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NFL scout says Ohio State ‘would definitely beat Clemson’

The Buckeyes have a case to be the top team in the nation.

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

“Ohio State’s aura of infallibility faded amid the brisk fall evening, as they’d been ripping apart teams at an unsustainable clip. But considering Alabama’s youth, Clemson’s puzzling offensive struggles and the questions about Georgia’s skill on the outside, it’s not unreasonable to make an argument that the Buckeyes are the best team in the country.”

- Pete Thamel, Yahoo Sports

Every team in the upper echelon of the rankings wants to state its case to be the No. 1 team in the country, and a few of them do have an argument. Perhaps nobody in the country, however, has looked better than Ohio State this season, and more than a few people have began to notice. NFL scouts are the latest to hop on the Buckeye bandwagon, with one veteran scout going as far as to say “Ohio State would definitely beat Clemson,” having seen both teams play in person.

Scouts from 14 NFL teams were in attendance for Ohio State’s blackout against Michigan State, a game in which the home team struggled mightily at times but still managed to beat a Top 25 opponent by 24 points. College football rankings will always be hotly contested, and everyone loves to look at the strength of schedule as a large factor of those rankings, however regardless of who the Buckeyes have beaten (which, by the way, is a better strength of schedule than every other team in the Top 10), it is hard to argue that the boys in Columbus don’t make a strong case to be No. 1.

Ryan Day has completely changed the culture surrounding the Scarlet and Gray from a season ago. He is fortunate to take over a roster bursting with talent, and has been able to completely stay away from any drama on or off the field like the Bucks experienced last year. Day has been able to turn a historically bad defense into one of the best in the country with more or less the exact same players, has a first-year starter quarterback playing out of his mind, and built a coaching staff around him that is getting the most out of its players.

Outside of just the eye test, the metrics back up Ohio State’s case as well. The Bucks are second in FPI behind Alabama by just 0.5 points. They are the most efficient team in the nation according to ESPN, with a 98 percent team efficiency. The AllState Playoff Predictor gives OSU the best chance of any team to make the four-team bracket at 71 percent, and the SP+ rankings have the Buckeyes and Crimson Tide at the top separated by just 0.1 points.

Time will tell just how good this Ohio State team truly is, but one thing is for sure: Ryan Day could not have asked for a better start in 2019.

Former Ohio State star Will Smith was given the Saints’ highest honor this weekend, when he was inducted in the team's Ring of Honor on Sunday. Smith, who was killed in a road rage shooting in 2016, is just the sixth player to join an exclusive list of New Orleans greats.

Smith played for the Saints for all 11 seasons of his career, making the Pro Bowl once and also being a part of the 2009 Super Bowl championship team. He ranks fifth in team history in sacks, racking up a whopping 67.5 over his career — with a career-high 13.5 sacks in the 2009 season. He played in 139 games for New Orleans, starting in 120 of them. He last played in 2012.

As they do every week, Ohio State named its Players of the Game for its first ranked win of the season against Michigan State. The offense struggled more than it had in previous weeks against one of the tougher defenses they'll face this season, but the Silver Bullets continued to put on a show as the Buckeyes cruised to a 34-10 victory.

J.K. Dobbins earned Offensive Player of the Game for his 172-yard performance on Saturday. Dobbins was the cog that kept the offense moving against the Spartans, scoring a touchdown and keeping the Buckeyes offense on track whenever he could. Thayer Munford shared the award with Dobbins, as the offensive line was tested for the first time. Against a defense ranked No. 5 in the country against the run, Munford aided in run blocking that helped set up a whopping 323 yards on the ground.

The Defensive Player of the Game could have been one of many guys, but it was ultimately shared between Shaun Wade and Jashon Cornell. Wade was seemingly all over the field against MSU, providing lock down coverage the entire night while also making five tackles, including one for a loss, and adding a big sack on a corner blitz. Cornell was one of a handful of guys that helped dominate the line of scrimmage, finishing with four total tackles of his own, with one for a loss and a sack of Brian Lewerke.

Ohio State’s special teams continued its brilliance in the early season, with Drue Chrisman and Chris Olave each earning Special Teams Player of the Game. Chrisman averaged 48.2 yards per punt on four attempts as the junior punter continued his quest for the Ray Guy Award. Olave served as a gunner on the punt team, part of a unit that didn’t allow any return yards on Saturday.

As a whole, the Buckeyes named 20 champions in the Big Ten beatdown, with the majority coming on the defensive side of the ball. Chase Young leads the team in championship grades as the only player on the roster to be named a champion in all six games so far this season.

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