"Joey Bosa is a great athlete, a great defensive end, great teammate. If you don't account for him, you're going to be in for a long night."
-Ohio State freshman LB Darron Lee
It's no secret that sophomore DE Joey Bosa is the biggest playmaker on the Ohio State defense. Bosa has been a nightmare for opposing offenses through 4 games, having forced 3 key fumbles already. His strip-sack of Gunner Kiel last week was a huge momentum-builder for the Buckeyes, as was his hit on Navy QB Keenan Reynolds that allowed Darron Lee to scoop the ball and score.
Bosa's aggressive approach might need to be tempered this Saturday when Ohio State takes on Maryland. "They throw a lot of screens, so we're going to have to stop that first before we can get any pressure," Bosa told The Dispatch's Tim May. The quick-hitting screen game of the Terrapins is designed to punish the kind of immediate backfield pressure that players like Bosa are so adept at producing.
Coach Urban Meyer recently compared Bosa to a recent Buckeye great, 2012 B1G defensive player of the year John Simon. Simon was an excellent leader, player, and teammate. Bosa might be better. Just a sophomore, he's "a little more talented...a little longer" than Simon, according to Meyer. Simon, for what it's worth, is now in the NFL. Bosa has a bright future, both as a Buckeye and beyond.
"Recruiting obviously isn't an exact science and has its flaws. But given that there's more than 120 teams in FBS college football, these rankings give a decent idea of where teams will sit in upcoming years."
-Ross Benes, Deadspin
Go ahead and click that link, because these words aren't much good without it. Deadspin just published a handy graph that sheds some light on the age-old narrative that some coaches are great recruiters but mediocre on the field. In it, composite recruiting rankings are weighted against on-field records for FBS teams, to see what kind of results coaches are able to get with the caliber of players they have. There were a few notable results and outliers worth considering.
Ohio State, for starters, technically has a negative rating when comparing performance to recruiting from 2009-2013. The Buckeyes had the 8th-best recruiting class over those years (based on Rivals rankings), but finished with an average 16.6 BCS ranking over that same time span. The obvious anomaly here is 2011, a tumultuous year that saw the Buckeyes finish 6-7 and end up as the 50th-best team in the country. OSU was still rated as the 7th-best BCS team of that 5-year span.
The team that does the most with the least? OSU's week 1 opponent, Navy. Thanks to some stricter rules about recruiting at service academies, Navy has had very little top-tier talent to work with. The Midshipmen have outperformed their recruiting expectation by a full 57.4 points. This weekend's opponent, Maryland, lies firmly in the "better at recruiting" camp, with a -45.3 rating of performance to expectation. Charlie Weis's Kansas teams had the worst rating in the country--not because they were pulling in 5-star recruits and disappointed, but because they were so bad that they didn't even come close to the marginal expectations of the program. The Jayhawks were good for a -48.9 rating.
"Maryland will be playing in front of its first sellout crowd since 2008, and Randy Edsall can only hope his team feeds off the energy of the Big Ten home opener and not crumble under it."
-Roman Stubbs, The Washington Post
The Washington Post published their list of 5 things to watch for in this weekend's matchup between Ohio State and Maryland. Chief among these is Maryland's quarterback situation, which as of Friday afternoon was still unresolved. Putative starter C.J. Brown is injured, and is listed as game-time decision for Saturday. Brown is a dual-threat quarterback. His backup, Caleb Rowe, is a more traditional pocket passer--the kind of quarterback that has given the Buckeye secondary fits this season.
One of the other factors to watch is the Maryland defense vs. rising star J.T. Barrett. Stubbs points out that the Terps gave up almost 1,300 yards of offense to West Virginia and Syracuse in back-to-back weeks before cohering against Indiana, a game in which they only allowed the Hoosiers 332 total yards. Ohio State, in some favorable matchups, has been putting up huge yardage this season, including more than 700 against Cincinnati last week. Barrett has been a huge part of the offensive spark.
Stubbs' other pieces to watch include the dynamic Maryland receiving duo of Stefon Diggs and Deon Long, the need for ball security on Maryland's side, and the Terrapins' offensive line. Diggs and Long could give the Buckeye secondary some matchup nightmares. Maryland turned the ball over 6 times against South Florida, but has only had 1 turnover in the 3 games since. The Maryland O-line has also done a great job of keeping QBs Brown and Rowe upright, though this Saturday will bring the toughest front 4 they've faced all season.
"I want the person to be a good representative of the trophy. So yeah, I look at what they do on the football field, but at the same time, I look at how they're conducting themselves in society, because they represent the trophy.'"
-Archie Griffin on the Heisman Trophy, via Bleacher Report
The only two-time Heisman Trophy winner recently spoke to BR's Ben Axelrod about the state of college football, the trophy itself, and more. As a Heisman winner, Griffin gets a vote (though not two) each year to help decide the next winner. It's worth noting that Griffin doesn't jealously guard his status as the only two-time winner, and in fact believes it can and will happen again. That doesn't appear to be the case this season, as reigning winner Jameis Winston has been noticeably absent from the main Heisman watchlists this season.
Speaking more broadly about college football, Griffin touched on the "moves that should've been made a long time ago," like switching to a four-team playoff this season to decide a champion. Griffin believes that the sport as a whole is moving in a positive direction, especially in light of recent concessions by the NCAA that will now provide more reasonable stipends to players, among other things. Like the NCAA, Griffin also believes that Ohio State is headed in the right direction. "I think the trajectory is up, and this team is getting better every week," he told Axelrod.
STICK TO SPORTS
- PETITION TO BRING LIL B TO OHIO STATE. (Our Luke Zimmermann is going to sign this, FWIW)
- 3,500 walruses all showing up to party at once.
- Ohio State keeps dominating: researchers create cost-effective, rechargeable solar battery.
- Apparently there's a Super Smash Bros (for 3DS) tourney at the Ohio Union tomorrow.
- Wilt Chamberlain...now in postage stamp form. No word on how many other people have licked the stamp before you, though.