This is the eighth in a series of 100 daily posts, a Countdown to College Football. (Sort of.)
Can you feel it? We are just 93 days away from us getting back home from yet another productive trip to Chicago for the Big Ten Football Media Days.
I can’t wait.
I love the media days because it allows me to challenge myself. Mostly, I challenge myself to stay awake while the coaches and B1G b1gw1gs are up at the podium talking about what a great year 2018 is going to be. It’s not easy, especially after a hearty boxed lunch.
I’ll be nodding off before you know it.
Before we get there, however, we’ve got this little 100-day project going. Don’t forget to check out yesterday’s edition if you missed it.
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
#93 Joe Montgomery, RB 1994-1998
If Joe Montgomery would have had two healthy knees throughout his career, he’d be much higher on this list.
Montgomery came to Ohio State as part of a very talented 1994 recruiting class that included Pepe Pearson, Roedell Dupree, Winfield Garnett, Dee Miller, John Lumpkin, Damon Moore, and NFL Hall of Famer Orlando Pace. Unfortunately, Montgomery wasn’t eligible to play as a true freshman due to grades.
Montgomery came to Ohio State from a very rough situation in Chicago where he was “involved in a lot of bad things.” He didn’t even carry the ball until 1996, but when he did finally get involved, he was very, very good. As part of the rushing attack in 1996 that featured Pearson and freshman Jermon Jackson, Montgomery finished second on the team with 68 carries for 460 yards. A knee injury cost him the final four-plus games of the year, including the 13-9 loss to Michigan. He had games of 109 yards rushing against Pitt, 86 yards against Penn State, and 160 yards against Iowa. Had he been healthy for the Michigan game, the Buckeyes may have very well won a national title.
Montgomery played in six games in 1997, but he was still recovering from his knee injury. In 1998, he returned to his explosive form, rushing for 766 yards on 118 carries in a thunder-and-lightning tandem with Michael Wiley. Montgomery once again took it to Iowa in 1998, rushing for 144 yards.
In his career, Montgomery rushed for 1,331 yards and nine touchdowns on 216 carries. He never started a game, but those who watched him knew very well what he was capable of. He was a second-round draft pick by the New York Giants. After a brief NFL career, Montgomery eventually returned to Ohio State in 2005 to earn his degree.
Best Games This Fall
#93 Alabama at Ole Miss
Ole Miss has gone 2-2 against Alabama the last four years, but the Rebels are currently riding a 2-game losing streak in the series. Last year, the Crimson Tide squeaked by with a 66-3 win.
Ole Miss will be coming into the game this year with revenge on their mind. Unfortunately, revenge for the Rebels usually means lawyers getting involved, and there will be no lawyers allowed on the field at Vaught-Hemingway Stadium when these two teams meet on September 15.
I still expect Ole Miss to petition to the NCAA not to allow Alabama to be immediately eligible this season like they’re doing with quarterback transfer Shea Patterson.
What We Can’t Wait To See
#93 The above average title contender out of the Big Ten West
It’s college football’s version of Cinderella with a chance.
UCF showed you how far a non-Power 5 Cinderalla can go. Maybe this is the year a Big Ten West team shows us how far a Cinderella With a Chance can go.
Last year, Wisconsin entered the Big Ten Championship Game ranked No. 3 in the nation. Had they gotten the win over No. 8 Ohio State, they would have likely made the playoffs. In 2015, Iowa — FREAKING IOWA — was one foot away from going to the playoffs. And they probably couldn’t have done a whole lot worse than Michigan State did that year.
Who will it be this year? Can Nebraska ride the Scott Frost wave to title contention? (Probably not since they have road games at Michigan, Wisconsin, Northwestern, Ohio State, and Iowa.) Can Northwestern maybe do it? Home games against Michigan, Wisconsin, and Notre Dame will certainly get the Committee’s attention. Will it just be Wisconsin again? Though road games against Iowa, Michigan, Northwestern, Penn State, and Purdue might be too daunting.
Could it be Illinois…ha ha ha ha…Oh man. I hope you weren’t drinking coffee just now.
Matchup To Watch
#93 OSU QB To Be Named Later vs. MICH MLB Devin Bush
It’s fourth-and-1 in overtime. Ohio State ball. Buckeyes are trailing by three points. The quarterback is going to get the snap and he is going to run the ball. It is going to be up to Michigan middle linebacker Devin Bush to make sure he doesn’t get that one yard he needs.
And that’s just one play out 75 that Bush will be matching wits and fits with whoever-is-taking-the-snap-at-quarterback for the Buckeyes.
As the quarterback of the Wolverine defense, Bush will be making calls to counter what he is seeing from the Ohio State offense. [Eventual starting Buckeye quarterback] will be doing the same for Ohio State. It’s a chess match that you’ll need to watch every minute of.