This is the 88th in a series of 100 daily posts, a Countdown to College Football. (Sort of.)
It annoys me when people think that they can just step out of the woods and put together a 100-day countdown, because it’s just not true.
Do they have wifi in the woods? Probably not. Do they have electricity? Doubtful. Do they have twigs in their hair? Yes.
That’s why I laugh at such a common notion that couldn’t be further from the truth.
Anyway, that’s a tangent that I could spend days on, and we really only have 12 days left after this one.
Speaking of this one, today we talk about a player who some would consider the greatest Buckeye cornerback of all time, one of the best rivalries in sports, Irish eyes that may or may not be smiling, and an Ohioan versus a Texan.
If you missed yesterday’s edition, you can find 14 Days To Ohio State Football 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
#13 Malcolm Jenkins, 2005-2008
The first story I ever heard about Malcolm Jenkins was how at an Ohio State camp as a high schooler, he would cut in line during drills in order to get more reps so that coaches could see more of him. It worked, but it was also indicative of his unyielding determination.
Jenkins was the Buckeyes’ nickel back as a true freshman in 2005 and he finished with 37 tackles. As a sophomore, he moved into the starting lineup at cornerback, finishing with 55 tackles, 4.5 tackles for loss, four interceptions, and a touchdown. He earned the first of his three All-Big Ten nods that season.
In 2007, Jenkins had a similarly outstanding season with 47 tackles, 5.0 tackles for loss, four interceptions, and another pick six. He was named a First-Team All-American that season. He earned those same accolades in 2008 as a junior following a season where he finished with 57 tackles, 4.0 tackles for loss, and three more interceptions. He won the Thorpe Award as the nation’s top defensive back that season as well.
Jenkins was selected by the New Orleans Saints with the 14th pick of the first round of the 2009 NFL Draft. He is now a 2-time Super Bowl Champion and has been to the Pro Bowl twice. He was named second-team All Pro in 2010 and first-team All Pro in 2015.
Best Games This Fall
#13 Michigan at Michigan State
I have four favorite college football rivalries and Michigan is involved in three of them. For me, Michigan-Michigan State is like a family reunion where the family doesn’t really get along and almost nobody there has any shame, so things often get out of hand and fights get started, but nobody is going to give in and not show up. They basically go there looking to get upset about something. They know Aunt Fannie is gonna say something mean, and if Uncle Frank shows up drunk like last year, they’re not holding back this time.
When it comes to the rivalry, I don’t know who Aunt Frannie is or who Uncle Frank is, but I know Mark Dantonio loves this family reunion and in the weeks leading up to it, he stirs up more s*** than a sewage treatment plant.
If this game was a family reunion, Dantonio would probably post something on Facebook like, “Family reunion in two weeks. Can’t wait to get my fill of hillbilly.”
And then of course Jim Harbaugh’s side of the family would respond with something like, “YOU THINK YOUR BETTER THEN ME! P.S. Don’t forget to bring the Faygo.”
What We Can’t Wait To See
#13 The Notre Dame Quarterback Situation
I really like the potential of Notre Dame quarterback Brandon Wimbush, and why not? He threw for 1,870 yards and rushed for 803 yards last season in his first year as a starter.
However, he completed just 49.5% of his passes last season and had just just three games where he completed more than half of his passes. Wimbush had four games of 100+ yards rushing, including 207 yards against Boston College in week three.
Wimbush threw 16 touchdowns and just six interceptions, but needs to become more consistent this season. Even as he performed last season, the Irish still went 10-3. If he becomes a more accurate passer in his second season as a starter, who knows what Notre Dame’s ceiling is.
If he can’t become the consistent passer the team needs, maybe he gets pushed by Ian Book, who stepped in last season when Wimbush was injured. In the bowl game against LSU, Book was 14-of-19 passing for 164 yards with two touchdowns and an interception. Can he make a move in fall camp or during the season? Possibly.
There is also true freshman Phil Jurkovec from Western Pennsylvania, who has been compared to Terrelle Pryor back in high school.
Matchup To Watch
#13 L.J. Scott, MSU RB vs. Baron Browning
Spartans’ senior running back L.J. Scott has around 2,600 yards rushing in his career for Michigan State, but has yet to rush for 1,000 yards in a season.
Ohio State sophomore linebacker Baron Browning has 14 career tackles to his credit, but only one of those tackles occurred in the Buckeyes’ final nine games last season.
Browning, a Texas native, fought for a starting spot in the spring, and will continue fighting for a spot in the fall. Scott, an Ohio native, will face no such challenges in camp.
Still, by the time this game rolls around on November 10, it would not be a surprise to see Browning on the field regularly for the Buckeyes. And if he is, then he and L.J. Scott are going to get to know each other very, very well.
With this game being played in East Lansing, it is going to be critical for the Buckeyes to contain Scott and make things as difficult as possible for the Michigan State offense.