Folks, it would appear that the Buckeyes are for real.
Again, this probably should have been more widely accepted after the three-straight road wins over top-15 opponents, but if you needed to see a fourth I'm not gonna chastise you.
Welcome to the bandwagon!
(Also, Zed Key finished with a better field goal percentage than Luka Garza. Do what you want with that information.)
Word of the Day: Effloresce.
THIS SEEMS GOOD. I'm new to this whole "my team is extremely good at basketball" thing. Could somebody please tell me if this is good? Because it sure seems good!
Ohio State now has the most Quadrant 1 wins in the country, with seven.— Jeff Borzello (@jeffborzello) February 5, 2021
My favorite thing about this hot streak has been gradually witnessing the hopes and expectations about this team change.
At first, it was "maybe they'll be ranked!" Then it was "wow, this is a top-15 team!" Then last week, we moved into "Oh, they're going to be in the top-10! at least until they play Iowa." And now, the Buckeyes are firmly a top-five team and could be legitimately chasing a No. 1 seed.
Michigan ain't ready.
BEST DAMN RECEIVERS IN THE LAND. The bad news is, Ohio State has nobody on the roster who has completed – or even attempted! – a pass at the college level. But the good news is, Ohio State also has the two best receivers in all of college football, according to Pro Football Focus.
1. CHRIS OLAVE, OHIO STATE
Olave was projected to be a first-round selection in the 2021 NFL Draft, but he made the surprising decision to return to school and boost his stock even higher. For the Buckeyes, this is clearly fantastic news. They are getting back one of the most, if not the most, refined route-runners in college football.
He has generated a step or more of separation on over 87% of his targets since 2019, the highest rate in the country. Against single coverage over the past two seasons, Olave has racked up 15 receptions to result in a 15-plus yard gain in which he had more than a couple of steps of separation. That trailed only Alabama's DeVonta Smith for the most in the FBS (19) and is five more than the next best Power Five receiver.
2. GARRETT WILSON, OHIO STATE
Ohio State may no longer have Justin Fields, but the team does have the clear-cut best wide receiver duo in the country. That’ll surely ease the transition for (most likely) C.J. Stroud at quarterback. Like his teammate Olave, Wilson is one of the best route-runners in the game. He impressed against single coverage (sixth in PFF grade on such plays) and frequently found soft spots against zone while working from the slot. That led to a separation rate that ranked eighth-highest in college football this past season. The 2019 five-star recruit is bound to put up numbers in this offense once again in 2021.
Chris Olave's return eases my concern about the quarterback situation on two fronts.
First, it's a hell of a lot easier to take over for a generational quarterback when you return the best receiver in the country (see Jones, Mac). Second, there's no way Olave would have come back and risk millions of dollars in draft stock if he didn't think next year's quarterback was going to be good.
And Garrett Wilson – he ain't bad, either!
Olave and Wilson are this year's version of DeVonta Smith and Jaylen Waddle – except I'd much prefer if they both stay healthy, even if that would cost the other one the Heisman Trophy.
COMING TO A TV NEAR YOU... There may not be any Buckeyes on field on Sunday night, but Joey Bosa will play a role in the much better and more entertaining portion of the Super Bowl – the commercials.
Truly, Joey Bosa is easily in my top-five of funniest Buckeyes who've played since I've been writing online words about this team. Whatever this is, I'm sure it's going to be hilarious.
ALWAYS READ THE FINE PRINT. It's usually Michigan that earns my ridicule for its hilariously terrible social media game (like that time they got dunked on repeatedly after asking fans for pleasant sports memories, or when they bragged about having the fewest missed tackles, or when they created a recruiting graphic featuring five former Ohio State players).
But this is, to borrowing their phrasing, unrivaled.
PENN STATE WON EVERY GAME LAST YEAR.
ᵉˣᶜᵉᵖᵗ ᶠᵒʳ ᶠᶦᵛᵉ
SONG OF THE DAY. "Carry You" by Novo Amor.
NOT STICKING TO SPORTS. Baltimore has officially ended its creepy spy plane program... A fugitive fell through the ceiling of a home while the cops questioned his family members... How to be angry... The lion, the polygamist and the biofuel scam... How too much mindfulness can spike anxiety... I was a teenage beauty pageant loser...