COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — What's brewing with the 2013 Ohio State Buckeyes ...
BUCKEYES BUZZ: In addition to coaching players on how to play the game, Urban Meyer and his staff also coach them on what to say to reporters.
This is of particular importance this week after WR Evan Spencer chuckled as he said Ohio State would "wipe the field" with Alabama and whoever is No. 2 in the Bowl Championship Series rankings.
In the wake of his comments — seen as simple confidence by some, as outright arrogance by others, as naivete or stupidity by still others — the head coach said he would not permit Spencer to talk to reporters for "a long, long time."
Meyer also said that he is constantly discussing with his players how to deal with media.
"After every game I talk to them because I know that's when they can approach the media," Meyer said on the Big Ten coaches call this week. "Every couple of weeks I'll remind them. But there's a pretty clear rule around here that you always talk about your teammates and you talk about the team and you are always respectful to the team you're getting ready to play or the one you just played."
Meyer said that was just "the right thing to do."
FRAGEL ROCK: Once a backup TE, Reid Fragel was shifted to RT and became a starter for last year's unbeaten Buckeyes.
After the season, Meyer only half-seriously said he should have an annual award named after Fragel, given to the player who came out of nowhere to have a profound impact on the team.
Meyer was asked this week who might be the winner this season.
"I would probably say Taylor Decker, our right tackle on offense," he said. "He started off real slow and he's really played well for us."
MR. STYLE: One of the abiding questions of this college football season is whether the top teams gain in the rankings from running up lopsided scores against weaker teams.
In the current parlance, it's whether contenders must pile up "style points."
Ohio State starting S Pitt Brown was asked if the Buckeyes, who are playing a team that hasn't won in its last 19 Big Ten games, needed to put a big-time whipping on Illinois on Saturday.
"I feel like we need to just go out there and handle business like we know we can," he said.
Since the subject was style points, a reporter asked Brown what player on the Ohio State football team dresses with the most style.
"(QB) Braxton Miller dresses up a lot. And (LB) Josh Perry, he dresses up a lot, so I'd give them style points," he said laughing.
And what teammate has the best collection of sneakers?
"Probably (DL) Noah Spence," Brown said, cracking up. "I think he's one of the top people there."
It was pointed out that he didn't mention any offensive linemen, who lean more toward the Duck Dynasty sense of fashion: lots of camouflage, baggy pants, ultra-long hair, and generally promote an unkempt, devil-may-care sense of fashion.
Brown agreed, then pointed out that WRs coach Zach Smith is the trendiest dresser on the staff.
HONORS, HONORS, HONORS: Miller, who ranks fourth nationally in completion percentage and sixth in passing efficiency, has been named a Walter Camp Award "player to watch," essentially a semifinalist for the annual award giving to the nation's top offensive player. Last week, Miller was selected as a semifinalist for the Davey O'Brien Award, given to the nation's top QB.
He wasn't alone in being single out for mention.
LB Ryan Shazier was among the nine semifinalists for the Lott IMPACT Trophy, given to nation's top defensive player. Fellow Big Ten LBs Chris Borland of Wisconsin and James Morris of Iowa were also named. Last year's winner was Notre Dame's Manti Te'o.
Also, freshman Cameron Johnston is listed as a semifinalist for the Ray Guy Award, given to the best collegiate punter. Johnston has just 26 punts this season but ranks second in the country in percentage of punts downed inside the 20 (.615), behind Texas State's Will Johnson (.667).
Johnston is a native of Australia.
GAME OF THE WEEK: Maybe the best college game of the week isn't even in the biggest division. But it might be in Ohio.
No. 1-ranked defending NCAA Division III playoff champion Mount Union (9-0) hosts ninth-ranked John Carroll (9-0) in a showdown that will decide the Ohio Conference champion.
The winner of the 1:30 p.m. game not only claims the OAC crown but also an automatic bid into the 32-team Division III playoff.
In case you aren't aware, Mount Union has won the last 21 conference titles. The Purple Raiders have the nation's longest winning streak — take that, Buckeyes! — at 24 games.