I don't feel like I've earned the authority to declare games must-win games, but this is probably about as must-win as it gets in the regular season.
The Bucks lost at home to Illinois, if they don't (at least partially) make up for it with a win against a ranked team at home then their NCAA Tournament hopes are probably cooked.
Here's to a Justin Ahren's dagger sending Fran McCaffery and his back to Iowa City with an L.
- Jonah Jackson commits to Ohio State.
- C.J. Jackson is expected to play against Iowa.
- Hey, the Buckeye defensive line is going to be deep again.
- A new kind of hybrid defender could be making its way around the nation.
- Ohio State will lack proven depth at running back this season.
- The Buckeyes' pro day is set for March 20.
- Position battles to watch this spring.
Word of the Day: Sangfroid.
UNCHARTED TERRITORY. If you aren't counting Shane Falco's extremely brief, albeit impressive professional football career, Buckeye signal callers haven't had much success at the next level.
Two of the last four to make it to the NFL are currently receivers, and the other two are rarely on active rosters. The only one ever selected in the first round of the NFL Draft started just six games before a gambling addiction forced him out of football.
The history is unspectacular, but Dwayne Haskins is looking to buck the trend.
From Bill Rabinowitz of the Columbus Dispatch:
“I’m not really worried about that as far as not having a sure-fire NFL quarterback from Ohio State,” he said in December. “I know what I can do. I know how great I can be and how much work I can put in to get where I want to be. I want to be the first (to succeed).”
It could be important for Ohio State that he does. Part of the reason for the lack of top OSU quarterbacks in the NFL is that historically, the Buckeyes’ offensive schemes haven’t been designed to produce them. Schlichter, under coach Earle Bruce, was the first OSU quarterback to play in an offense that used the pass extensively.
I'd much rather my quarterback be successful in college than in the NFL, but there's no reason success at both levels shouldn't be an option.
And if I'm being totally honest, there is a part of me that's extremely bothered Michigan gets to claim the best quarterback of all time after they somehow only developed him into a sixth rounder.
My point is, I would love it for Dwayne to light the NFL on fire the same way he lit Michigan and the Big Ten record books ablaze his lone season as a college starter.
BUCKEYE NFL VETS ON THE MOVE. Most of our offseason attention has been focused on the NFL Draft – which is more than fair when the Buckeyes have the best player and quarterback in the draft – but there are some veteran Buckeyes looking for new homes as well.
Gregg Rosenthal and Chris Wesseling of NFL.com:
25 – Bradley Roby – CB
Roby did not handle an increase in snaps well, following Aqib Talib's departure, but his sluggish contract-year showing shouldn't negate all of his excellent playmaking that preceded it.
79 – Johnathan Hankins – DT
Have heft, will travel. The veteran run-plugger went unsigned through Week 1 of last season, but still came away as one of the few bright spots on Oakland's otherwise porous defense.
I didn't either of them too closely last season since I handed over the reins of Across the Shield to former intern David, but they've both had solid enough NFL careers up to this point. It's hard to imagine they won't help some team out.
Also, "Have Heft, Will Travel" would be a solid band name if I didn't have the frame of a prepubescent mathlete.
FATALITY. Gene Smith isn't a very vocal, in-your-face kind of guy, and he's definitely not the one you'd expect to be dunking on Michigan via social media.
But he's also not going to pass up a golden opportunity when it falls into his lap.
My only regret is that it isn't a gif, so I'll just have to imagine the animated confetti trickling down the video board instead.
WINNING FREE AGENCY. College football free agency is good, actually!
With the commitment of Rutgers offensive lineman Jonah Jackson, Ryan Day is now a perfect 2-for-2 in landing big-time transfers, beating out Oklahoma for both of them.
It really didn't hit me how badly the Buckeyes needed this until I was writing my spring preview piece on the offensive line and trying to piece together the depth chart in my head. Things probably would have worked out fine at the top, but it got into scary territory quite quickly when you got to the two-deep.
Jackson's probably going to start somewhere in the middle, which is great news, especially if Branden Bowen is set on playing tackle.
Also, for those of you keeping track, this also puts the Buckeyes two scholarships above the 85 limit after Kevin Woidke earned a scholarship earlier this month.
Purely reading between the lines here, but you generally don't give walk-on a scholarship unless you're very sure you're going to have one to spare, so I'd expect some attrition here at some point in the near future.
SILK GOES NUTS. Hopefully this is an omen of how tonight's game against Iowa is going to go, but D'Angelo Russell was hitting shots from Queens last night.
The audacity to even take those shots reminds me of his time in Columbus. I vividly remember standing in the student section and audibly groaning as he hoisted a contested shot shortly after crossing half court.
It went it, because of course it did.
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