Even though Ohio State won't be taking the field this Saturday, it just feels so much better heading into a weekend of college football knowing the Buckeyes will be back soon. It has been painful to watch all these other teams kickoff while the Big Ten was still in limbo. Instead, now we get to sit back, scout out the competition, and enjoy a few weekends of stress-free football knowing that Justin Fields and the gang will be on our TVs soon enough.
We here at LGHL are looking forward to getting back to talking about actual football in the coming weeks as Ryan Day and his team start hitting the practice field hard. It’s going to be a hell of a lot more fun to discuss position battles and future opponents rather than covering the absolute nightmare that was the last five weeks of ‘sources’ and misinformation. The Buckeyes are hungry and talented, and this year’s team really has something to prove — especially given they only have eight regular season games to do it.
Now that Ohio State is back in the national conversation for the College Football Playoff, we have to do our due diligence in keeping an eye on what other teams around the country are doing. While the Buckeyes won’t take on any non-conference opponents in the regular season, these other matchups could provide a glimpse into how the playoff picture will shape up. That being said, I want to start giving out my CFB picks in these Friday editions of Buckeye Bits, and we’ll see how we do each week. I’m no expert by any means, but I'll take my best shot.
Here are some of my favorite picks for this weekend (9/19):
- No. 18 Louisville (-2.5) vs. No. 17 Miami
- Boston College (+6) @ Duke
- No. 25 Pittsburgh (-21) vs. Syracuse
- No. 13 Cincinnati (-34.5) vs. Austin Peay
- Georgia State (+15.5) vs. No. 19 LA-Lafayette
Now, lets get to today’s headlines...
From around Land-Grant Holy Land...
Miami and Louisville’s primetime battle headlines Saturday’s action
(Brett Ludwiczak, LGHL)
If you are into more of the gambling stuff, I would highly recommend checking out Brett’s Money, Cash and Joes column that he puts out each Friday. There, he gives a more detailed breakdown of the big games of the weekend and provides some insight into which teams he thinks will cover the spread. Ohio State doesn’t play for five more weeks, but that doesn’t mean we can’t make these games more interesting and earn a little cash on the side.
Ohio State the early leaders for elite 2022 running back
(Caleb Houser, LGHL)
You thought Tony Alford was gonna haul in two of the top running backs in the country in TreVeyon Henderson and Evan Pryor and just call it a day? Pssshhhhhhh.
LGHL Group Chat: Happiness? In this economy?
A much more Ohio State-centric edition of the LGHL Group Chat this week with everything that has transpired over the past 72 hours. Overall, the general sentiment is that everyone is stoked that the Buckeyes are coming back sooner than most anticipated.
Ohio State 2020 Virtual Season: Week 3 at Nebraska
(George Eisner, LGHL)
Even though the real Ohio State team will be taking the field in a few weeks, we are going to continue on with our virtual season that we have been streaming over on Twitch. However, we are going to switch up the schedule a little bit, broadcasting only the biggest games left on the docket over the next five weeks leading up to real Buckeye football (and sparing you from having to watch virtual Rutgers lose by 80).
From around the gridiron...
Justin Fields and Jonathon Cooper spoke to the media today as the first players we’ve heard from since the Big Ten announced its was resurrecting its fall season. They both gave great insights into what these strange times have been like for them, what kind of work the team has been doing the past few weeks, and how they feel about the season moving forward.
Fields said at not point did he really consider opting out, not wanting to rush to any decisions and also wanting the opportunity to show the world that he has improved this offseason. Cooper admits it was frustrating that the season was nearly taken away from them after he worked so hard to come back from injuries, but he’s happy they are back and ready to move forward.
Ohio State QB Justin Fields says he never considered opting out of the 2020 season.— Kyle Rowland (@KyleRowland) September 18, 2020
"I wanted to give myself an opportunity to come back and show the world what I can do. I know the talent we have on offense and defense."
Cooper called it emotional telling his parents he was actually going to be able to play his senior season. He also said everyone fighting for a season will be for nothing if the #Buckeyes don’t get the job done.— Bucknuts (@Bucknuts247) September 18, 2020
In terms of the strict COVID protocols put in place by the Big Ten, Fields does not think it will be a problem for the Buckeyes. He called not partying or going out with friends a “small sacrifice” for what the team is trying to accomplish. Fields also said Ryan Day made it abundantly clear that anyone who wished to opt out could do so, but everyone wants to play.
Justin Fields on social distancing and doing everything he can to avoid contracting COVID-19: “Not going to parties or hanging out with people, that's a small sacrifice to what we want to accomplish.”— Dan Hope (@Dan_Hope) September 18, 2020
Fields was also excited to get back to full 11-on-11 drills, and had high praise for Ohio State’s new group of wide receivers, calling them “the most polished freshmen,” he’s ever seen. Cooper talked about how the team will look to replace Chase Young by committee.
Justin Fields: "We went 11-on-11 earlier this week. We hadn't done that in a while. That was the most fun I've had in a minute."— Bill Landis (@BillLandis25) September 18, 2020
"We're not just one player, we're the Rushmen." -- Jonathon Cooper on how the Buckeyes replace Chase Young.— Tony Gerdeman (@TonyGerdeman) September 18, 2020
Ohio State is incredibly lucky to have someone like Ryan Day in charge of the program.
Justin Fields said he's gotten to know Ryan Day on more of a personal level this offseason. “He told me he couldn't sleep when the season was canceled.”— Dan Hope (@Dan_Hope) September 18, 2020
Justin Fields on Ryan Day: "The love he has for this team is unbelievable. I can hear it in his voice and see it in his face. I really don't think we could have a better leader. He's a great coach and a great person."— Kyle Rowland (@KyleRowland) September 18, 2020
In other Ohio State news, you can expect the team to re-appear in the AP Poll not this weekend, but the following weekend. It is going to be interesting and weird to see what kind of votes the Buckeyes get when there are teams that have already played a few games, but then again everything about 2020 is weird.
FYI -- Big Ten teams will not appear in the AP poll that comes out after this weekend. AP wants to give writers more time to digest (still unannounced) Big Ten schedule and learn about opt-in statuses (un-opts? statusi?).— Nathan Baird (@nwbaird) September 18, 2020
Big Ten teams would then re-enter for the Sept. 27 poll.
I wouldn’t be too worried about Wyatt Davis or Shaun Wade not being able to come back.
Just spoke to Ohio State AD Gene Smith. He said that Shaun Wade didn’t sign with an agent. He’s unsure if Wyatt Davis did, but said there's paperwork to process with the NCAA to allow Davis back. “I’d be shocked if they don’t approve it," Smith told @YahooSports of Davis.— Pete Thamel (@PeteThamel) September 18, 2020
It also sounds as though we will get the new Big Ten schedule early next week.
UNL Chancellor Ronnie Green announces during the Lincoln mayor's Friday press conference that the #B1G football schedule will be released "early next week." @KETV #Huskers #BigTen pic.twitter.com/CMr76yhZwH— Matt Foster (@MattFosterKETV) September 18, 2020
From everywhere else...
Usually I dedicate this section to non-football topics, but there is a ton of football news from outside the Ohio State sphere that I think is important today.
Beginning with this:
We have already seen a ton of cancellations and postponements of games through just two-plus weeks of action thus far as a result of COVID-19 outbreaks. The Big Ten has little margin for error in their eight games in eight weeks plan, but they are hoping that their rigorous testing protocols will prevent this sort of thing from happening in the Midwest.
Seems like rapid testing is the only way to pull off a real season. There's increased confidence in the reliability of these tests, which Big Ten doctors from Ohio State and Northwestern trumpeted this week. Otherwise, contact tracing will keep forcing a bunch of postponements.— Adam Rittenberg (@ESPNRittenberg) September 18, 2020
Ohio State isn’t the only B1G school that is seeing their opt-outs opt back in.
Source: Minnesota star WR Rashod Bateman wants to play for Gophers in 2020. He’s back on campus and enrolled as a full-time student. He’s signed with agent and finds himself in the same scenario as other high-profile players around the country.— Pete Thamel (@PeteThamel) September 18, 2020
I just spoke to Michigan offensive lineman Jalen Mayfield who confirmed he is opting back in to play for Michigan this season.— Tom VanHaaren (@TomVH) September 18, 2020
Big for Michigan after losing four offensive linemen to the NFL draft.
There is a chance that all of the Power 5 conferences will indeed be playing this fall.
Hearing from a few sources Pac-12 start date will likely be Nov. 7 with a seven game schedule on tap, if true, would give teams 6-7 weeks to prepare if they started up as soon as next week— Greg Biggins (@GregBiggins) September 18, 2020
Have a wonderful and safe weekend, everyone. Just 36 (or 35) days until Buckeye football.