Once again a sports hero has fallen – where was the Columbus media

Ohio State football coach Jim Tressel, held out as the model of integrity, resigned Monday as the pressure mounted due to a memorabilia-for-tattoo scandal that showed no sign of simmering down. Like all media created heroes, the backlash and piling on has been merciless. Besides the obvious questions about what is true or not, where was the Columbus media when all this was going on?

The start was in December when we all found out that 5 players had traded memorabilia (rings, jerseys, autographs, etc…) for tattoos at a Columbus tattoo parlor. At the time Coach Tressel and Ohio State officials claimed they found out about it in December. The five players were allowed to play in the season ending Sugar Bowl but were suspended for five games to start the 2011 season.

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Kirk Herbstreit has left home

Over the weekend I saw some tweets and a Dispatch article about ESPN commentator Kirk Herbstreit and his family leaving Columbus and moving to Nashville Tennessee. That struck me as odd since Herbie is a dyed in the wool Buckeye. The reason he gave to the Dispatch was that relentless fans were driving him out of town. His reason didn’t surprise me.

Former player and ESPN commentator Kirk Herbstreit said he and his family are moving to Nashville, Tenn., 10TV News reported.

Herbstreit told the Columbus Dispatch that in his role with ESPN he has to be objective about the Buckeyes.

He said most fans understand that, but said a small percentage of them are so relentless in criticizing him that he has to move.

Herbstreit: ‘Relentless’ Fans Forced His Move To Tenn.

I met Kirk in the fall of 1988 when he was a freshman at Ohio State. The then new head coach John Cooper had decided that freshman football players needed to be more social with regular students like myself, so the players were housed in Morrill and Lincoln Dorms next door to Ohio Stadium. My room in Lincoln that year was in the same suite as Kirk and several other freshman football players.

There was Kirk and his roommate Paul. Next door was Len Hartman and his roommate Judah Herman – both would become starters for Ohio State in their years there. There were two more players in the other dorm room but I can’t remember their names. I really got to know and hang out with Kirk, Paul, and some with Len and Judah.

Kirk back then was typically shy with any new person but once we all got to know each other he opened right up and was fun to hang out with. He had the confidence and arrogance that comes with a hotshot football player. He liked to party and be with his girlfriend at the time. For someone like me, a lifetime OSU fan, it was fantastic when we would get treated better because Kirk was with us.

I remember going to a huge house party off campus where many OSU players showed up. Watching basketball player Chris Jent escorting not one but three dates around was awesome in my immature mind at the time.

Kirk brought his Nintendo game system to school and based it in my room because he didn’t want people traipsing through his room. We would play RBI Baseball all the time. Kirk played the Detroit Tigers and knew some way to make sure he won each game. He would hit the game winning home run, drop the controller and leave the room. It drove all of us nuts and we spent most of the year trying to figure out how to beat Kirk. During Spring Quarter we did finally beat him. There was a crowd in our room often for these games. We also played Tecmo Bowl football a lot.

I also remember he didn’t take criticism well. He hated not being liked. He was used to being told how great he was especially as a player but when he got to Ohio State some people didn’t like him and we heard the stories when he complained about it and we knew it bothered him.

“Relentless fans” have been the bane of his existence during his time with ESPN. I admire his effort to not be a Homer for Ohio State and think he gets too much grief here in Columbus for trying to be impartial.

What is a “Homer”?

What is a homer? I’m glad you asked. It is being a committed hometown or favorite team fan to a fault. This is a sports syndrome that many people get when they stop looking at something objectively and are subject to regional and cultural biases surrounding them. Fantasy football team owners: we are not general managers in the NFL, so stop saying “WE” when you address your favorite team. Stop jumping on your team’s, coaches, GM’s and owner’s back every time something happens that you didn’t like.

When (and when not) To Be a Homer

Most of the Columbus media are “Homers” toward OSU but Herbstreit is not. I think that’s why the relentless fans harp on him so much. He has a premier gig as ESPN commentator doing many of the big games. Some of them include Ohio State and some fans expect him to show bias toward OSU during the broadcasts.

It’s funny because there are several former players that work other sports like Clark Kellogg in basketball and I don’t see them getting hassled but then again maybe they do but it doesn’t bother them as much.

I actually feel bad that Kirk felt he needed to move away but knowing him like I do, it doesn’t surprise me.

Dear Michigan Football Fan

I just learned that due to the loss to Purdue on Saturday, you will miss going to a bowl game and will have a losing season for the first time since 1967.

Don’t be too sad. Change sucks. You have a new coach with a new system but you just didn’t have the players for it.

I know how you feel. Back in 1987, Ohio State fired Earle Bruce – old 9 and 3 Earle – as we use to call him because of the many 9 and 3 season records. OSU hired John Cooper who’s only claim to fame was beating you guys back in the 1987 Rose Bowl as coach of Arizona State.

In Cooper’s first season we went 4-6-1. That included being blown out by Pittsburgh and Indiana and not going to a bowl game.

So change does hurt but Coach Rodriguez is a good coach and once his recruits come in you will get better – but I hope not too much better…. (grin)

Hopefully we beat you this year but it would be better if you were a good team.

Good luck next season.

USC loses to unranked team and drops only 8 spots

The weekly football polls came out this afternoon and there was an interesting look to it.

University of Southern California, which was the number 1 team coming into this weekend, was listed as 9th in the AP Poll and 11th in the USA Today Poll.

The funny thing is that USC lost to an UNRANKED team and dropped the same number of spots that Ohio State (then 5th ranked) dropped when it lost to USC in week 2.

Wisconsin lost to an unranked team and dropped 8 spots too.

Basically the poll voters didn’t seem to care who the loss was against except when it was Ohio State in week 2.

I think that vote was a response to the left over hate from last season when people didn’t think Ohio State deserved to be in the Championship game.

Georgia, which was 3rd this past week, dropped 8 places after losing to 8th ranked Alabama and Florida dropped 8 spots after losing to an unranked team.

I just think a team should drop more if the loss is to an unranked team.

In 2007, Michigan was ranked 5th before they lost to a division 2 team and they dropped out of the polls.