BACF game one of the better ones

Talking about high school football first today, I’ve seen quite a few of the now 20 BACF Football Classic games through the years.

Although the final score of last Friday’s BACF matchup at Don Drumm Stadium in Marietta was a 20-point spread, 33-13, in West Virginia’s favor over Ohio, I thoroughly enjoyed the game, the effort both teams put into it and the quality of play that was crisp and hard-hitting.

The mental mistakes, like offsides, were few, belying the fact that the teams have only a week to prepare, but somehow do.

That’s a credit to head coaches Bobby Burnside of Doddridge County for W.Va. and Eric Huck from Fort Frye for Ohio along with their respective high school staffs and especially all of the players for both teams.

The BACF games, whether in football or basketball, continue to grow and can only get better.

* When the Ohio State Athletics Hall of Fame Class of 2013 was announced this week, I, as always, was interested in who was going to be inducted this fall, and introduced at halftime of the home football game against Wisconsin Sept. 28.

Of course, the singular name that caught my eye was former Buckeye head football coach John Cooper from 1988 through 2000, along with that of Scoonie Penn in basketball.

Cooper, already in the College Football Hall of Fame, took Ohio State to 111 victories and five top-10 national finishes in his 13 seasons at the OSU grid helm.

On his watch, the Buckeyes won three Big Ten championships. Cooper’s 1996 and 1998 squads both finished finished 11-1 and No. 2 in the nation.

Cooper was named the Associated Press national Coach of the Year in 1986. He coached for 39 years in college with an overall record of 192-84-6.

During his time at Ohio State, the Buckeyes totaled 22 first-team All-Americans, 16 first-round NFL draft picks and had a Heisman Trophy winner in Eddie George as well as a number of major award winners in Orlando Pace (Lombardi, Outland), Andy Katzenmoyer (Butkus), Antoine Winfield (Thorpe) and Terry Glenn (Biletnikoff).

As a senior, Penn, who played two seasons (1999, 2000) at Ohio State after transferring from Boston College, won the Francis Pomeroy Award as the best player in the country under 6-feet tall.

In just two years at OSU, Penn set the school record for career 3-pointers made with 153, a mark now tied for fourth all-time. Penn’s 88 made 3s in 1998-99 is the fifth-best single-season total for OSU.

In 66 career games with the Buckeyes, Penn scored 1,076 points.

Penn, though, was better known for setting up his Buckeye teammates and playing defense, recording 284 career assists at OSU. As a junior and senior, Penn led the Buckeyes in both assists and steals.

He was a consensus second-team All-American in 2000 and two-time first-team all-Big Ten guard.

* Ohio State now has starting times for all but five of its football games this fall. The schedule – with times if decided on -are Aug. 31, Buffalo, noon; Sept. 7, San Diego State, 3:30 p.m.; Sept. 14, at California, 7 p.m.; Sept. 21, Florida A&M; Sept. 28, Wisconsin, 8 p.m.; Oct. 5, at Northwestern, 8 p.m.; Oct. 19, Iowa, 3:30 p.m.; Oct. 26, Penn State, 8 p.m.; Nov. 2, at Purdue; Nov. 16, at Illinois; Nov. 23, Indiana; Nov. 30, at Michigan; and (hopefully) Dec. 7, Big Ten championship game at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis.