Football

67 Days To Football*

This is the 34th in a series of 100 daily posts, a Countdown to College Football. (Sort of.)

It’s a Saturday morning outside of college football season.

If you don’t have kids, that probably means a nice, leisurely morning to sleep in. Maybe wake up around 11, but don’t actually get up just yet.

Take some time to lie in bed reading quality #content like this on your phone or tablet before getting up and eating breakfast around noon.

If you do have kids, I’ll see you at the tee ball field at 8 am. Don’t be late.

If you’re looking for something else to read in bed or at the field, you can find yesterdays’ countdown piece 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

#67 Evan Spencer, 2011-2014

Evan Spencer Onside Kick Alabama
Recovering the game-clinching onside kick against Alabama.

Evan Spencer had only 52 catches for 579 yards in his Ohio State career. Going solely by those numbers, he doesn’t belong anywhere near this list.

Going by his contributions to the 2014 national championship team, you could make an argument for moving him up about 20 more spots.

Spencer’s game was all about doing the little things away from the ball.

He was an absolutely textbook blocker. When you’re watching highlights of Ezekiel Elliott or Jalin Marshall or J.T. Barrett racing for a touchdown, pay attention to how often Spencer is downfield clearing a path.

The 2015 Sugar Bowl is a perfect encapsulation of Spencer’s career. He had just one catch for 7 yards that night.

He also threw a game-changing touchdown pass to Michael Thomas just before the half.

He had the crucial block that took out two Crimson Tide defenders on Elliott’s 85-yard touchdown.

Oh, and he also recovered the onside kick that sealed the game.

One catch. Seven yards. And he might have been the MVP of the game.

That was Evan Spencer.


Best Games This Fall

#67 Oklahoma at West Virginia, November 23

I’m just going to say up front that by the end of the season, this could end up being way under-ranked.

This will be played on Black Friday, so get your shopping done early to be back for kickoff.

The Sooners are replacing some very talented players, so it’s possible they could take a step back. But with a former 5-star recruit like Kyler Murray, filling Baker Mayfield’s shoes shouldn’t be an impossible task.

West Virginia returns its dynamic duo of QB Will Grier and WR David Sills, who caught 18 touchdowns a year ago. Just for perspective, that’s only one less than Austin Mack, K.J. Hill, Parris Campbell, Marcus Baugh, and Terry McLaurin had COMBINED.

The Mountaineers return most of their squad from a very young 2017 team and could be in the running for a berth in the Big 12 title game if a few things break right.

If they end up making it there, it’s these two teams could play two weeks in a row.


What We Can’t Wait To See

#67 #MACtion

There are plenty of reasons to hate the MAC’s decision to move all of their November games to the middle of the week.

College football should be about spending a beautiful autumn Saturday grilling outside the stadium and then watching your team play.

For fans of MAC teams, that’s not an option during November. They have to try to get to campus on a Tuesday or Wednesday. It’s a hassle, and the attendance reflects that.

But for everyone else, it’s a chance to watch an enjoyable product that gets totally lost on a typical Saturday TV schedule.

The MAC is a perfect blend of fun, often wide-open offenses, and low stakes.

It’s not going to ruin your week if Bowling Green loses to Toledo, but there’s a good chance it’s going to give you three solid hours of entertainment.

Last year those teams had combined for 66 points less than five minutes after halftime.

This year, Ohio and Toledo are projected as the league’s top teams, and have two of the league’s most exciting offenses as well.

So keep your November Tuesdays free to bask in the magic of #MACtion.


Matchup To Watch

#67 Tarik Black, MICH WR vs. Jeff Okudah

This could be close to #1 this time next year.

Black and Okudah were both impressive in limited action as true freshmen in 2017, and both seem poised for much bigger things this fall.

Black played in only three games before suffering a season-ending broken foot, but piled up impressive numbers in all three.

He started with two catches for 83 yards and a touchdown against Florida, then had nine more catches for 66 yards the next two weeks before the injury.

For a true freshman, those are remarkable stats.

Okudah’s season was every bit as impressive, but took a different shape.

He gradually earned more playing time throughout the year, seeing extended minutes in the blowout win over Illinois. He played meaningful snaps in wins over Michigan and Wisconsin, and then was out there for almost the entire game in the Cotton Bowl against USC.

If a true freshman corner plays extended minutes against top-notch competition and doesn’t get totally embarrassed, he’s probably destined for greatness.

Black vs. Okudah could help decide The Game this fall, and it should be an even more intense matchup to watch in years to come.