I've talked a lot of pregame trash in these here Skull Sessions, and would love to talk more.
I'd like nothing more than to bomb on Washington's ability to develop completely underwhelming "elite" quarterbacks named Jake – don't worry, there's one more still on the roster – or their conference's plea to private investors to help it compete against the big boys.
But here's the thing: today ain't about the purple team, it's about a Buckeye legend taking a curtain call.
Thank you Buckeye Nation!!! pic.twitter.com/XznXRjHnSp— Urban Meyer (@OSUCoachMeyer) January 1, 2019
Today, Urban Meyer's watch ends, as he leaves Ohio State on his on terms after a seven-year reign that included an improbable national title, a perfect season, a perfect 7-0 record against Michigan, three Big Ten Championships and shattered NFL Draft records.
He's a legend.
As much as today is a highly-contested, strength-on-strength matchup between two talented teams looking to end their season on the right note and prove something to nation, it's a celebration of what Meyer's already proven and accomplished.
This isn't just another chance to win a New Year's Six bowl game and earn a trophy celebration, the game itself is the celebration. Meyer gets to end his career at the Rose Bowl – that's a trophy in itself.
That said, the outcome absolutely matters, and you can be damn sure the Buckeyes ain't about to let anybody spoil Urban Meyer's ride off into the Pasadena sunset.
The Huskies were always losing today, but now they're absolutely cooked.
Word of the Day: Commendation.
11W PREGAME FIX. You've got a few hours to kill until kickoff. Here's your pregame rundown:
- Scouting Report: Washington.
- Washington's star-studded defense could pose problems for the Buckeyes.
- What to expect from Washington's offense.
- Dre'Mont Jones never seriously considered skipping the Rose Bowl.
- Ohio State's defensive line can go out with a bang.
- With a great game, Dwayne Haskins could pass 50 touchdowns and 5,000 yards on the season.
- Parris Campbell needs just 8 yards to reach 1,000 receiving yards on the season.
- The Buckeyes want to send Urban Meyer out the right way.
- Reliving four of the greatest Rose Bowl performances.
- Five things to know about Washington.
- Urban Meyer kept his focus on Washington during his final week as Ohio State's head coach.
- Johnnie Dixon, Parris Campbell and Terry McLaurin hope to end their Buckeye careers with a win.
- The Buckeyes balanced business and play in Pasadena.
- Myles Gaskin is looking to have a big day against Ohio State's defense.
FIELDS WON'T BE A SOONER. We've been talking for weeks like it was all but certain Justin Fields ended up at Ohio State if Dwayne Haskins declares for the NFL Draft.
And honestly, it's not just the fans. Everything from Haskins' discussing his conversations with Fields to Tate Martell's fiery comments (there's no reason to get that worked up if you don't think it's going to happen) seem to suggest Fields is coming.
But other schools exist, too, and Fields reportedly had Oklahoma high on his list as well. But the talk in Sooner land ain't anywhere near as confident.
From Chris Hummer of 247Sports.com:
Five-star quarterback Spencer Rattler said he’ll be the only new quarterback on Oklahoma’s campus in 2019.
Rattler, on hand for the All-American Bowl, told 247Sports that Oklahoma head coach Lincoln Riley said Rattler would be the only quarterback the Sooners take this year. That includes transfers. Oklahoma has been rumored as a potential landing spot for Georgia five-star transfer Justin Fields.
"Coach Riley told me he’s not taking any transfer QB anytime soon,” Rattler told 247Sports' Steve Wiltfong. “I’m not really worried about anybody. If they come here, they have to compete just like me and I’m ready go.
“He’s told me I’m going to be the only quarterback I’ll sign in 2019. Not a lot of coaches do that.”
It's looking more and more like this is actually happening, so buckle up.
YURCICH OUT AT OKY STATE. As expected, offensive coordinator Mike Yurcich is leaving Oklahoma State.
From Go Pokes at 247Sports.com:
Mike Yurcich, Oklahoma State's Offensive Coordinator since 2013, will no longer be with the program following the Liberty Bowl. A very reliable source told Go Pokes before the Liberty Bowl that the door to Yurcich's office was half open with the key left in it and his office was completely cleaned out.
Go Pokes was the first to report that Yurcich had officially been offered the Offensive Coordinator position at Tennessee at a substantial bump in pay from what he was making at Oklahoma State. At this time, we're not reporting that Yurcich is headed to Tennessee, just that Tennessee is the only offer that we know of currently on the table for Yurcich.
Tennessee is definitely not the only job offer currently on the table, and based on all of the Internet whispers, it ain't the one he's taking, either.
From everything Ive heard, Yurcich will be heading to Columbus to join Ryan Day & the Buckeyes. https://t.co/Fp8aaoOqVQ— Jordan Strack (@JordanStrack) January 1, 2019
Again, I'm down.
I can't say I've been disappointed in Oklahoma State's offense or passing game the past few years and teaming up with Kevin Wilson and Ryan Day seems like a winning recipe.
FAREWELL TO A LEGEND. Urban Meyer ain't the only one making his last ride today. redshirt senior kicker Sean Nuernberger – who somehow managed to stay in school longer than me – is playing his last game today, and got a well-deserved royal exit to his last practice yesterday.
Nuernberger's injury and subsequent benching this season likely cost him multiple records and milestones. Das Boot never missed an extra point in his career, hitting 217 out of 217, and will finish just 17 extra points shy of the the FBS record for most consecutive extra point makes.
The only other Ohio State kicker to finish his career perfect on extra points – with any notable volume in kicks – was Devin Barclay, and he was just 74 of 74.
Nuernberger also had a real shot at becoming – as far as we can tell – the first player ever to score 100 points in three seasons, as he did it easily in 2014 and 2017, and was well on pace to do it this year.
It sucks, but leaving with a few school records and a Big Ten record ain't bad at all.
NEW YEAR'S DAY PICKS. This is the last day of the season I can do this, so we're going out with a bang. Just like last time, I'm doing them as quick hitters cause y'all have better things to do than read paragraphs about why some guy on the Internet thinks a team you don't care about is going to win a game you're probably not going to watch.
- Mississippi State -7 against Iowa – Mississippi State has a noticeably better defense, and even though its offense is subpar, Nick Fitzgerald is good and can move the ball by himself.
- UCF +7 against LSU – UCF is missing its star quarterback, but LSU is missing a huge chunk of its defense, including three corners. The difference is, UCF is 2-0 without McKenzie Milton and LSU hasn't played a game like this. Also, LSU's offense is hardly high-powered. Give me the Knights and the points.
- Penn State -6.5 against Kentucky – I've been a constant Kentucky hater all season and that ain't going to stop now. They play good defense, but are beyond one dimensional on offense. Penn State is good enough to score on their defense and Kentucky won't be able to keep up.
- Georgia -12 against Texas – I love Tom Herman as an underdog, but I think Georgia is more than 12 points better than Texas when they aren't pissed off for not making the College Football Playoff. They'll win this game by more than two touchdowns.
- Ohio State -7 against Washington – Dwayne Haskins is going out with a bang and Ohio State's going to send Urban Meyer out the right way.
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