Skull Session: The Game Will Be an Undefeated Showdown, Ohio State Has Dominated for a Decade and Chris Olave Gave Clemson Fans PTSD on Sunday

By Chase Brown on November 21, 2022 at 5:00 am
C.J. Stroud

Folks, it's time.

 BEST OF THE BEST. When the Buckeyes and Wolverines battle on Saturday, they will be ranked as two of the top-three teams in the country, with both teams a perfect 11-0 to this point.

This year's matchup will be the first time both teams will enter The Game undefeated since the 2006 season. Ohio State came away victorious in that one, defeating Michigan 42-39, in what many have labeled "The Game of the Century" for the 2000s. And, yes, it really was good enough to be considered that. In case you need a reminder:

Looking back further than 2006, Ohio State and Michigan also faced each other with perfect records in 1970 and 1973. With the Buckeyes winning, 20-9, in 1970 and The Game ending in a 10-10 tie in 1973.

The teams met two other times while undefeated and untied as Big Ten opponents, according to Eleven Warriors data expert Matt Gutridge, and neither meeting came in the final regular-season game.

The first matchup was in 1919 – a game the Buckeyes won 13-3 on Ferry Field to advance to 3-0. They finished that season 6-1. The second matchup was in 1933, with the Wolverines claiming a 13-3 win at Michigan Stadium. Ohio State fell to 2-1 in its only loss of the year. The Buckeyes outscored all other opponents 161-13 that season.

While those contests were important regarding the rivalry, they didn't have quite the implications of this year's meeting between the teams. Only the 2006 game meets the importance of The Game on Ohio State and Michigan in 2022.

This season, everything is on the line. A Big Ten East title, a trip to Indianapolis for the conference championship and improved odds to reach the College Football Playoff are all at stake.

May the best team win. And may that team be the Buckeyes.

 DOMINANCE. Uhhhhhhhhhh, people? Does anyone know how consistently dominant the Ohio State football team has been for the last decade? But seriously, do you really know how dominant the Buckeyes have been?

Let me throw a few statistics at you quickly — just a few small ones.

Did you know that Ohio State has won 11 games in each of its last 10 complete seasons? It's true. Excluding the 2020 season, in which it only played eight games and finished as a national runner-up to Alabama, the Buckeyes have won 11 games yearly for the past decade. According to the Big Ten Network, it's the longest such streak in program history.

And how about this: Did you know that – dating back to the 2014 season – Ohio State is 89-0 in games where it scores 30 or more points? That's true, too. When the Buckeyes score more than four touchdowns, they don't lose.

With that said, the reasonably straightforward plan for Ohio State on Saturday should be to score 30 or more points. I know. I know. A lot of stuff goes into making that happen, and it's not that easy to do, especially when Michigan has one the best defenses in the nation.

How-evuh, let it be known that if the Buckeyes hit the 30-point mark on Saturday, I will have complete confidence in Ryan Day and Co. winning the game. Perhaps that's arrogant to put that much weight into a statistic, but come on, folks, Ohio State is 89-0 when it happens. Jim Harbaugh won't be the one to keep the Buckeyes from making it 90-0.

 A CLEMSON FAN'S PTSD. On Sunday, Chris Olave caught a 53-yard touchdown pass for the New Orleans Saints in the Superdome. It was a thing of beauty – a great pass from Andy Dalton and an excellent catch from Olave. But I couldn't help but experience deja vu when it happened. Tell me, does this play remind anyone of something else?

Yes, of course! I remember. It's almost the exact same play from when Olave secured a 56-yard dime from Justin Fields in the 2020 College Football Playoff semifinal at the Sugar Bowl a.k.a. the play that will give every Clemson fan post-traumatic stress.

Oh, it's too good.

The same player. The same pass. The same throw. The same result.

I can't wait to see Olave do that exact same thing like 1,000 more times during his career. He is, simply put, that dude. Or, to be more concise, he is him.

 MEET THE TEAM. One of my favorite traditions of Michigan week is when the Ohio State football team and marching band come together for a "Meet the Team" night. Whenever photos are released from the event, you can see how much fun everyone has, especially the football players.

For example, look at the size of these smiles Paris Johnson Jr., Tanner McCalister, Miyan Williams and Josh Proctor:

The TBDBITL Twitter account also sent out a video of C.J. Stroud composing the marching band's playing of "Fight the Team Across the Field" on Sunday.

While watching this video, my thoughts went from "Oh, that's really cool" to "Ooooo, C.J. hit that side to side. Aye." But then it rushed to "Please don't fall. Please don't fall. Please don't fall..." before finally settling with "He's fine. I'm fine. We're all fine. Let's focus on how much fun he is having."

But I digress. One of the best parts about rivalry week is the tradition behind it. I'm happy to witness another year where moments like these still happen, and I hope everyone at the Woody on Sunday remembers small things like this about Ohio State football and the band for the rest of their lives.

Let's keep this week going.

 SONG OF THE DAY. "It's Time for War" by LL Cool J.

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