Ray: “Sometimes you have to be good enough to beat the refs, too.” That's a quote from my high school basketball coach (the legendary Don Thorp) and was generally followed with something like, “so don't let it come down to a ref's call!”

On one hand, if the defense doesn't allow Clemson to go 94 yards in the blink of an eye, the calls don't matter. On the other hand, regardless of anything else, the reversal of the catch/fumble return touchdown was an egregious overturn.

Since when does taking three steps not constitute a football move? So they look at the targeting call in slow motion but then don't do the same for that play? The call on the field was overturned by indisputable video evidence? On that play?

The SEC somehow still managed to insert itself into this game and it no doubt changed the outcome. I'm with Gene Smith: Nuts and bolts, nuts and bolts …

Anthony Federer, Powell

Editor: It is disappointing to players and fans when football games are decided by officiating. It is worse when a game is decided by an unidentified official of unknown abilities secreted hundreds of miles from the game site depending not on what he saw but on pictures fed to him.

And when the decision to reverse the officials on the field does not meet the standard for reversal, the current system can lead to a loss of trust in yet another American institution.

It does not have to be so. Replay review should be initiated by the head referee or the referee who made the call, done on the field, with the decision being overturned only when both agree that the original decision was wrong.

Thus, the officials on the field have the chance to correct their mistakes and publicly take total responsibility for each call.

Scott Whitlock, Worthington

Editor: Congratulations to Coach Day and his ability to convince Rutgers to don OSU scarlet and gray uniforms and play against Clemson (last) Saturday, thus saving the real OSU team for better days.

What team of reputation has first-and-goal three times and does not score a TD? I thought some of the play calls were questionable. That, coupled with what appeared to be a lack of concentration on the part of the players, was enough to forecast the loss.

My only bright spot of note is that LSU is not OSU and the Clemson Tigers, with its tail between its legs, will discover that fact on Jan. 13.

Chuck Brockman, Seattle

Mr. Stein: Likely you'll be bombarded by furious Buckeyes. Understandably. But what strikes me as strange is that the NCAA would assign a conference crew to a game in a series involving that conference, even if that conference was not in that particular game.

That is, why was the SEC officiating anything? Or a Big Ten or ACC crew? It was asking for trouble.

Personally, I could see the Fiesta SEC crew thinking Clemson would be the easier opponent for LSU, and they just helped out. Heck, no reason to give the conspiracy freaks any traction.

Gregory Froehle, Westerville

Ray: I read in The Dispatch (Monday) that J.K. Dobbins called the season a “failure.” As an OSU alum and season-ticket holder, I feel terrible about his remark.

What have we turned these fine young athletes into, where losing a game causes such a feeling? J.K. had a tremendous season, as did the entire team. Not one player should have their down due to one loss. They gave their all, some breaks did not go their way, and the officiating was deplorable.

It is my belief that the Buckeyes will contend for national championships for many years to come. Congratulations to coach Ryan Day and the entire team on such a wonderful season.

Fausto J. Garofalo Jr., Columbus

Editor: I am a graduate of Purdue, but after living in the Columbus area for over 40 years, I am an avid Buckeyes fan. Given the incredible officiating error that nullified what certainly looked as a legitimate fumble that OSU took to a touchdown, the NCAA must apply fairness and common sense to right a serious wrong.

I think that OSU from the top down, including Gene Smith, should immediately demand that OSU be given the chance to play the winner of the LSU-Clemson game as OSU legitimately should have the chance to play for the national title.

Giving them that opportunity would give the world the chance to see the two best teams fighting it out, not one that gets there by a big mistake from referees who are supposed to be wise and fair. They do make mistakes but this one is too major to overlook and just say, “Oh well, ---- happens.”

Refusal to do this tells the whole world that a major wrong decision that took away the opportunity of a lifetime for hard-working coaches and players is not only unfair, it demonstrates that the NCAA does not have the ability to right a wrong so serious that it questions the NCAA as an organization that is supposed to be honest, fair and abiding by the truth.

Bill Hood, Upper Arlington

Ray: For what it's worth, if I catch a football with you behind me and keep my arms extended in an effort to keep the ball away from you, that is a football move.

I am not going to sit here and echo sentiments that the Buckeyes didn't capitalize on many opportunities that they could control. Sometimes you get screwed by a call that does make a difference in the game.

The scoop-and-score overturn was one of those calls.

Doug Wilhelm, Orange Township

Ray: We can moan all we want about the fumble/no fumble call (which I feel was incorrect) but the bottom line is Clemson made the plays when they had to and we didn't. On any of three plays all we needed was 5 yards and the game is over.

Two of those were when we had the ball inside the 5 and the third occasion was our next-to-last drive, third-and-4 and we fail to pick up a yard, punt the ball and Clemson goes on its second 90-plus-yard drive of the game.

Clemson's first touchdown, Fuller traps Etienne by the sideline at the 5-yard line (it was third-and-goal), gets a stiff arm and Etienne goes into the end zone as Tyler Friday slipped/overran the pursuit and no other defender was there in time to help.

Had we stopped him, most likely a field goal attempt would have followed, three points versus seven which would have made our last drive more of a dink/dunk to set up a winning field goal.

Conversely, our first time in the red zone (coincidently the same area of the field as Etienne's run) Dobbins gets stuffed on a similar play by a swarming defense and we end up settling for a field goal, three points versus seven.

Yes, some calls were suspect but that's going to happen in a game. Had we won I am sure Clemson would be upset about a call here or there; it's just the nature of fans.

Like most of Buckeye Nation, I am hurting. What I hate most is the national perspective of OSU crying and blaming others instead of looking in the mirror. It was a great year that came up a game short.

I hope fans keep it all in perspective and the team takes the bitter taste and comes back with a greater resolve to get back to the playoffs in 2020. There will be many defensive holes to fill and I trust the coaches to have them ready for another run.

Doug Blair, Westerville

Mr. Stein: If OSU's Shaun Wade had knocked Clemson QB Trevor Lawrence out of the game, as he obviously tried to do, and the Buckeyes had won their semifinal, what would have been the award for knocking the Heisman Trophy winner and former Buckeye Joe Burrow out of the national championship game against LSU?

The usual “Tatum Award” and satisfaction of doing whatever it takes to win hardly seem adequate.

So good to see the new Ohio State coach, Ryan Day, continuing the tradition of doing whatever it takes to win, targeting rules be damned. Like they say: Tradition — like many football players — never graduates.

Dennis J. Grady, Severn, Md.

Editor: It was an unfortunate ending to the last promising drive. More troublesome and rotten is seeing the officials overturning and erasing two touchdowns. That the announcers would suggest that viewing replays at normal speed is a more important factor than at slow motion defies every step of logic.

Everybody knows that the hand is faster than the eye, and that the entire purpose of a review is to use technology to help determine what happened in precise detail.

Anyone could see that the receiver caught the ball and had it firmly in both hands under total control until the defender poked/knocked it out of his hands. It should have been a fumble.

Anyone could see that Dobbins caught the ball and had it firmly in both hands under total control while it passed the plane of the goal line, where it should have been confirmed as a touchdown and the end of the play. What happened to the rule that said the ground can't cause a fumble?

Allen Brand, Bremen

Editor: The Ohio State-Clemson game was decided by two biased calls by regionally-biased refs. It was an illegal weighting of the game, a lever against OSU very much struck by the South. It shows how much regional anger still lurks in the South over the war between the states.

However, what showed clearly was that Clemson is a team and they played the game with elan, class, courage, risk-taking, emotional commitment, passion and solidarity behind their quarterback, who is obviously the most talented QB in college football.

OSU played the game as a corporation, which is what the OSU team is. OSU is not a team but a group of single employees who work for a corporation. The corporation stands no match against a team that is emotionally solidified as a group, holds regional values against a defined enemy, and has do-or-die rapport.

A secondary matter is that this is still about the North and the South. Clemson played this game as payback for Grant's marching across Georgia, it is 150 years of pent-up anger toward the North played out on the football field.

This will not go away. It will be played out again, and OSU will lose again because OSU is a corporate enterprise with corporate employees playing an impassioned regional football team and a real team with historic bones to grind, and which wants to even the historic score against a Union Army ravaging of the south and the central Ohio home base of the Underground Railway and the birthplace of Ulysses S. Grant.

I'm waiting for this matchup to happen again but I do not see OSU beating Clemson in my lifetime.

The Clemson-LSU game will be remarkable to watch — the two best college quarterbacks of the last half century.

Chip Elliott, Columbus

Editor: Apparently ESPN not only determines the participants in the ESPN (nee CFP) playoffs, but also determines the winner. How do ESPN (nee SEC) officials get assigned to a game in which their conference has an interest?

Every consequential judgment call goes against the Buckeyes. What a coincidence! Congratulations, LSU, on winning the ESPN playoff. Everybody knows ESPN loves a great storyline.

Les Hess, Hilliard

Ray: I am disappointed in you. When I saw you picked Clemson to win the Fiesta Bowl, I thought, what an objective, standup guy. But when I saw you awarded 1 star to the officiating I thought that was hypocritical.

FYI, the replay booth, the rules guy on the broadcast, and Chris Fowler after the game all said no fumble. You have to admit over the years that OSU has got more than their fair share of calls that could have or should have gone the other way.

All this silly outrage of the call seems like a lot of whining to me. Why is it so hard to admit that OSU was a very good team but not a great team? The so-called bad calls did not lose the game. How about field goals instead of touchdowns, stupid penalties and silver blanks not silver bullets. Chase who?

Mickey Geslak, Lewis Center

Mr. Stein: What is the officiating crew selection process for College Football Playoff games?

A Southeastern Conference officiating crew might well have a southern bias, or potentially subconsciously favor the team that LSU could more easily defeat. What selection process was used to determine the SEC crew working the OSU-Clemson game?

Jane Walsh, Columbus

Ray: I am sure your Mailbox is full with the “faithful Nation” crying foul over the loss to Clemson, but I am amused that, as of Monday, I haven't seen one mention of the effect or lack of effect of Chase Young, the supposed “best” defensive player in the country.

His one-tackle, one-assist evening was pretty much like taking a vacation before the NFL draft. In fact, he might as well have dialed in his performance the last three games.

Just think if Justin Fields or J.K. Dobbins or Joe Burrow or Jalen Hurts would have had a performance like his. The writers would have been all over them.

With two Clemson drives over 90 yards equaling touchdowns, he probably could have helped a little. And don't tell me that he was double- and triple-teamed every play. I did see a shot of him grasping at air when Trevor Lawrence scampered past him on one of his runs.

Maybe Young will be lucky enough to play only the likes of the Bengals, Browns, Jets and other also-rans in the NFL and get a couple of tackles and sacks for his statistic book. OSU's first 10 games don't mean much except statistics and that he got.

Dennis Stapleton, Columbus

Ray: I do not know if it was the wrong route run by Chris Olave or a misread by Justin Fields, but what a way to lose to Clemson, especially after dominating most of the first half. Or did Olave slip on the turf, which was slippery all game, trying to cut-back in the direction as the pass?

What I do know, though, the Buckeyes were robbed on a strip of the ball by Jeff Okudah and returned for an apparent touchdown by Jordan Fuller, which was overturned by instant review. Clemson receiver Justyn Ross took what seemed like at least three steps while holding the ball firmly in his hands for all to see. Except for the reply officials, I guess. I'm no conspiracy theorist, but if one, I would think the fix was in.

I started thinking halfway though the season that I would hate to see the Buckeyes go up against Joe Burrow for the national championship. Something about him wanting to prove to Ohio State how good he is had me worried. That was even more so after his performance earlier in the day.

Here's rooting for Burrow to put a good old-fashioned whoopin' on Clemson!

Steven H. Spring, South Charleston

Editor: There are a few — more than a hundred — college football teams that wish they could be as good as Ohio State. Michigan is among them. This year's team matched defending national champion Clemson step-for-step. Maybe LSU is better still. We shall see.

Meanwhile, how about that Buckeye men's basketball team? Clemson and LSU would sooner forfeit than play Ohio State in basketball — and most other sports.

At Ohio State, your glass is not half-full; it's more like 95%. Enjoy the moments and get ready for the important opportunities and challenges that lie ahead for each of you — and for our country on this amazing but vulnerable third rock from the sun.

Gary Wesley, Mountain View, Calif.

Editor: The Buckeyes was robbed — no ifs and/or buts. The football Buckeyes outshone and outplayed the Clemson pussycats. However, the replay officials stole the game as if they were on the field with themselves.

Whether the reprehensible anonymous replay officials were Clemson graduates or just wouldn't allow the prior national champions to lose I don't know. I do know they committed a felony against the real victorious Buckeyes.

Michael Oser, Columbus

Ray: For Buckeye players and fans lamenting one loss as a lost season, let me offer some perspective.

One only has to look at the 2019 seasons produced by college football powers like Florida State, Miami, USC, Michigan State (and the other team up north) to appreciate our football season.

There is no shame in going 13-1, winning the Big Ten and losing a close game to a Clemson team that has made the CFP its personal playground the last five years. (I was present at the 31-0 Clemson beatdown in the desert, and the feeling was much worse.)

With 2019 in the rearview mirror and not having to start 2020 with a potential blowout loss to another SEC team at the hands of a former Buckeye QB (who Urban Meyer obviously missed the boat on), Buckeye Nation can look to the new year with anticipation and higher aspirations.

Having learned from their experience and fueled by a desire to complete unfinished business, the 2020 football season can and will be great and I am personally looking forward to it!


Jeff Petsche, Delray Beach, Fla.

Editor: I was wondering if The Dispatch had interest in doing a more comprehensive story on the folks behind the Fiesta Bowl calls and tie it into the effects of bias on sports. I'd love to see someone actually go to SEC country and interview some of the officials.

I'm not a conspiracy theorist to the degree I believe SEC officials had a pre-arranged agreement to influence the game; however, I believe there is a human factor present here. Have you ever considered just digging in deeper and see what makes these officials tick? It feels like fans are clamoring for the answer to “why?” Not only what did the Fiesta Bowl referees see, but why?

This is a part of the country known for death threats against their rivals (e.g., the latest with Travis Etienne). Do you think any of these referees bring emotional baggage to the booth or field when making decisions? Is gambling involved?

Why did Tim Brando (Louisiana resident) and Danny Kannell (Florida State grad) come out and say that the call was correct — that it wasn't a catch and fumble, while the rest of country seems to think this was a catch all day long? How does bias play into how you see the call?

The unanswered questions are what did the refs see and what influenced how they made the call? How about prying an explanation out of them?

Readers might want to know does living in Birmingham influence the mindset of referees? Do any of these refs show up at charity events or rub shoulders with Dabo Swinney in the offseason? Do locals know these guys are referees so there could be a fear of retribution after a game if a call is not liked (e.g., anything favorable to the Big Ten)?

I know folks from SEC country and they hate the Big Ten and the Buckeyes, but why? I've been living in Columbus for 40 years and don't know where that comes from. I don't hate Alabama, Auburn or the like, so what's the history of the hatred?

I feel like there is a bigger story that the SEC — with their silence — is trying to bury. How about digging it up? Have you considered flying down south, getting in these refs' face with a microphone, and holding them accountable to their actions? Give the fans a little color, what's the story behind the story?

I heard one of the radio announcers say this loss was more devastating by 100 times than the 1998 Michigan State game. We're going to be talking about this one for 30 more years, too, and at the center of this game's story is the refs and the overturned calls from the replay booth.

It doesn't seem fair to fans to not investigate this further for them and document this further, or poof the story is gone, we'll never know the what or why. Thirty years from now we'll just be wondering if someone was crooked, on the take, had gambled on the game, was a Dabo fan … or none of these things, just a case of stupidity.

Greg Whitcomb, Columbus

Editor: I would like to pass along my thanks to Michael Arace. Thanks to his (Tuesday) commentary I will be letting my Dispatch subscription expire when it comes due — and save $250 per year! Thanks, Mr. Arace!

Although I absolutely agree with several of his comments: “scoring touchdowns (rather than field goals)” — I was saying as it was happening! And doing so would have taken the ONCE AGAIN incompetent, biased SEC officials OUT OF BEING ABLE TO IMPACT THE GAME!

However, there are a couple of comments made by Mr. Arace that really irked me.

* “The referee didn't run into the Clemson punter.” Which is exactly true! But it was JUST running into the kicker, which should have been a 5-yard penalty and still a Clemson punt. Instead, roughing the punter was called (ANOTHER SEC officiating crew BLUNDER!), first down, and we know what happened next.

* And this one really got under my skin: “It was not that long ago that a certain team won a national championship thanks to a blown call in the Fiesta Bowl.” First, of all it was NOT a blown call. A late call? YES! Correct call? YES! And I have a 2-foot by 3-foot framed photo in my Buckeye room to prove it! Chris Gamble being mugged with the football still 5 feet from arriving.

If Mr. Arace would like to see it he is more than welcome to come view it! And if you REALLY watched that game it should NEVER have gotten to OT! Watch it — Gamble caught a pass inbounds on the sideline late in the game that if ruled correctly would have been a first down allowing us to run out the clock. Instead ruled incomplete (SEC officials?). Miami received the ensuing punt and able to kick a FG to allow them to take the game to OT!

I could go on and on about the incompetent/corrupt SEC officials. It's been going on for a LONG time! The bogus targeting call — it didn't even meet the four criteria for a targeting/ejection call! (Chase Young about had his helmet ripped off by the face mask on the same play.)

The bogus “incomplete” pass negating what at the time SHOULD have been a fumble recovery returned for the go-ahead TD. I ABSOLUTELY guarantee you that if this were being reviewed for a Clemson TD it would have been ruled complete — TD!

If I recall correctly Joey Bosa was disqualified in the 2016 Fiesta Bowl (AGAIN by an SEC officiating crew!) via a bogus targeting call!

Thanks for your time. I'll stick to my BSB Magazine from now on!

Kenny Wright, Westerville

Editor: I enjoy Michael Arace's work, particularly on hockey. I don't have to agree with a columnist to enjoy it.

I understand his (Tuesday) comments on the comparison between the 2002 BCS Championship game and OSU's tough loss in the college football playoff. But it's a false comparison.

The “blown call” in OT has been written about for so long, it's now considered a fact by many that Miami was robbed, or as he put it, “a certain team won a national championship thanks to a blown call in the Fiesta Bowl.”

Not true. First, there is the blown call nobody ever talks about. Ohio State with the ball late in regulation, leading by three, basically needing a first down to run out the clock. QB Craig Krenzel hits Chris Gamble on the sideline.

First, Gamble is held. No call. Second, Gamble catches the ball but is ruled out of bounds. Replay shows he had the first down. But replay was not used in those days. Had the right call been made then, OSU would have been taking a knee to end the game in regulation.

The call that went against Miami was in OT, but OSU would have won the game in regulation. That play would not have happened.

Second, the call against Miami was not a no-brainer. To me, Gamble was either held or interfered with. I admit bias, but to say that OSU won because of a blown calls is too much to assume.

Also, with the bad call against OSU in regulation, OSU clearly won the game fair and square.

The morning after the game I was watching an ESPN commentator, who said about the call that went against OSU in regulation: “If OSU had lost the game, THIS is the call we would be talking about.”

Rick Dodsworth, Columbus

Ray: I write you regarding to the OSU postgame write-ups in Monday's Dispatch. The headline on Rob Oller's column is so misleading and negative: “Legacy tarnished by loss.” Disappointing, yes, but tarnished, no.

I have read many articles by Oller, and I always go away with a “negative” taste. Does anyone pre-read Oller's articles before final print? With one of the best running backs in the country hobbled early in second half, who leaves the game three times to re-tape, playing without question in incredible pain, giving it his all.

Our quarterback also hobbled by a knee injury, has to be at 50-60% at best, is giving it his all as well. There is no tarnished loss here! Incredible dedication to excellence the past 14 months got the Buckeyes to the playoffs. Again no tarnished legacy exists here, only in the mind of Oller.

The Buckeyes through 14 games (Oller mentions only 13) played as good as any team in the country, so is Oller insinuating that the 14th game was a bad game? What a negative writer.

What an honor to be a part of this 2019 team. Tell Oller there is an opening in Ann Arbor.

Bob and Joyce Bennett, Canal Winchester

Editor: Great game, two great teams but Clemson's resolve stood out, as did its attitude, willingness and drive.

The turning point in this game was simply the CROWN of the helmet call, it was the spark plug and it should never have happened but it did and it cost your team. That's what happens when you try to put an opposing player out of the game, it was a no-doubter.

Alan Cribb, Tucker, Ga.

Ray: Many championships and big games have been won through the years where the winning team was able to muster only a few field goals instead of touchdowns.

The fact that OSU failed to convert in the red zone three times does not lessen the impact of the blown calls. Ask Tom Klaban if he agrees with me, considering his four field goals defeated Michigan!

Both overturned passing plays — the Dobbins end-zone catch and the fumble TD return — were terrible calls and cost OSU the game. Period! Neither call had enough clear video evidence to overturn the call on the field and the fumble play was particularly egregious. The new standard for pass completions has become overly subjective and not equally applied.

How could Clemson's TD catch in the back of the end zone stand when that receiver took less steps than the guy who fumbled the ball? Also, please tell me what a “football move” is!

It's hard to mention conspiracy theories these days but it certainly seemed like that SEC crew had their thumb on the scale. OSU and the Big Ten should file a formal complaint with the NCAA and force them to admit they got it wrong.

Franz Kabelka, Columbus

Editor: I was born and bred in the South — actually in the capital of the Confederacy. I know that college football is possibly the most important thing to many Southerners.

The game between Ohio State and Clemson was clearly won the field by the Buckeyes, but was taken away by the Southern referees on two reversed calls without “overwhelming evidence.”

These SEC replay officials threw out Ohio State's top defensive back when the Clemson quarterback moved his head into the path of a legitimate tackle with the Buckeyes leading 16-0 and turned the game around.

Then when the Buckeyes recovered a clear fumble for a touchdown and the lead, the SEC replay officials took away the touchdown without “overwhelming” evidence.

The game was between a Southern team and a Midwestern team, and the NCAA should not have selected referees from either the South or the Midwest. But they did and cost Ohio State the game.

Harlery Frankel, Santa Monica, Calif.

Editor: I knew the OSU stats wouldn't be in Sunday's paper because the game was so late. I thought the Monday paper would have complete stats, not the abbreviated barely readable stats that are hidden in the paper.

I understand the newspaper business is in trouble but I don't think it helps the business when I have to go to the internet to see what I want.

Additionally you printed the stats too big this morning I could still read them. (That's sarcasm).

I like your writing. Have a good day. That's not sarcasm.

James Linke, Columbus

Editor: I suggest a couple things: 1) rename the FBS national championship to what it really is — the “Alabama/Clemson vs. the Pretenders Bowl.” 2) Let's get back to the time before big money drove everything and get rid of the Rutgers of the world, shorten the season with real competition, get rid of conference championships, and restore the traditional bowls, except for, see No. 1.

L. Michael Howard, Westerville

Ray: I see that AD Gene Smith is upset about the Fiesta Bowl officiating. I wonder if he will do anything other than complain. I do agree that we were “homered” by the SEC officiating crew, especially regarding the “strip and scoop” play.

Many reviews of this play clearly show that the receiver had a secure hold on the ball while he took several steps and did not start to lose control until the defender brought his hand down to force the ball away.

Yet, in a postgame explanation, an official said that his crew had a good look and even consulted a Birmingham review facility. He further stated that the receiver started to lose control before contact by the defender's hand. Not true!

Ohio State did not have many reasons to alibi about losing to Clemson, but this one play was undeniably a difference maker.

Incidentally, did anyone notice that the pregame coin toss official caught the coin before it could fall to the turf? How many coin tosses are conducted like that? Maybe we could assume from this that we were in for a tough night from the zebras. I believe the Tigers won the toss.

Don Denton, Westerville

Editor: I read that John Tortorella was a bit miffed at losing the game to Chicago, at losing his starting goalie and most of all, at the officiating during Sunday's game at Nationwide Arena.

I think his ire toward that third item is misplaced. Did the refs make an error? Absolutely. No doubt about it. Is it the reason the first two items occurred? I could see the loss in its infancy at about the 6:00 mark of the third period, so my answer is no.

The Jackets proved yet again that they can't play with a lead, especially in the third period. The “chip the puck down the ice and wait for the opposing team to bring it back and take a shot or two at the net” strategy was on full display. And if that doesn't revive the other team's outlook, you commit a few penalties to buoy their chances.

How many times will this “playing to not lose” malaise result in snatching defeat from the jaws of victory, before changes are made? Perhaps Torts should make it a habit of calling a timeout with 10 minutes left, while some portion of a lead still exists, and chew the team's collective backside about needing to stop hoping time will expire and start playing.

Someone needs to because the “leaders” on the team seem incapable of righting the puck management ship once the “chip and watch” routine commences.

If the team and coaches are looking for someone to blame for the loss of the game and the loss of the only player on the team who has exceeded expectations this season, don't look at the officials, look in the mirror.

Paul Burchett, Pickerington

Ray: I thought I had seen it all but no, the NHL has topped themselves once again. Not adding time back on the clock after a whistle cost the Blue Jackets a point. And to add insult to injury, Joonas Korpisalo gets hurt in the shootout that never should have been.

This more than likely will dash any hopes of a playoff berth. Korpi has played that well. Then the league calls Torts “unprofessional” with his comments and he will be fined.

I read blogs on this and just about everyone including Penguins and Blackhawks fans says the Jackets were wronged. The explanation for this by Mr. Campbell was long and said absolutely nothing.

Thanks, NHL, now go gift another team to Seattle like you did Vegas. We like it our way — we earn it. The problem is the NHL finds ways for that not happening. Am I crying poor us? You're darn right I am.

Fred Haefner, Hilliard

Editor: My husband and I took our 7-year-old son to a Blue Jackets game for New Year's Eve for the second year in a row.

To be clear, the Blue Jackets did not fail to deliver. We saw a big win. We saw post-game fireworks. We had a good time all around. We also got shushed by the people by the people in the row in front of us, which seems ridiculous.

Our son is loud. That's exactly why for two years running, we've taken him to a hockey game. Would loud yelling be inappropriate at a fancy dinner? Yes. At the theater? Absolutely. At a sporting event full of nail-biting action? Absolutely not!

I don't want to take away from Blue Jackets fans who take the game seriously, but in my opinion, taking the game seriously means cheering for the team on the ice, jumping up and down and yes, yelling a little bit.

To make a 7-year-old feel like he's doing something wrong by cheering for the team he loves seems beyond ridiculous. I didn't see any code of conduct on my ticket stub that implied I couldn't cheer on the team that I love or let my little boy do the same.

Elizabeth Mason, Cincinnati

Editor: I am writing about the sad situation that Browns fans once again find ourselves in. I plan to immediately boycott all Cleveland Browns games, NFL games, NFL events such as the draft and the Super Bowl, Columbus Crew games, Pilot Flying J service stations, and anything else pertaining to James Haslam III.

Mr. Haslam's treatment of this storied franchise is beyond disgusting and deserves to be publicly shamed.

One cannot find a better example of being “born on third thinking you hit a home run” than James Haslam III. Born into massive wealth, never having to face adversity once in his life, Mr. Haslam continually thinks he is the smartest person in the room despite never having run an NFL team. His crony wife Dee comes from a similar background and it is clear they hire through nepotism as evidenced by the Haslam son-in-law JW Johnson having a prominent role within the org.

And yet, despite having no patience, no football knowledge, no track record of success, and no real plan, the Haslams decide to blow it all up again after two years and we are expected to trust in Mr. and Mrs. Haslam to make yet another front-office and coaching hire.

Why do two billionaires and their son-in-law get to choose one of 32 extremely exclusive coaching jobs in the world? See above: their ego knows no bounds by virtue of the fact that they have billions of dollars and no other reason. The fact that the Haslams cannot wait even two years after bringing in John Dorsey to rebuild from a completely depleted 0-16 (!) roster is despicable and childish and proves to me that the Haslams are completely incapable of building a winning franchise.

Michael Cilfone, Hilliard

Ray: I'm sure you must have seen the article on the bottom of page B1 of the 12/24 Dispatch: “Sports network, Ohio State at odds over 'O' ”

Apparently, the university sent the network a cease and desist letter for having the temerity to use the letter “O” as its logo. Ohio State's “O” is octagonal. Overtime Sports Inc.'s is a rectangle, rounded at its corners.

Looking at it reminds me of the shape of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Ohio State's “O” is scarlet, gray and white. Overtime's is white on a green background.

In short, they look nothing alike and I can't believe Overtime is taking a cent out of the university's pocket by using it. This is almost as ridiculous as Ohio State's recent attempt to claim the word “THE” as its own (which failed — as it should have).

Ohio State needs to stop being such a bully. What's next? Will they demand that the state of Ohio remove the “O” from the state flag? Will they demand that Oklahoma State University stop using the abbreviation “OSU?”

I wouldn't put it past them. Give me a break.

Mike Adamkosky, Columbus

Ray: Here's a message to the Bengals: First, you sit down with Urban Meyer. You hand him a piece of paper and have him write down whatever salary he wants. You look at his figure and hire him on the spot.

Then you draft Joe Burrow. Pay negotiations with Joe should be conducted the same way. The Bengals suddenly become relevant. The stadium is packed. The Bengals suddenly pick up every Buckeye fan and some Brown fans.

Urban retires in a couple of years due to health concerns and picks Ryan Day as the Bengals head coach. This after the Buckeyes win a national championship. Brian Hartline is then named OSU head coach.

Roger Butler, Pickerington

Editor: Have college football player statistics dropped noticeably since the rules changed when the clock restarts after play ends by running out of bounds?

At some point, running out of bounds was like an incomplete pass where the clock started at the next snap. Since 2008 I think, the clock restarts after the refs set the ball. Didn't players have a lot more game time to pad stats in the earlier clock management era?

Brian Perera, Upper Arlington

Mr. Stein: The OSU-Clemson game will be the top topic this week, but I want to comment about the NFL's end-of-season house-cleaning of losing coaches. One team fires a coach/GM, and hires a coach/GM just recently fired. Why?

All they are participating in is recycling used material. It reminds me of emptying the pieces of a puzzle, and trying to put the pieces together, hoping you can finish the puzzle in a timely manner.

It appears many NFL teams are always putting the pieces of the puzzle together, and never finishing putting it together, successfully. They keep trying and hoping, with the same result.

Chris Beale, London

Ray: I haven't seen or heard any update on Terrelle Pryor in The Dispatch since the incident. Did I miss an issue?

Bob Wiseman, Worthington

Editor: Without David Stern, the NBA would not be what it is today. He guided through the league through turbulent times and grew the league into an international phenomenon, creating opportunities that few could have imagined before.

He had a deep love for the game of basketball and demanded excellence from those around him. I offer my deepest sympathies to his wife Dianne and his family. David Stern, RIP.

Paul Bacon, Hallandale Beach, Fla.