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Ohio State dominated the major sports in 2017-18. (Joe Maiorana/USA Today Sports)

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Scarlet Sunrise: Ohio State named best athletic department for 2017-18

Good morning, Ohio State fans, and welcome to the Scarlet Sunrise! Football will always be our focus, but every day we’ll cover news, notes and analysis from across Buckeyes sports. Join us each morning to get caught up on everything you missed in the world of Ohio State football, recruiting, basketball and more. 

Ohio State takes top honor

CBS Sports named Ohio State the top athletic department for the 2017-18 season on Wednesday, with the Buckeyes edging out Alabama, Oklahoma, Michigan and Duke. Those standings look different from the Director’s Cup standings, so what gives? Well, here’s the CBS Sports explanation for how it calculates the honor, which basically boils down to “it’s better to do well in the sports people actually watch”:

The National Association of College Directors of Athletics (NACDA) has been ranking athletic programs for years by weighing every sport equally, meaning a football national title is worth the same number of points (100) as a women’s water polo title. We tweaked the formula in 2013, providing additional weight toward sports with more broad fan bases and media interest. We rate every FBS school in three sports — football, men’s basketball and women’s basketball — along with two “wild cards” among the school’s most successful spectator sports: baseball, softball, volleyball, soccer, gymnastics, lacrosse, hockey and wrestling. The weighted formula puts 2.5 times as much emphasis on football compared to women’s basketball and the “wild cards;” men’s basketball is worth twice as many points.

Fair enough. While it’s probably more prestigious to have the type of top-to-bottom success that gives Stanford the Director’s Cup each year, it makes just as much sense to me to have an award that rewards schools for success in the most prominent sports. After all, if Ohio State didn’t have such a high level of success in football it wouldn’t have a rowing team. Boats are expensive!

Class of 2020 5-star interested in Buckeyes

It’s been a minute since Ohio State landed a football player from Washington, but that could change in the next couple of years. Class of 2020 5-star linebacker and Seattle native Sav’ell Smalls has some Buckeye State connections as well as some interest in the program.

“My mom was originally from Ohio,” Smalls told Lettermen Row. “I have a lot of family who lives in Cleveland. I grew up watching those Buckeye leaves on the helmets, because I loved the stickers on helmets look when I was younger.”

Though he’s listed as a linebacker, he could grow into a defensive end and Ohio State’s success there hasn’t escaped his eye.

“They put out a ton of defensive linemen, and they definitely develop them,” he said. “Joey Bosa was one of my favorite defensive ends in college.”

Thailand cave hero is Ohio State grad

The mission commander of the daring rescue of 12 members and the coach of a Thailand soccer team also happens to be an Ohio State alum. The Columbus Dispatch wrote about the former Buckeye graduate student after the school’s College of Engineering learned of the connection:

“Narongsak Osottanakorn, 57, is the governor of Chiang Rai, a northern province of Thailand where the caves are located,” the Dispatch wrote. “Narongsak lived in Columbus from 1985 until 1988 while he was studying geodetic engineering and surveying at Ohio State University. He earned his master’s degree in 1988.

Counting down

  • Big Ten media days: 11 days
  • Ohio State season opener: 51 days
  • The Game: 135 days

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