ER Sports: Longing for expanded televised high school football coverage, evaluating OSU's right to a playoff bid, and cheering the ACC's Player of the Year: Erie's own James Conner
A look at the football season as it winds down, and celebrate the ACC Player of the Year
FOOTBALL SEASON is by far my favorite time of the year, and every year I'm shocked by how fast the time flies. This season has been no different, as now the high school regular season has been over for weeks, the colleges are preparing for bowls (more on that in a second), and the NFL is down to three remaining games.
I have to admit, except for the local teams, I love viewing the games from Ohio when it comes to high school football. Our neighboring state does it correctly the entire season and the coverage of the state playoffs is outstanding – much better than the minimum coverage in Pa.
Ohio has seven classifications and I feel like I'm familiar with every school by the time their playoffs commence, while Pa., on the other hand, has four divisions and I know very little about many of the schools throughout the state because of the lack of coverage during the regular season.
A quick note on the Ohio state finals: Recently, seven games – one Thursday, three Friday, and three more Saturday – showcased some of the best players, teams, and action I've ever witnessed on the high school gridiron. There were several amazing individual and team performances. It was a great weekend for fans.
The only drawback was location. The games were played at Ohio State University and the stadium looked empty despite many large crowds. Until this season, the games were played at Canton and Massillon, and these were perfect high school venues as the atmosphere added to the excitement.
However, nothing is perfect, and I'm sure it was a treat for the high school gridders to play at the home of the Buckeyes.
And speaking of the Buckeyes, in just about every sport, there is usually a team I flat out hate, despise, and spend a great deal of my time rooting against, often because the teams I like stink, so I am forced into this course of action. In college football, it is the Ohio State University.
Over the years, I have accumulated a great amount of dislike for Buckeye fans, as I have found them to be extremely arrogant and their teams to be extremely lucky. The latest episode shows the OSU football team ending up in the College Football Playoff.
Just over two months ago, the Buckeyes lost to a very mediocre Virginia Tech team, and many fans, who share my mindset, were crowing, "At least we don't have to worry about Ohio State getting into the College Football Playoff." I warned them not to get too happy, as things historically have a way of breaking their way.
And they did.
In a bit of a surprise move, the selection committee moved Ohio State from the fifth spot to the all-important fourth spot on the final selection day (this year's new system features four teams vying for the championship in a playoff-style system). In the process, the committee knocked TCU from the third slot all the way down to the sixth position, behind Ohio State and Baylor.
What did the Horned Frogs do to be treated this way? All they did on the final day of the season was beat Iowa State 55-3; apparently they needed to beat them 155-3 to impress this committee of morons.
Meanwhile, to the credit of the Buckeyes, they did smash 13th-ranked Wisconsin 59-0 – with a third string quarterback. While this was impressive, many people thought it was, "too little, too late." However, never underestimate the Buckeyes when it comes to getting the much-needed break.
I will admit that I was impressed with what OSU did, but still thought TCU did what it had to do to claim a spot in the final four. Stupid me!
I'm not quite sure what a horned frog is, but I wouldn't mess with one right now, as they have to be really ticked off after this royal hose job.
As we get ready for the bowl season, all I have to say is, "Roll Tide!"
And speaking of college football, how about McDowell graduate James Conner being named the Atlantic Coast Conference Player of the Year, ahead of last year's Heisman trophy Winner Jameis Winston? Every once in a while class does win out.
The University of Pittsburgh running back is one of the best stories in college football this year and could be a first round pick if he enters the NFL drafty after his junior season with the Panthers. He's just a sophomore.
The ex-Trojan is the fourth-leading rusher in the country with 1,675 yards on 277 carries (6.0 yards per carry). He also ranks second nationally in rushing touchdowns (24), fifth in scoring (12.0 ppg), and sixth in rushing yards per game (139.6 per contest). He led the ACC in each of these four categories.
James R. LeCorchick can be contacted at JRLSportsReport@gmail.com, and you can follow him on Twitter @JRLSports.