Football

35 Days To Ohio State Football

This is the 66th in a series of 100 daily posts, a Countdown to College Football. (Sort of.)

This week’s episode of Accost The Field will be a day or so late. You can blame me.

We couldn’t record last night like we normally do, so we have to do it tonight instead. That means it likely won’t show up in your podcast feed until sometime Thursday morning.

The best way to make sure you get it when it does is to subscribe on Apple Podcasts or your favorite podcasting platform. The best way to do that is to subscribe to The Ozone Radio Network feed. That way you’ll get our show, plus The Buckeye Sloopcast, The Silver Bullets podcast, and The Sons Of Schmidt.

While you wait for our next episode, please enjoy today’s look at an all-American turned coaching guru, a battle of two teams that don’t play in Chicago, one of the few units in the nation that can stack up with the Buckeye D-line, and a matchup of two guys who sat out most of last year’s game.

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

#35 LeCharles Bentley, 1998-2001

Before there was Nick Mangold, Pat Elflein or Billy Price, there was LeCharles Bentley. A three-year starter on the offensive line, Bentley was named second-team all-conference as a junior in 2000.

His final act was even more impressive. Bentley was named first-team all-conference and first-team all-American in 2001. That year, he was the first Buckeye to win the Rimington Award as the nation’s top center.

The New Orleans Saints picked him in the fourth round of the 2002 NFL Draft, and he paid immediate dividends. He earned a spot in two Pro Bowls, and was an alternate in a third during his four seasons with the Saints.

He signed a six-year, $36 million contract with the Cleveland Browns, but suffered a serious knee injury on the first day of practice. After several setbacks, he was forced to retire without ever playing a snap for the team.

Bentley opened a specialized training center for offensive linemen in 2008 and is now considered one of the nation’s premier trainers.

He has worked with former Buckeyes such as Jamarco Jones, Billy Price, and Taylor Decker.


Best Games This Fall

#35 Notre Dame at Northwestern

This is a matchup of a team that always gets picked to win 10 games each season against a team that never does.

Both Northwestern and Notre Dame have put together exactly three 10+ win seasons this decade, but you’d never know it by the way they’re discussed nationally.

The Wildcats are actually riding a two-game win streak in this series, thanks to a shocking upset in 1995 and a far less surprising overtime win in 2014.

Now Chicago’s Big Ten and ACC teams will face off, but not in the Windy City. Instead, 20,000 or so Wildcat fans will welcome in 30,000 geriatric Irish backers to suburban Evanston.

It’s a testament to how far the Irish have fallen that tickets for a road game in a small stadium in their supposed unofficial home city are available for under $100 on the secondary market.

This should be a pretty good game, though. The Wildcats will likely be a little down this season, but should still field an 8-ish win squad.

This is also an awful sandwich spot for the Irish, coming a week after they’ll get their knees battered by Navy, and the week before a visit from Florida State.


What We Can’t Wait To See

#35 The Clemson Defensive Line

Ohio State’s defensive line could be one of the best in college football history this fall. Nick Bosa, Jonathon Cooper, Chase Young, and Jashon Cornell outside. Dre’Mont Jones, Robert Landers, and a boatload of talented players behind them inside.

But there’s a chance they might not be the best line in country.

Christian Wilkins, Clelin Ferrell, and Austin Bryant all passed up the chance at NFL riches to play one more year for the Tigers. Somehow, when they were testing the Draft waters, none of them received first round grades, so they all came back.

Now, they’ll spend one more fall forming a Voltron of quarterback-crushing destruction.

Oh, yeah, and there’s also Dexter Lawrence. He came to Clemson as the No. 2 overall player in the 2016 class and has lived up to the hype. He’s on the short list of players who could go first overall in next year’s NFL Draft.

The four of those guys playing together for one more season is something everyone except for opposing offenses should be excited to watch.


Matchup To Watch

#35 Aaron Williams, NEB SAF vs. Parris Campbell

Ohio State’s offense did absolutely anything it wanted to against the Cornhuskers in 2017.

Watching the former home of the Blackshirts turn into a team that gave up 6.3 yards per play over the course of an entire season was incredible. That was the worst mark in the Big Ten and 109th-best overall nationally.

Fortunately for the Huskers, handsome but awful defensive coordinator Bob Diaco is now gone. That means they should be able to start building something resembling an obstacle for opposing offenses.

The Buckeyes threw for 354 yards in Lincoln last fall, averaging a robust 9.1 yards per attempt.

Campbell was held out of most of the game as a precaution after getting drilled in the first quarter. Without him, fellow H-receiver K.J. Hill had 80 yards receiving a two touchdowns.

This year, Campbell should get a chance to put up big numbers himself.

Senior safety Aaron Williams will be on the other side of the ball trying to keep that from happening.

Williams was one of two Nebraska safeties to missed all of last year’s game against the Buckeyes due to injuries. Without him Antonio Reed protecting against big plays, the Buckeyes rolled up huge numbers.

Now, he and Campbell will both get their chance to show what they can do in the Horseshoe.