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Z-formation: 10 thoughts

November 25, 2012 - Zach Baker
New blog feature, 10 quick sports thoughts:

1. Heidelberg's men's and women's basketball teams are both 3-0. I think the men will have a decent season if the Nate Davis I saw in the first game of the season remains for conference games. When Nate is on, no one can stop him in the post. He's that good.

2. As for the women, Kathleen Phillips is a dynamic scorer who has emerged in the last two season's as HU's most dangerous player. Pair her Columbian's Megan Miller, and you have something to go on. I do wonder about HU's inside presence, but this is coming off one game. I was impressed with how Marcie Alberts' team played when the game was on the line Tuesday. It will be interesting to see how it does against John Carroll in the OAC opener.

3. Tiffin University's men's basketball team will be led by Joe Graessle this season. At least it seems that way after watching him score 43 points against Ohio State Mansfield earlier this week. Graessle has always seemed like a leader from the outside, and now that he's a junior on a young team, he should be able to step into the role.

4. Jessica Harris is a great Division II player, and I think this could be her year to carry the Dragons. She was their inside force last year, but the team had a number of seniors -- including the dynamic Mandy Jaeb, who got the attention. But it was Harris' play in the latter half of last season that helped turn the Dragons into one of the better teams in the GLIA. And early on, it looks like that's carrying over.

5. Katie Fazekas got her first win as Columbian coach Saturday evening, when the Tornadoes beat Lakota. Congratulations to the former TC star.

6. After nine years of watching football, baseball, softball and basketball, I can honestly say that moral victories don't exist. I hope the Cleveland Cavaliers understand that after blowing a golden upset opportunity against the Heat Saturday night.

7. A play here or there and Heidelberg's football team would have been in New York today against Hobart. We actually spent 15 minutes yesterday discussing if I would have gone to cover the game. Keep in mind this was six days after we knew the game wouldn't happen. But take out hypotheticals and you take away 40 percent of sports.

8. Most of my family members are Ohio State graduates, and I consider myself an Ohio State fan, but I can't help but think the Buckeyes' tattoo scandal was one of the best things to happen, at least in the short term, to the program.

People who are complaining about the bowl ban need to understand that the Buckeyes got off easy, and in some ways were hardly punished. The Bowl ban would not have happened without the scandal. If the scandal doesn't happen, Urban Meyer doesn't come to Ohio State. If Ohio State doesn't hire Urban Meyer, it doesn't go 12-0.

I think Jim Tressel is a brilliant coach. I think Urban Meyer is one of the greatest coaches who has ever lived. What he did at Bowling Green was remarkable, Utah the same. Then he made Florida a national champion.

The truth is I will always be skeptical of Meyer, mostly because I was at BG when he left, after saying he had "work to do." He always struck me as certain of his own greatness, even when he had yet to attain it. And I will never be surprised when he leaves Ohio State for something better.

But the bottom line is, he's the best football coach in the world.

9. The Steelers are down to Charlie Batch at quarterback, they are missing roughly half their roster, and they are having an average year (for them). But I still expect the Browns to screw things up and lose, you know, like always.

10. Notre Dame is not my favorite football program. In fact, it is one of my least favorite. And on balance, I don't think the Irish have played a tough schedule. But, it's undefeated, and it deserves its national title berth. End of story.



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