Winter is coming.
Let it snow. Let it snow. Let it snow.
Like, please. Nothing is worse than when it's freezing without snow in Columbus, which is precisely what the weather will be like in Ohio's capital over Christmas weekend. I wish it would be more like this:
It's the first day of winter! We're looking forward to all these beautiful snowy campus views.— Ohio State (@OhioState) December 21, 2022
: johnhueth (IG) pic.twitter.com/LS93Gspo6l
Alas, it will not be.
Despite that, though, let's still have a good Thursday, shall we?
STATE OF THE PROGRAM. Recruits from Ohio State's class of 2023 inked their names on National Letters of Intent on Wednesday to officially become Buckeyes. Around midday, Ryan Day met with the media to discuss the prospects and what impact he expects each of them to make in Columbus moving forward.
Day was asked many questions. He provided many answers. However, a question from Patrick Murphy of 247Sports and the subsequent response from Ohio State's head coach requires a pause for reflection.
Murphy: When we deal with fans, the people that read our stuff, there's the side that is Ohio State has lost to Michigan twice in a row and lost some guys in classes. That's the negative side. Then there's the other side that views it as you went 11-1, you're in the College Football Playoff and you're close to a national championship. From your perspective – this building's perspective – how do you view things at the moment?
For the visual people who read the Skull Session, I have linked Day's response in a video format, but if you prefer to see the words on the page – like in those old-timey newspapers –I'll also write his quotes below the clip:
Day: "We all have certain expectations and we all have goals. And when you don't reach those goals, you have to identify what those things are to get them addressed. When you go through times like this, you recognize first off the things you gotta get better at. But also it gives you a really good idea of where everybody's at in the program and kind of where you stand. Because when things are going well, everybody's with you. And when something goes wrong, you kind of find out where people stand. And so I think we have a pretty good feel for that right now. But I can tell you that the guys in the program, they've been working their tail off the last month.
I think, again, when you look at the 19 guys we brought in here, these are some of the best players in the country. And these guys understand what's going on here, and they understand what an unbelievable culture we have here. You see a lot of transfers going on, everything like that. You look at our team, there's really not a lot of that going on. Why? I think it's because we have a strong culture here. Guys appreciate the way that they're being developed and everything like that, and years and seasons and life doesn't always go the way you plan. It's about how you react to it and how you respond to it. And that's what our focus is on right now.
We're not gonna overreact. As much that loss hurts, we're not gonna overreact on it. It's not worth it. We have a game against Georgia ahead of us that we're focusing on. We're hammering recruiting and looking to adapt to what's going on across the country. And I know that the program is in a great place even though we did lose that game and it hurts. I mean, that's our goal every year, you can't walk away from it. But at the end of the day, we have some really good people in this program. We have really good talent, really good coaches and recruit really good people.
Perhaps I have scarlet-colored glasses on, but I haven't been overly concerned about Ohio State's decommits and misses in recruiting. Do I think it's a good look for the program? Heck no. The Buckeyes should land the top players in every class. That's the baseline expectation.
However, I also recognize that Ohio State is two wins away from being crowned the national champions of college football for the 2022 season. That is the case because of dumb luck that USC lost to Utah in the Pac-12 Championship, yes, but also because the Buckeyes have put themselves in a position to make the CFP every season since 2014.
This year, Ohio State has as good a chance as Georgia, Michigan and TCU to win a title. No other program in college football can make the same claim. That has to mean something. More importantly, it can change everything. What has been considered by many a horrible last few weeks for the Buckeyes can quickly with Day and his players hoisting a CFP trophy above their heads on Jan. 9, 2023.
As Day mentioned, that is the focus right now for Ohio State. It hurts not to beat Michigan, to suffer decommits and to swing and miss on big-time prospects, but all that pain can go away with a win in the Peach Bowl and a win in Los Angeles 10 days later.
Would a national championship heal all wounds? No, probably not. But I can say this: it would make for one a heck of a Band-Aid.
B1G RECRUITS. One more note on Ohio State's class of 2023. Despite grumblings of the collection of prospects not being up to par for the Buckeyes, the coaching staff still secured the best recruiting class in the Big Ten as top-end talent is concerned.
Here is how the conference stacks up in the 247Sports team rankings as of today:
- Ohio State, 5th (nationally)
- Penn State, 13th
- Michigan, 17th
- Michigan State, 25th
- Nebraska, 28th
- Maryland, 34th
- Iowa, 37th
- Northwestern, 39th
- Minnesota, 40th
- Illinois, 44th
- Rutgers, 55th
- Wisconsin, 56th
- Purdue, 66th
- Indiana, 70th
As for the best individual recruits headed to the Big Ten in 2023, well, Ohio State dominates that list, too.
B1G's top recruits pic.twitter.com/s2JyxvQzD3— Big Ten Network (@BigTenNetwork) December 21, 2022
Again, do I think the decommits and misses in recruiting look good for the program? No, I do not. But that doesn't mean I can't toss out some info that encourages people to take the glass-half-full approach to these sorts of things. Call me an optimist, call me whatever — I just like to see people be positive!
PRO BOWL BOUND. This just in: Uhhhhhhhh, Terry McLaurin and Nick Bosa are really, really good at football, and the former Buckeyes were rewarded with NFL Pro Bowl nominations for the NFC on Wednesday.
McLaurin earns a Pro Bowl nod for the first time in his young career despite being one of the league's best wide receivers over the past few years. This season, he has collected 68 receptions for 1,015 yards and three touchdowns as the Commanders are off to a 7-6-1 record in 2022-23.
Meanwhile, Bosa is in the middle of a monster season for the 49ers, recording an NFL-best 15.5 sacks, 16 tackles for loss, 38 quarterback hits, one forced fumble and one pass deflection in 13 games for San Francisco. As it stands, Bosa is a frontrunner for the NFL Defensive Player of the Year and has absolutely juicy matchups down the stretch against the Commanders, Raiders and Cardinals where he can pad his stats.
Cheers to McLaurin and Bosa for their efforts this season and for their well-earned recognition. You simply love to see former Buckeyes killin' it in the league and they are the best of the best when it comes to Ohio State players in the pros.
A HELPING HAND. On Monday, Ohio State freshman offensive lineman Avery Henry announced he was diagnosed with osteosarcoma, a form of bone cancer. While he still plans to travel with the team to Atlanta for the Peach Bowl, Henry will begin treatment as soon as possible, which may require him to travel to different hospitals in Columbus and possibly around the U.S.
With that in mind, Henry's aunt, Taj, created a GoFundMe page for Henry's family in an effort to cover the costs necessary to travel with Avery as he makes trips to medical centers to receive the aforementioned treatment.
Here is what Taj wrote to summarize the need for support:
On behalf of my sister ,Tiffani, and her family, we are setting up this account to ensure she can be at all of Avery’s treatments. Nobody wants Avery to be 2 hours away from his family when he needs their support the most. They are going to be making several trips, possibly every week. As you can imagine, it has been a whirlwind of emotions the past 7 days. A few of those days, the family had to take turns supporting him due to financial obligations. His diagnosis is an osteosarcoma. Dr. Alexander and his medical associates have taken special care of Avery and his family. His OSU football family and coaches are also with him every step of the way. Ultimately, this will be his fight, but with your prayers, love, and support we can fight bone cancer.
Thank you for everything.
When Ohio State fans talk about a Buckeye Nation, I believe there is a genuine camaraderie associated with that. If you feel so inclined, please consider donating to the GoFundMe for the Henry family – fellow members of that Buckeye community. I'm sure I speak for the Henrys when I say that anything helps and any and all generosity is appreciated.
SONG OF THE DAY. "The Best Is Yet To Come" by Ben Rector.
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