There is truly nothing worse than a post-Christmas Monday, am I right? Nonetheless, I hope this article finds you well, and that you had a wonderful (and cautious) holiday weekend with your friends and family. Maybe you’re one of the lucky ones who gets to take work off until after the new year, in which case, I hope you’re keeping the celebrations going and enjoying this much deserved time off. Might as well end this stupid year on a high note, right? And hopefully, that high note continues into 2021 with a big ole Ohio State victory on January 1 (or a small victory... any victory will do).
How are we feeling about our zillionth playoff matchup with the Tigers? I gotta tell ya, I’m not super optimistic (I think it’s my PTSD from last year’s game trying to protect my mental state), but if Ohio State can stay healthy (ahem Chris Olave) and Trey Sermon goes off again, I think it’ll at least be a close game.
I have lots of Playoff talk for you below, but first, I give you...
Ohio State’s AP All-Americans
Remember when the Big Ten had Haskell Garrett as THIRD-team All-BIG TEN?! hahahaha
Ohio State's AP All-Americans— Bill Landis (@BillLandis25) December 28, 2020
First Team: Wyatt Davis, Shaun Wade
Second Team: Haskell Garrett https://t.co/3LgIMdILQr
Clemson & Ohio State on their preparations for the Sugar Bowl...
Also, remember when Dabo Swinney ranked Ohio State No. 11 in his final coaches’ poll? (of course you do). Welp, in Clemson’s game-week interviews for the Sugar Bowl this mornings, Swinney seemingly turned his tables, saying “Ohio State is good enough to beat anybody,” including Clemson. However, he still believes a team who has played fewer than nine games should not be ranked in the top ten.
Right off the bat, Dabo Swinney gets asked about ranking Ohio State 11th in the Coaches Poll.— Dan Hope (@Dan_Hope) December 28, 2020
“There's no doubt, Ohio State is good enough to beat us, they're good enough to beat anybody,” but decided he wouldn't rank anyone who played fewer than nine games in top 10. pic.twitter.com/JqBcr6mroO
I’m having trouble understanding this mindset. Like... if an undefeated team wins their conference championship and is “good enough to beat anybody,” don’t they flat-out deserve to be in the playoff— no questions asked? It doesn’t matter what you think is “right,” Dabo. The committee never has a rhyme or reason as to why they do anything, let alone during this whack-job of a 2020 college football season!
Dabo Swinney: “I could probably run for Governor in Michigan, probably have a good chance. Probably not too popular in Ohio.”— Dan Hope (@Dan_Hope) December 28, 2020
At least he gave credit where credit is due. After calling Justin Fields a potential top-two or top-three draft pick, he also said Chris Olave and Garrett Wilson are “as good as you’re going to see.”
Dabo Swinney said he thinks this year's team has had to overcome more challenges than his past College Football Playoff teams – as everyone has had to in college football – but otherwise, he thinks this year's team is similar to his previous playoff teams.— Dan Hope (@Dan_Hope) December 28, 2020
Clemson DC Brent Venables also spoke with the media and echoed Swinney’s praise for Fields and his receivers, saying Fields “can do it all” and that he’s “poised, experienced and incredibly talented.”
Brent Venables on Ohio State wide receiver Chris Olave: “He's a great player. Can take the top off the defense. Very savvy.”— Dan Hope (@Dan_Hope) December 28, 2020
Said Ohio State's receivers will be the best group of receivers Clemson has played against all year.
Also, yes James Skalski... we’re very blessed.
Clemson linebacker James Skalski, while talking about Ohio State's running backs: “Master Teague, what a football name.” pic.twitter.com/3isO8D1lmU— Dan Hope (@Dan_Hope) December 28, 2020
Eleven Warriors has more notes and quotes from Clemson’s media availability in the link below.
Dabo Swinney says “Ohio State is good enough to beat us” despite voting the Buckeyes 11th and says Garrett Wilson and Chris Olave are “as good as you're going to see.” https://t.co/chOGJcvlUK— Eleven Warriors (@11W) December 28, 2020
Ohio State also met with the media this afternoon, and for some reason, I find this qoute from Luke Farrell hard to believe...
Ohio State tight end Luke Farrell on Dabo Swinney ranking Ohio State 11th: “We're really just trying not to let it affect our preparation. We know what we're capable of, and that's what matters.” pic.twitter.com/8zxYWHe0qw— Dan Hope (@Dan_Hope) December 28, 2020
Not that it would affect their preparation negatively, but there’s no way Ryan Day isn’t putting that fuel to the fire.
Next up was QB1 and, as we now know, having Chris Olave back = helpful.
Justin Fields meeting with the media now.— Dan Hope (@Dan_Hope) December 28, 2020
On Chris Olave: “I think having him back will make our offense better as a whole ... me and Chris have a great chemistry on the field.” pic.twitter.com/fDi45ss9u7
As for his thumb injury, Fields said he will “be good by Friday night,” and that he’s been “preparing his butt off,” adding that he hasn’t prepared like this yet this season.
Justin Fields said the biggest thing he learned from last year's game against Clemson is “One play can change the whole game.” He felt Shaun Wade's ejection flipped the momentum of the game last year.— Dan Hope (@Dan_Hope) December 28, 2020
Why does Wyatt Davis saying “we’re going into this game not respected at all” send shivers down my spine? Beware of a disrespected Ohio State team with a chip on their shoulder they’ve been carrying since the last time they met with Clemson.
Wyatt Davis said Ohio State had a whole winter/offseason program dedicated to this game, and he's taken notice of what people have been saying about Ohio State over the past week.— Dan Hope (@Dan_Hope) December 28, 2020
“We're going into this game not respected at all.”
More on that chip-on-the-shoulder from Ryan Day, saying that multiple guys have been waiting for their second chance since they left the field last season.
Ryan Day on Justin Fields getting a second chance against Clemson: “I think he left that field wanting another shot, and now he gets that shot. He wasn't the only one who felt that way.”— Dan Hope (@Dan_Hope) December 28, 2020
Day ended with some good news, saying Ohio State has gotten “a bunch” of players back this week who will hopefully be able to play on Friday, along with message to fans about winning.
Ryan Day said the most important thing for the Buckeyes is to just win, no matter how that happens. “One thing that happens a little bit at Ohio State is sometimes people want you to win a certain way here, and I think that's a little dangerous.”— Dan Hope (@Dan_Hope) December 28, 2020
And I saved the best quote for last. Day gave the most perfectly worded back handed compliment toward Venables (who is known for stealing signs), as only Day can do.
Ryan Day's full answer when asked about Clemson defensive coordinator Brent Venables pic.twitter.com/1uZouYho4k— Colin Hass-Hill (@chasshill) December 28, 2020
End zones are being painted at the Superdome. pic.twitter.com/qek9YW4vfi— Kyle Rowland (@KyleRowland) December 28, 2020
More quotes and notes and comments from Ryan Day and players in the link below.
Ryan Day says Ohio State must "finish the race" after overcoming so much, Justin Fields "really missed" Chris Olave last game and it feels like a normal game week to Luke Farrell. https://t.co/876hMa0f42— Eleven Warriors (@11W) December 28, 2020
Haskins is out...
After a rough season both on and off the field, Dwayne Haskins, the 15th overall pick from the 2019 Draft, is done in Washington.
We have released QB Dwayne Haskins pic.twitter.com/KRrWxWra7E— Washington Football Team (@WashingtonNFL) December 28, 2020
Washington wasn’t a good fit for Dwayne and Dwayne wasn’t a good fit for TWFT. I do firmly believe that he’ll find a home, and even success, elsewhere.
Statement from former WFT QB Dwayne Haskins: pic.twitter.com/EKtQzvkmNL— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) December 28, 2020
From around the hardwood...
The Basketball Buckeyes are still dancing around the mid-20s in the AP Poll, dropping two spots to No. 25 after beating the No. 13 Rutgers and losing to Northwestern. Next up, they’ll face Nebraska at home on Wednesday Dec. 30 at 6:30 p.m. ET.
Ohio State dropped two spots to No. 25 in the AP Poll today. They beat No. 13 Rutgers and lost to Northwestern last week.— Connor Lemons (@lemons_connor) December 28, 2020
For the first time ever 9 #B1G teams are in the @AP_Top25 #MBB poll: #Wisconsin, #Iowa, #Rutgers, #Illinois, #Michigan, #MichiganState, #Northwestern, #Minnesota & #OhioState. #Badgers, #Hawkeyes, #ScarletKnights, #Illini, #Wolverines, #Spartans, #B1GCats, #Gophers, #Buckeyes— BTNStatsGuys (@BTNStatsGuys) December 28, 2020
Does the NCAA try to be the worst?
The NCAA....wants to trademark.... “MASK MADNESS.” I have no words, honestly. Actually, Matt said it perfectly.