From a lot of angles, Peyton Manning is the greatest quarterback of all time. His second Super Bowl win, however, came in decidedly un-Peyton-like fashion, with Manning riding in the wake of an all-time defense while doddering well below replacement level for most of the season. Perhaps this is karma, a just reward after a career of — with a few exceptions — being shackled to some of the worst defenses ever to run deep into the playoffs. It’s the popular line of thinking, at least, and popular enough to dig a little deeper. So: Just how bad were Peyton’s defenses in his best years?Here’s a look at the statistical profiles of Hall of Fame and near-Hall of Fame QBs from the modern era — this includes the defensive and rushing support each received throughout his career, but especially his prime. To find this, I took each passer’s performance in a few categories — completion percentage, yards per completion, touchdown percentage, interception percentage, sack percentage — and sorted them by their percentile relative to the league in any given season. I then weighted each season to give more weight to a player’s best years according to value over replacement (like I did with Ken Griffey Jr. here). Then, I did the same for Defense-adjusted Value Over Average for both rushing offense and defense. PERCENTILE VS. LEAGUEDVOA FROM… Brett Favre78558257704763 Terry Bradshaw48788643616282 Roger Staubach79707983407375 Ben Roethlisberger81797157355968 It’s been a stunning reversal, the likes of which we haven’t really seen from such a good QB before; the only possible exceptions were the final full seasons of Marino, Ken Stabler and Joe Theismann’s careers. Those performances all came in the service of mediocre teams, though. Somehow Manning actually turned an even more extreme version of this formula into a championship.We aren’t sure if the Super Bowl was Manning’s final game, and it’s hard to speculate about how this changes Manning’s legacy (not that a paltry two titles will ever satiate the “Count The Ringz!!!” crowd anyway). But even if Manning happened to be dragged to a championship in the final throes of his senescence by Von Miller and Denver’s ferocious defense, it’s hard not to appreciate the strange symmetry after Manning spent a career elevating middling and worse teams with his brilliance. Troy Aikman88384677788056 QUARTERBACKCMP%YD/CMPTD%INT%SK%RUSHING OFFENSEDEFENSE Carson Palmer69597551775547 Peyton Manning91648870956052 After breaking down the characteristics of Manning and his teams over the years, it’s amazing to see how sharply the usual tendencies were inverted along Denver’s path to the championship. On average, Manning’s teams were middle-of-the-pack on defense, and a shade better than that at running the ball. That was more than enough to rattle off an absurd string of 10-plus-win seasons, because Manning was very good — if not completely and totally great — in every facet of passing the football. His average defense was worse than that supporting Brett Favre, Joe Montana or Steve Young, and the running game was less efficient than what Tom Brady, Drew Brees or John Elway was working with.Manning did have a lot more help than Dan Marino, but he also bested him across every passing category — like a more accurate, deeper-throwing version of the Dolphins great, who got the ball out just as fast but was more careful with it. And since we’re looking at percentiles instead of raw output, the differences between eras soften, though they don’t completely disappear.That was prime Peyton, however. This year’s version was far, far worse, particularly in categories where he once excelled. To wit: His rates of completions, touchdowns and interceptions, each typically among the top 30 percent of regular QBs, all dipped into the bottom quarter of passers this season. Meanwhile, his defensive support, usually in the middle of the pack, zoomed up to the best in football. Dan Marino74577866945030 Tony Romo80778259606954 Ken Anderson83526784486945 Warren Moon74537159705259 Kurt Warner93828944676061 Joe Namath42886839924930 Aaron Rodgers82799388367759 Bob Griese86558756458750 John Elway59646367637649 Drew Brees90528267887031 Jim Kelly76647947656456 Dan Fouts81697160875530 Steve Young98719078428267 Donovan McNabb45677285457972 Sources: pro football reference, football outsiders Tom Brady77688485787852 Philip Rivers82738167644333 Joe Montana93327484717369
Month: September 2019
Unproven welterweight Josesito Lopez made former welterweight champion Victor Ortiz quit on his stool Saturday night, breaking Ortiz’s jaw en-route to a miraculous upset victory.As he leaped onto the top rope, Lopez (30-4, 18 KOs) showed his surprise at Ortiz’s decision to quit, shrugging his shoulders and smiling at the Staples Center crowd. Lopez was a last minute replacement for Andre Berto, who failed a drug test in the months leading up to the fight.“I knew I had to fight the fight of my life to win,” said Lopez, a native of Riverside, California. “I knew the longer it went, the better chance I’d have. He hits hard, but I was never going to quit. I knew it was a close fight on the scorecards, and I knew I could press him more and more if I continued. He’s like a tree. I had to chop him down.”Ortiz came out strong, using his superior power and overall boxing skills to keep Lopez on the retreat. Despite his obvious disadvantages Lopez conterpunched Ortiz, who is subpar defensively, landing power punches in return.“I’m a man, and I’m not intimidated by anything, I have a big heart. He tried to intimidate me, but it didn’t work. Victor has no heart.”The upset put Ortiz’s career in flux. His showdown with Mexican star Saul “Canelo” Alvarez was abruptly cancelled after his defeat, and the boxer has lost his last two fights.
Louisville, shaking off another sluggish start, finished the national championship game and the college basketball season with a bang, fending off Michigan to capture its third NCAA Tournament title Monday night at the Georgia Dome.The Cardinals’ 82-76 victory was born of unmatched depth and poise. It also helped that they were inspired by injured guard Kevin Ware and coached by Rick Pitino, who became the first to ever coach two different teams to the championship.Not only that, but Pitino earlier Monday was named an inductee into the Basketball Hall of Fame.“I had the 13 toughest guys I’ve ever coached,” Pitino said. “I’m just amazed they could accomplish everything we put out there.”It was not easy. Led by player of the year Trey Burke (24 points) and freshman Spike Albrecht, who had 17-first-half points, Michigan led by 12 points in the first half and seemed in control of the game. It was then that Louisville’s toughness showed up. Reserve Luke Hancock, who was huge in the semifinal win over Wichita State, delivered again, hitting four straight three-pointers that actually put the Cardinals in front by one just before halftime.Michigan got two free throws to earn a one-point halftime advantage, but Louisville had built momentum. Hancock went on to become the Final Four’s most outstanding player for his career-high 22 points Monday night.But he had plenty of help. Point guard Peyton Siva was outstanding in attacking the Michigan defense and forward Chane Behanon (15 points, 12 rebounds) was an inside force, as Louisville pulled ahead 76-66 and did what it needed to do to earn the title.Ware, the guard from metro Atlanta whose legged snapped in gruesome fashion in the Duke win, cut down what remained of the nets in the Cardinals’ post-championship celebration. Ware’s poise and strength got them pass Duke and his presence on the sideline at the Georgia Dome fueled them.Still, some players said they were inspired by something else. Pitino told the team he would get a tattoo if they won the national championship.Siva (18 points, 6 rebounds, 5 assists) called it, “Our biggest motivation.”Pitino said he would fulfill his promise. What’s a tattoo to a man who had the week he has, which included the Hall of Fame announcement, his horse winning the Santa Anita Derby to set up a Kentucky Derby run, and his son, Richard, getting the coaching job at Minnesota?The championship is what he wanted most, and Pitino and the Cardinal nation can bask in that achievement.
Photo by The Associated Press.Embattled offensive guard Richie Incognito has filed a non-injury grievance against his team, the Miami Dolphins.”The grievance challenges his suspension for conduct which was alleged to have occurred while he was with the club,” the NFL Players Association said in a statement. ”In the grievance, Incognito requests that the hearing be held on an expedited basis so that he can immediately resume playing for the team.”The NFL Players Association will continue to protect the rights of all players.”Incognito was suspended by Miami on Nov. 3 for misconduct related to inappropriate treatment of teammate Jonathan Martin, including racial slurs in voice and text messages. Martin left the Dolphins last month, checked into a hospital briefly and has not returned to the team.The NFL is investigating whether Incognito harassed or bullied Martin. Incognito has said the conduct was all part of the normal locker room environment.Incognito has missed one game, and the suspension by the team can last for four games. The Dolphins, who have not said how long Incognito is suspended, said they do not comment on grievances.Martin is scheduled to meet Friday with Ted Wells, the independent investigator hired by the NFL. Dolphins owner Stephen Ross also plans to meet with Martin.A second-year pro, Martin left the team because of what his attorney has alleged was daily harassment by teammates, including Incognito.On Monday, Ross announced the formation of two committees to examine the Dolphins’ locker room culture. In recent days, players have been virtually unanimous in saying it doesn’t need to be changed.
Going into Week 9, the No. 1 slot in our Elo ratings had been the exclusive province all season long of last year’s Super Bowl participants, the Seattle Seahawks and Denver Broncos. In fact, the last time a team other than Denver or Seattle ranked first in Elo was Week 19 of last season, when the San Francisco 49ers owned first place after beating the Carolina Panthers on the road in the NFC divisional playoffs. (They would cede that ranking to Seattle the very next week.)This week, though, the New England Patriots have finally broken the Denver-Seattle duopoly on No. 1 after the Patriots crushed the Broncos 43-21 Sunday afternoon. How unusual was the Seahawks’ and Broncos’ long stranglehold on the top slot? Going back to the advent of the 16-game schedule in 1978, it’s the eighth-longest span into a season it’s taken for a third No. 1-ranked team to emerge. Last season, it took seven weeks for Seattle to wrest No. 1 away from a Denver/New England duumvirate.For the Patriots, it’s a long-awaited return to a familiar spot. New England occupied No. 1 in 27 (!) consecutive editions of the Elo rankings between Week 19 of the 2011 season and Week 2 of the 2013 season. And since 2000, they’ve spent more weeks at No. 1 (102) than the next three most frequently top-ranked teams (the Indianapolis Colts, Green Bay Packers and St. Louis Rams) combined.But of all teams, the Patriots should know that a No. 1 Elo ranking midway through the season is no Super Bowl guarantee. They sat atop the league through the first nine weeks of both the 2012 and 2007 seasons but failed to hoist the Vince Lombardi Trophy either season. (Since 1978, the top-ranked team through Week 9 has gone on to win the Super Bowl at a 41.7 percent clip.)New England also faces a difficult schedule. It has a bye this week, but after the break it will have to travel to Indianapolis to face the fifth-ranked Colts. Then, following a home date against the 17th-ranked Detroit Lions, the Patriots must go on the road against the No. 12 Packers and the No. 14 San Diego Chargers in back-to-back weeks, with the surging No. 16 Miami Dolphins waiting in the wings after that. An average (1500 Elo rating) NFL team would be expected to win only 46.6 percent of the Patriots’ remaining games, which means they have the seventh-hardest remaining schedule of any team in the league.Our Elo-based simulations give the Patriots just a 16 percent probability of winning the Super Bowl, which is well below the aforementioned historical average for top-ranked teams through nine weeks. Part of that is simply an artifact of league and playoff expansion. Since the NFL adopted its current size and divisional format in 2002, the top-ranked team through Week 9 has won the Super Bowl 25 percent of the time, a rate more in line with New England’s simulated odds. But 2014 has also been a strange year in terms of the distribution of ratings across the league’s 32 teams. The Patriots’ 1677 Elo rating at No. 1 is 21 points below the average for that slot through Week 9 from 2002 to 2013, while 18 of the next 22 highest-rated teams have better Elo ratings than the average for their ranking from the previous 12 NFL seasons.In other words, New England isn’t as strong as the typical No. 1, and there is an unusual number of solid teams out there for the Pats to tangle with en route to the Super Bowl. That lends credence to the growing talk of 2014 being a banner season for parity in the NFL.Meanwhile, the league’s nine worst teams by Elo are far worse than usual, culminating with the Jacksonville Jaguars and Oakland Raiders each falling more than 50 points behind the typical ratings of the NFL’s two worst teams through nine weeks. It will be worth monitoring whether this year’s atypical dispersion of Elo ratings is a one-year quirk or part of a larger trend.Here are the current playoff and Super Bowl odds for all teams:I mentioned that San Francisco had defeated Carolina (who ranked fifth in Elo at the time) to briefly claim the No. 1 ranking during last season’s playoffs. This year, however, neither team has enjoyed the same kind of success, going a combined 7-9-1. And there’s a 55 percent chance that both will be shut out of a return trip to the postseason.After starting the season 1-2, the 49ers had regained some measure of playoff probability with three straight wins over the Philadelphia Eagles, Chiefs and Rams in Weeks 4 through 6. Going into Week 7, they even had an NFC West-leading 65 percent probability of making the playoffs, as well as the division’s best projected end-of-season win total in our Elo simulations. But a pair of losses sandwiched around a bye week have left San Francisco on the verge of missing the playoffs entirely. Its current playoff probability stands at 32 percent after taking into account their mediocre record (4-4), the difficulty of their remaining schedule (ninth-hardest), and the strength of the teams they’d have to beat out for a wild card (as their hopes of winning the NFC West have been all but extinguished).Carolina’s chances of returning to the playoffs look even worse. Despite failing to win five of its previous six games (it lost four and tied one), Carolina still had a 44 percent probability of qualifying for the postseason before its game against the New Orleans Saints — but our weekly playoff implications article also identified Panthers-Saints as one of the most crucial matchups of Week 9. Sure enough, New Orleans’ 28-10 victory dropped Carolina’s playoff probability by 25 percentage points, leaving it with less than a 1-in-5 chance of making the playoffs.In addition to the Panthers and 49ers, the other teams who lost the most from their playoff odds in Week 9 were the Baltimore Ravens and the Chargers in the AFC.The cause for Baltimore’s decline was all about the division odds — predictably, its head-to-head loss against the Pittsburgh Steelers on Monday night had huge ramifications for the AFC North race. Going into the game, the Ravens had a 33 percent chance of winning the division, with the Steelers sitting at 28 percent; after the game, Pittsburgh’s chances had increased to 45 percent and Baltimore’s had dropped to 13 percent. (Neither team’s wild card odds really budged at all.)San Diego’s dip, on the other hand, had little to do with a division race. The Broncos are rated so much higher than their AFC West competitors that our simulations see little chance they don’t win the division. That leaves the wild card as the only real viable path to the playoffs for the Chargers and Chiefs, both of whom are in a dogfight with each other — as well as the losers of the AFC East and North — for one of those two slots. (The AFC South loser is unlikely to make much of a wild card push.) Miami’s 37-0 pasting of San Diego on Sunday had direct consequences in that regard, boosting the Dolphins’ wild card probability by 17 percentage points as the Chargers’ chances dropped by 19 (with scarcely a change to either team’s division odds).Elo point spreadsRecord against point spread: 64-62-3 (7-5 in Week 9)Straight-up record: 94-39-1 (9-4 in Week 9)Although the Elo ratings are performing better against the spread in recent weeks, we still would strongly advise you not to take them to Vegas as a betting tool. Even so, it is always interesting to see how they differ from the spreads offered by the major sportsbooks.This week’s biggest disparity is in the Dallas Cowboys-Jaguars game, which is not only taking place in London, but adds the wrinkle of Dallas quarterback Tony Romo’s availability being in question. With the possibility that the Cowboys will once again have to start backup QB Brandon Weeden, who oversaw the team’s Week 9 defeat to the Cardinals, the oddsmakers have dropped Dallas to a mere 6-point favorite against the lowly Jaguars, rather than the 10.5-point favorite the Elo ratings would suggest.Aside from that change, the other big discrepancies against Vegas this week involve the Cardinals and Rams (the books have been comparatively down on Arizona all season, relative to Elo) and the Cincinnati Bengals and Cleveland Browns (Elo rates Cincinnati slightly higher — and Cleveland slightly lower — than Vegas’s power ratings would value the two teams). But in the Detroit-Miami tilt, which may go down as the biggest game of the week from a playoff-implications perspective, both Vegas and Elo agree: The hosting Lions should be favored by about a field goal.CORRECTION (Nov. 6, 11:56 a.m.): A previous version of this article incorrectly said that Elo is 62-44-3 against the point spread. It is 64-62-3.(Nov. 6, 2:04 p.m.): A previous version of this article said the Dallas Cowboys had a 75 percent chance of defeating the Jacksonville Jaguars on Sunday. Dallas should have an 82 percent win probability, because it has an Elo difference of +259 and there is no home-field effect in either direction.
The Ohio State football team wears throwback jerseys for their game against Nebraska on Nov. 5. The Buckeyes won 62-3. Credit: Alexa Mavrogianis | Photo EditorA dominating performance Saturday against then No. 10 Nebraska and a stunning loss by then No. 4 Texas A&M has thrust the Ohio State football team back into the College Football Playoff picture, as the Buckeyes find themselves at No. 5 with the latest playoff poll on Tuesday night.Alabama remained in the top spot, with Clemson and Michigan following behind, respectively. In a shake-up of the top four spots, Washington has now moved up to fourth.Texas A&M has now dropped behind OSU, finding themselves at No. 8. As for the rest of the Big Ten, Wisconsin jumped to No. 7, while Nebraska dropped to No. 19. Penn State now finds itself at No. 10 after posting 41 points Saturday against Iowa.OSU will be traveling to College Park, Maryland, to face the Maryland Terrapins at 3:30 p.m. on ESPN. OSU is 2-0 all-time against Maryland, winning 49-28 in Columbus. With just three weeks remaining in the regular season, OSU needs to bank on Michigan winning the next two games or a Penn State loss to keep its title contention hopes alive.
OSU senior forward Marc Loving (2) looks down the court to redshirt junior guard Kam Williams (15) during the Buckeyes 78-68 win over Navy on Nov. 11. Credit: Alexa Mavrogianis | Photo EditorEarly on against Jackson State, the Ohio State men’s basketball team looked to be hitting a bit of a slump. After jumping out to an early lead, OSU found itself trailing after back-to-back 3-pointers from the Tigers. The six-point lead by Jackson State would be its largest lead of the contest, as the Buckeyes came roaring back with a pair of 3-pointers from redshirt junior guard Kam Williams and freshman forward Andre Wesson.From there, the Buckeyes seemingly cruised to a 78-47 victory over Jackson State. It wasn’t quite the 85-41 drubbing OSU gave to the Tigers last time the two teams met in 2011, but it sent fans home happy. Led by Williams in the first half with 12 points, and a healthy dose of assists from sophomore guard JaQuan Lyle, OSU improved to 5-0 this season, with four of those five wins at home.The win came without the help of junior forward Keita Bates-Diop, who sat out for the second straight week with a sprained ankle.For the third week in a row, Lyle was instrumental to the team’s win, finishing with a team best 11 assists, and even adding 10 points. It’s the first time this season he has picked up a double-double.“Basketball isn’t always scoring the ball,” he said.In the first half, Lyle played the role of distributor, racking up eight assists. Two of his first half assists came by way of thunderous alley-oops to redshirt junior center Trevor Thompson. Lyle hit Thompson on back-to-back possessions in midair, while the 7-foot center jammed home the finish both times.Jackson State struggled in the first half, going just 1-for-10 to close out the initial period. The Buckeyes, on the other hand, picked up five makes on their last six attempts. Overall, the Tigers’ finished the night shooting just 29.5 percent, while OSU set a 55.3 percent mark.The Tigers’ were led by redshirt junior guard Paris Collins. The Texas native finished the game with 19 points and 11 rebounds, all topping his season averages.OSU’s top-scorer, senior forward Marc Loving, poured in three 3-point shots. After picking up just six points against Western Carolina in OSU’s last game, Loving was able to find a groove and find the basket on multiple occasions for 19 points.“Here’s the thing, Marc is — I know 19 points, but he’s doing a real good job defending,” said OSU coach Thad Matta. “We got to keep building on that. But it was good to see a couple shots go down for him. I thought he had good leg drive on the shots and even the ones he missed were good shots, so hopefully we can continue to build on that. We need him playing well, there’s no question.”It was a season-high for Loving, who had been struggling with his shot in the team’s first few games. Clearly in a good mood following the win, he and Lyle were joking with the media. When asked what was different in tonight’s performance, Loving smiled and cracked a joke.“The ball went in. That’s pretty much it,” he said.The second half was far from perfect for OSU, as the Buckeyes shot under 30 percent in the first 10 minutes of the second period. However, defensive pressure helped keep the lead in favor of the Scarlet and Gray. OSU forced 20 turnovers, and allowed just nine assists by Jackson State.Jackson State falls to 1-4 this season and will return home to face Western Carolina on Saturday. OSU remains at home and will face Marshall on Friday. Tipoff is set for 7 p.m.
For the first time in the 10-year history of the Ohio State men’s soccer team’s annual Connor Senn Memorial Match, the Columbus Crew won’t be playing. The Crew have designated their July 26 match against the English Premier League’s Newcastle United as this season’s unpaid game. Crew technical director Brian Bliss said an additional non-league match, including the Connor Senn Memorial Match, would cost the club $10,000 because of the Major League Soccer Players Union’s most recently ratified collective-bargaining agreement, which stipulates that MLS clubs can schedule only one non-league “free game” per season. “Anything after that, we have to pay our players,” Bliss said. “It comes down to a matter of resources and how the club wants to spend its resources.” The Crew competed in each of the previous nine editions of the match, which honors Connor Senn, a former OSU player who died Sept. 26, 2001, from a congenital heart defect during a game against Akron. With the Crew opting not to participate in this year’s event, the Buckeyes will instead host the Dayton Dutch Lions of the USL Pro league in today’s match. Crew defender Danny O’Rourke, a childhood friend and teammate of Senn’s, told The Lantern that he and other Crew players have committed to playing a small role in today’s festivities. “Some of my buddies like Will Hesmer, Chad Marshall and Duncan Oughton will be out there mingling with the crowd and signing autographs,” O’Rourke said. O’Rourke said he is disappointed the Crew won’t be participating on the field. “I think the whole cause of the game got lost in the process,” O’Rourke said. “The whole point is to celebrate soccer in Columbus, to celebrate the best college team in Columbus and the best pro team. It’s just sad that it gets lost.” OSU athletic department spokeswoman Alissa Clendenen said there were several factors involved in the Crew’s decision not to play in the match. “We have definitely enjoyed the ongoing partnership with the Crew the last nine years, and are disappointed for it to change, but excited to play the Dayton Dutch Lions,” she said in an email to The Lantern. Crew coach Robert Warzycha said he hopes his team will return to the memorial match in the future. “We’ve been participating in the game for so many years,” he said. “We have to make sure we find time, and, whatever happens, hopefully participate next year.” The 10th annual Connor Senn Memorial Match will kick off at 7 p.m. at Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium.
Recruiting never was a problem for former Ohio State football coach Jim Tressel. But with the face of the program gone and an impending NCAA ruling, recruiting becomes a big worry. “(The resignation of Tressel) is a tremendous loss,” said Steve Helwagen, who covers OSU football recruiting for Bucknuts.com. “Recruits that we would interview over the years would say one of the reasons they chose Ohio State was the integrity and character of Jim Tressel, and he’s not there anymore.” Luke Fickell will become the interim head coach, but, because his position isn’t permanent, the program is left with some uncertainty. “With Luke Fickell being a interim coach, it basically puts the program in limbo,” Helwagen said. “I think for recruits who want to see the long-term stability of a program, Ohio State won’t be able to show anyone that until December or January at the earliest.” The members of the 2011 recruiting class have already signed with OSU, making it difficult to switch schools. As of Monday evening, no players had announced intentions to transfer. 2011 signee and offensive lineman from Shaker Heights Antonio Underwood was quick to say he still planned to attend OSU. “Yes, sir,” Underwood said of his intentions. Others have followed suit. Tight end Nick Vannett posted on his Twitter account, @N_Vannett81, “For all of those that have asked, I am and will remain part of the #buckeyenation #Noquestion.” Bucknuts.com reported that defensive back Doran Grant also has voiced his intentions to stick with OSU. While the 2011 class appears to remain intact, future classes might be the most affected by the recent scandals. Underwood said Tressel’s resignation and the NCAA allegations would affect the way future recruits go about making decisions about OSU. “I think some recruits would reopen their options,” he said. “You have to go back and recruit the kids even harder.” Kevin Noon, managing editor of Buckeyegrove.com, said OSU still will be a very strong option for all recruits, especially those in Ohio. “I don’t think the loss of Jim Tressel is going to be enough to cripple Ohio State’s recruiting within the state of Ohio,” Noon said. “A lot of these kids grow up as Ohio State fans regardless of who the coach is.” Tressel had the support of Ohio high school coaches throughout the entirety of the NCAA allegations. On Saturday, the Ohio High School Football Coaches Association sent a letter of support to Tressel, university President E. Gordon Gee and athletic director Gene Smith. “During the next few months, when some individuals may try to detract from the outstanding accomplishments that you and your staff have achieved, the OHSFCA wanted to go on record to show our loyalty and appreciation for you,” the letter said of Tressel. “You are without question the best thing to happen to Ohio Football in a long time, and we want you to know we hope you will continue to be here for a long time to come.” Despite Tressel’s resignation two days later, Ohio high school coaches still support the university, even if Tressel is a part of it. “It’s still the flagship program in the state of Ohio,” McKinley Senior High School football coach Ron Johnson said. “It’s one of the greatest programs in the country, and it’s not going to attract a low-quality coach. The program will carry on.” Shaker Heights High School football coach Anthony Watkins agreed. “It will not affect (the recruiting of) any of my student-athletes, in my perspective,” Watkins said. “It’s about his education, his playing career and all the people playing around him. And all the people I’ve ever dealt with at Ohio State have been outstanding people.” But, Noon said, OSU’s biggest worry isn’t its relation with high school coaches, but the upcoming NCAA ruling Aug. 12. “The truth of the matter is Ohio State will always have good coaches in place, but the kids want to be able to play for rings and championships,” Noon said. “If the NCAA comes down and mandates that the Buckeyes will not be in the postseason for a couple of years, that’s where the real trouble comes in.”
U.S. midfielder Clint Dempsey celebrates a goal during a match against Germany June 2, at RFK Stadium. The U.S. won, 4-3.Credit: Courtesy of MCTThe U.S. Men’s National Soccer team is looking to take another step toward qualifying for the 2014 World Cup this week in Columbus.In the team’s latest qualifying match, the U.S. saw its 12-game winning streak come to an end when it fell on the road to Costa Rica, 3-1. The loss dropped the U.S. to second place behind Costa Rica in the Confederation of North, Central American and Caribbean Association Football qualifier standing. The Ticos now lead the group with a total of 14 points, one point ahead of the U.S.The U.S. men’s chances of qualifying for the World Cup increased on Friday despite the loss, as Mexico was defeated at home by Honduras, 2-1, earlier the same night. Mexico is in fourth place in the group on eight points, the top three teams advance directly to the World Cup.This was the first qualifying match has Mexico lost at home since 2001, when it fell to Costa Rica 2-1.Mexico fired manager Jose Manuel de La Torre the day after the Friday loss to Honduras. Luis Fernando Tena, one of Torre’s top assistants, will take over in an interim position.The U.S. will be missing four players from the team in the match against Mexico. Midfielder Michael Bradley sprained his left ankle minutes before the game against Costa Rica and will sit out again against Mexico. Defenders Geoff Cameron and Matt Besler and forward Jozy Altidore will all sit out because of yellow card accumulation. Altidore had scored in five straight matches before failing to tally against Costa Rica.Many Ohio State students were interested in attending the game, especially after D-Tix at the Ohio Union announced an undisclosed amount of tickets would be offered to students with a valid BuckID for $25 each.The tickets went on sale through D-Tix Sept. 3, but because of more students wanting tickets than originally expected, D-Tix switched the method for students to buy tickets to a lottery.Former Columbus Crew right back Frankie Hejduk said he is excited for the game against Mexico as well as the growth of the soccer scene in Columbus.“It was very awesome to see how excited and passionate students are for soccer,” Hejduk said in an interview with The Lantern. “I see students getting into soccer more and more. I see Crew, U.S. and (Premier League) stuff all over the place.”The U.S. would qualify for the 2014 World Cup with a victory over Mexico and a win or tie by Honduras. A loss for Mexico and a Honduras win over Panama would almost completely end Mexico’s chances of moving out of fourth place in the group.The fourth place team will compete in a playoff with New Zealand to determine another spot in the Cup.The U.S. v. Mexico game is scheduled to begin at 8 p.m. Tuesday at Crew Stadium.