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Ohio State Athletics Fan Community

The beginning of the season coincided with BuckeyePlanet’s front page refresh, and at that time Clarity put a call out for people who were interested in writing things for the front page. For those of you who have been around for a decade or more might remember that there was a pretty strong team of volunteer bloggers who wrote previews, recruiting updates and special features for the front page. I had always wanted to contribute in that capacity, but I didn’t have the expertise, insider access, or interest in diving deep into statistics that those other folks had and never really had an idea of what I could bring to the table.

In the time that has passed between BuckeyePlanet front page 1.0 and 2.0, the landscape of college football coverage on the internet has changed a lot. Nowadays if you want to write something it doesn’t all have to be news and statistics and interviews. There is room for fun. There is room for irreverence. There is room for somebody who enjoys college football the way I do to have a voice. So, when Clarity brought the new front page to life I wanted to be a part of it.

Making picks for games is just a natural sort of thing that you’d have somebody write if you were launching (or relaunching) a front page like BuckeyePlanet’s. In writing it, I didn’t want to come across as something from a position of expertise, authority or seriousness. There is way too much seriousness in college football. That’s really where the idea to make picks against Poobert came from.

Hopefully you all realized this from the start, but Poobert doesn’t actually make picks. While we do spend a lot of time together in front of the TV on Saturdays, his picks are made by coin flip - heads for home team and tails for the away team. It’s trope that’s not uncommon in picks column - test the experts against randomness, and see if the people who purport to be experts really are experts or if they’re doing not better than guessing.

CollegeFootballNews - a site that used to be awesome ten years ago called their coin flip Clucko the Chicken. Clucko wasn’t really given a voice or a personality - he was just a column in a table - a clever name for a control group in a year-long experiment. Poobert on the other hand is real, he has a personality, and I wanted to expand on that by bringing a bit of that to the column.

As I talked about the idea at the beginning of the season, a lot of people had ideas for things to try. Some of the BuckeyePlanet staff that I discussed this with suggested creating videos and a Twitter account for Poobert. Showing him making picks by having him choose to eat from one team’s food bowl or another was a possibility. My wife wanted to dress him up topical costumes. I started off simply by adding a little dialogue - I would be the half-sincere, half-smartass that I normally am on the forums and Poobert would be alternately naive and condescending toward my picks and explanations. As I mentioned before, I didn’t want to come off as an expert and he was to be my foil. I was fully prepared to lose to him if not overall, then at least occasionally, I was fully prepared to make an ass of myself in the process, and was kind of hoping it would happen. There’s entertainment in that.

It didn’t take long for that strategy to go out the window...

1. With the 17-14 loss last night, Ohio State's overall record against Michigan State is now 29-15-0 (.659 winning percentage).

2. The loss marks the fifth time that a Michigan State team has ruined a perfect season (at least 7-0-0 start) for Ohio State: 1972; 1974; 1998; 2013; 2015.

3. What we can kiss goodbye after last night's loss:

a. A perfect season
b. A national championship
c. A Big Ten championship
d. Ezekiel Elliott's Heisman Trophy (12 carries, 33 yards)
e. Joey Bosa's Lombardi Award (3 offsides penalties, 0 TFLs)
f. Cameron Johnston's Ray Guy Award (5-yard punt)​

Silver lining: With the loss, Urban Meyer is now in contention for the Big Ten Coach of the Year Award.

4. This loss had been brewing all year. We all noticed that something just wasn't right with the offense, and we blamed the play calling, the offensive line, the erratic quarterback play. In reality, I believe that the problem went much deeper, namely that the coaching staff never developed a comprehensive strategy for this offense. Or an identity, if you prefer that term. The Buckeyes never emphasized what they were good at, and never used their strengths to impose their will on their opponents. All year long, it seems that the philosophy (if you will) has been: "Call a play, let the athletes make something happen." In other words: Win with tactics, not strategy. That might work against MAC teams and Big Ten bottom feeders, but other good teams with other great athletes will shut you down if you don't have a strategy and can't impose your will by implementing that strategy.

5. You've probably heard the saying: "If you have two quarterbacks, you really have none." That old saw is just as valid if you have two championship caliber quarterbacks or two bums. Urban Meyer's inability (or unwillingness) to pick a starting quarterback and stick with him through thick and thin was the root cause of the offense's inconsistency and...
1. Ezekiel Elliott has 3,565 rushing yards for his Buckeye career, which is third best in Ohio State history. Zeke needs 204 yards to surpass Eddie George (3,768 yards) for second place.

2. Zeke has 1,425 rushing yards on the season, which is already the 12th-best single season in school history. If Zeke hits his season average of 143 yards per game, then he will move into 7th place.

3. Zeke is averaging 142.5 yards per game in 2015, which is currently third best at Ohio State. Eddie George leads the way with 148.2 yards per game in 1995 (1,927 yards in 13 games).

4. Eddie George set the Buckeyes' single-season rushing record in 1995 with 1,927 yards in 13 games. Zeke needs to average 167.3 yards per game over the next three games to match Eddie's mark.

5. Elliott is averaging 99.0 yards per game for his career (3,565 yards in 36 games), which is currently second best in Ohio State history behind Archie Griffin (121.5 yards per game).

6. Zeke now has 36 career rushing touchdowns, tying him for fifth place at Ohio State with Harold "Champ" Henson and Tim Spencer, and leaving him one behind Carlos Hyde for fourth place.

7. Michael Thomas has 1,482 career receiving yards, which is 18th-best at Ohio State. Thomas needs 196 yards to pass Terry Glenn (1,677 yards) for 17th place.

8. Thomas has 102 career receptions, which is good for 17th place at Ohio State. He needs 5 receptions to pass Doug Donley and Ken-Yon Rambo (106 receptions each) for 15th place, and 7 receptions to pass Joey Galloway and Billy Anders (108 receptions each) for 13th place.

9. Thomas has 17 career receiving touchdowns, which ties him with Terry Glenn for 9th best in Buckeye history. He needs two touchdowns to tie Joey Galloway and Dane Sanzenbacher (19 TDs each) for 8th place.

10. Joey Bosa has 48.5 TFLs for his Buckeye career. Bosa is currently in 5th place on the career TFL list, behind Andy Katzenmoyer (50.0), Jason Simmons (56.5), Matt Finkes (59.0), and Mike Vrabel...
We are in the midst of the stretch run of the college football season. For the Buckeyes, that means the biggest games are at hand and the stakes are as high as can be. We are also in the stretch run of BP's Pick'em contest on Yahoo and for some the stakes are also very high.

There won't be any funny, cutesy cat stories this week. Just cold hard facts. @cincibuck has been clamoring for updated standings, so that's what this week's post will be about.

First of all, I went back and tabulated the results from the featured picks for each week all the way back to the beginning of the season. I'm happy to report that I'm not losing to Poobert. When I started this thing I was fully prepared to make a complete ass of myself and get beat by him regularly. Through eleven weeks though, having featured picks for 99 games each in this column, I have managed to pick 54.5 correctly while he has only been correct for 44. The half-correct represents a push - there have been a few of those throughout the season so far.

On one hand, it's kind of depressing to think that I've only managed to be one pick better per week (on average) than a housecat. On the other hand, 10.5 is a pretty significant margin for this point in the season, and I'd have to commit an all-timer of a choke job to relinquish my advantage.

The other angle that we can look at this from is the overall standings from the Pick'em group. In that group, I currently sit at 5th while Poobert is 22nd out of 47. That's a little misleading though. Yahoo's standings are a simply gross points total - they don't give a way to sort by number of correct picks per week, so participants who forget to submit or run into some other kind of snafu really get punished with no way to make up for it. Once you take out the participants below Poobert in the standings who posted a score of zero in at least one week, we can effectively say that Poobert is placed 22nd out of 26.

That begs the question, who are the unlucky four who are losing to Poobert?...
1. Michigan State was the last of the "original" members of the Big Ten to join the conference. The Spartans joined the Big Ten in 1949 but did not play a full conference football schedule until 1953.

2. Now for a brief aside on the history of the Big Ten. The conference was formed in 1896 with seven members: Chicago, Illinois, Michigan, Minnesota, Northwestern, Purdue, and Wisconsin. Indiana and Iowa joined in 1899. Michigan withdrew from the conference in 1908, only to return in 1917. In the meantime, Ohio State joined in 1912. When Chicago permanently withdrew in 1946, Michigan State was recruited to become the new tenth member of the conference that for four decades had been informally known as The Big Ten. (The conference was originally incorporated as the Intercollegiate Conference Athletic Association, and did not officially obtain the name "Big Ten" until 1987.) Of course, subsequent expansion has seen the addition of Penn State (1993), Nebraska (2011), Maryland (2014), and Rutgers (2014).

3. Ohio State leads the series 29-14-0 (.674), with a 29-12-0 (.707) record in Big Ten play. Ohio State has outscored Michigan State 1,101 to 721, or 25.6 to 16.8 on a per game basis.

4. The teams first played on November 28, 1912, a game which Michigan State won by the score of 35 to 20. The teams would not play again until the 1951 season.

5. Michigan State has 8 Big Ten championships, the most recent being the...
1. The Ohio State Buckeyes (10-0; 6-0) remained perfect on the season with a dominating 28-3 win over the Illinois Fighting Illini (5-5; 2-4). The Buckeye offense sputtered at times, but running back Ezekiel Elliott kept his Heisman hopes alive with his 15th straight game of 100+ yards rushing (27 carries, 181 yards, 6.9 ypc, 2 TDs) and wide receiver Michael Thomas hauled in 6 receptions for 76 yards and a touchdown. Quarterback J.T. Barrett, fresh off a one-game suspension, had 224 yards of total offense and 2 total touchdowns, but also committed 2 costly turnovers. But the offense's inconsistency didn't really matter, because the Buckeye defense held the Illini to 261 total yards, 20 yards rushing on 25 carries, 3.6 yards per play, and 5/20 (25.0%) on third and fourth down conversion attempts. Defensive end Joey Bosa led the way with 7 tackles and 3 TFLs, while middle linebacker Raekwon McMillan had 14 tackles, 2 TFLs, and a fumble recovery. The only bright spot for Illinois was wide receiver Desmond Cain, who had 10 receptions for 102 yards. While the Buckeyes won a national title last year with an overwhelming offense (44.8 ppg), this year they are relying on a top-10 defense (9th total defense, 2nd scoring defense) to get the job done. If the Buckeye defense can stay stout against a pair of mediocre offenses - Michigan State (61st total offense, 44th scoring offense); and Michigan (71st total offense, 49th scoring offense) - then a return to the Big Ten Title Game is a virtual certainty. Illinois, on the other hand, must beat either Minnesota (a hard luck 4-6) or Northwestern (a surprising 8-2) just to gain bowl eligibility.

2. For the third time in four games, the Michigan Wolverines (8-2; 5-1) played a contest that came down to literally the final play. After losing to Michigan State on a botched punt and beating Minnesota thanks to botched clock management, the...
1. It wasn't always pretty, but in the end Ohio State dominated Illinois for a 28-3 victory in Champaign to improve to 10-0-0 on the season.

2. Ohio State has started a season 10-0-0 on eleven previous occasions. Below is a chart showing each previous 10-0-0 season along with the team's final record, final poll ranking, and a look at how the Buckeyes finished that season:

SeasonFinal RecordFinal APFinal CPSubsequent Games
197511-1-044Beat Michigan; lost to Stanford in Rose Bowl
197911-1-044Beat Michigan; lost to Southern Cal in Rose Bowl
199511-2-068Beat Indiana; lost to Michigan; lost to Tennessee in Citrus Bowl
199611-1-022Lost to Michigan; beat Arizona State in Rose Bowl
200214-0-011Beat Purdue; beat Illinois; beat Michigan; beat Miami in BCS Title Game
200612-1-022Beat Northwestern; beat Michigan; lost to Florida in BCS Title Game
200711-2-054Lost to Illinois; beat Michigan; lost to Louisiana State in BCS Title Game
201212-0-03NRBeat Wisconsin; beat Michigan
201312-2-01210Beat Indiana; beat Michigan; lost to Michigan State in Big Ten Title Game; lost to Clemson in Orange Bowl
The Buckeyes' record after starting a season at 10-0-0 is 15 wins, 10 losses. Wins get...
1. Last week, Ezekiel Elliott passed Chris "Beanie" Wells for 4th place on Ohio State's career rushing leaders. Zeke now has 3,384 yards rushing, and he needs 170 yards to surpass Tim Spencer (3,553 yards) for 3rd place and 385 yards to pass Eddie George (3,768 yards) for 2nd place. Unless Zeke returns to Ohio State for his senior season, he has no chance to pass Buckeye career rushing leader Archie Griffin (5,589 yards).

2. Zeke has 1,244 rushing yards so far this season, which is already the 18th best single season in Ohio State history. If Zeke hits his season average (138 yards) against Illinois, then he will move into 12th place on the Buckeyes' list of single-season rushing leaders.

3. Zeke has 14 rushing touchdowns so far this season. Pete Johnson holds the Buckeye single-season record with 25 touchdowns rushing touchdowns in 1975.

4. Elliott now has 34 career rushing touchdowns (tied with Jim Otis). Zeke needs just two touchdowns to tie Tim Spencer and Harold "Champ" Henson for fifth place on Ohio State's list of career rushing touchdown leaders, and three touchdowns to tie Carlos Hyde for fourth place. Pete Johnson tops the list with 56 career rushing touchdowns (1973 to 1976).

5. Michael Thomas has 1,406 receiving yards for his Buckeye career, good for 21st place at Ohio State. Thomas needs 14 yards receiving to pass Bobby Olive (1,419 yards) for 20th place, 24 yards to pass Brian Hartline (1,429 yards) for 19th place, and 76 yards to pass John Frank (1,481 yards) for 18th place.

6. Michael Thomas has 96 receptions for his Buckeye career, tied with Brian Stablein for 18th place at Ohio State. Thomas needs 4 receptions to pass Jeff Graham (99 receptions) for 17th place, and 11 receptions to pass Doug Donley and Ken-Yon Rambo (106 receptions) for 15th place.

7. Joey Bosa has 45.5 TFLs for his Buckeye career, which ties him with Will Smith for 5th place. Bosa needs 4.5 TFL to tie Andy Katzenmoyer (50.0 TFLs) for 4th place. Mike Vrabel leads...
1. Ohio State has played Illinois 101 times since the series began in 1902; the only team that Ohio State has played more often is Michigan (111 games since 1897). Ohio State leads the series 67-30-4, for a .683 winning percentage.

2. Ohio State got off to a very slow start in the series, with a 0-0 tie in 1902; a 46-0 loss in 1904; and a 37-0 loss in 1914. The Buckeyes finally managed a field goal in 1915 to force a 3-3 tie with the Fighting Illini. Ohio State's first win came the following season, when the legendary Chic Harley led the Buckeyes to a 7-6 road victory.

3. With Chic Harley leading the way, the Buckeyes compiled a 7-0-0 record in 1916 and an 8-0-1 in 1917 (including a 13-0 win over Illinois). During that 16-game unbeaten run, the Buckeyes outscored their opponents by a combined 550 to 35 (or 34 to 2 on a per game basis) with 10 shutouts. When Harley left to serve in World War One in 1918, the team fell into a state of mediocrity, posting a 3-3 record which included a 13-0 loss to Illinois.

4. Harley had one year of eligibility left and he returned to the Ohio State squad for the 1919 season. The Buckeyes quickly regained their lost greatness, beating their first six opponents by a combined 169 to 3. In the seventh and final game of the season, Ohio State faced a 5-1-0 Illinois squad with a Big Ten championship on the line. Trailing 7 to 6 with two minutes left in the game, Illinois quickly drove into field goal range. With their best kicker (Ralph Fletcher) sidelined with an injury, the Fighting Illini turned to Fletcher's brother Bob. It was a desperate move, as Bob Fletcher had never attempted a field goal before. But apparently Bob quickly learned place kicking from his brother Ralph through osmosis, as his 25-yard attempt was good. Ohio State was unable to score during the final seconds and Illinois won the game by the score of 9-7, handing Chic Harley the first and only loss of his Buckeye career.

5. In retroactive national title...
We are now in that time of year where just about everybody seems to pack on a few extra pounds. The weather is a little less pleasant and the football more compelling, so we end up sitting on our asses eating more nachos and drinking more beer. Thanksgiving is right around the corner and only adds to that. Christmas too. There are parties and get-togethers and food and drink are about endless.

Poobert knows all about this. He used to be a skinny-mini. Just look at him in this picture, taken not long after he was adopted:

Poobert when he was young, before the dreaded Freshman 15.

It didn't take long for him to become fat as hell. Here he is just a couple years later:

Picture 020 (2).jpg
After he was adopted, Poobert realized he didn't have to impress anybody anymore.
Only Bret Bielema has gotten fatter faster. As he waddles around the house with his belly flopping back and forth...