It doesn't get better than this.
For as impressively terrible as 2020 was, I could not have scripted a better end to Ohio State's season than the opportunity to stuff both Dabo Swinney and Nick Saban in their respective body bags in a single playoff.
Thanks to one of the single best Buckeye football performances these still-young eyes have ever seen, Dabo's been properly slain, bagged and tossed into a dumpster.
Now, all eyes turn to the Witch-king of College Football and his team of Nazguls.
We've been here before – sizeable underdogs to the perennial top team in college football. We know what it's like to have to face the top-three Heisman Trophy vote-getters in the postseason. All those complaints that the Buckeyes didn't even belong in the playoff to begin with – we've heard those before, too.
Truth is, despite top-5 recruiting class after top-5 recruiting class and dominant season after dominant season, Ohio State is somehow no stranger to the underdog role. And if folks are going to keep giving it to us, I'll gladly take it.
By all means, make the team with the generational quarterback more than a touchdown underdog. Please, write off the with the running back averaging more than nine yards a touch over the past three games. Tell me about how the team with a unanimous All-American guard and two tackles that haven't allowed a sack has no chance in this game.
Completely disregard the wide receiver duo that is averaging more than 100 yards apiece per game. Pay no attention to the defensive line that mauled the hell out of Clemson. Avert your eyes from one of the most veteran linebacking corps in college football.
And above all, do all you can to forget that the head coach leading them into this game has lost precisely one (1) game as a head coach, and that game was stolen from him in a way that makes Oceans 11 look like petty theft.
Look, I know I'm the homerest of homers, but it's nothing short of hilarious that less than two weeks ago, Ohio State recreated the Doolittle Raid on Clemson after folks gave them no chance in that game, and we're here again.
I get it, Alabama's passing game is lethal. DeVonta Smith is the best player in college football and Jaylen Waddle (who is absolutely playing today, by the way) might have been better before his injury. Then there's Najee Harris, who is nearly undoubtedly the best back in college football (outside of postseason Trey Sermon, of course).
Bama's going to get theirs, I have no doubt about that. But let's not act like the Buckeye defense is completely inept, or that Ohio State can't win a shootout. I mean, Ohio State won a game in which it gave up over 200 yards and three touchdowns to one wide receiver two months ago, and the Crimson Tide has given up 46 or more points to the only two decent offenses it's played this year.
The narrative is that the Buckeyes haven't faced anything like Alabama, but the reality is that Bama hasn't seen anything like Ohio State. The Tide has no idea what's coming, and I wouldn't have it any other way.
The party starts now.
Word of the Day: Comminute.
BRAIN CANCER CAN WAIT. I try not to compare folks' Buckeye fandom because it's generally a joyless and fruitless endeavor.
That said, I can't say I've heard of that many individuals postponing surgery on an extremely aggressive and life-threatening cancer to make sure she can watch the Buckeyes stuff Dabo Swinney in a trashcan.
On Dec. 26, the 57-year-old New Smyrna Beach resident was diagnosed with glioblastoma, the worst form of brain tumor and considered one of the worst cancers overall, if not the worst. Surgery was quickly scheduled for the next day at Jacksonville’s Mayo Clinic.
And then postponed.
Less than a week later, on New Years Day, Connie's Buckeyes were playing Clemson in the semifinals of the College Football Playoffs. And one of her entrenched memories from childhood involved a Clemson-Ohio State bowl game — the 1978 Gator Bowl in Jacksonville — that brought a dramatic end to the career of legendary Buckeyes coach Woody Hayes.
“I just wasn’t ready to do the surgery,” Cox said this week. “I knew we were playing Clemson and the curse of Woody Hayes was hanging over me. I couldn’t take a chance of missing that game.”
“I’ve been blessed my whole life,” she said. “God has blessed me and He still is. It’s the most powerful energy I’ve experienced my whole life. I have support from all the angels around me. All my friends and family are distraught, but I say, ‘Come on, guys, you gotta get a little bit tougher.'"
I feel you, Connie. What's the point of the life-saving surgery if it causes you to miss one of the greatest moments of your life?
For those wondering, Connie expects to be all good for Monday night's game, which sounds like bad news for Nick Saban.
“THE TRUE TREY SERMON.” My favorite subplot of this season has been watching Trey Sermon transform from a serviceable backup to arguably the top running back in the nation for no apparent reason at all.
Basically, the only thing that changed was his mentor reminding him that he's extremely good at football.
It wasn’t always so dreamy. Sermon transferred this past offseason from Oklahoma seeking a more significant role, but he found himself in a place similar to the one he left in Norman—down the depth chart. Adjusting to a new rushing scheme and behind tailback Master Teague, Sermon grew frustrated.
But then, before a game against Michigan State on Dec. 5, came a heart-to-heart with his mentor, Tuna Burhanan, a longtime strength and conditioning coach in the Atlanta area. Burhanan and Sermon discussed the “sense of urgency” that the running back should have as his college career was winding down.
“He felt like he was at Oklahoma again and that no one knew his worth,” Burhanan says. “I told Trey, I said … they’re just not giving you an opportunity, but don’t let that hinder you. It makes you run slow and run like a robot and you’ve got to get that out of you.
“He just stopped thinking, changed his attitude at practice and his position on the team and in life in general,” Burhanan says. “Now you see the true Trey Sermon.”
Since that "heart-to-heart," dude's averaging over nine (9!!!) yards per carry. I don't know what the hell is in those pep talks, but I would like one, please.
By the way, this excerpt comes from an absolutely insane story about Trey's family upbringing before he was born, including the beating of his pregnant mother and the murder of his baby half-brother, which caused her to flee Florida.
Basically, his mom is a straight-up badass who's resilient and inspirational beyond words. She's absolutely the type of woman I'd expect to birth a son that's about to put up 200 yards on Nick Saban en route to a Natty.
QB1 IS ALL HEALED. If y'all are even the slightest bit concerned about Justin Fields' ribs, allow this video of QB1 diving after ping pong balls to put your mind to rest.
In case anyone was wondering, Justin Fields looks pretty healthy and is apparently filthy at ping pong— Gene Ross (@Gene_Ross23) January 10, 2021
(Via Haskell Garretts IG Live) pic.twitter.com/KOh6omtrXU
Now that we've got his health settled, I feel compelled to ask the very obvious lingering question here: how in the hell did Justin Fields get so damn good at ping pong in between becoming talented enough to become a millionaire at baseball or football?
Dude's out there working his teammates like he's Forrest Gump from the hit film Forrest Gump.
BAMA'S IN TROUBLE. Folks, I'm pleased to inform you that this is the look of a man who fully intends to drop 70 points on Nick Saban's supercilious ass.
OSUCoachKDub is rapidly becoming the greatest Twitter account online, and I'm absolutely here for whatever content comes out of a national championship.
Bucks by 50. At least.
SONG OF THE DAY. "Centuries" by Fall Out Boy.
( ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ it worked last time)
NOT STICKING TO SPORTS. A woman stabs her husband after dreaming that he cheated... After 50 years, the Pentagon Papers give up their final secrets... Two men stole skulls of veterans from a Florida cemetery for ancient rituals... How police covered up one of Australia’s most notorious serial killers... What happened to NFL home-field advantage?...