95 Days To Football*

This is the fifth in a series of 100 daily posts, a Countdown to College Football. (Sort of.) 

The Buckeyes and Oregon State Beavers kick off their 2018 season exactly 19 weeks from today.

That means it’s probably time to start practicing setting up your grill, portable satellite dish and TV in your tailgating spot.

You don’t want to be the guy with a fuzzy picture serving half-cooked brats on Labor Day weekend.

As they say, you can’t win a tailgating championship in spring, but you can lose one.

But even before the Beavers come to town, the end of Big Ten preseason football media days is now only 95 days away.

We call that college football season* because that’s when the countdown to kickoff really begins in earnest.

In case you missed yesterday’s edition, each day until then, we’ll count down the 100 greatest Buckeyes of The Ozone era (1996-present).

We’ll 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

#95 Tyquan Lewis

Tyquan Lewis
Tyquan Lewis was the 2016 B1G Defensive Lineman of the Year

Overshadowed somewhat by an immensely talented group of teammates, Tyquan Lewis still recorded an impressive 37 tackles for loss and 23.5 sacks during his Buckeye career.

That sack number puts him in the top-5 of Ohio State history ahead of guys like Will Smith, A.J. Hawk, Andy Katzenmoyer, and Michael Bennett. That’s pretty good company.

But Lewis meant more than stats to the OSU program. He was a respected leader on and off the field, and a two-time team captain.

By this time next week, Lewis will know where he will play professionally. He projects as a second or third-round pick.

He’ll be an easy player for Buckeye fans to root for on Sundays wherever he ends up. Unless it’s Baltimore, obvs.

Best Games This Fall

#95 Texas at Maryland, September 1

By the end of last season, Maryland’s win in Austin looked like a bizarre fluke. The Terps were on their 37th-string quarterback (approximately) and won just one of their last eight games.

But here’s the thing – D.J. Durkin may have something pretty good going in College Park. He should have Kasim Hill and Tyrell Pigrome back and healthy at quarterback.

Ty Johnson returns for another year after rushing for 132 yards on just 12 carries against the Longhorns last fall.

Yes, this is year 2 for Tom Herman in Austin. Yes, the Horns could win the Big 12.

There’s an outside chance they could even challenge for a playoff spot if they get their own quarterback situation settled.

But this is a very dangerous game for the Longhorns. Durkin has been recruiting pretty well for a few years now, and with a healthy roster the Terps won’t look like a 4-8 team.

By the way, this game is at the Washington Redskins’ stadium because… of course it is.

Why not put one of your biggest home games of the season 10 miles from campus in a location that will be a major pain for your students to get to?

What We Can’t Wait To See

#95 Alabama’s Non-Conference Schedule

Let’s just cut to the chase: this won’t actually matter. It doesn’t matter if Alabama plays a parade of turds outside of the SEC, and then looks like crap in conference play as well.

They have an auto-bid to the College Football Playoff. Until the committee actually leaves them out one year, you can go ahead and Sharpie them onto the bracket now.

Okay, that said, this is trash. The Tide opens in Orlando against a Louisville team playing its first game without Lamar Jackson.

Louisville has gone 9-4, 8-5, 9-4, and 8-5 the last four seasons and figures to take a step back this year.

Louisville is also by far the best team on this non-conference schedule. Other than the Cardinals, the Tide will face Arkansas State, Louisiana-Lafayette, and The Citadel.

In conference the Tide face five teams with first-year head coaches, plus Missouri, LSU, and Auburn. There are two plausibly losable games on this schedule.

So enjoy talking about what a steaming pile the Tide’s schedule is. But be ready to see them in the Playoff again.

Matchup To Watch

#95 Shareef Miller, PSU DE vs. Thayer Munford OSU OT

Coming out of spring practice, there are very few concerns on the Ohio State offense. The quarterback situation is a little up in the air, but there are at least two good options.

The tight end and wide receiver rotations are a little uncertain, but there are top-shelf Big Ten players at both of those spots as well.

The offensive line is a bigger question mark. Brady Taylor sounds like he’ll likely grab the starting center job.

But it was a legitimate surprise to hear that true sophomore Thayer Munford was pencilled in as the starting left tackle following the Spring Game.

Munford has played very few meaningful snaps of college football, and he’s now tasked with defending the blind side of the quarterback for a team with legitimate national title aspirations. You don’t have to squint to see how that could become an issue.

Miller put up 11.5 tackles for loss and 5.5 sacks as a redshirt sophomore for PSU in 2017. Now he could be matched up with a true sophomore who has only seen bits and pieces of action.

There are lots of reasons to think that Ohio State is more talented and better positioned to win the Big Ten East this season than Penn State.

But a young, overwhelmed offensive tackle played a role in a Buckeye loss in Happy Valley back in 2016.

Munford will need to make a big leap before the end of September in order to keep it from happening again.


2 Responses

  1. alabama’s non-conf schedule is pathetic as usual…and they never schedule home and home series with the big boys–always at neutral..until committee punishes them theyll keep on playing sissy non-conf….

    1. ……and as we saw during the Bowl season, Alabama also played a sissy Conference schedule as well in 2017. It would have been fun to watch the National Champions play them. UCF would have taken a huge dump on the Tide. It’s going to be interesting to see where the blowhard writers and pundits place the perennially over rated clown show of Miss. State.

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