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Saturday, Jan. 29, 2022

Monday Mailbag: OSU, SEC, MLB, COVID

SCOTT TRUXELL/independent sports editor

This week’s Monday Mailbag features questions about Ohio State and the Big Ten, high school super conferences, the current state of Major League Baseball and the status of high school fall sports.

Q: I’m not advocating the Buckeyes leaving the Big Ten — for one thing, there’s the tradition. There’s also basketball and many other very competitive sports.

However, Big Ten football is pretty much a farce. In the last 16 years, exactly once (2011) did Ohio State lose more than one Big Ten game. You won’t find that kind of domination in any other conference in America. Wouldn’t it be exciting to see the Buckeyes play competitive teams like Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Auburn, and Tennessee every year?

I know — not going to happen. Name withheld upon request

A: Here’s something to keep in mind: nothing is forever. Yes, Ohio State is in the midst of a dominating football run but like it or not, it won’t last forever.

Many believe the SEC is the best collegiate football conference (personally, there have been at least a couple of seasons where I thought it was slightly overrated, but that’s a discussion for a different time), but that won’t last forever.

Dominance moves around in college football and that’s not going to change. Look at teams or conferences that have dominated different decades.

Like many college football fans, I’m a traditionalist. I like the thought of Big Ten football games being played on a cool, crisp autumn afternoon somewhere in the Midwest (east coast too, if you count Maryland and Rutgers), not in the balmy south. I like Big Ten rivalries and the history behind them.

However, what you’re suggesting probably isn’t off the table.

Q: With the SEC expanding to become a super-conference (I don’t think they’re done yet), any chance will see something like that at the high school level? Name withheld upon request

A: I doubt it but I suppose anything is possible.

At the collegiate level it’s all about television ratings and dollars. Sadly, tradition gets tossed aside for the big bucks. Collegiate conferences used to have real rivalries and deep roots. That may still be true outside the FBS level but television has completely changed the game.

Yes, high school athletic departments like (and need) to make money, but a lot of it is convenience and rivalries. Most conference or league opponents are an hour or so away, tops, and a lot of rivalries go back many decades.

Yes, high schools change conferences (Paulding to the GMC, Leipsic to the NWC etc.) and while finances do sometimes factor in, money isn’t the end-all be-all, like at the NCAA level.

Q: Which team is a bigger dumpster fire right now – the Cubs or the Indians? Name withheld upon request

I’d like to throw some other teams in contention for that title – Washington, Texas and Arizona.

Yes, the Cubs just had a fire sale but the Nationals had a bigger one. No one seems to be happy with the Indians right now, but Washington, the Rangers and the Diamondbacks are flat out bad, with no real end in sight.

It’s going to be tough to give tickets away to some of those games in September.

Q: With COVID-19 cases apparently on the rise again, is there a chance high school sports will be altered like last year? Name withheld upon request

A: I wish I knew.

As far as I know, plans continue for full steam ahead. Will masks be required? I don’t know. Will games or matches get wiped out? That’s possible, but hopefully not on a consistent or widespread basis.

Like many others, I have my fingers crossed.

If you have a question or comment for the next Monday Mailbag, please email it to sports@thevwindependent.com.

POSTED: 08/02/21 at 3:48 am. FILED UNDER: Sports