Skull Session: The Buckeyes Need to Avoid Apathy Like the Plague, the World Was a Lot Different 22 Years Ago and Tommy Eichenberg Deserves More Recognition

By Chase Brown on November 23, 2022 at 5:00 am
Tommy Eichenberg

Three days until the Michigan game.

How about these black and scarlet LeBron cleats?

Let's have a good Wednesday, shall we?

 HARD TO ADMIT. One of the more interesting developments of Tuesday's media interviews with Ohio State's players was the confessions from Emeka Egbuka and Xavier Johnson that the Buckeye football program may have become apathetic toward the Michigan game in recent seasons.

It's almost unimaginable. How could the program enter into a lull of preparing for The Game? It's the most important date on the schedule every year. The Saturday after Thanksgiving. Ohio State and Michigan. The Buckeyes and Wolverines. The scarlet and gray and the maize and blue.

That mentality toward The Game – one that borders on apathy – is what cost Ohio State in its matchup with Michigan in 2021. “That came back to bite us,” Xavier Johnson said.

Apathy cost Ohio State a win over its most hated rival, which is precisely why the legendary Woody Hayes said to “avoid it like the plague.”

“We all have to be pushed,” Hayes said in the video.

Though Buckeye Nation may not like it, Ohio State's loss to Michigan is what has pushed the program to remember why it can never waste a second without preparing for the Wolverines at the end of the season.

“That was a wake-up call for us,” Egbuka said of last season's defeat in Ann Arbor. “Now the rivalry is back in full force, and we are ready to take them on.”

Ohio State will have an opportunity to prove how far it will go to win on Saturday when the rivalry returns to Columbus for the first time since 2018. If The Game is anything like it was four years ago, the Wolverines are in for a reckoning.

 WAY BACK WHEN. Since the turn of the century, Ohio State has dominated its rivalry with Michigan, winning 17 of the 21 games played in the last 22 years. The Buckeyes have been incredibly dominant against the Wolverines in Columbus, beating them nine out of 10 times when The Game was played at Ohio Stadium.

The lone home loss for Ohio State since 2000 came in that same year on Nov. 18. It was a 38-26 victory for Michigan, powered by a three-touchdown performance from quarterback Drew Henson and a two-score day from wide receiver David Terrell. The defeat was the beginning of the end of the John Cooper era.

Now, why am I telling you this?

Because the Buckeyes haven't lost to the Wolverines much since then, and they haven't lost at home against their rivals in the nine games played at Ohio Stadium since that fateful day more than two decades ago. A rather impressive feat for the greatest rivalry in all of sports. You can thank Jim Tressel and Urban Meyer for that.

I mean, 22 years is a long time. What was the world even like back then? Because some of you want to poke fun at my age, I can tell you that on Nov. 18, 2000, I was a wee lad – a little over a year old – so I don't remember anything about that time.

Luckily, the folks over at were able to offer a glimpse into some of the important happenings of the year 2000. For those who can remember, have fun reminiscing. For those who can't remember, please have fun learning about a simpler time.

Events in the Year 2000

  1. “Hanging Chads” Became a Household Phrase
  2. Faith Hill Had the Biggest Song of the Year
  3. The Average Gas Price Was $1.51 Per Gallon
  4. The GPS Became Available to the Public
  5. PlayStation 2 was Released and Became a Must-Have Item
  6. The Hit TV Show Survivor Had Its First Season
  7. The Average House Price Was $119,600
  8. Netflix Was Renting DVDs as a Monthly Service
  9. Brad Pitt and Jennifer Aniston Got Hitched

It really makes the last Michigan win in Ohio Stadium feel like a while ago, doesn't it?

 SNUBBED, I SAY! In the words of the ever-entertaining Stephen A. Smith, “We have been hoodwinked, bamboozled, led astray, run amok and flat-out deceived” by the Butkus Foundation, who inexplicably chose to leave Tommy Eichenberg off its list of five finalists for the Butkus Award, given to the best linebacker in college football.

Instead, the foundation chose Iowa's Jack Campbell, Georgia's Jamon Dumas-Johnson, Washington State's Daiyan Henley, Cincinnati's Ivan Pace and Arkansas' Drew Sanders as the remaining candidates for the postseason honor.

Eichenberg was snubbed! Snubbed, I say!

The fourth-year Buckeye has been phenomenal all year for Ohio State and paces the team with 105 tackles and 12 tackles for loss. He also has contributed 2.5 sacks, one interception, two pass breakups, five quarterback hurries and a touchdown as the leader of the defense – a unit worth of Silver Bullets recognition in Jim Knowes' first season.

For him to be left off the list is a real head-scratcher, especially when one considers the statistics of some of the players that were featured as a finalist:

This is not meant to take a shot at Dumas-Johnson – I'm sure he's an excellent player – but to put him on the list over Eichenberg deserves a least some sort of explanation. How can a player with 51 more tackles, five more tackles for loss, one more interception and one more touchdown be off the list when the other linebacker is on it?

Even Iowa's Campbell, who many consider the best linebacker in America, has 110 tackles, 3.5 tackles for loss, zero sacks, one pass breakup and two interceptions, and might win the award!

Make it make sense. Please. It doesn't, and it probably never will, but I can at least hope that the people who make these decisions will someday get it right. Until then, I sit and wait with frustration that will simmer until Eichenberg receives the credit he deserves.

 THIS AND THAT. Have to throw out a few things in this section because I'm drinking out of a fire hose with content this week and I can't possibly fit all of it into the Skull Session every day, so here are a couple of quick hitters:

First, here's an absolutely hilarious tweet from Ohio State athletics:

Second, did you know Dawand Jones is a good offensive lineman? And so is Paris Johnson Jr. Ohio State has some good tackles.

Third, the Women's Final Four is coming back to Columbus in 2027, which is electric. Also, Ohio State guard Jacy Sheldon is the best defender in the NCAA right now, and it's not particularly close.

Fourth and finally, Chris Olave is too dang good. Nobody can stop him!

 SONG OF THE DAY. “Kickstart My Heart” by Mötley Crue.

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