This is the 22st in a series of 100 daily posts, a Countdown to College Football. (Sort of.)
I’m sorry to tell you this, but it’s Monday. There’s really not much I can do about that, unfortunately.
However, we are now under 80 days to go until football* is here. So you have that going for you. Which is nice.
If you’re looking to kill another five minutes before you crawl out of bed and face the week, you can check out yesterday’s installment if you haven’t already.
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
#79 Michael Wiley, 1996-1999
Michael Wiley was part of one of the most incredible “immediate impact” recruiting classes in Ohio State history, coming in with guys like Andy Katzenmoyer and David Boston.
And no one’s impact has ever been felt as immediately as Wiley’s.
He scored touchdowns the first three times he got the ball in the season opener.
He ran in a reverse from 49 yards out, and then scored on catches of 51 and 60 yards.
The Buckeyes beat Rice, 70-7, leading to Owls coach Ken Hatfield telling John Cooper, “I’m never ****ing coming back here again.”
Any time you can make an opponent say that, you’ve had yourself a day.
Wiley went on to record more than 3,500 yards from scrimmage and 32 touchdowns in his career. He was also an absolute assassin on halfback passes.
He completed 10-of-11 passes for 225 yards and two touchdowns in his career, good for a QB rating of 322.7.
It makes you wonder how good the team could have been if they stopped wasting snaps on that Germaine guy.
Best Games This Fall
#79 Oregon at Arizona, October 27
This probably won’t have much impact on the national title picture, but it promises to be a fascinating game nonetheless.
First year coaches Mario Cristobal (Oregon) and Kevin Sumlin (Arizona) showed flashes of promise at their previous head coaching stops.
Both enter with solid quarterbacks. Oregon’s Justin Herbert has completed more than 65% of his passes in two seasons, with a 34-9 touchdown to interception ratio.
Arizona’s Khalil Tate was one of the most explosive players in the nation in 2017, putting up ridiculous stat lines like 14 carries for 327 yards against Colorado. (That’s 23.4 yards per rush!!!)
He was over 10 yards per carry four times last year, but was far less effective later in the year.
This is far enough into the year that players and coaches should be getting comfortable together, but not so far in that both teams will be totally out of the conference title race.
And it should be a heck of a lot of fun to watch.
What We Can’t Wait To See
#79 The Insane Mix Of Styles In The AAC
The American tries to brand itself as part of the “Power 6” conferences. While it’s not exactly loaded with powerhouses (defending national champion UCF excluded, obviously), it’s a fun laboratory of what could be next in college football.
Navy runs its flexbone triple option, trying to ground opponents into a fine dust with a merciless series of 4-yard fullback dives.
Tulsa runs at a faster pace than any other program in the nation, which can lead to games like their 54-51 loss to Toledo last fall.
UCF will try to replace Scott Frost’s electric offense with an even faster version under new head coach Josh Heupel.
Riley Ferguson threw for more than 4,200 yards as Memphis had games in 2017 when they scored 55, 56, and 66 points. Oh, and they also hung 70 points on two different occasions.
And these are just some of the teams that share a conference with Randy Edsall’s “mayonnaise on cardboard” brand of offensive slurry.
The AAC truly has something for everyone.
Matchup To Watch
#79 Tyrrell Pigrome, MARY QB vs. Damon Arnette
On last week’s Accost The Field, I picked Maryland to hit the “Over” on its regular season win total.
The number to beat was only 4.5, but there’s a decent chance the Terps cover that one comfortably.
If you’re thinking back to last year’s tire fire of a Maryland offense, you may wonder how that can be.
The biggest reason is that they once again have quarterbacks who are alive. If you’ve watched football before, you probably know that’s important.
Pigrome was impressive at Texas last year before he suffered a season-ending knee injury in the third quarter. He went 9-for-12 for 175 yards and two touchdowns passing, and had another 68 yards and a score on the ground in that season-opener.
The Buckeyes and Terps won’t play until November 17, so there’s no guarantee that he’ll be 100% healthy this year, either.
If he is, he presents a true dual threat.
Arnette is something of a mystery for OSU this spring. He changed his number, and no one wanted to talk about why.
Coaches were vague when they talked about how he was playing as well.
The Buckeyes need him to play well this fall to help contain some of the talented quarterbacks on their schedule. Pigrome definitely falls on that list.