This is the 36th in a series of 100 daily posts, a Countdown to College Football. (Sort of.)
The best thing about Monday is that it is no longer Sunday. The only thing worse than starting the week is thinking about starting the week.
At least once Monday gets here and the week gets started, we’re moving toward the weekend.
And once we get started toward the weekend, there ain’t nothing stopping us — except stupid Tuesday and Wednesday, of course. Thursday tries to stop us, but we ignore it like voice mail. Friday afternoon is basically a nod from a stranger. If we don’t acknowledge it, we can walk past it at a nice, brisk pace.
Before you know it, it’s already Friday night and you can live your life again. Of course, then Saturday comes and all you can think about is tomorrow being Sunday and all you can ever think about on Sunday is the fact that Monday is coming.
If you think about it, weekends are pretty much the worst.
Anyway, 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
#65 Gareon Conley, 2013-2016
A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away, Gareon Conley was committed to Michigan. He eventually came to his senses and signed with the Buckeyes in a 2013 recruiting class that could be the best in Ohio State history. Conley was one of six first-round NFL draft picks signed in the 2013 recruiting cycle.
As many freshmen do, Conley redshirted his first season at OSU. He was then in the two-deep in 2014, but when called upon against Michigan State, he wasn’t quite ready for the big time.
In 2015, however, he earned a starting spot and finished with 49 tackles, two interceptions, and seven passes defended. He earned Honorable Mention All-Big Ten accolades. As a fourth-year junior in 2016, he was a captain and leader of a starting trio of cornerbacks. He was joined by Marshon Lattimore and Denzel Ward in fulfilling Kerry Coombs’ long-sought vision.
Conley picked off four passes in 2016 and broke up eight others. He was named Second-Team All-B1G. He left for the NFL after 2016 and was selected in the first round by the Oakland Raiders.
Best Games This Fall
#65 Boise State at Oklahoma State
There are some games that scream “shootout.” This one doesn’t just scream it, it choreographs entire dance numbers about the love of offense.
Granted, the Boise State offense wasn’t great last year, but the Oklahoma State defense can help them with that this year.
The Pokes have to replace quarterback Mason Rudolph, but they crank out passers like Marvel cranks out movies.
This game takes place in week three, so the offenses should be ready. The defenses, however, probably won’t be.
What We Can’t Wait To See
#65 Penn State’s Offense Without Saquon Barkley and Joe Moorhead
Remember in 2015 when Ohio State returned Ezekiel Elliott but had to replace Tom Herman? This is kind of like that, except Penn State also has to replace Ezekiel Elliott (so to speak). The Nittany Lions lost offensive coordinator Joe Moorhead to Mississippi State after the 2017 season and Saquon Barkley to the NFL.
It’s not completely similar, of course. I mean, yes, Penn State’s new offensive coordinator was the tight ends coach last year (like Ed Warinner once was), but he was a quarterbacks coach before (like Warinner), and is now a quarterbacks coach again (which Warinner may end up being if Jim Harbaugh’s inability to guru continues).
I have plenty of confidence in running back Miles Sanders, and quarterback Trace McSorley is assumed to be the Big Ten’s best. But what happens when the mastermind leaves town? We saw what happened at Ohio State in 2015. Will something similar happen with Penn State?
Matchup To Watch
#65 Ben Banogu, TCU DE vs. Isaiah Prince
Ben Banogu could have left early for the NFL after last season, but returned for his senior year. At 6-foot-4 and 249 pounds, Banogu possesses very good speed for a pass rusher. Last year, he finished with 8.5 sacks and 16.5 tackles for loss. Those numbers were good for second in the Big XII. Banogu’s name will show up on mock drafts this coming year.
Trying to stop him will be senior right (or left) tackle Isaiah Prince. Prince is going to want to prove that he is a first rounder as well. We may not yet know exactly where Prince will line up, but expect Banogu to find him at least a few times when the Buckeyes and Horned Frogs meet in week three.
Nick Bosa has called Prince the best offensive tackle he’s ever gone against, so that has to count for something, right?