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Columbus, Ohio
Sports Columnist — Columbus Dispatch
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Columbus Dispatch sports columnist; gatekeeper of Scarlet & Gray Matter.

Rob Oller commentary: Effort lacking in Bengals' loss — INDIANAPOLIS - As one series after another evaporated without a first down, the Cincinnati Bengals' offense came to resemble a stubborn slot-machine gambler convinced that his luck was about to change. Pull: 7...6...4 Pull: Lemon, apple, orange. Pull: queen of hearts, 7 of spades, 2 of diamonds.

Ohio State vs. Rutgers: Scarlet & Gray Matter — The game at hand Short-attention-span synopsis: The Buckeyes had one word for the Jersey visitors trying to take over their turf: "Fugetaboutit." Pregame buzz: Rest or Rust? That's always the question when a team comes off a bye week. How does the benefit of getting players healthy weigh against the potential of losing momentum?

Sloppy field greeted Penn State in 1993 — When Big Ten newbie Rutgers runs onto the artificial turf today in Ohio Stadium, surface conditions will hardly matter. Advances in plastic turf technology mostly have removed the weather element from the equation. But the last time a newly minted Big Ten team visited Columbus, the 'Shoe left a muddy imprint on the mind of Alan Kline.

Rob Oller commentary: Now that the Browns are winning, what's a fan to do? — The Cleveland Browns, who just pummeled the Pittsburgh Steelers, are approaching three straight opponents with a combined record of 1-16. The Charlie Browns, now 3-2, are actually looking more like a contender than a comic-strip blockhead.

Ohio State football: Q&A with former Buckeye Mark Stier — Dispatch sports reporter/columnist Rob Oller each week finds a former Buckeye for a question-and-answer session. Mark Stier, 67, was one of the Buckeyes who Woody Hayes had bless the pre-game meals during the 1968 national-championship season. The former linebacker and co-captain is still gracing the Columbus community as an associate pastor at Westerville Christian Church.

Rob Oller commentary: Head-to-head matters most in selecting College Football Playoff teams — History is a great teacher, and the fate of King Richard III helps prove that head-to-head outcome is the most important criteria in choosing which four teams will participate in the College Football Playoff. Yes, strength of schedule is important. Yes, statistical information matters. Yes, margin of victory should be considered.

Rob Oller commentary: Football is brutal, and off weeks are sorely needed — Ohio State does not play Saturday, which means players can rise from bed on Sunday without the aid of a forklift. The bye week for the Buckeyes is like a dip into healing waters, restoring bruised and battered bodies to a state of less-dramatic aches and pains.

Rob Oller commentary: Playoff spot could be Buckeyes' if they win out — They all stood waiting to cross the busy street, expecting to stop traffic with their enviable looks. Then the upsets came, and it was like getting splashed by a mud puddle while wearing light-colored clothing. No.2 Oregon, No.3 Alabama, No.4 Oklahoma, No.6 Texas A&M and No.8 UCLA entered last week spotless, all undefeated and ranked in the top 10 of the Associated Press media poll.

Ohio State football: Q&A with former Buckeye Joe Germaine — Joe Germaine, 38, came from the desert and returned there, but the Arizona-bred quarterback also spent three seasons (1996-98) at Ohio State, where he threw for 6,370 career yards and 56 touchdowns and set 11 school passing records his senior year, culminating with a Rose Bowl win against Arizona State.

Ohio State vs. Maryland: Scarlet & Gray Matter — The game at hand Short-attention-span synopsis: Buckeyes enjoy easy stroll through College Park. Pregame buzz: The first meeting between Ohio State and Maryland had Buckeye Nation wondering, "What the heck is a Terrapin?" Answer: a turtle that gets shelled. Worth the trip? Another chance to eat crab cakes.
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Oct 19, 2014

Suspicious Browns fans are not to be doubted.

Oct 18, 2014

Twits, get your final comments, complaints and attaboys in here, ASAP. And as always, thx for the help.

Oct 18, 2014

Barrett hit hard three times with score 56-17. Double hmm.

Oct 18, 2014

Big Ten loves the East Coast "footprint" that Rutgers provides. But a blowout like this can't be good for the eyeball count.

Oct 18, 2014

Urban: "Are any of the 13 members of the College Football Playoff committee Rutgers grads? No? Good."

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