Random thoughts on a snowy Signing Day
By Zac Jackson
FOX Sports Ohio
February 2, 2011
It was raining ice. Now, it's snowing in circles. This is interesting. This is Ohio.
1. Lots to discuss today, so I figure I'll just start typing and you won't quit reading. You're more than likely snowed in anyway, so enjoy. The No. 1 Ohio State basketball team returns to action Thursday night vs. Michigan; due to the weather, the Wolverines came to Columbus Tuesday night, 20 or so hours earlier than they normally would. The forecast says it will be clear for their trip home. It's up to the Buckeyes to end it before the final 10 minutes or so and give Michigan a chance to get the bus started. The first game in Ann Arbor was close, closer than it should have been as Jared Sullinger fouled out and a couple defensive lapses led to Michigan 3-pointers. The Wolverines can't match OSU physically but will fire away from beyond the arc. Long shots lead to long rebounds and the kind of fast breaks that should help OSU pull away. But what do I know? I'm the guy who picked OSU to cruise at Northwestern.
2. The Buckeyes people really want to talk about today are the future football Buckeyes who sent in their letters on National Signing Day. OSU will formally unveil its class late this afternoon, and if you've been following along via our chat or Twitter Universe you know that the Buckeyes are expecting what recruiting gurus would call a very large commitment from Richmond, Virginia linebacker Curtis Grant this afternoon. OSU lost out on coveted offensive line prospect Aundrey Walker from Cleveland Glenville to USC and has another who seems to be in a little legal trouble -- look it up, I won't link it just yet -- and that's a position of need. As usual, time will tell. I know expectations are high at the University of Cincinnati and Toledo, and I also know the hoopla at some of the places will have to wait. A lot of press conferences and presentations are already canceled or postponed because of the weather.
3. I shared some of my thoughts on that hoopla surrounding Signing Day in this column this morning, and I've had a few chuckles watching the wall-to-wall coverage on more than one network. "It's a big day, a big win for Clemson." Yes, every Signing Day seems to be big for Clemson. These high school studs from Florida commit there so they can, um, come home each December for the Champs Sports Bowl? As I was typing, one prospect brought a baby bulldog to the podium to announce he was going to Georgia. Another announced his commitment to Auburn by putting on a hat that said "Nick Who?" in a move that could be interpreted as a shot at Alabama coach Nick Saban or an announcement that this particular kid, a defensive tackle, is going to be better at Auburn than Nick Fairley. You know, the guy who's going to be the No. 1 pick in the NFL Draft. The beat goes on. We list a top 25 for Signing Day, something that's not a game -- or even a real event -- at all. Kids fax in some papers. Coaches pace the office, waiting for those faxes. Writers wait for the first time head coaches can talk on record about their recruits. Some show grainy video. All of them trump their guys as the next Chris Spielman. Some of them announce themselves as the next Nick Fairley before ever showing up on campus. We soak it all in.
4. Rating recruiting classes is even more ludicrous than rating NFL Draft classes the Monday after the draft. At least college players have been evaluated against top college competition for three or four years. And, with 32 teams in the NFL, it's much easier to identify needs and how players fit into particular schemes or how they might immediately bolster a roster. With 85 kids on scholarship in 100-plus college programs (and SEC schools adding 215 players on Signing Day and keeping 45 on the payroll), you're basically throwing darts and hoping for a bullseye. But we'll keep watching, and arguing, and speculating. Because we love football. And we wouldn't have it any other way.
5. We know the Cavaliers haven't just been bad but historically bad, and this week they might officially make history. The dubious kind. The Cavs seem to have a somewhat legitimate shot at snapping their 21-game losing streak tonight vs. Indiana, but it's going to be tough for them to win without Daniel Gibson and Mo Williams. The single-season record for consecutive losses is 23, which these Cavs could tie Friday and break Saturday. I think they'll win again. I just don't think it will be this week, unfortunately.
More on that later. A parting thought: I just read an interesting number on Twitter. More than $11 BILLION has been lost betting the Super Bowl since 1991; The House, Vegas or the bookies, has won 18 of the 20 years. Save your money Sunday. Tip the pizza delivery guy, especially if you're too lazy (like me) to fully dig out the driveway. He deserves it.