It's Christmas Eve and I've only wrapped two presents.
Word of the Day: Joy.
THE PORTAL GIVETH? So far, the transfer portal has only subtracted from Ohio State's roster. But it's looking like there's a strong chance that'll be changing in the not-so-distant future as there seems to be mutual interest between the Buckeyes and a couple of players currently in the portal.
With the one-time transfer rule now a thing, I think we're going to see a lot more of players following their coaches or coordinators to the next destination, and it looks like Oklahoma State safety Tanner McCalister is a prime candidate to follow Jim Knowles.
Oklahoma State senior S Tanner McCalister, a two-year starter, has entered the transfer portal. McCalister signed with the Cowboys in 2018 as a corner out of Rockwall (Texas) Rockwall-Heath and played extensively as a reserve in ’18 and ’19. He moved to safety in 2020 and became a starter, and kept his starting spot this season. McCalister had 34 tackles, an interception and five pass breakups this season.
If there's any position that could use some reinforcements on defense, it's probably safety and linebacker. Which brings me to our next portal candidate: DeaMonte Trayanum.
Announcement coming Saturday, call it a Christmas gift— DeaMonte Trayanum (@Chipperrz_) December 23, 2021
If this name sounds familiar to you, it's because he's an Ohio kid who Ohio State recruited out of high school, but he was a running back in those days and Ohio State ultimately went with Miyan Williams. But whispers are that the Buckeyes are now interested in him again, but this time as a linebacker.
Normally, I'd be pretty skeptical of recruiting a guy who played running back at another Power Five program last season to help your linebackers room, but considering Steele Chambers went from running back to the best player in the unit in like two months, I'm willing to give it a shot!
THE SOUTH REMEMBERS. The last time Cincinnati took on a legit perennial title contender (sorry, Notre Dame), it... did not go well. I'm sure you remember. The Bearcats haven't forgotten, but they also believe they've grown from it.
“I think that was a necessary learning point,” receiver Alec Pierce said. “We needed that for our team. We were super young back then. A lot of the same guys we have playing played in that game and that was two years ago. It was just necessary for us.”
“I think it probably lit a flame under us,” Pierce said.
The Bearcats found a way to channel it as a positive for the rest of the 2019 season. They won nine consecutive games, beating a ranked UCF team, before losing in back-to-back games against AAC champion Memphis.
Since that Ohio State loss, the Bearcats lost on a last-second field goal to Georgia and beat Notre Dame on the road. Preparing to play Alabama in the Cotton Bowl next week, the Bearcats are confident in themselves.
“I think that was a good opportunity for us,” safety Ja’Von Hicks said of the Ohio State loss. “I think it’s just really not looking at the opponent like they are somebody we’ve never seen before. Just go out there and just play football because everybody plays football like the way we do. They’re just at a bigger program. There is no real difference. I think we learned a lot from ourselves and from each other because we lost and I think it kind of humbled us a little bit.”
I will take slight solace in the fact that Ohio State played at least a small part in a Group of Five team dumping Alabama in the College Football Playoff.
UTES HOME GAME? We've gotten pretty used to the whole "every game is a home game" thing in Buckeyeland, but that sure ain't going to be the case in Pasadena this year.
Ohio State sold about two-thirds of its allotment of tickets for next week’s Rose Bowl.
In an email, associate athletic director for ticketing and premium seating Brett Scarbrough said the school had sold approximately 13,000 of its allotted 20,000 tickets for the Jan. 1 bowl game against Utah. The rest have been returned to the Rose Bowl.
The smaller ticket sales among Buckeyes fans could result in a crowd in Pasadena that is heavily split in favor of the Utes.
Last week, Utah announced it had sold more than 29,000 through its ticket office, selling out its original allotment of 27,800. With its fans snatching up seats, it added an additional 5,200 tickets to increase its allotment to 33,000.
I can't say I blame anybody for staying at home, all things considered, but it's still going to be a little odd looking at those crowd shots of a major bowl game and knowing Ohio State fans are outnumbered, but I guess that's the new normal when it's natty or bust.
CHRISTMAS MOVIES? CHRISTMAS MOVIES. Some folks are more loyal to their traditional family Christmas movie than they are their college football allegiances. So why not embrace the chaos and merge the two.
It could not be more emblamatic of Ohio State's fanbase that the protagonist in Ryan Day's movie is a neurotic perfectionist that absolutely loses his mind at the idea that he might not have the best Christmas lights display in the city or the fastest sled on the hill.
Meanwhile, it's so amazingly on brand that Kirk Ferentz couldn't come up with a single Christmas movie. Not even the ones that include Scrooge or the Grinch.
SONG OF THE DAY. "O Holy Night" by Pentatonix.
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