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Will Ohio State have a breakout wide receiver in 2018?

Also, did you know ESPN owns 14 bowl games?

NCAA Football: Penn State at Ohio State Joe Maiorana-USA TODAY Sports

“The concept of valuing unit production over the individual has been embraced by Ohio State over the last few years, and perhaps no position group has bought into that culture more than the wide receivers. ”

-Austin Ward, Land of 10

In answering readers’ questions, Ward decides to bet against five Ohio State wide receivers surpassing the 500 yard and five touchdown marks this coming season. However, he does so not as a way to degrade the offensive talent in the WR room, nor to criticize position coach Zach Smith. Instead, Ward believes that because of the evolution of Ohio State’s passing game, that even if the total passing numbers increase, that— with the unselfishness that permeates Zone6— it is more likely that the receptions and scores will be spread out amongst a whole host of players.

With no major departures from the position group (including H-backs), the likes of Parris Campbell, K.J. Hill, C.J. Saunders, Austin Mack, Binjimen Victor, Johnnie Dixon, and Terry McLaurin are all back, and redshirt and true freshmen Jaylen Harris, Ellijah Gardiner, L’Christian Smith, Kamryn Babb, Cameron Brown, and Chris Olave will be looking to compete for touches for the first time as well.

As Ward notes in his article, in 2017 only Hill and Campbell finished with more than 500 yards, and Dixon, Victor, and McLaurin were the only receivers to catch five or more TD passes (now-Oakland Raider Marcus Baugh did so as well as a tight end).

So, using the 500 yards/five TDs gauge for success presented to Ward, no Buckeye would have reached that plateau last season. So, I understand where Ward’s hesitance to side with the receivers comes from. However, I think that following four years of J.T. Barrett at quarterback, it is hard to completely know what the offense will look like this fall.

Even when Dwayne Haskins and Joe Burrow played in the past, they were operating in an offense that was designed around the specific strengths of Barrett, who does not share a ton of traits with either of the QBs now battling for the starting job. Both Haskins and Burrow (and yes, I put them in that order on purpose) are seemingly more gifted passers than Barrett was during his time in Columbus, so perhaps that will usher in a new era of pass-first OSU offense.

We also don’t fully know what the promotion of Ryan Day will do to the Buckeye game plan. How will the new dynamic between him and his fellow offensive coordinator Kevin Wilson work out? Since Day has a background as a quarterbacks coach, does his increased authority mean that we will see more responsibility given to the starting signal-caller’s arm?

Only time will tell, but call me an optimist, I am taking the over on this one.

“This was another somewhat surprising pick with Chubb still on the board, but it’ll be worth it if Ward is the man-to-man cornerback the Browns think he is.”

-Adam Stites, SBNation

Look, I’m not here to put any pressure on Denzel Ward. I’m sure that the stress of being a top-four pick to the worst franchise in professional sports is difficult enough; not to mention that the entire football world thought that someone else (Bradley Chubb) should have been picked in your place.

But, Denzel, you’ve got a reputation to maintain. Despite missing the first four games of the season with the San Diego Chargers (yes, they were in San Diego then), Joey Bosa won the 2016 NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year with 10.5 sacks. Then, in 2017, another former Buckeye, this time Marshon Lattimore, won the trophy after a season which saw him pick off five passes and make 43 tackles for the New Orleans Saints.

So, if Ward wants to live up to the legacy of his former college teammates, he needs to have one heck of a rookie year. However, that’s obviously not the only reason why the new No. 1 Cleveland Brown cornerback should shoot to have a season worthy of awards consideration.

Clearly, he wants to play the best that he can for himself and for his team, but because the Browns passed on what many believe to be a surefire All-Pro pass-rusher in Chubb, Ward would be well served to show that the front office’s faith in him is well-founded. Otherwise, fans and media alike might be quick to call him a bust and decry the ineptitude of yet another regime leading the Browns down a path to continued heartbreak and sorrow.

“ESPN will televise 35 bowl games, including all 14 of ESPN Events’ owned and operated contests, over 17 days beginning in December and concluding on New Year’s Day, once again establishing itself as the home for postseason college football.”

-Derek Volner, ESPN Media Zone

Wait, what does that quote say? “...including all 14 of ESPN Events’ owned and operated contests,”? Excuse me, what? Is this news to anyone other than me? Did you know that ESPN owned and operated bowl games? Like legit, FBS bowl games? That’s the kind of information that an unsuspecting sports fan should know, right?

And, if ESPN— one of the largest media organizations in the world— owns these bowls, how are they some of the worst-named events in sports? The Cheribundi Tart Cherry Boca Raton Bowl? The Bad Boy Mowers Gasparilla Bowl? The Famous Idaho Potato Bowl? Come on, Worldwide Leader, you can do better than that, can’t you?

Also, does ESPN regularly disclose their ownership in these games during their broadcasts? I certainly don’t remember this ever being explicitly stated, do you? This seems like one of those areas that ESPN’s journalistic responsibilities would require a statement of full disclosure, doesn’t it?

ESPN, I don’t have a problem with you owning 14 bowls that you also broadcast— in fact, I think it’s pretty smart—, but can’t you be a little bit more forthcoming with this information? Oh, and also, can’t we do something about those names?


Did you know that ESPN owned 14 bowl games?

This poll is closed

  • 8%
    Yes, how did you not?
    (30 votes)
  • 91%
    No, why didn’t they tell us?
    (313 votes)
343 votes total Vote Now