“There's nothing that cleanses your soul like getting the hell kicked out of you.” – Woody Hayes
Today's Skull Session is late because I watched my team get prison shivved by Nick Saban for four hours and I decided to take a nap at 3:50 a.m. to help digest things and slept like a baby who didn't just witness a murder on my television.
Did it help? Well, no. But at least this will now be (relatively) clean and typo-free.
If we're being honest, that game didn't play out all that different than I expected it to on the defensive side of the ball, in that I had absolutely no expectations that anybody would be able to do anything to slow down Bama's passing attack.
Shaun Wade got sonned by the Slim Reaper, John Metchie's hands were made of damn flypaper and a gimpy Jaylen Waddle limped his way to a few first downs while the pass rush was nonexistent. And none of that surprised me.
I would say I was surprised that Ohio State wasn't able to put up more points and turn the game into a shootout, but honestly, what the hell do you expect to happen when the guy who is averaging more than 9 yards per carry over the past three games suddenly gets replaced by a combination of a dude who can only run straight and a guy who got his first carries of the season in the damn national title game?
Truthfully, Ohio State's chances to even keep the game close died with Trey Sermon's collarbone, but it probably wouldn't have mattered anyway, because the only way Ohio State was winning that game was to score like 60 points. And that's assuming DeVonta Smith still missed the entire second half.
The reality is, that was Bama's game, and this was Bama's season. I can only tip the cap as Nick Saban saunters away from my team's lifeless corpse.
But I'll say this – as terrible as this was, it's an infinitely less infuriating end to the season than the Grand Theft that ended last season. But I'm sure I'll work up some redemption feelings this offseason.
After all, there's still a Saban-shaped grave next to Dabo's that's gonna sit empty all year.
Word of the Day: Disconsolate.
BEHOLD, THE NO. 2 TEAM IN THE COUNTRY. The most hilarious part about last night's public execution was that Ohio State is pretty undeniably the second-best team in college football.
And that happened.
Ohio State is quite likely the second-best team in college football. And is losing by 28.— Bill Connelly (@ESPN_BillC) January 12, 2021
I'm not nihilistic enough to think that this is just proof that Alabama is perennially head and shoulders above everyone at all times.
I think the Tide peaked in a season where nobody else did. Toss this Alabama team in last year's playoff with 2019 Ohio State, Clemson and LSU.and I'm not sure the Tide would get out of the semifinals.
Alabama has had, at most, two non-title seasons between their national titles under Saban, meaning every three-and-done player has won a national championship.— Chris Vannini (@ChrisVannini) January 12, 2021
I don't know what it's going to take to overthrow Bama and take the college football throne in the long run, but I do know that these upcoming recruiting classes are certainly a start.
Until then, putting Dabo in a dumpster is an acceptable consolation prize.
THANK YOU JUSTIN FIELDS. The unfortunate truth is, that was the last time we're ever going to see Justin Fields in a Buckeye uniform.
I truly, truly believe he's going out as the best and most talented quarterback in Ohio State history. I think the numbers back that up and that you'll see them continue at the NFL level. But more than anything on the field, the Buckeyes are going to miss this leadership.
Justin Fields says he was telling the young guys on the team to "remember this feeling" walking off the field after a loss and to "never let it happen to this again."— Colin Hass-Hill (@chasshill) January 12, 2021
Somebody here will get around to doing a lengthier Justin Fields appreciation post at some point in the very near future, but I don't think his talent, his toughness, his leadership, his candor, could possibly be appreciated enough.
I'm not 100 percent sure Ohio State is even playing college football this season without his efforts during the offseason, but I am 100 percent sure the Buckeyes wouldn't have made it this far without him – and that includes blasting Clemson.
AT LEAST THEY STOPPED THE RUN! Want to see what my dumb ass wrote before the game?
All the pregame talk has been about how Ohio State is going to stop this Alabama passing game, but truthfully, I think the far more important matchup is how the Buckeyes are going to stop the run.
The Crimson Tide passing game might put up points, but it's the run game that keeps the ball in Alabama's hands and controls the game. If Ohio State can keep the run bottled up, and limit the Tide's scoring to big plays in the passing game – as counterintuitive as that sounds – I think the Buckeyes will have a chance even if Smith and Waddle go off.
Remember, it was just a month ago that Ohio State won a game where a receiver had over 200 yards and three touchdowns because they also held Indiana to negative rushing yards. It can be done.
Here's the thing: Ohio State actually did stop Najee Harris in the running game! The dude finished the game with 22 carries for 79 yards – only 3.6 yards per carry. But it absolutely did not matter.
Eat at Arby's.
SHAUN WADE BACK? Longtime readers will know that I've been pumping the brakes on the Shaun Wade hype train since before the season started because it seemed like I was the only person on Earth even a little bit concerned that he was hailed as one of the top players in the country at a position he's never played before.
So while I'm not shocked this season was a little bumpier than expected for the self-proclaimed Shadow, I can't say I ever would have imagined a scenario where he played himself back to school for another season. But that might have been what happened.
Shaun Wade said next year's secondary will be good with Sevyn Banks, Cameron Brown, Josh Proctor and whoever else. Next question he declined to say if he is turning pro. He said he would like to stay and this loss is upsetting. He'll talk it over w/ his family and go from there.— Tony Gerdeman (@TonyGerdeman) January 12, 2021
I'm going to be frank, Shaun Wade should under no circumstances enter the draft this year, especially if it's as a cornerback. He will be taken no sooner than the fourth round.
He should come back again and play safety – the position he played when he was one of the best and most versatile players in the country a year ago. Y'all notice the only play he made all game was a tackle for a loss on a running back? That's because he's a safety. And a damn good one.
SONG OF THE DAY. "Mad World" by Gary Jules.
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