77 Days To Football*

77 Days to Ohio State Football Buckeyes

This is the 24st in a series of 100 daily posts, a Countdown to College Football. (Sort of.) 

This piece may actually be a Joe Burrow-free zone, but I’m not exactly sure yet because I haven’t checked the spreadsheet to see where we are in are various countdowns, which now stands at 77 days until the end of the Big Ten Media Days and the beginning of the college football (waiting) season!

I’ll say there will be no Joe Burrow talk, but I may look and see that there are several Burrow-related items on the list. I may just choose to skip them so that Tom can deal with them tomorrow. I’m nothing if not a procrastinist.

Anyway, this was a pretty good introduction. If you want to see yesterday’s intro, don’t forget to check it out.

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

#77 Jack Mewhort, 2009-2013

Jack Mewhort came to Ohio State from Toledo in 2009. He redshirted as a true freshman and was a reserve as a redshirt freshman. Mewhort then started at guard as a redshirt sophomore before moving to left tackle for his final two seasons as a Buckeye.

In 2013, Mewhort was named a First-Team All-American and the team MVP. He was also a captain and a key part of an Ohio State offensive line that paved the way for 308 yards rushing per game, and a school record 6.8 yards per carry. That record was 1.1 yards better than the previous record of 5.7 yards per carry in 1974.

Mewhort was a second-round draft pick of the Indianapolis Colts in 2014 and has started every game in which he has played (45). He has battled injuries recently, but just signed a one-year deal to remain in Indianapolis for the 2018 season.

Best Games This Fall

#77 Wisconsin at Iowa

This game, which takes place September 22, is the Big Ten opener for both Wisconsin and Iowa. Wisconsin has a game against BYU the week before, while Iowa hosts Northern Iowa prior to the matchup with the Badgers. That may sound like a bye week for the Hawkeyes, but they tend to have trouble with in-state opponents.

Wisconsin is the overwhelming favorite in the Big Ten West, so this game is going to steer a lot of conversation. If the Badgers lose, then the entire division becomes wide open. And sometimes for Iowa, all they need is that little spark to convince themselves that they’re pretty good.

There are only a few landmines on Wisconsin’s schedule, and this is one of them. If they get past the Hawkeyes, they’ll move to 4-0 with a bye week before Nebraska comes to town. They still have games at Michigan, at Northwestern, at Penn State, and at Purdue, so the game at Iowa is just the first hurdle.

If Iowa gets the win, however, their schedule sets up much better, with games at Minnesota and at Indiana, but they eventually have to head to Happy Valley as well. With a win here for the Hawkeyes, they’ll have the tie-breaker with the Badgers, and as difficult as Wisconsin’s schedule is, this game alone could determine one half of the Big Ten Championship Game.

What We Can’t Wait To See

#77 A Clemson Quarterback Controversy

Clemson returns starting quarterback Kelly Bryant, who had an okay season last year, but nothing like the Tigers have come to expect. He completed 65.8% of his passes and threw for 2,802 yards, but the touchdown-to-interception ratio of 13:8 wasn’t very impressive.

Clemson added 5-star quarterback Trevor Lawrence in the 2018 recruiting class and there have been pundits touting him as a once-in-a-generation player. Lawrence enrolled early and took part in spring ball, where he shined in the spring game with a Burrowian stat line of 11-of-16 for 122 yards and a touchdown.

Bryant, meanwhile, was a Haskinsian 8-of-15 for 35 yards.

At the conclusion of spring practice, Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney said Bryant was still the No. 1 quarterback. He also said that it was easy to remain the No. 1 quarterback in the spring because they had to start somewhere. Summer and fall camp will be a different story.

So how will Clemson do in a national title hunt if they suddenly have a quarterback controversy? Will the incumbent continue to look over his shoulder? Or will Swinney go with the true freshman right out of the gate in order to prepare him better for what’s to come?

A true freshman starting quarterback will generally lose you at least one game. I wonder which game that will be for Clemson.

Matchup To Watch

#77 Joe Bachie, MSU MLB vs. Mike Weber

Joe Bachie led Michigan State with 100 tackles last season. Only four of them came against Ohio State, however.

That was the game, if you’ll recall, where the Buckeyes ran the ball 42 times for 335 yards (8.0 ypc) and four touchdowns.

If you didn’t see Bachie in the game, don’t worry, neither did Mike Weber, who rushed for 162 yards on nine carries.

This was a game that absolutely stung for the Spartans, and it’s a game that they have already circled on their 2018 schedule. When the Buckeyes hit East Lansing on November 10, Joe Bachie is going to try to make sure that Mike Weber sees him this time.


2 Responses

  1. First you tell us no Joe Burrow references, then you cite a Burrowian stat line. We could use a little more consistency around here. Say what you mean and mean what you say.

    (For those of you who are TIC-blind, this was TIC)

    1. Enjoy your retirement, John! I thought it and the Haskinsian references were funny (if sad ’cause I really wanted Burrow in Scarlet and Grey). But since you’re here, d’you think Burrow will tear up the MAC for 2 years playing for Solich and his dad in Athens? While I’d love to see him on a ‘bigger stage’ I can’t think he’d have an easy time getting the starting gig at a top-tier program?

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