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Four of Ohio State's best players announced this week that they will not, in fact, suit up for the Rose Bowl this weekend. This was not the biggest surprise, especially in the cases of sure-fire first rounders Chris Olave and Garrett Wilson, but still concerning if you're at all invested in Ohio State defeating Utah to cap its season.
Opt-outs aren't a new thing, and it's not even the first time Ohio State has dealt with marquee players taking a pass on the annual postseason exhibition game. But with the combination of a rapidly growing transfer portal and the newness of NIL, one can't help but feeling a bit like Max Kellerman at the end of the cinematic classic Dirty Dancing, sensing the end is coming for the resorts of the Borscht Belt:
"It's not the changes so much this time," Kellerman said to Tito the bandleader. "It's that it all seems to be ending. You think kids want to come with their parents and take foxtrot lessons? Trips to Europe, that's what the kids want! Twenty-two countries in three days. It feels like it's all slipping away."
Aye Max, that it does.
But change, as they say, is inevitable, and in fact our beloved institution of higher learning embraces this fact in our alma mater:
Summer's heat or winter's cold
The seasons pass the years will roll
Time and change will surely show
How firm thy friendship ... O-HI-O!
So as much as we may lament the loss of what was, it's time to look ahead with some excitement about what is, and what is yet to be: with Olave and Wilson out of the mix, that means young players like Julian Fleming, Emeka Egbuka and Marvin Harrison Jr., have the opportunity to step up alongside Jaxon Smith-Njigba as the next big playmakers for this Ohio State offense.
This week the Dubcast tackles the question of what it all means for the future of the sport in general, the future of Ohio State's program in specific, and what it means for this weekend's matchup with the Utes in fine detail.
Plus, Ask Us Anything (which, as always, you can do by emailing us at email@example.com) asks about the mental aspects of Rose Bowl prep, and what young players we're most excited about seeing on the field in Pasadena.
RUN OF THE SHOW
0:00 Four of Ohio State's best players will skip the Rose Bowl. That's sad for fans, but just smart business for the players involved.
7:30 Ohio State is perennially "playoff or bust;" is that healthy?
11:45 The Rose Bowl has lost its mojo thanks to all the ch-ch-ch-changes in the sport. Could NIL and/or an expanded College Football Playoff "fix" things for these legacy bowls?
17:30 The goals of the players, the program and the fans feel like they're not in alignment these days, because their interests are very different. Is it really just all about the money?
21:15 Let's talk about the actual game on the field. With four of Ohio State's best out of the picture, does Utah actually have the upper hand in this matchup now?
30:30 Ask Us Anything! Let's talk about mental prep for the Rose Bowl, and what young players we're excited about seeing play Saturday.
41:00 Quick Cals: Ohio State gets a big-time transfer moving from running back to... linebacker... haven't we seen this movie before? And with the men's basketball team now cancelling a third-consecutive game due to COVID, the January slump feels like something to be extra wary of this season.
And that'll do it! Thanks as always to Travis for the cool, cool logo, thanks to you for listening and checking out the Dry Goods store, and we'll see you next week!