88 Days To Football*

Happy Saturday, everyone! We are now just 17 Saturdays away from college football season, if you count that weird Week Zero when a bunch of Mountain West teams play for some reason.

That may seem like a long time, but there are 20 Saturdays that actually fall during football season, and that always flies by.

This week was a rare one for the offseason, with a bunch of college football-y news. Denzel Ward, Billy Price, Tyquan Lewis, Jerome Baker, and Sam Hubbard are now officially pros.

In news involving current players, Shea Patterson was ruled eligible to play at Michigan this fall.

That’s huge because it means Wolverine fans will now have to blame their schedule instead of their quarterback when they finish third in the East again this fall.

Don’t forget to check out yesterday’s installment if you haven’t yet.

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

#88 Rob Sims, 2006-2010

He isn’t the former Buckeye from Macedonia, Ohio drawing the most headlines this weekend, but Rob Sims made the trip from Nordonia High School to Columbus 13 years before Denzel Ward.

Nick Mangold Troy Smith Rob Sims
Rob Sims won games in Michigan even before he played for the Detroit Lions

He played both tackle and guard while starting 40 games as a Buckeye. Sims was part of the 2002 national championship team, and named all-conference in 2005.

If Ward manages to have the NFL career that Sims did, Browns fans should be pretty happy.

Sims played nine seasons with the Seattle Seahawks and Detroit Lions, making 116 career starts. He started all 16 games in all five of his seasons in Detroit.

Sims still lives in Detroit and works in real estate investment.

Best Games This Fall

#88 Army at Oklahoma, September 22

We talked about this during Friday’s episode of Accost the Field, but scheduling games against service academy teams is a better indication of one’s intelligence level than the Wonderlic.

There is no reason to do it. Ever. They are teams loaded with intelligent and disciplined players, running a unique and grinding offensive system designed solely to wear you down and break your spirit. And also your knees.

You are going to look terrible virtually for a big chunk of the game every time you play one of them.

The Army game comes after the Sooners face Lane Kiffin’s FAU Owls in the opener, Chip Kelly’s UCLA Bruins week 2, and a solid Iowa State team in week 3. Then immediately after Army, they play a home date with Baylor and the Red River Shootout with Texas.

You may see their defensive coaches weeping openly on the sidelines after having to face that many different styles of offense.

Army might not win this game, but if the Sooners come in even a little flat, this could be one that goes right down to the wire.

What We Can’t Wait To See

#88 Lane Kiffin’s Employment Tour

Normally when you’re trying to land a new job, you scrub potentially problematic social media posts and stay on your best behavior. Lane Kiffin seems to be taking the exact opposite route.

Kiffin is not without his baggage – hiring Kendall Briles last year was… not a great look. He has loaded his FAU roster with players who have had all sorts of issues at their previous stops.

But on the field, he has turned a moribund program in to a an exciting winner.

This will almost certainly be his last year in Boca Raton, and it would be a shock if he didn’t land a Power 5 job.

Where could that be? Pat Chun, the former Ohio State administrator who brought Kiffin to FAU, is now the AD at Washington State.

Mike Leach nearly left the Cougars last offseason, and could be in for a rough season this fall.

If Leach decides to jump after this year, Kiffin could take the Lane Train out to the Palouse.

Matchup To Watch

#88 Shawn Robinson, TCU QB vs. Jeff Okudah

This will be the second time in three games that Okudah returns to his home state of Texas to face a highly-touted quarterback in Dallas Cowboys Stadium.

He held his own as a true freshman against USC’s Sam Darnold in the Cotton Bowl. Now he has to deal with Robinson, a very different type of signal-caller.

Robinson is far more mobile than Darnold, but also far less experienced. He started one game as a true freshman last year, and is considered the frontrunner to win the job for the Frogs this fall.

He went 6-for-17 for 85 yards and a touchdown in that start against Texas Tech. However, his running was the difference that day. He rushed for another 84 yards on just 10 carries in a 27-3 win.

Now he, like Okudah, will look to make a much bigger splash during his second season.

Robinson will likely be mistake-prone early in the year. If Okudah can help contain his legs, and potentially pick off a bad throw or two, the Buckeyes have a good chance to win in Arlington yet again.