Happy Friday, Buckeye Nation. With the calendar turning over to October and a crisp fall breeze in the air, it really does feel like college football season. This week we’ve gotten to hear from a number of Ohio State’s coaches and players, and so the anticipation only continues to rise with each passing day.
The pads are officially on, full-contact practices are ramping up, and we don't have to wait that much longer to see football played in Ohio Stadium.
Every rep is a competition. pic.twitter.com/pWVLFFfJlh— Ohio State Football (@OhioStateFB) October 2, 2020
We are still just about three weeks away from Ohio State kicking off its 2020 campaign, but we’ve got some good games coming up this weekend to keep up occupied in the meantime. Speaking of this Saturday’s slate, let’s hop right into the gambling portion of today’s Buckeye Bits, which we have done each of the last two Fridays.
It has been a solid start for the Bits Bets™ segment, as we are a positive 7-4 through two weeks of picks. We could have gone 5-1 last week if not for a late backdoor cover against UCF, but a 4-2 finish is nothing to scoff at. Let’s hope we keep the money rolling in with today’s picks.
Here are some of my favorite plays this weekend (10/3):
- No. 9 Texas vs. TCU (over 62)
- SMU (PK) vs. No. 25 Memphis
- No. 16 Mississippi State (-17) vs. Arkansas
- No. 2 Alabama vs. No. 13 Texas A&M (under 53.5)
- No. 7 Auburn (+7.5) at No. 4 Georgia
Admittedly, this weekend’s slate is pretty tough, and I'm not overly in love with anything on the board. However, if you’re going to give me a Big 12 o/u of less than 70, I'm gonna hammer the over. Now, let’s get to today’s headlines.
From around Land-Grant Holy Land...
Auburn-Georgia is the star of this week’s college football lines
(Brett Ludwiczak, LGHL)
As usual, Brett has a much better insight into this week’s gambling slate than I, as he too is positive against the spread on the season (12-8). Check out what he has to say about all the big games this weekend.
Ohio State’s top remaining defensive target announces Top 7 schools list
(Caleb Houser, LGHL)
One of the Buckeyes’ five-star targets on the West Coast dropped his top schools list on Thursday, and Ohio State expectedly made the cut as the odds-on favorite to land the talented defensive end. Plus, an offensive line target is set to announce his commitment tomorrow, and it appears he is Columbus-bound.
Which teams will miss their “home court advantage” the most this season?
(Connor Lemons, LGHL)
Football isn't the only Ohio State sport coming back this fall, as the Buckeyes are also gearing up to compete on the hardwood sometime in November/December. Today, Connor took a look at which Big Ten programs will suffer the most from a lack of fans this basketball season.
Ohio State 2020 Virtual Season: Week 5 at Penn State
(George Eisner, LGHL)
We are winding down our virtual season here at LGHL as the real season inches closer. This weekend is Ohio State’s biggest test yet, as the virtual Buckeyes will head to Happy Valley to take on Penn State in our latest stream. Join us on Twitch at 3:15 p.m. ET to catch all the action.
From around the gridiron...
Ryan Day met with the media via Zoom on Friday morning to discuss the start of Ohio State’s training camp. He began by explaining that the Buckeyes will begin full-contact practices at Ohio Stadium on Saturday.
After lauding the teams depth at running back, specifically naming Steele Chambers. Miyan Williams and walk-on Xavier Johnson as looking good in practice behind the starting duo of Trey Sermon and Master Teague, Day once again spoke highly of Fields’ work ethic throughout this weird and crazy offseason.
Day said what he’s noticed about quarterback Justin Fields in Year 2 is he’s really on top of things in meetings, taking notes, asking questions and holding people accountable.— Bucknuts (@Bucknuts247) October 2, 2020
In terms of the linebackers shifting around, Day likes what he has seen out of Pete Werner at Will after moving from Sam, and while it thinks the position may better suit his skillset, he isn’t committing to anything just yet.
Day likes Pete Werner at Will linebacker. He said Werner is picking things up quickly after moving from Sam and believes this could be his best position but that could change quickly. “We will see."— Patrick Murphy (@_Pat_Murphy) October 2, 2020
In terms of NCAA eligibility, Day doesn’t see Ohio State going over 85 scholarships next season. He thinks between seniors graduating and players leaving for the NFL, they should able to stay under that number.
#Buckeyes coach Ryan Day says the NCAA scholarship situation with 2020 not counting for eligibility is "very confusing." But says he doesn't think Ohio State will have more than 85 scholarships for 2021, with players leaving for NFL, seniors graduating, etc.— Adam Rittenberg (@ESPNRittenberg) October 2, 2020
The head coach also talked about how the staff’s lives have been very different as a result of the pandemic, with some coaches not sleeping in their own homes for fear of picking up the virus and spreading it to the team.
Ryan Day said some of Ohio State’s coaches are not sleeping at their homes in order to avoid potential exposure to COVID-19 from their families.— Joey Kaufman (@joeyrkaufman) October 2, 2020
A big topic of discussion this offseason has been whether or not Ohio State will move back to a two-safety scheme like they did previously under Kerry Coombs or stick with the one-high safety they used under Jeff Hafley. Day didn’t specify anything, but did say theres a chance that both Marcus Hooker and Josh Proctor could be on the field at the same time.
Day said Josh Proctor and Marcus Hooker bring unique skill sets and both guys will be out there together at safety at times.— Bucknuts (@Bucknuts247) October 2, 2020
Following Day to the virtual podium was surprise bonus coverage with Justin Fields. Asked about whether or not he wants to be hit in practice, Fields said he doesn’t plan on getting hit preseason because he doesn’t plan on being hit all that much in the regular season.
Justin Fields on if he would like to get hit in practice before the season starts: "Not really. Last year, I didn't get hit before the season. So I think I'll be fine. I don't really plan to get hit that much."— Colin Hass-Hill (@chasshill) October 2, 2020
Fields said he talked to Wyatt Davis multiple times before he made his decision to return to the program, obviously wanting the offensive lineman to return. He understands the importance of a good O-line for successful QB play.
Justin Fields said he probably annoyed Wyatt Davis with his pitches to Davis to come back to Ohio State: “I think a quarterback is only as good as his O-line.”— Dan Hope (@Dan_Hope) October 2, 2020
When asked about his leg injury late last season, Fields admitted that it was something that really bothered him. He said at times it hurt him just walking around campus.
Fields admitted that his injury last year was an issue. Said at times off the field late in the season it hurt to walk.— Bucknuts (@Bucknuts247) October 2, 2020
Perhaps the most important part of today’s Zoom call, Fields was joined by his dog Uno.
Meet Uno, Justin Fields’ 1-year old dog. Fields said he didn’t know what to name him and people suggested Uno because Fields is No. 1. pic.twitter.com/z5LDgXhdUj— Patrick Murphy (@_Pat_Murphy) October 2, 2020
From around the hardwood...
Chris Holtmann also spoke to the media on Friday afternoon. He talked about a few of his new additions to the roster, and apparently the Buckeyes are hoping to get a waiver approved for Bucknell transfer Jimmy Sotos to play this year.
Chris Holtmann says Ohio State has put in a waiver to get Bucknell transfer guard Jimmy Sotos eligible this year. They haven't heard back yet.— Bill Landis (@BillLandis25) October 2, 2020
He also gave some important injury updates to a few guys who missed significant time last season. Justice Sueing appears good to go, but it’s going to be a little while before Musa Jallow and Seth Towns are ready to play.
Chris Holtmann says Seth Towns has made "good progress" but he doesn't think he will be ready to play games by late November.— Colin Hass-Hill (@chasshill) October 2, 2020
Musa Jallow hasn't been cleared yet and hasn't been able to participate in workouts yet. Justice Sueing has been fully cleared.
Our own Connor Lemons hopped on with BT Powerhouse to preview the upcoming Ohio State basketball season. Check it out!
Podcast: 2020-’21 Ohio State Season Preview https://t.co/H4fO0FN6NH— BT Powerhouse (@BTpowerhouse) September 28, 2020
From everywhere else...
Whoever is writing the script for the year 2020 is leaving no stone unturned.
BREAKING: Trump taken to Walter Reed hospital following COVID-19 diagnosis https://t.co/0rd687tMhw pic.twitter.com/COK1hw7x9v— Yahoo News (@YahooNews) October 2, 2020
The Marlins have never lost a playoff series in franchise history. Baseball is chaos.
Last year, the Marlins lost 105 games.— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) October 2, 2020
This year, they’ve swept the Cubs and are heading to the NLDS pic.twitter.com/KkQtuoJCvS
This is football-related but Ohio State posted it right before I submitted this piece so I could not leave it out. Enjoy your weekend, everybody! 22 days until Buckeyes football.
' ! #GoBuckeyes #FIGHT pic.twitter.com/ikgexm3gpg— Ohio State Football (@OhioStateFB) October 2, 2020