75 Days To Football*

This is the 26th in a series of 100 daily posts, a Countdown to College Football. (Sort of.) 

TGIS, everyone! Thank Goodness It’s Seventy-five-days-to-college-football!

Today we’ll look at a defensive standout from OSU’s most recent national title, a rematch of one of 2017’s biggest upsets, the agents of chaos in striped shirts, and a positional showdown that looks very different than it did a year ago.

In case you missed yesterday’s piece, you should read that too.

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

#75 Adolphus Washington, 2012-2015

Adolphus Washington Michigan 2014
Washington did this a lot during the run to the 2014 title.

Washington arrived at Ohio State as one of the crown jewels of Urban Meyer’s first recruiting classes.

He committed to the Buckeyes on November 22, 2011. That was less than a week before the coach was officially hired, but after the Meyer Rumor Mill had hit overdrive.

Washington came in ranked as a 5-star prospect, and the top player in Ohio.

He was a four-year contributor, but had his best season during the 2014 national championship run.

Washington recorded 10.5 tackles for loss that year, along with 4.5 sacks. He had tackles for loss in each of the Buckeyes’ final four games that year, against Michigan, Wisconsin, Alabama, and Oregon.

Washington was a third-round pick in the 2016 NFL Draft by the Buffalo Bills.

He has put up two productive seasons for Buffalo, including 54 tackles and 3.5 sacks in 21 career starts.

Best Games This Fall

#75 Oklahoma at Iowa State, September 15

The Cyclones pulled off one of 2017’s most shocking upsets in Norman, knocking off Baker Mayfield and the Sooners, 38-31.

This year, OU has to travel to Ames early in the year. There’s a decent chance they’ll still be working out the kinks with a new quarterback, and this will be their first road test of the year.

The odds are pretty good that 2018 will be Matt Campbell’s final season as ISU coach.

His Cyclones won 8 games in 2017. When he arrived, they had only won that many once since 1978.

Earle Bruce is an ISU legend for winning 8 games each year from 1976-1978. That was enough to land him a head coaching job at a small school in Columbus, Ohio.

Now it’s Campbell’s turn to put up one more solid season and then cash out for a better gig.

There is an outside chance ISU could hit 10 wins this season. If they do, it would be the first double-digit win season in program history. Winning this one would be a big step toward hitting that mark.

What We Can’t Wait To See

#75 Hilariously Incompetent Referees

The NFL has had its share of famous referees whose names you know, like Ed Hochuli.

College football’s versions are also known by names, but they’re generally things like “Glasses Ref” or “Beef Ref.”

Glasses Ref was a long-time Pac-12 official, known for botching calls and turning his late-night games into complete tire fires.

You may remember this gem from the 2013 OSU game at Cal.

Glasses Ref retired after that season, but college football is still blessed with his spiritual offspring.

Many conferences don’t have full-time officials. That means the guy throwing a flag for targeting may have spent the rest of his week working as a manager at Target.

When they’re butchering a call that goes against your team, it’s maddening.

When they’re turning some random Oregon State/Arizona game into a 3-hour episode of the Gong Show, it’s kind of darkly hilarious.

College football is both the most wonderful and also the most immensely stupid sport in the world. Once you learn to embrace the insanity, it gets even better.

Matchup To Watch

#75 J.D. Spielman, NEB KR vs. Blake Haubeil, OSU K

Of all the individual matchups we’re highlighting in this list, this one might have the most uncertainty.

The new rule that allows returners to take a fair catch anywhere on the field and take it back to the 25 could have a big impact on the kicking game. We just don’t know how big, or exactly what kind of impact that will be.

Last year, Haubeil would have been trying to drop the ball outside of the numbers and inside the 5 yard line.

This year, maybe he’ll try popping it up higher into the air down to the 15 to try to entice the returner to take a chance.

Whatever he does, Spielman will be back and waiting for the kick to land.

Spielman was a big play returner for the Huskers as a freshman, averaging 24.8 yards per return. He had a 99-yard return for a score against Arkansas State.

The Buckeyes had all sorts of trouble covering kicks in 2017. The rule change can only help that this fall.