Skull Session: Ohio State Always Brings An Audience, Beating Georgia in Atlanta Will Be Tough and Ryan Shazier is Picking the Buckeyes in the Peach Bowl

By Chase Brown on December 8, 2022 at 5:00 am
C.J. Stroud

The Ohio State University women's basketball team is doing something sweet today.

In partnering with the Columbus City Schools and the 2nd and 7 Foundation, the Buckeyes will welcome nearly 4,000 students to their matchup with New Hampshire on Thursday at 11 a.m.

For more information about the game and the partnership, click here.

And, one more thing, the Ohio State women's volleyball team faces Minnesota in the Sweet 16 at noon on ESPN2. Make sure to check that out this afternoon.

Let's have a good Thursday, shall we?

 BUCKS DELIVER EYEBALLS. There isn't a college football program in the United States that delivers more television viewers than The World Famous Ohio State Buckeyes. While that statement applies to every season, it was especially true this year.

According to Saturday Tradition and The Big House Podcast, Ohio State was the most-watched team in the sport for 2022. Who was the second most-watched team, you may ask? Only the Buckeyes' hated rival, the Michigan Wolverines.

The College Football Playoff committee undoubtedly had those numbers in mind when placing Ohio State and Michigan in the same CFP field for the first time.

With the Buckeyes and Wolverines in separate semifinal matchups, setting up a possible rematch of The Game for the national championship, the playoff and its television partners could benefit from what could be what would almost certainly be the largest viewership of all time for a national title game – if not college football game overall.

From Bill Shea of The Athletic:

Ohio State versus Michigan, the rematch. Or, more properly styled, The Rematch.

From a television perspective — and don’t kid yourself, college football’s national championship game is a made-for-TV-dollars creation — the possibility of the archrivals meeting in the title game on Jan. 9 after the Wolverines’ 45-23 win last month has to be the freshest catnip for ESPN executives.

The UM-OSU game on Nov. 26 in Columbus averaged 17 million viewers for Fox, which is the network’s biggest-ever college football regular-season audience and the rivalry’s largest TV viewership since 17.1 million watched the 2016 double-overtime game won by the Buckeyes. The biggest audience on record for OSU-UM was nearly 22 million in 2006 when they played a thriller while ranked No. 1 and No. 2.

In short, Ohio State vs. Michigan in the national championship on a Monday near the start of January would be something everyone would like to see, save for Georgia and TCU fans, of course.

Not only would The Rematch draw fans of the Buckeyes and Wolverines, but it would also reel in every person who hates the scarlet and gray and the maize and blue, of which there are plenty. Hands down, it would be the greatest game in the sport's history.

The ingredients are there for live sports drama for UM-OSU meeting again: Prestige rivalry history, storylines, high stakes, limited competition on other networks, etc. As long as it’s not an early blowout, the broadcast would be poised for a great night for eyeball-capturing.

But I apologize. I am having too much fun thinking about the possibility of this beautiful rematch happening. I need to acknowledge this: There is a long way to go before we start talking about Buckeyes and Wolverines in the CFP title game.

For the Buckeyes to get there, they'll need to take down the beast that is Georgia, which has 23 more days to prepare for Ohio State's talented offense and much-improved defense.

 INTO THE DAWG HOUSE. On Dec. 31, Ohio State will play in its third College Football Playoff semifinal since Ryan Day took over the program four years ago. The head coach has led the Buckeyes to a 1-1 record in the previous matchups, with a 29-23 loss to Clemson in 2019 and a 49-28 win over the Tigers in 2020.

With those results in mind, Day's teams have a decent track record of performing well after a month-long break from games in December. And, yes, that first loss to Clemson is still a loss, and I don't mean to excuse that. I mean to say that, overall, Ohio State looked good in the 2019 semifinal outside of some wacky stuff happening (i.e., a dropped TD pass by J.K. Dobbins, Shaun Wade's ejection, the overturned scoop and score, etc.)

Former Tennessee coach Jeremy Pruitt acknowledged Day's ability to prepare his team for the playoffs when speaking with Mike Griffith of Dawg Nation earlier this week. However, he claimed that Georgia's coaches are better equipped to ready their players for Ohio State than vice versa when the teams meet in the Peach Bowl.

From Griffith's article:

“You take the best defensive staff in the country and they have 27 days to put together a plan, and it will be a good plan,” Pruitt said Monday night when asked his initial impressions of the CFP Peach Bowl Semifinal game between Georgia and Ohio State on Dec. 31.

“They have had no problem getting their players to buy in, so I look for Georgia to have a good plan on both sides of the ball.”

Entering the CFP, Georgia ranks No. 7 in total offense and No. 13 in scoring offense, with 491.9 yards gained and 39.2 points scored per game. It’s ranked No. 9 and No. 2 nationally in the same categories defensively, allowing 292.0 yards and 12.8 points per contest to its opponents.

While Pruitt believes Ohio State is a tough draw for the Bulldogs, he thinks Georgia's coaching staff of Kirby Smart, offensive coordinator Todd Monken and defensive coordinators Will Muschamp and Glenn Schumann and their proven game plan to generate tremendous statistics provide him with enough confidence to pick against the Buckeyes.

Pruitt said Ohio State was the toughest draw Georgia could have gotten, but the added preparation time gives him confidence UGA will prevail.

“The more I got to thinking about it, I started thinking about the time of preparation,” Pruitt said, “and started thinking more toward the Dawgs.”

Will the Bulldogs prevail? That remains to be seen. We will find out in a little over three weeks at the Peach Bowl.

But if anything is clear about Ohio State vs. Georgia, the battle will be won today, tomorrow, and each day leading up to the matchup. The winner will be determined by who is most prepared – who studied harder, practiced harder and trained harder.

May it be the Buckeyes winning the battle over the next several weeks and the Buckeyes that prevail on New Year's Eve in the ATL.

 SHAZIER WEIGHS IN. When ranking the best Ohio State players of the 2010s, Ryan Shazier is a player that shoots to the top of the list in my mind.

The former Buckeye shared his prediction for the Peach Bowl with Kay Adams of the Up & Adams Show on FanDuel TV this week, and – go figure – he picked the scarlet and gray.

“To me, it’s crazy how people say we backed in. When Alabama did it, when Georgia did it they didn’t say they backed in. But hey, at The Ohio State University there’s always a little bit of hate. The reason I feel like we deserve to be in there is because we lost to the number two team in the country and we were the number three team.

“And then pretty much everyone else on our schedule we have beaten up on them and we have a better win than anybody else that is after us, a quality win vs Penn State whose only two losses are to the number two team in the country and the number four team in the country."


“I definitely think we’re going to beat Georgia, I know nobody thinks that, but I think we really have a shot to beat them, we have the team to beat them, and I hope they make it there as well.”

I love the confidence from Shazier here. It's a "Why not us?" approach that I think Ohio State would be apt to adopt in the next few weeks.

In what is new life for Ohio State – an opportunity, if you will – the Buckeyes can do what nobody is giving them a chance to do, and that's knock off the top-ranked team in the country in their own backyard.

Ohio Against the World.

 YES! YES! YES! Folks, I missed a major uniform scoop – *salutes and repeats the words "major uniform scoop" out loud* (where are my HIMYM Fans at?) – about the Ohio State football team.

The Buckeyes donned uniforms with gray sleeves for each of Ohio State's first four College Football Playoff appearances. According to Reid Murray of The Lantern, the program will continue that tradition in 2022.

A couple of thoughts:

  1. This rocks.
  2. Hate to be that person, but why doesn't Ohio State always wear these uniforms? It feels like the Buckeyes utilize black as a secondary color more than gray.
  3. With College Football Playoff expansion on the horizon, should Ohio State continue this tradition, we will be almost guaranteed to see the uniforms involving gray sleeves at least once a year moving forward. For my thoughts on that, please refer to No. 1.

 SONG OF THE DAY. "World's Smallest Violin" by AJR.

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