This is the 72nd in a series of 100 daily posts, a Countdown to College Football. (Sort of.)
There are only 29 days remaining until the Big Ten Football Media Days are in the books. Then, once we pile into a car or mid-sized SUV on the way back from Chicago, the college football preseason can officially begin.
Camp will start soon after and we will be able to regale you with our reports of the 15 minutes of practice that we got to see. How does Tate Martell look? Has he improved his passing? Who the hell knows. We only got to see him jog and stretch.
But I’ll tell you this, he jogs and stretches as well as any Ohio State quarterback since Braxton Miller.
That’s still a ways off, however. We should do a countdown for that day.
Today’s countdown will be much different than that countdown, I assume. Today we feature the greatest deep threat in Ohio State history, an ACC matchup of blue-blood programs that might be stuck in neutral, a week of upsets, and the Best In America against a Spartan Dawg.
If you missed yesterday’s edition, you can find it right here.
Now please join us as we continue our countdown of the 100 greatest Buckeyes of The Ozone era (1996-present).
We will also preview one of the 100 most exciting games on this fall’s college football schedule, and one of the 100 things we’re most looking forward to this fall.
Plus, we’ll preview one of this season’s 100 biggest personnel matchups.
Greatest Buckeyes Of The Ozone Era
#29 Devin Smith, 2011-2014
I’m not going to dispute these rankings since I was a part of them, but I do feel like J.T. Barrett should be ranked ahead of Devin Smith.
That being said, Barrett wasn’t half the deep threat that Devin Smith was. And not only was he a great deep threat, but he was also the best gunner that Urban Meyer has ever had.
In 2011, Smith led the Buckeyes in receiving with a mind-blowing 14 receptions for 294 yards and four touchdowns. As a sophomore, he finished second with 30 catches and 618 yards receiving, but led the Buckeyes with six touchdowns. Smith finished second in all three categories as a junior, putting up 44 receptions for 660 yards and eight touchdowns.
Then came 2014. Smith finished third on the team with just 33 receptions, but finished with 132 more yards than anybody else, with 931 yards receiving. His 12 touchdowns led the team as well. The 28.2 yards per catch that season set an Ohio State season record.
While Smith was doing plenty of damage with J.T. Barrett at quarterback, he really stepped up when Barrett went down and the team needed him most. Against Wisconsin, he set the tone. For as much as Ezekiel Elliott did, that game — and the game after it — were as much about Devin Smith stretching the defense and coming down with the 50/50 ball every single time.
Smith caught seven passes in the 2014 postseason, they went for 39, 44, 12, 42, 40, 47, and 45 yards. Four of them were touchdowns.
Smith finished his career with 121 receptions for 2,503 yards. The 2,503 yards are fifth-most in OSU history, and his 20.7 yards per catch over his career is fourth all-time behind Cedric Anderson (21.3), and Doug Donley (21.2) and Terry Glenn (21.2).
Smith’s 30 touchdown receptions are second all-time in school history. He also owns the school record with longest reception (90).
Ohio State was 22-0 in games where Devin Smith caught a touchdown.
Best Games This Fall
#29 Florida State at Notre Dame
Florida State rolls into South Bend on November 10 where they will find chilly weather and maybe an amped up audience. Before the Irish even get to this game, however, they will host Michigan, Stanford, travel to Virginia Tech, host Pitt and Navy, then go to Northwestern the week before the Noles get to town.
So yeah, Notre Dame has a lot going on this season. Such is life for a quasi-ACC team, however.
The Irish return nine starters on defense and will be trying to do something that Notre Dame hasn’t done since 2002 — beat the Seminoles.
Florida State, meanwhile, returns eight starters on offense and just four on defense, which means we could see a South Bend Shootout if it’s not miserable and raining, which it probably will be.
The Noles’ three-game stretch is going to suck for them. They host Clemson, then hit the road to North Carolina State, then it’s off to Notre Dame. Their offensive line is going to be sore by the time they finally get to South Bend.
What We Can’t Wait To See
#29 The Upsets Coming in Week Three
Let’s talk about the possible upsets we’re looking at in week three of the college football season this year.
Oklahoma goes to Iowa State, where the Sooners will attempt to exact their revenge for last year’s 38-31 loss to ISU at home. That’s a noon kickoff for you. Also at noon is Florida State at Syracuse. Last season, the Noles came away with a 27-24 win over the Orange. Two week’s earlier, however, Syracuse was upsetting No. 2 Clemson as 23.5-point underdogs.
Another game to watch at noon is the Miami Hurricanes at Toledo. Teams like Miami don’t just walk into the Glass Bowl and come out unharmed. That’s mostly because teams like Miami don’t play at Toledo. Defending national champions UCF will be in Chapel Hill to play North Carolina. Can quarterback McKenzie Milton handle the Tar Heels defense?
LSU is at Auburn that weekend as well. Can Joe Burrow surprise the Tigers? Can Lovie Smith and the Illini defend their home against the South Florida Bulls? Can Michigan do the same against SMU?
Then we get to the night games. Alabama heads to Ole Miss, where the Rebels are looking to avenge a 66-3 loss to the Tide last year. Can they come within four touchdowns? That would constitute an upset, right? Will Missouri be able to go into Purdue and come away with the upset? Is that even an upset? If it’s not, then can Purdue upset the Tigers by holding down the fort in a win?
The 8 o’clock games then feature Ohio State and TCU in Dallas, where the Buckeyes are a double-digit favorite. Can the Horned Frogs pull off the upset? Texas looks for a win at home against USC, and Utah looks to send Washington home with an early-season conference loss.
It should be a fun one.
Matchup To Watch
#29 Felton Davis, MSU WR vs. Kendall Sheffield
Felton Davis led the Spartans with 55 receptions, 776 yards, and 9 touchdowns last season, which makes him the most important wide receiver on Michigan State’s team. At 6-foot-4 and 196 pounds, he is a sizable matchup for cornerbacks both figuratively and literally.
Last year he was held to zero catches against the Buckeyes, which can’t happen again if the Spartans are going to come away with the win.
Fourth-year junior cornerback Kendall Sheffield will find himself matched up with Davis on many occasions. He is the physical corner that can handle a bigger receiver, though it might involve a pass interference or two.