Buckeyes, WWW

J.T. Barrett and Jewel: While We’re Waiting…

eBay/ernieatqrstuv

Happy Thursday, folks. Fall’s a few terrestrial rotations away, the Cavs aren’t far behind, the Browns are either just as bad as last season or have incrementally improved by the smallest of increments, and the Indians continue to astound in the most invigorating way. MLB playoffs are soon — but While We’re Waiting…

As an Ohio State football fan, I’m through with J.T. Barrett. It’s the type of untenable disposition fit only for spoiled college football fans and uncompromising toddlers — a tantrum against the injustice of not getting what we want all the time. But in light of the second half of last season and the team’s loss to Oklahoma, I can’t help it.

Any fanbase should be so unlucky as to be saddled with J.T. Barrett, a four-year starter who will likely break every conceivable passing and touchdown record in Ohio State football history and several in Big Ten history. Barrett is 27-4 as a starting quarterback, and is one of the most decorated athletes in Ohio State history. People I trust and admire and almost always agree with have argued Barrett’s merits as a worthy quarterback.

On the other hand: I’ve just seen too much of Barrett and his limitations to want to keep watching him. His stats — and I believe his abilities as a passer — have somehow regressed since 2014, when he first assumed the starting quarterback job. Barrett is unable to develop a consistent intermediate passing game, is wildly inaccurate on deep balls, misses open receivers, is late throwing through windows, and even struggles on short timing routes past the line of scrimmage. Barrett and the offense use his running as a substitute for a good offense with sound principles and a recognizable identity. While there is plenty of blame to go around to the coaches, the game plans, the receivers, and the offensive line for Ohio State’s inconsistent offense, I feel I’ve seen and know Barrett’s limitations — and they’re significant. And I think good teams know they can drop eight guys into zone coverage and dare Barrett to make a challenging throw.

But it’s more than the analytical — it’s the emotional and pseudo-spiritual. I’ll illustrate with contrasting in-person experiences. In January 2015, I attended the National Championship game between Ohio State and Oregon. Ohio State was down 7-0 in the first quarter, and should have been down by more. After a decent Oregon drive that ended with a dropped pass, Ohio State had the ball on their own 3-yard-line. But Cardale Jones — starting for an injured Barrett — was unflappable. He seemed to take all the anxiety of all the Ohio State fans in the building, throw it over his shoulder like a hobo bindle and say, “Chill out. I got this.” Jones proceeded to throw a 25-yard missile on a long-developing route that curled to the sideline on 3rd-and-8. The next play, he completed a beautiful back-shoulder throw in man coverage to Jalin Marshall for another near-30-yard gain. Ohio State scored a touchdown soon after, and proceeded to win 42-20.

On the other hand, I attended last season’s Ohio State games against Michigan and Clemson. Although Ohio State did beat Michigan 30-27 in double overtime (which included a great fourth-quarter drive led by J.T. Barrett), they lost 31-0 against Clemson in one of the worst defeats in school history. In neither game did I or the Ohio State fans in my immediate vicinity have faith that Barrett could complete a meaningful third-and-long pass. In both games were in-stadium viewers able to see open receivers dotted around the field and a complete unwillingness bordering on timidity to threaten the defense vertically despite having a cadre of receivers with track speed. In the National Championship Game: power running with bold and devastating play-action passes. Versus Michigan and Clemson: predictable quarterback runs and an impotent mid-to-long range passing game.

My point is that with quarterbacks, like with romantic relationships, it’s less analytical than it is emotional. Once it’s over — it’s over. You weren’t my first quarterback, J.T. This also happened to Todd Boeckman,1 Derek Anderson, and Brian Hoyer. The relationship between a baseball fan base and a closer is the only one that compares to the intimacy between a quarterback and the team’s fans.2 But once that trust is gone — it’s gone. And like real relationships, once I’ve moved on from a quarterback I’ve never looked back with regret. The realization that it’s over can come at the strangest and most fleeting of moments — in the middle of breakfast or the middle of the second quarter against Michigan.

Again, it’s not you, J.T. It’s meIt’s not your fault. I just want you to be happy. But it’s over, and no weekend at a Cabo resort or thrashing over a service academy can change that. I just want more — points against Penn State, that is. It wasn’t always bad, J.T. We’ll always have the memories, like 2014 against Michigan State or 2016 against Oklahoma. We may even have a great rest of the season together — but I’ll just be thinking about what it would be like to be with another recruit. I’m sorry, but sometimes you just need to move on … and find you a man with an intermediate passing game.

The Calvin and Hobbes strip of the day. You know, “fire drill” really is a misnomer.

And now for the random 90s song of the day. For reasons unknown, this song became lodged in my cranium’s tape deck at some point between Thursday afternoon and Sunday morning. Well the reasons aren’t totally unknown — it’s because 90s pop songs only existed to reinforce bad clichés and create pleasantly melodious creases in your brain, embedding themselves only to resurface years later like locusts heeding the call of nature to make you sad and sing Jewel at inappropriate times.

As much as 90s pop music is largely indefensible and serves as an anthropological reminder of the time and place responsible for Fred Durst and the Tamagotchi, I will defend Jewel’s “You Were Meant for Me” as a good song. It’s a lovely maudlin breakup song that a talented karaoke singer can weaponize to bring an entire bar to tears. It also caused an entire generation of impressionable young men to romanticize the notion of a girl sitting on the floor in jeans and playing acoustic guitar. In the music video, Jewel fantasizes about her shattered relationship with a young man who looks like Bill Pullman if he had given up acting to live in a van and run a record store. There’s a random rowboat on the floor. [Warning: The video is … kind of NSFW?]

I got my eggs, I got my pancakes too
I got my maple syrup, everything but you…

  1. Who took Ohio State to the National Championship game, mind you. But after the USC game the following year, that relationship had run its course. []
  2. Maybe a goalie in soccer or hockey, as well. []

  • RGB

    Indignant Herbstreit blast in 3…2…1…

  • Chris

    Jewel probably throws a better deep ball.

  • BenRM

    GO PLAY FOR USC!

  • Garry_Owen

    Two things have spoiled me forever, causing me to no longer care all that deeply about Ohio State (one of my alma maters) football, or college football in general: (1) that 2014 Cinderella play-off season; and (2) the 2016 Army/Navy game. After experiencing those two amazing, once-in-a-lifetime things (one in-person), my reservoir of “give a crap” is nearly empty. When it comes to college football, I’m pretty much dead inside – but as a result of a college football life well lived. I’ve seen all I need to see. JT? Sure, why not? No JT? Sure, why not?

    Also, I distinctly remember coming home to my studio apartment in Killeen, Texas, from a long days’ work (mostly mindless and always brutally hot) at Fort Hood and just crashing on the floor, playing PlayStation, drinking beer (probably Beck’s or St. Pauli Girl) and listening to Jewel (the same CD) for hours, day after day. This is the first time I’ve ever admitted that, and I’m not even ashamed. Go ahead and judge. I love Jewel. (But it has been nearly 20 years since I’ve had a Beck’s or St. Pauli Girl – I’ll accept your judgment on those.)

  • RGB

    1. The 2017 Tribe has an opportunity to put me there with you.
    2. Nothing is wrong with Beck’s or St. Pauli Girl. (Unless you’re an insufferable hipster beer-snob.)

  • MartyDaVille

    What is ruining televised college football for me is the nonstop blabbering by “color analysts.” You can almost hear them hypreventilating as the play-by-play man is wrapping up his description of the play, and the split second he’s done, the babbling analysis begins, and it doesn’t stop until the next play starts.

    After every play, we are breathlessly told (1) that we have just seen one of the most remarkable plays ever to occur on a football field, performed by a great, great player or (2) some meaningless trivial nonsense that absolutely no one cares about (e.g., muscle twitch) or (3) a litany of the most boring statistics known to man.

    SHUT UP ALREADY
    AND LET US ENJOY THE GAME
    IN PEACE AND QUIET!

  • tigersbrowns2
  • tigersbrowns2

    not only is WFNY my Facebook &, Twitter page , i get home-schooled here as well … thank you.

  • tigersbrowns2

    hi CHRIS … well , her boyfriend IS “Clipboard Jesus” … so , she probably can throw a pretty good deep ball. https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/b79d6619e023acdf54c937298f3dacb359b418efd186093ac2a28c0b0126d767.jpg

  • scripty

    Jewel gets a lifetime achievement for this undercover prank. She kills it.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rmv1VhrtYRo

  • Garry_Owen

    Thanks for the confirmation. Just recalling those beers made me thirsty for them. I think I’ll give them a shot again.

  • Garry_Owen

    You forgot (3) needlessly pounding on a player for making a mistake in a sport where precision is nearly impossible.

    I will say, though, the color commenter problem is much worse in the NFL than it is in the college game.

  • KaiHaaskivi

    I personally cannot get enough of blowhards like Jesse Palmer stating that my team isn’t good enough because it doesn’t play “Stanford Football”…yeesh…mute…When I heard Herbstreit talk about some player being ‘good in space’ I realized any true analysis wasn’t going to occur.

    Nonstop blabbering by the TV crews seemed to be a constant in the NFL and college football. I guess it just depends if you’re willing to listen. Remember when Trumpy would emphatically predict the Browns next play (run vs pass) based on Bernie’s leg placement…

  • Garry_Owen

    Also, agree on the Tribe. Being at Game 6 last year would have emptied the reservoir altogether had they won. As it is, that reservoir (at least as it pertains to baseball) is entirely full. I definitely give a crap there.

  • tigersbrowns2
  • TimCleveland

    No judgment on either, and I am a beer snob. 20 years ago Becks and St. Pauli Girl would have been considered world-class drinking.

  • Garry_Owen

    Considering that it was 20 years ago, I was WORLD CLASS (in my studio apartment, playing the original PlayStation, eating take-out Korean food, all alone).

    I’m not a beer snob, but I do really enjoy the truly good and great beers, though I find that I do have my preferences, though my palate is willing to change and shift. Always a stout/porter fan; always a German lager/Czech pilsner fan; sometimes an IPA fan (though less now than before, given the over-saturation of the modern American face-pinching fad; but never a Belgian fan (which must make your beer snob hackles stand on end). Anyway, I need to go back to those favorites of 20 years ago.

  • RGB

    I have drifted back to German lager/Czech pilsners. IPAs were good for a while until the American hops race ruined them by seeing who could create a beer with the most IBUs.
    Even American craft lagers and pilsners are almost always over-hopped.

  • JNeids

    TIL

  • KaiHaaskivi

    Love me some Czech beer- staropromen, czechvar, and pilsner urquell.
    My favorite beers are Polish- zyviec porter and okocim lager. That may be my ethnicity talking but it’s darn good