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Buckeye Bits: Trey Sermon explains his on-camera smirk, Indiana will host entire NCAA tournament, more

All of the latest Ohio State news from around the beat and beyond.

Twitter via @harrylyesjr

It’s the first Monday of 2021, and I’m willing to bet no one was more unproductive today than Ohioans. Returning to work after Christmas and New Years is one thing. Returning to work after Christmas, New Years, Ohio State beating Clemson and the Browns securing a playoff spot for the first time since 2002 is a whole other animal. Hopefully you made it through the day, answered a few emails, told your coworkers you’ll get to whatever it is later, and are finally home, ready for an 8:30 p.m. bedtime. Rest up, friends! Because we gotta do this all over again next week.

Before we get into national championship coverage, let’s relive the Sugar Bowl, shall we? Of course we shall!

From around Land-Grant Holy Land...

THE Ohio State Buckeyes now have the best winning percentage in FBS history at 73.09%. It’s good to be a Buckeye.

Champions of the Sugar Bowl...

Ohio State announced their champions of the game on Monday, and there are many. The defensive players of the game include Haskell Garrett, Tommy Togiai, Tyreke Smith and Jonathon Cooper, while Justin Fields and Trey Sermon are the offense’s. The special teams players of the game are Marcus Williamson and Jameson Williams.

What the Tide is saying...

Both head coaches and a few players from both natty-bound teams met with reporters on Monday to discuss their preparations and thoughts on the upcoming matchup. First up at the mic, in all his glory: Nick Saban.

The head coach of the No. 1 team in the country began by praising Ohio State running back Trey Sermon, saying “he’s playing outstanding football right now” and “the offensive line does a very good job blocking the looks up front.” He also said while he doesn’t know Ryan Day very well, he considers him an “outstanding coach.”

Next up was arguably the best wide receiver if not player in college football right now, Devonta Smith, who said they weren’t worried about who they were going to face in the championship.

Representing the Tide’s defense was cornerback Patrick Surtain II, who had a lot of good things to say about Justin fields. He also said Ohio State’s receivers are “finesse-type of receivers,” they’ve got speed and they can run great routes.

What the Buckeyes are saying...

Now for the good guys. Day was up first, who reiterated what he (and everyone else) said postgame— that Justin Fields’ performance on Friday was one of the gutsiest he’s ever seen.

As for how serious his quarterback’s injury is, Day was pretty vague (per usual), however he expects Fields to play on Monday. That means we can probably rule out broken ribs...right?

Day said he has “nothing but the utmost respect” for Saban, saying the man’s record speaks for itself. He said they’re going to have to play even better than they did last week to beat Alabama (and with weaker bulletin board material).

But if you’re worried about lack of motivation this time around, don’t be. Day assured that while the Clemson win was big, it has never been the end goal.

Representing the Buckeyes defense was the AllState Sugar Bowl defensive player of the game, Tuf Borland. Who said Alabama’s offense has “unbelievable talent and unbelievable players.” He agreed with Day that the Buckeyes will have to take it up a notch to beat Alabama, saying they’re “going to have to find another level.”

Representing the offense was Trey Sermon, who obviously had to explain his on-camera smirk, which was probably the most shared/tweeted photo on Twitter on Friday night.

This is the one, in case you missed it:

Sermon commented on what it means to be here, preparing to play in the national championship, after all the team has endured this season.

“We persevered through so much, and to have the opportunity to play on the big stage, it means a lot to us,” he said.

He also commented on his own success, saying he’s honored to be in the same conversation as some of Ohio State’s greatest running backs.

Sermon said the Buckeyes’ have a chip on their shoulder and that they consider themselves “one of the best teams in the country.” That’s because you are, Trey!

As always, Eleven Warriors has a bullet list rundown of everything said in today’s media availability.

More from around college football...

Not super great news for Ohio State, but Alabama wide receiver and potential first round NFL draft pick, Jaylen Waddle is expected to return to practice tomorrow. Waddle has been since Oct. 24 when he injured his ankle on the opening kickoff vs. Tennessee

Waddles’ potential addition to an offense that is already led by the likes of DeVonta Smith, Mac Jones and Najee Harris is not ideal for the Buckeyes’ defense.

SB Nation released their complete 2021 mock draft, with Justin Fields at No. 4 to Atlanta and Wyatt Davis at No. 13 to the Chargers. The real question is are teams really about to sleep on Chris Olave and cause another Terry McLaurin/J.K. Dobbins-esque situation?! Have you GMs learned NOTHING?!

From around the hardwood...

The entire 2021 NCAA men’s basketball tournament will now be held in Indiana this year due to the pandemic, with the majority of games played in Indianapolis. This will allow teams to live and practice in as close to a “bubble,” as possible.

Selection Sunday is still scheduled for March 14 with the Final Four on April 3 and 5, however other preliminary round dates are still TBD.

Welp...it seems as though Urban to Jacksonville is actually a thing.

And if you’re asking yourself “why would he do that?” Matt challenges you to a counter question: why wouldn’t he?