While we’re in Cleveland dodging Republican firebombs of the figurative (and occasionally literal) sort, let’s take a moment to enrich the soul. Step away from the hustle and horror of a major political convention and make time for the arts. Yes, Cleveland—the erstwhile "Mistake on the Lake"—is home to a wonderful menagerie of artistic talent. I’m not just talking about the FREE stamp, either.
Take the Cleveland Orchestra, for instance. The musicians who call Severance Hall home routinely draw praise as one of the world’s best and most beloved symphonic ensembles year after year, beating out groups from New York, Boston, L.A., and Europe. Of course there’s always the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame just down the road if the 1812 Overture doesn’t start a fire in your loins.
Not a music fan? Shame on you, but head over to Playhouse Square and marvel at the hidden gem that is the Cleveland Playhouse. Unlike most theaters that offer canned versions of hit Broadway shows, the Playhouse creates their own new and novel productions—and those efforts get noticed. The Playhouse is ranked among the 10 best theaters in America and won the 2015 Regional Theater Tony Award in its 100th year.
If all of the sturm & drang of the Summer of Trump has left you wanting for some quieter fare, the Cleveland Museum of Art is a treasure in the University Circle neighborhood. You need more art in your lives, people. I’ve seen your comments.
After all this enrichment of the soul, you’ll want to enrich your stomach a bit, too. You could head over to Lola Bistro, the flagship offering from star chef Michael Symon (I prefer his smaller complement, Lolita, across the river but it’s temporarily closed due to a fire). But Lola is upscale and who wants to wait for their food after a day of mental and spiritual stimulation?
Instead, grab a lightning fast hunk of Cleveland from Seti’s...the home of the Polish Boy! New Orleans has the Po’ Boy and our fair city has the Polish Boy—a heart-stopping gut bomb that pays homage to the work-a-day stiffs who made Cleveland great. You can find them in the nearly every hot dog and BBQ joint in town, but Seti’s is the one to have...and you should only have one, unless you’d like to see the world famous Cleveland Clinic on your tour.
If you haven’t noticed by now, Cleveland has an awful lot going on for a town that’s supposed to be dead. Hell, even the Indians are in first place. We’re happy to be defying expectations for once.
Speaking of Expectations...
In case you hadn’t heard, the Buckeyes didn’t quite meet expectations last year. Coming into the season as the defending champs and #1 in the polls, Urban Meyer’s team avenged the loss to Virginia Tech and then sleepwalked through the weeks leading up to the eventual loss at home against MSU. Some blame the quarterback controversy. Others blamed the team itself, claiming there was a lack of cohesion among a group of outsized talents held them back (an MSU fan favorite).
What do you think held Ohio State back last year? And in that same vein...which of your teams exhibited the most wasted potential in recent years? And who gets the blame?
Jesse: Tim Beck. Tim Beck gets the blame. I mean, you still were a dominant Top 5 team who lost one game in a monsoon against another Top 5 team, but like, Tim Beck? Really? As for wasted potential, Nebraska fans know all about that.
Al NamiasIV: OSU was held back by starting the wrong quarterback as well as the transition from Herman to Beck. Jesse would know better than me, but yeah Tim Beck? Don't get that.
It seems Iowa teams under Ferentz either far exceed their potential or fall far short of their potential. The 2010 team most readily meets the latter. The only Ferentz quarterback to get drafted, the best Iowa receiving tandem ever, a tight end still playing in the league, an all-NFL defensive line, ¾ of the secondary was drafted, one first rounder on each side of the line and all they could manage was 7-5. The blame was on Ferentz for refusing to put teams away and play to his strengths.
Andrew Kraszewski: I think it's tough to keep a bunch of college kids, no matter how talented, focused to the necessary degree to repeat as national champions. Even Saban has only pulled that off once. And yes, Urbz did it too, but it turns out that there wasn't a Tim Tebow in OSU’s locker room last year. Don't mope, your upcoming "rebuild" is probably still 10 wins and a good chance at conference and division titles. You never want to waste a title shot, but OSU is going to get more of them than anyone else in this latitude.
If you want to talk wasted potential, any MSU team between Saban and Dantonio would do just fine. Johnelle’s teams in particular had the personnel to be great, but man did they ever find creative ways to screw it up. Hence the phrase I know you're all so fond of.
WSR: Yeah, Beck is garbage. And I know terrible coordinators, although it’s usually a terrible DC and not an OC (Jedd Fisch being the glaring exception). But what I don’t know about is a team with wasted potential. What’s that like?
Stew: Probably a combination of a few things, new OC, subpar OC, the QB battle, and just that it’s super hard to repeat, and losing just a bit of an edge is common when going for a repeat. It’s really, really hard to repeat.
As for Iowa’s wasted talent, Al is totally right about 2010. What a fucking waste of a year.
Aaron: I don’t think Ohio State was held back in 2015 as much as it failed to win one game that it probably should have one. On that evening, the Buckeyes were held back by one thing: their entire offense. They couldn’t run the ball. They couldn’t pass the ball. They didn’t block well. They didn’t do much of anything and would have scored even fewer than 14 points if Michigan State hadn’t figured out how to turn the ball over twice in a game that saw Sparty throw 16 passes.
Penn State had a really great season in 2009, but it should have been even better, as the Lions were returning a bunch of talent from a team that reached the Rose Bowl during the 2008 campaign. Just like the 2015 Buckeyes, the 2009 Lions had an offense that looked good against bad opponents, but turned to mush against strong fronts. That’s why this Penn State team failed to get revenge at home versus Iowa or score a second straight win against Ohio State.
C4B: Indiana is basically the definitive history of "wasted potential." There’s probably been worse at some point, but Cam Cameron turning 4 seasons of Antwaan Randle El into 0 bowl games is fairly egregious.