Ohio State is the Big Ten champion for the fourth year in a row, and is heading back to the College Football Playoff for the second year in a row, but it might not be if not for Trey Sermon.
We had to start there on this week's episode of Real Pod Wednesdays, as we broke down Sermon's record-breaking performance against Northwestern, how he improved so much after a disappointing start of the season and why we believe his success can continue in the College Football Playoff.
Then, we look at the big reason why Ohio State needed Sermon to step up in its 22-10 win over the Wildcats, in which Justin Fields had his worst game as a Buckeye. Should we be confident Fields will get back on track next week against Clemson, or is there real reason for concern about Ohio State's passing attack? We consider the factors that led to his struggles against Northwestern and what Fields and his coaches will need to do to be better prepared for Brent Venables' defense.
We also question why Ryan Day waited so long to commit to the run against Northwestern – and why that might not matter against Clemson, as the Buckeyes are probably going to have to be able to both pass and run effectively to beat the Tigers – and discuss our takeaways from Ohio State's defensive performance against the Wildcats (with the acknowledgement that Ohio State is about to face a much tougher offense next week).
In the second half of this week's show (41:30), we dive into the matchup with Clemson with a look at how Dabo Swinney became Ohio State fans' most hated villain, which Tigers you should know about other than Trevor Lawrence and Travis Etienne and how Ohio State stacks up against Clemson position-by-position.
For this week's Three Things We Think (1:03:15), we discuss why Ohio State doesn't have as many national award candidates this year as it usually does, why Haskell Garrett deserves to be an All-American and highlight how Cormontae Hamilton and Miyan Williams have flashed over the past two games despite very limited action.
Finally, we answer your questions (1:12:49) about Indiana getting the shaft from playing in a New Year's Six bowl, which seniors could come back for a bonus year and how the Big Ten's return-to-play protocol ensures anyone who tests positive for COVID-19 has ample time to practice before playing in a game.