Ramzy and I discuss:
- How badly did the Big Ten botch this season?
- Does Ohio State have any weaknesses?
- Game prediction
- An outsider’s perspective on Nebraska
- Should Kevin Warren keep his job?
- How long has it been since Michigan beat Ohio State in football?
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About the Transcript
Keep in mind that the following is a transcript. I use a service that automates the first draft. As much as “artificial intelligence” is included in the description of every bit of technology these days, it’s clear that computers understanding human speech is more artificial than intelligent. The transcript has been edited to take out human speech bites, you know, um, okay, uh, but it’s not been edited to be an “article”.
Jon Johnston: Welcome to Jon’s PostLife Crisis, I am your host, Jon Johnston founder and manager of CornNation.com, your Nebraska site of hopefulness, especially since today we’re talking about the upcoming season opener against the Ohio State Buckeyes.
Jon Johnston: And to do that, I’m talking with my close personal friend, Ramzy Nasrallah, could I screw this up any more at the beginning? [I destroyed the annunciation of his name and stumbled through the beginning - sometimes I wonder why I do this.]
Ramzy Nasrallah: It’s the first time my name has ever been botched. I can’t believe it took this long in my life to get to a point where someone could pronounce it so seamlessly.
Jon Johnston: Since we’re such close friends. I’m just going to go with the first name. Ramzy Ramzy is the executive editor of Buckeye’s site 11 Warriors.com. Some guy in the White House claims that he brought back Big Ten football. Nebraska fans believe that Scott Frost and Nebraska brought back Big Ten football. I’m sure Ohio State fans believe that Ryan Day and the Buckeyes brought back big tent football. So who who brought back big tent football?
Ramzy Nasrallah: I think antigen testing and process that should have been ironed out as one of the disaster scenarios sometime in April, May, June, July, brought back Big Ten football, I think they did it under a fire drill when they realized that crossing their fingers and hoping that covid we just kind of go away. When that didn’t materialize, they had to spring into action and took them a month to do something that probably would have taken three in terms of scenarios. There should have been a path for the virus does end up dying out on its own, one where the virus is still a threat, but a small one that requires some degree of mitigation. And then what we have now, where there are still 700 to 1100 people dying daily from this and people in large groups who breathe heavily when they are smashing into each other, that requires a different degree mitigation. And so what ultimately happened between the ham fisted cancelation of the season and when it was brought back was a whole bunch of meetings, procedure, external pressures and ultimately health care experts coming together to say this is how we can do this in a manner that prevents each one of these football games from being a superspreader event.
Jon Johnston: You sound like you actually know what’s going on with all of this instead of just like grrrrr masks, what the hell,
Ramzy Nasrallah: You know, grrrrr masks and hoax that does much better numbers.
Ramzy Nasrallah: When I’m not obsessing over this ridiculous sport of teenage gladiators smashing into each other I work in health care. So actually, one degree further, I work in infection prevention. So just a little little bit of insight into how these things are contained, mitigated and ultimately measured so that we can get out of them. They are going to happen throughout human history as long as they’re allowed to stay on this little marble.
Jon Johnston: I could go somewhere with that, but we’re going to go back to football.
Ramzy Nasrallah: Sounds good.
Jon Johnston: Because because I have been talking about covid for months. I’ve interviewed an epidemiologist, a coronavirus researcher who was researching it before it actually was cool. Biomechanics. My last interview was with my neurosurgeon about CTE. This one. Let’s just focus on football, because we’re going to have football, right?
Ramzy Nasrallah: We are going to attempt to have football. I think we will have football. Yes.
Jon Johnston: Ok, all right.
Jon Johnston: And we’re going to talk about the Ohio State Buckeyes. Urban Meyer said you guys have like 11 NFL players on offense. Is he exaggerating?
Ramzy Nasrallah: 11? Yes, he’s within... His margin of error is maybe one.
Jon Johnston: Don’t you think that’s a little unfair? It’s like wage inequality,
Ramzy Nasrallah: Unfair to whom?
Jon Johnston: To everyone else except you.
Ramzy Nasrallah: I mean, I’m OK with it. The idea that Urban brought to what was already a pretty good program when we won’t count the 2011 self nuke year.
Ramzy Nasrallah: It was already a pretty strong program. But he only wanted to recruit guys that were going to get drafted on the first day in terms of talent. Now, there’s other bit of variable evaluation that goes into the kind of guy that comes on. They’ve they walked away from some five star talent. It’s basically the combination of talent and culture and coach ability.Does Urban Meyer want to coach a certain guy mattered when they were recruiting people. At the same time Brian Day, I think, subscribes to that as well, having spent some time in the NFL and it comes back to bite you on rare occasions when you have someone like Antoine Winfield, Junior doesn’t really fit the measurable that someone like Urban Meyer would want. And you pass on a guy that’s the current NFL rookie of the class who was a game changer, a program changer at Minnesota. And I’m not obsessed or upset about it. I’m fine.
Jon Johnston: We could go into that, too, because I think they’re going to struggle a little bit. I think that one guy missing on their defense is going to hurt Minnesota quite a bit. But that’s not your program. I’ll bug the Minnesota guys about that.
Jon Johnston: Justin Fields, is he the best quarterback in college football?
Ramzy Nasrallah: Yeah, I think he and Trevor Lawrence are 1A and 1B. They when they faced off against each other in the Fiesta Bowl, if you get rid of all the other noise from that game, you saw a couple of guys that just really were a generational talents leaving their teams back and forth. I couldn’t believe that Lawrence moved as well as he did. He reads the field well, he’s got the size. He’s got the arm. Obviously, he’s got some help around him. But those guys, it reminds me of I mean, we have hindsight now, but it reminds me of the whole Ryan Leaf Peyton Manning debate from a little over 20 years ago. They both collegiate like they had every bit of the measurable that you would want. I hope neither of them get the Ryan Leaf legacy, but those guys are going to be quite wealthy for a long time playing the sport that hopefully will be able to get to see Justin Fields play, well, this month. My gosh, it’s October.
Jon Johnston: Let’s take a side track on that. Justin Fields and Trevor Lawrence, they both speak well. Peyton Manning, obviously over the years he’s become, you know, the commercials and the funny guy and stuff like that. Our quarterbacks in our college football players now are much they seem much more articulate than they’ve ever been. You do find that also?
Ramzy Nasrallah: Yeah, I think that there’s a there’s an element of them being groomed for media, which doesn’t stop. When Peyton Manning and Ryan Leaf were playing there was no YouTube. There was I think there was Friendster. Napster hadn’t been invented yet. So when you said something on TV, if you want to be recording it onto a voice, tape, kind of went away or it was read in print. Now, when you fumble, it’s forever. And that’s something that programs have to their credit try to accommodate for. And they use that as a recruiting tool. Ohio State is very good at that. Like, look, if you come here, this is a this is a business decision for you. We become a marketing agency for your brand.
Ramzy Nasrallah: By the way, you need to develop a brand, which means you need to be able to complete a sentence without spitting all over yourself when someone with a microphone is talking to you. So, yeah, I think that’s the case, I also think that they’re both exceptional people and by the way, they’re from like 10 minutes away from each other in Georgia. So they came from the same spot.
Jon Johnston: That seems unfair too.
Ramzy Nasrallah: Ohio State’s starting running back Trey sermon is from there, too. So you’ve got a couple of district backfield in Columbus.
Jon Johnston: Let’s go back to the offense. I mean, you guys have the you guys have everybody. Are there any holes or any weaknesses whatsoever on the offensive side of the ball?
Ramzy Nasrallah: No, they have no weaknesses on the offensive side of the ball. They don’t have any weaknesses. They don’t have offensive line weaknesses. They could use maybe one more healthy body in the backfield from a running back standpoint, because they are dealing with Master Teague that has an injury which really helped create urgency behind getting Trey Sermon is a grad transfer. Marcus Crawley got an injury last year.
Ramzy Nasrallah: Other than that, not they have no weaknesses offensively at all.
Jon Johnston: So how many points a game do you expect them to score?
Ramzy Nasrallah: Last September, which included the game with Nebraska, which is an ESPN college game to game if memory serves. The Buckeyes won September, which had five Saturdays by an average score of 49 to 9. I think that the wild card this year is the lack of a spring training period, the spring game.
Ramzy Nasrallah: Covid, which everyone deals with, but I think you’ll you’ll see Ohio State comfortably north of 30 points a game in Big Ten play in the sprints that they have and also depends on I mean, there’s a lot of self preservation that’s going to go into this, especially with such a sprint. When are you going to pull the starters out and give the depth, the chance to stretch its legs? I mean, there are games that the Buckeyes could have gone into - this is going to sound so arrogant - into the 80s and 90s. But we put it up, put the guys that I’ve been talking about that you brought up, Justin Fields, the on the bench. I don’t think that Chris Chugunov is going to score 49 points a game. He came in and just sort of held serve. It really depends. I don’t think Ohio State is going to have trouble scoring points at all.
Jon Johnston: Yeah, one of those games, they could have scored 80 points was against Nebraska last year. Thanks for bringing up the college game day debacle.
Ramzy Nasrallah: If Nebraska is going to come back, first you’ve got to get Kirk and Corso and Rece Davis on your campus. It’s not going to happen everyone’s campus this year in the same traditional way. But it’s not just having the guys and the coaches it’s having the hope and the belief. And Nebraska took a big step for that last year.
Jon Johnston: You think so?
Ramzy Nasrallah: I do. I don’t think that you’re going to get back to like 94 levels, but that’s a high bar to clear. You can get back to 93 levels without hitting your coach. You’ve got the guy that you like already.
Ramzy Nasrallah: So we have we’re an instant gratification society. And Nebraska is not the same old college football, I should say, is not the same as it was in Nebraska, his 90s heyday, so accommodating for environmental circumstances. I think the ceiling is double digit wins. I don’t think you’re going to be world beaters. It’s very difficult to do that. There are only a few schools or programs that are capable of doing that Or allow themselves to do it right?
Jon Johnston: Nebraskans focus so heavily on on the old days in the 90s and stuff like that. And I went to school in the 80s because I’m old and crusty and even the 80s were full of ass kicking. Really great teams. Didn’t win a national title in any season, but had the go for two team in 83 that should have.
Ramzy Nasrallah: That’s a weird call. That’s a tough call, a tough play to make at the two yard line.
Jon Johnston: I wonder sometimes if we’re to the point that we’re going to accept the fact that maybe eight eight wins will be a good season. We beat up Iowa so much about how average they are, even when they’re really actually pretty decent. But it’s a constant question in the back of my mind of where we’re going and where we’re going to get back to. And what what the ceiling actually is, is you if you as you brought up.
Ramzy Nasrallah: There’s a few things in there, though. Iowa has pretty much the same identity since 1979. The coach changed. They play the same kind of football, they get the same kind of athlete. They were the same kind of uniforms. I think about Nebraska, the transition from the old guard Callahan into Solich into... I won’t mention his name, but there was a brief foray to the spread. Your listeners follow Nebraska football. There was a brief uniform shift. And then just from a cultural standpoint, it gets a bit of a muddled story. Even when Ohio State went from Woody Hayes to Earl Bruce to John Cooper to to Jim Tressel, the style of football still punch someone in the mouth. Football and Urban Meyer came and people freaked out about, oh, they’re going to be a spread team. They were a power spread team. They were spreading the field up and doing the same. Carlos Hyde, Ezekiel Elliott. It was the same sort of thing, but different formations than once. The crusty types like yourself put in Columbus realized that they were like, OK, this is it. We’re not losing our identity. We’re not we’re not having a complete abdication of what Ohio State football means, whereas Nebraska had a bit of an identity crisis and I think it’s now coming back. But that scab that you can see them for a while before they fade and it’s going to it’s going to take some time. This is the bottom of Nebraska football right now. This is a postseason drought. Those don’t exist.
Jon Johnston: You think it is?
Ramzy Nasrallah: You hit the bottom.
Jon Johnston: So right now I’m waking up out of the ditch hungover as hell.
Ramzy Nasrallah: That’s pretty much the case. I just wish you had a better opponent to start the season with. By better, I don’t mean more talented. I mean a better one for Nebraska.
Ramzy Nasrallah: We’ll come back to that question. Let’s go to the defense. You guys have to replace seven starters, including seven of last year’s top 10 tacklers. Any holes, any weaknesses on the defense,
Ramzy Nasrallah: Weakness has an asterisk because you just don’t know. You’ve seen guys coming off the bench in mop up time for players that are NFL, Jordan Fuller, a really good NFL safety right now. David Arnett’s hurt, but also very solid. Jeff Kalakuta, third pick in the draft, replacing those guys with guys who’ve only come in in garbage time. I mean, they’ve done all the reps. You just don’t know what’s going to happen when they’re going against another team ones.
Ramzy Nasrallah: The coaching is great. The players are unproven. There’s a huge amount of new guys on that side of the ball, so it’s a different story from the offense. The offense, I think, is just going to be a lead to the defense. Could be. We don’t know yet.
Jon Johnston: How big is the return of Sean Wade?
Ramzy Nasrallah: It’s huge. He’s a the lockdown corner. He could be playing in the NFL right now.
Jon Johnston: We’ll go back to Anton Winfield. Is he to Ohio State’s defense, what Winfield was to Minnesota’s defense last season?
Ramzy Nasrallah: That’s a really good question.
Ramzy Nasrallah: I’m also should recuse myself because I have antoin senior members that probably cloud my judgment of junior. Sean Wood is Elite. Antoin Windfield was generational at Ohio State just because he’s like maybe 5-10 on with lifts. So you get a lot more like, wow, that’s... pound for pound Antoine Winfield is the best Ohio State football player I’ve ever seen in my life of watching them just because the law of small numbers, he shouldn’t have been as good as it was. Sean Wade is came out of a factory. Physically he’s what you want from a performance standpoint. You just kills it now that Fiesta Bowl against Clemson. He got ejected and I think part of that was emotional, but also part of it was from a personnel standpoint, you lost Sean Wade. He went to take a form tackle and Trevor Lawrence kind of ducked and turned it into a targeting penalty. That shows you how important it is on the field. Now, he’s he’s great. He’s going to line up on the other side. What’s the safety situation like having replaced Molik? Harrison, who was the biggest freak on the defense last year, not named him. How do you get that one pain in the ass rush end to replace Chase Young? There’s questions there. Nothing but talent. But, you’re only as good as what you’ve actually shown on the field. We haven’t seen them.
Jon Johnston: Anything else about the defense, I haven’t asked.
Ramzy Nasrallah: I think Jonathan Cooper being there, coming back for a fifth year, he played he had to choose one game to play, whether it was the playoff, actually not one game. But he chose to play in the Michigan game instead of playing in the Big Ten championship or in the postseason just so he would be eligible to come back this year. That’s a very senior type guy who’s also really talented, just Chase Young, because not many people are. That helps shore up some of the newness on that side of the ball, along with Timbaland (?) And Pete Warner. There are some really veteran guys there. They’re going to be playing with some non-veteran guys. So if they can gel really quickly, because it’s a sprint season. Yeah, they’re going to be OK.
Jon Johnston: So going back to that... You said earlier you wished Nebraska had a different opponent to start the season with you, what was your reaction when you saw the schedule?
Ramzy Nasrallah: I mean, I chuckled like anyone else, because you saw I mean, I know my tribe. I know what it’s like being from Ohio. I know Ohio State fans are like me. A lot of them get upset with me when I get pointed with criticism because it’s very difficult when you’re dealing with affairs of the heart like this, when you say something like why the pass defense could use some help or the offense to play, calling it you confuse critique with hate. Like, why do you hate this team so much? I don’t hate them. I’m not state media. I don’t have to tell you everything is fine. When I saw that Ohio State and Nebraska were leading off against each other. First it was I mean, this hopefully this kind of year will ever happen again. It’s the third opening opponent of the season that they’ve had. They were going to open with Bowling Green before they’re going to go out to Eugene, Oregon. And they were going to open at Illinois on a Thursday night and now they’re opening at home against Nebraska.
Ramzy Nasrallah: That happened within the course of a couple of months, just. All over the place, I mean, it’s a neat traditional rival match up, but from a personnel standpoint. Nebraska could have used a different opening opponent. I think Ohio State is going to come out with the kind of energy and talent and execution that you just don’t want to have under these circumstances of your opponent.
Jon Johnston: So you don’t see a Kansas State- Oklahoma happening here?
Ramzy Nasrallah: I really don’t.
Jon Johnston: Oh, my God, I have heart issues. And you’re not helping.
Ramzy Nasrallah: I mean, I love JD Spielman. I don’t know who from the Nebraska side is going to be able to cover Garrett Wilson or Chris Olavi or contain Justin Fields, who can run, but also give it to any one of a couple of backs. They’ve got great tight ends. The offensive line is solid there. If you can hold Ohio State to a field goal or obviously scoring every drive of the season, but that’s a big deal, stopping them from moving the ball down the field. That is a machine you need to score every time you get the ball against Ohio State.
Jon Johnston: Right, so minimize mistakes. You don’t see and you don’t see anything happening like the Kirk Ferentz saved his game plan for 25 years for one game. [Remember Iowa’s bashing of Ohio State in 2017?]
Ramzy Nasrallah: Which he did in 2017 and it was masterful. Well, they have different defensive coaches now. That was something we talked about that season coming mean. So to be honest, being an Ohio State you remember the losses more than the wins, because there’s like one a year, right? And so it sticks.
Jon Johnston: I remember how that used to go. It was it was really fun. And you kind of just went, wow, this will go on forever, because pretty much Tom Osborne ensured that it did kind of go on forever for very long. And then when it ended we’re all like, oh, my God, what is this? Why me? Why am I in this ditch? You wake upone day? And you’re like, oh, shit, where do we go from here?
Ramzy Nasrallah: That’s happened with the Ohio State fans when Woody Hayes got himself fired, not so with Earl Bruce because people were ready to get and no one wanted to be the coach to follow it, to quote Lou Holtz, you want to be the coach to follow the coach who followed with Coop, with Tressel and with Urban. There’s a bit of anxiety about what happens now, do we lose to lose this golden era?
Ramzy Nasrallah: No, The golden era has been the entire millennium thus far for Ohio State. I mean, their worst seasons. We’re either something like the 2011 nuke, self-nuke, which kind of a pause in 2004, they beat the hell out of Michigan and that’s all just about anyone cares about the state. That was their down year, they beat the Big Ten champions like a drum and then won six straight titles back when you can share them.
Jon Johnston: So you don’t see any fallout from Ryan Day whatsoever? I mean, even in the next three, four years, this is just something that’s going to keep going and going and going.
Ramzy Nasrallah: Ryan Day brings the best elements of what Urban Meyer brings to the program and uses some concealer for some of the pimples that he brought.
Ramzy Nasrallah: It became... Urban Meyer’s program is a bit of a cut throat, like, you know, what you’re signing up for. And you can either become one of his favorite people, one of the best guys ever been around, or you can just be a stranger in that facility if you’re not at a certain level. And I think about like Jack Welch Jr., punting 10 percent of the workforce, just constantly getting rid of the bottom 10 percent. The bottom 10 percent in that program, it’s not the bottom 10 percent of every other program. So it ends up I mean, if you still subscribe to amateurism, which I don’t really, but they are college kids, I think that Ryan Day does a better job of taking care of all 85 scholarship guys. Then Urban Meyer did, and that’s not because Urban Meyer was trying to be mean. That’s how that’s how he wired his program to be. Ryan Days is a little bit different. They go by the mantra of tough love. So it’s you’re still part of the family. You just need to contribute and to do your job to the best of your ability, because not every guy pans out.
Ramzy Nasrallah: It’s a different sort of spirit there, and I think it’s with one season and then three games during urban suspension in 2018 in the books, I signed up for this. This is good. I like this.
Jon Johnston: Let’s go with a prediction for the Nebraska game, even though it’s probably going to be painful.
Ramzy Nasrallah: I think it’ll be a typical Ohio State opener where they’re sort of figuring stuff out. They’re not going to come out with the entire playbook. I think about last year they opened with FAU. 21-0 before you sat down and hit. The final score was 49-21. People were upset that FAU was scoring. They had a tight end no one from Ohio State was prepared for it could cover who now plays for the Browns.
Ramzy Nasrallah: I think you’ll see now is a very measured approach to coming out, winning the surest way, and Nebraska is going to have some scores and some opportunities to get in the end zone. I don’t know what it’s going to be like playing in a cavernous, empty horseshoe because not even the spring games are like that and normal year, but I would I would expect a 49-21 opening score, which is not... You’re not a bug on a windshield by any stretch. And at the same time there’s what what’s the benefit of style points in that in the game. And Nebraska has talent and good coaching so.
Jon Johnston: I think that they everybody looks at Ohio State and says we have a shortened season. Ohio State’s going to try to score as many points as possible so they assure themselves a spot in the college football playoff, as if there’s a sense there’s some kind of, I don’t know, thing where the college football playoff committee would go. Oh, not you guys. Not you guys that have this, 11 NFL players on offense. You can’t be in this. You only played eight games or something, you know what I mean? And won them all decisively.
Ramzy Nasrallah: I don’t think there’s any any value in style points in the first week of the season. No one’s going to be at the end of the year. Well, they didn’t have a big enough margin against Nebraska in week one. It’s always the tail and how you finish. Ohio State twenty four team playoff, not because they eked out wins against Indiana and Michigan because they beat Wisconsin 59-0 in the Big Ten championship game with a third string quarterback. And that mattered a lot more than the way they beat Navy or Cincinnati that year or even how they lost to Virginia Tech. So the way that they if they’re able to beat Nebraska is going to mean a lot less than the way that they beat Michigan State and Michigan at the end of the season. And then ultimately, if they get to Indy again for the fourth year in a row, how they win that game.
Jon Johnston: I know there’s a lot of Nebraskans who are looking at this game and going, OK, why do we have to play them? First of all, there’s this undercurrent of whining. Why are we playing Ohio State every season? There’s this other thing about why do we have to do this? And I kind of look at it and go, we’re getting you guys in the first game with a whole bunch of new guys and we’re going to right off the bat determine who wants to play football really under pretty difficult circumstances and kind of who doesn’t. And I think that that is a great opportunity for Nebraska, despite what a score may show. You know, maybe it’ll show that we’re not ready to take the next step or maybe a will show that we’re ready. I think they you have to rise up and meet those challenges.
Ramzy Nasrallah: Everyone waits for the first game of the season. So that’s where I think it’s it’s kind of sucks for Nebraska fans that that’s what you start out with. But when you realize that time doesn’t stop or standstill after the first week, Nebraska is not going to play a better team for the rest of the schedule.They’ll see what that looks like, and then the next seven, they’ll know what they have to do. And I think that will be a benefit.
Ramzy Nasrallah: I don’t think 7-1 of the realm of possibilities, I think Micah Parsons not coming back for Penn State is a huge deal, especially for an offense like the one Nebraska runs. Right now at the beginning of October, it’s scary, but by the middle of November and then it’s weird to say by the middle of December, they’re still playing regular season football, you will see a journey that the Huskers went on that began with. But it’s a bad lottery. There’s a one in 13 chance of opening with Ohio State and Nebraska won.
Jon Johnston: I’m honestly for it, I I looked at it initially and everybody was going, well, this is the Big Ten sticking it to us. And I thought, you know, this it’s the same schedule. It’s just the other way around.
Ramzy Nasrallah: It was going to happen one way or another.
Jon Johnston: I’d rather we get you first and know who we are and where we’re going to go from there than get this Buckeye team that’s had a few games underneath its belt and is, you know, a steamroller, train, locomotive, use all the big adjectives to describe something unstoppable.
Jon Johnston: Do you think the empty stadium, do you think that affects anybody, I mean, one of our coaches said we’re going to have to bring our own juice.
Ramzy Nasrallah: I have a Brown’s podcast where we talk about who benefits and who loses from playing in empty stadiums, and it’s the Showtime guys and you hear this all the time with Ohio State circles, players chose Ohio State to play in big games, big crowds, and I mean, not the Nebraska players aren’t the same way, but it is you want that spotlight and you feed off that juice and having to bring your own juice. I buy into it to a degree. By saying that it’s not going to matter, you’re saying the crowds are irrelevant and there are some tough places to play in the Big Ten and the Buckeyes week two, after they finished with Nebraska, they go to State College. That would have been the White-Out game this year. It’s going to be a little different. Ohio State does really well in white out games because I think they feed off of it. They are a program that likes to play. And I don’t think there’s any environment that would be like negatively intimidating. They love that stuff. So in a weird way, I think that the lack of ambiance negatively impacts Ohio State, whether it’s in the horseshoe or elsewhere.
Jon Johnston: Do you think you’ll be able to get to any games, any media credentials or anything?
Ramzy Nasrallah: We’re credentialed, but our big guys will go. Our photographer would go depending on who’s allowed in there. I prefer to be among the unwashed masses, which this year not not really happening. We’re all unwashed and contagious. So I’ll probably keep my distance. We’ll see.
Ramzy Nasrallah: Fortunately, Bourbon’s an antiseptic, I should be pretty well protected.
Jon Johnston: Yeah, I’ve had to I’ve had to quarantine three times now and if you notice, I have built myself basically what is a dorm room.
Ramzy Nasrallah: Nice. Never graduate, man.
Jon Johnston: I try. I dye my hair grey, actually, is what I do. Is there anything else about Ohio State, the Big Ten, Kevin Warren, can he, should he continue as commissioner?
Ramzy Nasrallah: I mean, it’s just a mixed bag. On one side, he took a lot of the the brunt of the justified criticism because he’s the commissioner. On the other side. I mean, I’ve led organizations in my career. And from a crisis management standpoint, it’s not just being right. It’s not just being empathetic and diagnosing an issue and not panicking. It’s how you communicate to your stakeholders. And he just absolutely failed out loud, even on State TV, even on Big Ten Network. Like, how do you how do you lose on Big Ten network? Because you’re going to be asked you should be prepared to not come across as if you’re panicking and not have a transparent answer that you can put together and say, hey, there’s a thought process here.
Ramzy Nasrallah: We knew that ex post facto would be able to look back and see what they did and ultimately they probably made the right decision. My question, my lingering question is, what were you doing when from from mid-March when they canceled the NCAA tournament to August 5th, when they came up with a schedule that they abruptly pulled the rug out from under six days later. The timing is misaligned to the idea that there were any adults in the room that were putting together a plan for how to move forward in case of best case, worst case, probable case scenarios with this virus. And it’s like they got to August 5th, like, well, I think we’re OK. And then the sun came up and went down a couple of times like, well, no, we have to commit to shut it all down. Every bit of that cadence has poop on it. They did it themselves. And Kevin Warren, you want that desk and that salaried position? That title. You got to win it and he sucked out loud.
Jon Johnston: I think his credibility is.. It doesn’t exist anymore. He’s going to have to do something amazing to recover from this.
Ramzy Nasrallah: He had a year in the incubator to learn from Delany and then gets thrust into this. But at the same time, there’s no new guy. He was there was there for a year. He knew everybody. He didn’t get to play that card. That was a lost summer.
Jon Johnston: I’m going to propose this. I use Ohio State as an example, but Ohio State as a university has a revenue of around seven billion dollars a year. Their athletic department is, what, 150 million dollars?
Ramzy Nasrallah: Closer to 200 million.
Jon Johnston: It’s miniscule by comparison,
Ramzy Nasrallah: Right.
Jon Johnston: Do you think that there’s anything there that the president said, screw athletics, we’re not even going to worry about it right now? Or is that just is that my paranoia, conspiracy theory Alex Jones wannabe position.
Ramzy Nasrallah: And I think I understand that the perspective you’re bringing, you’re bringing a spreadsheet, a very sterile financial analysis perspective of it. When you look at the football department as the marketing department, it’s a bit different. So it’s not just the what populates the cells in the balance sheet and the revenues, it’s how you’re promoting your brand. And Ohio State is known globally in large part because of the football team. The biggest moneymaker on the campus is the best view of the stadium. It’s the hospitals that are continuing to expand and build and bring new construction to that part of campus. And they’re trying to make this and being successful, making a major medical hub. But the football departments, the tip of the spear the football team is the tip of the spear. From a visibility standpoint, their applications are through the roof, not because of the expansion work that the medical centers are doing. It’s because the tip of the spear creates a wider berth for everything Ohio State is trying to become.
Jon Johnston: That’s a good point.
Jon Johnston: I’ll relax a little bit.
Jon Johnston: Not that much, though I still am going to keep my theme about Kevin Warren disappearing into his bathroom and not coming out.
Ramzy Nasrallah: I had to deal with crisis in my own day job, my own organization, not the medal of words this year. And it’s hard as hell. Doesn’t mean it’s easy. It’s hard as hell, but you’ve got to do better than he did.
Jon Johnston: Yeah, especially when you’re at that level.
Ramzy Nasrallah: Yeah. You can’t just be right. You have to do it in the right way and you have to bring people along the right at the right pace. And ultimately you can’t come across as someone who looks like they’re hiding information. Because when you do that, when you are trying to insulate people from bad news, they will create that vacuum with the worst news. And that’s what ends up being acted upon. And that’s how you create a chaotic environment. It’s the lack of transparency. Just be transparent enough, not overly transparent. He failed on all accounts.
Jon Johnston: We’re going to end there unless you got anything else to add.
Ramzy Nasrallah: Unless we want to talk about Ohio State’s offense again. We’re good ending here.
Jon Johnston: In the meantime, good luck with your season mostly.
Ramzy Nasrallah: Likewise.
Jon Johnston: I will think of one more thing. How much joy do you get and the fact that there’s like way more rehab going on in Michigan right now and probably will be for the foreseeable future.
Ramzy Nasrallah: Michigan was a very big part of the trauma of my childhood and of college and of post college since I was it, I was at Ohio State while Kirt Herstreit was there. I want to tell my younger self that it was all worthwhile. So, yeah, I think that the penance should continue to be paid. I also believe in pendulum’s and the equilibrium of nature. So you can’t get too comfortable or arrogant about it. And making sure that there are different types of measuring sticks. Ohio State competes with Clemson and Alabama. You can’t take your eyes off of the Big Ten, Michigan, because if you expose your flank, then you don’t get the chance to lose to Clemson for a fourth time or whatever. You get to play Alabama again. That is one game you think about every single day. So no matter how much they run up the score, you never want to let that go and you can’t take it for granted.
Jon Johnston: How many days has it been since Michigan football won a football game against the Ohio State Buckeyes?
Ramzy Nasrallah: I don’t keep up with the count. I think it’s in the three thousands. But November of 2011. And if Braxton Miller doesn’t over throw out the Victor Posey. We’re going back to 2004. We’re going back to Hannah Montana and standard definition TV, and that still sticks out because it’s the one they’ve lost since 2004 and it shouldn’t have happened. Now I’m mad about it again.
Jon Johnston: [Laughing because I went long enough to make him think of a game that made him mad.] Ok, we’ll end there, we’ll end with that.This has been Jon’s PostLife Crisis, talking about Ohio State football with Ramzy Nasrallah of 11 Warriors.