Skull Session: Jim Knowles' Defense is Doing Just Fine, Ohio State is One of the Strongest Teams in College Football and an AP Voter From Illinois is The Only Person Riding With the Buckeyes

By Chase Brown on September 13, 2022 at 5:00 am
Jim Knowles

Apparently, Ohio State will have night games for the rest of time.

Ok, maybe that's a little dramatic.

But the Buckeyes will play under the lights on Saturday against Toledo and then again on Sept. 24 when Wisconsin visits Columbus. As a fan, I love when football is played under the lights. As a media member? Ehhhhh, not so much.

However, it lets Eleven Warriors do things like the Eleven Dubgate, a tailgate that will occur before the Wisconsin game in two weekends. Yes, that's right. After a two-year hiatus, our annual charity tailgate is back. This year, all proceeds will benefit Special Olympics Olentangy. If you're unfamiliar with the history of our event, you can read about it here.

So, maybe night games are a good thing after all.

Let's have a good Tuesday, shall we?

 THIS IS THE WAY. I understand many were concerned on Saturday with how well Arkansas State moved the ball against Ohio State at times. However, I'd like to offer some comfort to Buckeye fans who might be nervous about the Jim Knowles defense.

Through two games, Ohio State has only allowed one touchdown. That score was surrendered at the 11:56 mark in the second quarter of the Notre Dame game to running back Audric Estime. The Buckeyes didn't let the Fighting Irish score after that.

Against Arkansas State, the defense gave up four field goals and kept the Red Wolves from reaching the end zone. That means it's been almost 102 minutes of in-game action where Ohio State hasn't allowed their opponent to pass the goal line on offense. And, of course, they've only allowed one touchdown in the 120 total minutes of game time. 

That's pretty good.

Last year, the Buckeyes would have given up a touchdown in the amount of time it took you to read the first few paragraphs of this article. Don't believe me? In the same amount of time (120 minutes) as Ohio State has allowed one touchdown in 2022, the Buckeyes gave up nine touchdowns in 2021.

I know Ohio State played Minnesota and Oregon last year and faced Notre Dame – now 0-2 after a loss to Marshall – and Arkansas State. But, to me, this defense looks much improved. Chew on those numbers for a little bit and then tell me how you feel.

 OHIO STATE HAS THE POWER. ESPN's College Football Power Index measures several indicators of a college football team's strength, including FPI – a team's net point scale; expected points margin against an average opponent on a neutral field – projected wins and losses, win-out percentage, conference title chances and College Football Playoff odds, among other factors.

In the first two weeks, Ohio State has been one of the strongest teams in the FBS, as it ranks at or near the top in most categories determining and projecting a program's power.

Here is a look at where the Buckeyes stand after wins against Notre Dame and Arkansas State, with bolded text showing where they rank first among all FBS programs:

College Football Power Index 2022
Alabama 2-0 28.9 11.4-1.4 18.8 47.2 83.3 56.6 33.8
Ohio State 2-0 27.4 11.6-1.1 30.0 62.4 62.4 48.0 26.1
Georgia 2-0 26.8 11.5-1.3 18.5 44.8 70.8 41.5 21.9
Clemson 2-0 20.1 10.0-1.9 11.5 56.2 46.0 17.5 6.4
Michigan 2-0 18.9 9.9-2.3 3.2 12.5 26.0 9.3 3.2

According to the Power Index, the Buckeyes are the most likely team to finish the season undefeated and also hold the best odds to win their conference. Ohio State ranks second behind Alabama for the best chance to reach the College Football Playoff, advance to the CFP title game and win a national championship.

If numbers never lie, Ohio State is two games into what could be a historic season for the Buckeyes, with them likely earning a rematch of the 2020 CFP national championship with Alabama – a game that ended 52-24 in favor of the Crimson Tide. However, something tells me that score might look different if the 2022 iteration of those teams battle in Los Angeles on Jan. 9, 2023.

 AGAINST THE GRAIN. Each week, Reddit's college football page posts a complete breakdown of how every AP voter completes their top 25 rankings in a graphic using the different school's logos. Here is what it looks like:

It's unclear how each voter determines what makes one team better than another. It's also unclear how the journalists are expected to cover their respective teams while keeping up to date with how 25-plus programs that may or may not include their team are playing each week.

 OLYMPIC VILLAGE. The Ohio State women's ice hockey team has been a frequent of my Olympic Village segment this summer and fall, and that's because they are the best team in their sport.

Not only are the Buckeyes the defending national champions, but they are also the No. 1 team in the first United States Collegiate Hockey Organization top 15 poll ahead of the 2022-23 season.

Ohio State returns most of its title-winning roster from last season, including its top-two offensive contributors. Defenseman and Patty Kazmaier Award finalist Sophie Jacques led last year's Buckeyes with 59 points on 21 goals and 38 assists, while forward Paetyn Levis added 53 points from 24 scores and 25 helpers.

Amanda Thiele returns for her third season in net after an 18-3 season. She stopped 93.9 percent of her opponent's shots and made 465 saves between the posts. After spending last year playing internationally for Team Canada, gold medalist Emma Maltais will be back in uniform for the Buckeyes, bringing a scoring ability that will lead the likes of Gabby Rosenthal, Jenna Buglioni and Jennifer Gardiner.

All in all, things are looking good for Nadine Muzerall's squad. The program won its first championship last season, so why not do it again this year?

 SONG OF THE DAY. "Human" by Jon Bellion.

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