20 Days To Ohio State Football *

This is the 81st in a series of 100 daily posts, a Countdown to College Football. (Sort of.)

Happy 5th of July!

Hopefully you enjoyed your Independence Day at least somewhat responsibly, and are not waking up feeling like there’s a fireworks show going on inside your head.

If you didn’t do it yesterday, take a moment today to reflect on what it means to be American and to enjoy the freedoms that we do.

Specifically, the freedom to not care about crap like Royal Weddings. God bless America.

Some things you should care about today: one of the best players of the Urban Meyer era, a Pac-12 national title elimination game, the return of one of college football’s worst coaches, and an aerial assault on Sparty.

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

#20 Billy Price, 2014-2017

Some players are beloved for their incredible play on the field, while others are remembered for being amazing leaders. Billy Price was both.

Price was a second team freshman all-American starter for the 2014 national championship team, and then won first-team all-American honors as a junior and senior.

In 2017, he won the Rimington Award as the nation’s best center.

He was also the unofficial team spokesman. He was the only offensive player to do an interview after the shocking loss to Iowa.

But more telling was something we only saw much later.

OSU released a video of Price in the locker room after that game reminding his teammates that all of their goals – including a Big Ten championship – were still within reach.

The Buckeyes responded, destroying Michigan State the following week, winning in Ann Arbor, beating Wisconsin for the league title, and USC for the Cotton Bowl.

Price was selected as a first-round pick by the Cincinnati Bengals.

Best Games This Fall

#20 USC at Stanford, September 8

This is one of those games like Michigan/Notre Dame that’s important because of when it’s being played.

Both the Trojans and Cardinal come into the season with both Pac-12 and national title aspirations, but one of them is going to suffer a serious blow in Week 2.

This game could be what ends up keeping Stanford out of the conference title game. They have to play the Trojans, and the other major contenders in the North, Washington and Oregon, don’t.

However, this isn’t a gimme for USC. They’ll be breaking in a new quarterback, and doing it on the road.

The Pac-12 had a humiliating postseason in 2017, and could be at risk of missing the College Football Playoff again.

What We Can’t Wait To See

#20 Derek Dooley Is Back!

Yes, one of the absolute worst coaches of the century has returned to the college game!

If you don’t remember the Derek Dooley era at Tennessee, just know that Butch Jones (who they just fired) represented a major step up.

Dooley spent three years there, winning 6 games in his first year, 5 in his second, and 4 in his third. The trajectory of the program was… not great.

More telling, he went 4-19 in SEC play, including 1-14 in his last two years.

He was fired before the end of the 2012 season, and slunk off to be a position coach in the NFL.

Now, he’s back as the new offensive coordinator of the Missouri Tigers.

It’s a weird fit. Mizzou head coach Barry Odom was seemingly on the verge of getting fired midway through his first season after a 1-5 start, before he ran off a 6-game win streak against the dregs of the SEC East.

Offensive coordinator Josh Heupel left to take the UCF head coaching job, and in came Dooley.

He has not ever been a coordinator before, which is always a red flag, even for coaches who have been outstanding in other roles. *cough* Ed Warinner *cough*

While having a quarterback like Drew Lock could help, it means the Tigers are at risk of wasting the senior year of one of the best players in recent program history.

Matchup To Watch

#20 Josiah Scott, MSU CB vs. Binjimen Victor

The Ohio State wide receiving corps has been criticized quite a bit for not making big plays, but Binjimen Victor might be one of the biggest exceptions.

Victor caught seven touchdowns in 2017, second on the team behind Johnnie Dixon.

However, most came against weaker competition. He had zero receptions against Penn State, Michigan, Wisconsin, or USC.

Six of his seven touchdowns came against Indiana, UNLV, Rutgers, Maryland, and Illinois.

The seventh touchdown came against Michigan State, a 48-yard score that came just after halftime and extended OSU’s lead to 42-3.

This year, he figures to benefit from the strong arm of Dwayne Haskins, and the MSU game will likely be a lot closer.

A touchdown or two in East Lansing this fall could help keep the Buckeyes in the national title race.

Josiah Scott may be the guy matched up on the 6-foot-4 Victor. Scott earned freshman all-American honors in 2017 and will start on the outside.

He’s a solid cover guy, but he’s listed at 5-foot-10, which means he’s giving up at least six inches to Victor.

It presents a great opportunity for Haskins to throw the ball up and let Victor go up and get it.