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‘College Football’ Articles

Nick Bosa’s Letter to Buckeye Nation

Nick Bosa in action (photo courtesy Ohio State Athletics)

 

Ohio State has always been my dream school.

Let me start this off by saying that. I got to go to my dream school — and I got to play football there for three amazing years. It’s something I’ll always treasure.

Before I say goodbye, though, I want to give a little background here — and talk about why I’m writing this letter right now instead of getting ready for the Rose Bowl. On one hand, it’s pretty simple: My season is over. I suffered a season-ending injury on September 15th against TCU. I knew right away that it was serious. I’d been trying to push through groin and abdomen issues since training camp, and the pain that I was feeling made it obvious that I’d re-aggravated those injuries and then some.

But even still, right? There’s serious, and then there’s season-ending. And not even in my worst idea of how bad I was injured did I think that my entire SEASON was at risk — or that my Ohio State career was FINISHED, right then and there, on the field at AT&T.

I remember sitting in Coach Johnson’s office after finding out that I’d need bilateral abdominal surgery. And man, we just started getting tears in our eyes….. because we knew what that type of surgery could mean. We knew it could mean I’d never play another snap in 2018. We knew it could mean the playoffs, Rose Bowl, Michigan game — off the table.

Most of all, though, we knew it could mean that my time as a Buckeye football player was over.

And when my surgeon confirmed all of that the following week….. what can I even say here, you know? I was CRUSHED.

I was just crushed. End of story.

That “dream school” thing — it isn’t talk.

There are so many teammates and coaches who made my time in Columbus the most incredible three years of my life.

Coach Meyer is someone who I can truly say got the best out of me — and I can never thank him enough for that. The same goes for Coach Mick, our strength guy. I owe both those men so much for how they’ve helped me to develop as a player and as a person.

Then there’s my position coach, Coach Johnson. I don’t even know how to put into words the appreciation I have for that man. He’s a one-in-a-million type of person — one of the most caring people I’ve ever been around. Coach J genuinely loves every single one of his players. We love him back.

And then last but for sure not least, I need to thank all of my D-line guys. Being in our D-line room, day-in and day-out, with some of my best friends…. I think I’m going to miss that the most. I will always be proud of everything that we accomplished on the field. But the bonds we built together in that room — those will last our lifetimes.

My family has a history with Ohio State. My mom, my uncle, and my brother Joey: all Buckeyes. So as a kid, growing up, Ohio State wasn’t just some “team we rooted for.” They were MY TEAM. OSU was like a part of me. And to be honest with you, by the time my official visit rolled around….. there wasn’t much recruiting to be done. I was basically a lock.

I was born to be a Buckeye.

And what an absolute rush it’s been, over these last few years, to get to accomplish what I was born to do.

What an absolute honor and privilege.

Right now I’m in Southern California, living with Joey, while I recover from my surgery and wait to begin my pre-draft training. Joey was recovering from his own injury when I first came out here, and I could tell that he was pretty down about it. Of course, I wasn’t in a great spot either. And one thing that’s been cool about this year is how we’ve gotten to be there for each other, and support each other in a way that just wouldn’t really have been possible if I’d been at school. So while it was tough leaving Columbus mid-semester, and I miss being around all my friends and teammates every day….. the chance to be with Joey, and to spend time with him as I recovered, that’s also meant a lot to me.

And I’ll tell you what: It’s just the craziest thing, man, being a Buckeye.

This school, this city, these fans…… there really is something SPECIAL about Ohio State. I’m not sure what the exact right word is: spirit, pride, I don’t know. But even 2,000 miles away — even all the way out here in California. You can feel it.

It’s just there.

And I think that has to be one of the best lessons I’ve learned — both over these last few months of ups and downs, and during my amazing three years in Columbus.

That it doesn’t matter what happens, or when it happens, or how, or why.

It doesn’t matter where you are in the entire world.

Ohio State is forever.

And when you’re a Buckeye?

You’re a Buckeye.

-Nick

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Defensive battle looming in tonight’s Holiday Bowl featuring Northwestern & Utah

 

SDCCU Stadium aerial view from the north side. 2005 Photograph © Minerva Vazquez via wikipedia commons

Tonight’s Holiday Bowl will feature two former linebackers as head coaches of their respective teams. Pat Fitzgerald of Northwestern and Kyle Whittingham of Utah. Both of their teams share traits of their head coaches: toughness, confidence and discipline.

Both of these teams lost in their conference championship games; The Utes in the Pacific 12 and the Wildcats in the Big Ten. With a win, both of these teams would have played in the Rose Bowl.

Clayton Thorson (courtesy Northwestern)

This game is a tossup as who can win and who is favored. Northwestern, who dethroned annual Big Ten West Division champion Wisconsin this season, has been rolling for two months with a record of 8-2, losses to only Notre Dame and Ohio State. Utah is always tough in bowl games under Whittingham’s helm going 11-1. Take your pick?

The Wildcats have one of the best QB’s in the Big Ten in Clayton Thorson. If his offensive line keeps him off his back (34 sacks), he will pass the Utes to sleep. His consistent play  is the reason Northwestern at 8-5, has had national recognition all year. He is the only Big Ten quarterback to throw for 10,000 yards and rush for 20 touchdowns in his career. A senior, Thorson has started 52 straight games and has steadily climbed up the Wildcats and conference career passing charts.

As far as the defense, Northwestern has been the least penalized team all year in the FBS.

The 9-4 Utes, have one of the best red zone defenses in the country, ranking number 2.

Plenty of offensive fireworks expected in today’s Liberty Bowl between Oklahoma State and Missouri

 

Liberty Bowl Memorial Stadium from the air 2009 photo By Zorin09, CC BY 3.0, https commons.wikimedia.org

The Liberty Bowl, one of the nation’s oldest and long-standing bowls, will have Oklahoma State and Missouri visiting the home of the late Elvis Presley, Memphis, Tennessee.

Both teams will have plenty of firepower, solid QB’s and RB’s.

Oklahoma State at 6-6, and a member of the Big 12 Conference, is a very talented team and one of those that has you scratching your head. Mike Gundy’s team pulled off upsets of Top 25 teams Boise State 44-21, Texas 38-35 and West Virginia 45-41. But then fell to their arch-rivals Oklahoma, Iowa State, Baylor and TCU. Go figure that! The Sooners and Cyclones I understand but not the Bears and Horned Frogs, two .500 teams, barely!

The Cowboys are led by QB Taylor Cornelius and WR Tylan Wallace.

Missouri, 8-4, a former member of the Big 12 before bolting to the SEC in 2011, Had a unexpectedly great season. They would have won out in their last six games if it weren’t for that heartbreaking game against Kentucky where they lost at the end, 15-14.

The Tigers are led by QB Drew Lock and RB Larry Rountree III.

Both teams have Top 50 rushing attacks.

Neither team has a defense worth talking about although, Missouri is 22nd nationally at rushing yards allowed per game, 122.9.

In this game, Lock and Cornelius will air out their arms!

Michigan State plays high-powered Oregon at 3 pm in today’s Redbox Bowl

 

Levi's Stadium home of the 49ers 2014 photo By Jim Bahn, CC BY 2.0, https commons.wikimedia.org

A few weeks ago when I was gathering information on the various bowls to write previews, I saw the Redbox Bowl and thought, “another new one”? But I found out it is not new, just has another sponsor. In past years, it has been called The San Francisco Bowl, Emerald Bowl, Fight Hunger Bowl and the Foster Farms Bowl. Starting in 2018, Redbox Automated Retail LLC, an American company specializing in DVD, Blu-ray, 4K UHD and video game rentals via automated kiosks, will be the title sponsor.Located in Illinois, Redbox, as of September 2016, Redbox had 51.8% market share of the physical rental market.

The Oregon Ducks, noted for their colorful uniform combinations and high-powered offenses, had an 8-4 year in the debut of new head coach Mario Christobal.

When you talk about the Ducks, you will have to discuss their QB Justin Herbert, an NFL prospect. He recently squelched all rumors about leaving early for the next-level. He is coming back and unlike some NFL-bound college players, will be playing in the bowl game. The 6-6, junior, a native of Eugene, home of the Ducks, passed for 28 touchdowns. Their offense is not just about Herbert, because the Ducks can run the ball too averaging 4,57 yards a pop.

Several of Michigan State fans don’t like head coach Mark Dantonio’s style of offense, but he gets the job done! Especially this year where the Spartans overcame injuries, inconsistent QB play from Brian Lewerke and Rocky Lombardi and losing big-play WR Felton Davis III, to get to their 11th bowl game in his 12 years at the East Lansing school.

They had the worst offense in college football this season, tied with the Louisville Cardinals among Power Five schools at 19.8 points per game.

But defense is where Michigan State shines in every year including this one. A defensive coach, Dantonio puts his stamp on that side of the ball for sure. They finished 13th in FBS at points allowed 18 ppg and 4.62 yards per play. Their run defense is immovable allowing a nation’s best 81.3 yards per game or 2.67 per attempt.

Going to be an interesting game in Santa Clara, California!

Sun Bowl showcases Pittsburgh (7-6) and Stanford (8-4)

 

Sun Bowl Stadium (aerial view) on the campus of the University of Texas at El Paso (UTEP) 2009 photo By Sterling, CC BY 2.0, https commons.wikimedia.org

Today at 2 pm, is the Hyundai Sun Bowl from the Mexican border town of El Paso, Texas. The game will be televised by CBS.

This is one of those games where Stanford and Pittsburgh fans wonder what team will show up?

Stanford, the Pacific 12 Conference representative, is always in the talk to play in the College Football Playoff. This year they were again after starting 4-0, but that slid off the table as The Cardinal became injury-riddled and ended up losing 4 of the next 5 games. Included on that injury list was RB Bryce Love, a Heisman hopeful.

The Cardinal defense had trouble containing teams with up-tempo, high-octane offenses.

The Pittsburgh Panthers, have an excellent running attack, led by RB’s Qadree Ollison and Darrin Hall. They are led by a formidable and physical offensive line. They don’t pass the ball very well, ranking 107th in the nation in yards per attempt at 6.4. One wonders why the Panthers were playing in the ACC Championship Game against league Kingpin, Clemson? Well, they were the best team in the weak and terrible ACC Coastal Division.

This game will feature two teams playing the same type of offense in the pro set. It will be a physical, smash-mouth game until the end.

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