twice in clutch situations is going to affect how many carries he gets going forward.  There were some flashes of promise on offense, but for the most part the Buckeyes looked like a team that is still getting used to new players at the skill positions.

Defensively, the concerns are tackling and depth.  Fortunately, stud defensive lineman John Simon battled back from cramps that took him out of the game and returned to make some key plays as the game entered crunch time in the fourth quarter.  The defense rose up and stopped Toledo when it counted, but they also missed tackles that let Toledo turn short-yardage plays into big gainers.  The back-ups got some playing time and played respectably, but my sense is that the team lacks real quality depth in several positions on the defensive side of the ball.

On special teams, a blocked punt on what looked like a blown blocking assignment and a Buckeyes’ punt return for a touchdown about canceled each other out.  The significant issue is whether Drew Basil will develop into a reliable field goal kicker.  He missed another attempt today, and if I were coaching his accuracy in the two games to date would not give me lots of confidence to send him in for big kick with the game on the line.

The bottom line is that many of us expected Toledo to be more of a test, and they were.  Give the Rockets credit — they weren’t intimidated, they played hard, and they took advantage of the OSU mistakes.  I think this is a win that will look a lot better at the end of the season than it does right now.

Wondering If The Worm Has Turned

All in all, the last 10 years have been a pretty sweet ride for Ohio State football fans.  The team won a national championship, dominated the Big Ten, and repeatedly qualified for BCS bowl games.  Sure, there were two national championship game beatdowns mixed in with the good stuff, but for the most part the Jim Tressel era was high-flying time for Buckeye Nation.

We all remember, however, that this Era of Good Feeling started abruptly.  After years of gagging against Michigan and stumbling in bowl games under John Cooper, it seemed to take only one change — the hiring of Jim Tressel — to convert failure into glorious Buckeye success.  Suddenly, the team that couldn’t beat the Wolverines or win a bowl game began to routinely thrash the Team Up North and win BCS games against the toughest competition.

Now, change has come again to the Ohio State football program.  It is unwanted change.  Coach Tressel is gone in the wake of an NCAA investigation, players are suspended, and a new, young, interim coach in the person of Luke Fickell is at the helm.  In the meantime, change has come to the Michigan program, which also has a new head coach, and change has come to the Big Ten, which has added Nebraska and split into the pretentiously named Legends and Leaders divisions.  These are the kinds of changes that mark the beginnings and ends of eras.  Some pundits are predicting as much, by forecasting that the Ohio State Buckeyes will be mediocre this year, in the 7-5 or 8-4 range.

And so, Ohio State fans everywhere anxiously follow the news about the Buckeyes’ fall camp, and the competition to be the new starting quarterback, and the efforts to plug the other holes left by suspensions and graduations, and wonder:  has the worm turned once again?