Each year, I predict where the former Ohio State players will go in the NFL Draft. This year's list will be just a tad shorter than last's…
Mike Nugent: Mid-late second round (Nuge will be the first kicker off the board and will be a fixture in the league for the next 15 years.)
Dustin Fox: Third round (NFL scouts have to like his versatility, athletic ability and experience.)
Maurice Clarett: Fourth round (I really want to say late third round, just because I'm sick of hearing the garbage about how Clarett won't get drafted, or will be a seventh round pick, but I'll be safe and go with fourth. But, I will not be surprised at all if a team takes a flier on him late in the first day. Looking at some of the players that go late in the first day, I don't think Clarett would be a big gamble there.)
Simon Fraser: Late fifth round (Good size and athletic ability – someone will take Fraser on the second day.)
Branden Joe: Seventh round (Might be an undrafted free agent, but I'll say someone grabs a cup of Joe late in the second day. Scouts will like his versatility.)
That's all folks. Lydell Ross will be in a camp somewhere, and might get drafted late in the second day, but I'll say UFA for him. We're also hoping for the best for Maurice Hall, Thomas Matthews, Bam Childress, Mike Kne and the rest of the Buckeyes that hope to play professionally. But this year, I'm saying only five Buckeyes will be drafted. Well, four and Clarett.
12th GAME A GOOD IDEA
It looks like a 12-game regular season will become a staple of college football.
The NCAA Division I Management Council has backed legislation that would allow Division I-A and I-AA schools to add a 12th game starting with the 2006 season. The plan was given tentative approval by the council at its meeting on Monday and will be sent to the NCAA Board of Directors for final consideration April 28.
Hopefully this goes through, because it's a good idea and long overdue. I always found it ridiculous that college teams usually played just one more game than high school teams. In fact, with the expansion of the high school playoffs, a lot of high school teams play more games than college teams.
The NFL has a 16-game schedule (20 if you want to count preseason), high school has 10, college should be somewhere in between there. Twelve games just seems to make more sense than 11. Plus, it gives us an extra game to watch each season. What could be wrong with that?
NEUHEISEL GETS LAST LAUGH
Former Washington football coach Rick Neuheisel was awarded a $4.7 million settlement in his case against Washington and the NCAA.
On the surface, it looked like Neuheisel had little chance getting such a large settlement. He was fired for participating in a high-stakes NCAA Tournament pool.
However, there was a monumental trial development on Feb. 28 which turned the table in favor of Neuheisel. NCAA lawyer John Aslin disclosed that the organization failed to provide Neuheisel's legal team with an updated version of its bylaws during discovery.
At issue was whether those questioned by NCAA investigators must be notified of the purpose of the interview. It turned out the NCAA had amended its bylaws to require such notification just before Neuheisel's interview in July of 2003.
Neuheisel is now the quarterbacks coach of the Baltimore Ravens.
With the transfer of freshman forward Jermyl Jackson-Wilson, Ohio State coach Thad Matta now has three open scholarships to hand out this offseason, if he so chooses.
He will likely bank at least one, but the Buckeyes definitely need to add a brusier/rebounder this offseason. Yes, the pickings will be slim, but we're not talking about someone that can come in and average a double/double. Just someone who can come off the bench and give Terence Dials a rest. I don't want to hear any "goon ball" jokes, but I'm talking about someone that can come in, defend, rebound, and do the dirty work.
It also wouldn't surprise me if Matta added another guard this offseason. He already has combo guard Sylvester Mayes as part of the 2005 class (as well as 6-9 forward Brayden Bell) but adding another ball-handling guard might be in the plans.
Of course, with the impending transfer of Oklahoma point guard Drew Lavender, it is rumored the Brookhaven graduate wants to return to Columbus and play for Matta. We'll see how that one turns out. The 5-6 playmaker would have two years of eligibility remaining, beginning in the 2006-07 season.
'92 FOR '99?
Try and follow me here: If the NCAA makes OSU's basketball program take down the 1999 Final Four banner, should OSU respond by raising the 1992 Final Four banner? Hmmm.
PACE GETS HIS PAYDAY
Good for Orlando Pace. The former Ohio State All-American left tackle recently signed a seven-year/$53 million contract with the St. Louis Rams, including a $15 million signing bonus.
Pace would have been entering his fourth consecutive year under the "franchise" tag, meaning he would sign a new one-year contract each season. It's good to see the former first overall pick of the draft get what he deserved. He is a six-time Pro Bowl selection, all with the Rams.
While at Ohio State, Pace won the Outland Award once and the Lombardi Award twice.
HERRMANN UNDER FIRE
It's not quite to Bill Young status yet, but Michigan fans are collectively throwing a fit over defensive coordinator Jim Herrmann. They blame him – mostly – for season ending losses to Ohio State and Texas, in which the Wolverines gave up a combined 75 points.
Herrmann has a 19-year tenure on UM's coaching staff. He took over as defensive coordinator in 1997, the season Michigan shared the national championship with Nebraska.
You cannot go to a Michigan message board without seeing this guy ripped to shreds. It looks just like an OSU site would have looked in 1995 when Young was doing his damage. Yes, I still say former Michigan running back Tim Biakabutuka owes Young a chunk of his NFL rookie signing bonus. Biakabutuka's 300-yard game against OSU in 1995 led directly to him being a top 10 pick in the 1996 NFL draft with the Carolina Panthers.
Biakabutuka was actually drafted higher than Heisman Trophy winner Eddie George in 1996.
GERMAINE TOPS SPIELMAN
Quarterback Joe Germaine was 23 of 35 for 234 yards with eight touchdowns, leading the Arizona Rattlers to a 70-53 win over the Columbus Destroyers in Arena Football League action last weekend.
Chris Spielman is the head coach/general manager of the Destroyers, who are 1-9 and in last place in the Eastern Division.
Maybe Spielman will correct the problem in the offseason by bringing guys like Germaine, Winfield Garnett and Eric Gohlston back to Columbus. Garnett and Gohlston play OL/DL for the Philadelphia Soul.
Reportedly, Spielman made a run at Germaine last offseason, but he wanted to stay close to his home in Arizona. But apparently the fans in Arizona still boo Germaine for leading Ohio State past Arizona State in the 1997 Rose Bowl and costing the Sun Devils the national championship.
Joe, they won't boo you in Columbus.