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Column: Last week was crazy for Ohio State, let’s look back

There was a lot of news, good and bad. Now the Buckeyes aren’t dead, but damn did it take some perseverance from fans to get through this one.

Michigan v Ohio State Photo by Ben Jackson/Getty Images

There are not a lot of teams in the country – college or professional – who share the chaotic nature of the Ohio State news cycle. Since Ohio State’s loss to Michigan, the Buckeye faithful have been put through the wringer, and to be honest, it’s been pretty hard to keep up with.

The up and down rollercoaster of being a college football fan has been amplified. This pastime is a year round job now. Missing a day, or two, is missing a lifetime in college football time with how rumors move, dissolve, or become concrete. This past week was the most evident experience of that in recent memory.

Ohio State fans lived through every single aspect of the current landscape of college football. From recruiting and transfer decisions to NIL deficiencies, and the craziest part is the Buckeyes have a playoff game in less than two weeks. Chaos might be an understatement, but looking back at this week, the Buckeyes are far from dead.

This week started off hot — not in the way a fan would want, but hot nonetheless. Rumors began swirling that Ohio State was far behind in the NIL landscape. The fact of the matter is these rumors were substantiated this week. The significance of NIL money might be overblown, but there is real substance to wonder why Ohio State is so far behind.

The man, the myth, the legend Cardale Jones did his best to rid fans of the misnomers surrounding the NIL collective business, and his partner with The Foundation, Brian Schottenstein, announced that there will be a monthly payment option. Many NIL collectives across the country have already had this going, which shouldn’t raise any confidence that the Buckeyes will now start dominating in the NIL landscape.

Columbus is a big city. There are a lot of places to spend and donate money. Hospitals, schools, education buildings, and other places rich donors plan to give their money away to. The recurring donations should help, but the more worrying sign to me is the fact Ohio State Athletics has needed to send out an email from Athletic Director Gene Smith, and Ryan Day has mixed feelings about the dynamic NIL has across the country.

Both men think there’s a great opportunity though with Day saying, “The great news is we’re positioned really, really well in Columbus and with our fan base to do just that. And our team has done very, very well here on campus and over the last year, they’ve done great.”

Now fans can put their money where their mouth is — I say that in jest – and that was just the beginning of the week.

On Tuesday, the Buckeyes ran into some somber news regarding one of their most talented players. TreVeyon Henderson announced he is out for the playoff run with a foot injury, the same foot injury that has been bothering him since the early parts of the season. Henderson’s last notable game was his short lived appearance against Maryland.

There were questions about the severity of the injury, which Henderson responded to in a now deleted tweet. A week later Ryan Day was asked about the injury situation, and stated that there would be more info coming about Henderson in the coming days. The more information was Ohio State’s star running back announcing he would be unavailable for the matchup against Georgia in the Peach Bowl.

This was not the news the Buckeyes needed, and this added fuel to an already hot fire burning in the fan base. This was Tuesday, but this was not the only significant news from Tuesday.

As the Buckeyes continued to gear up for the playoffs, the transfer portal opened up on Monday. Talk about planning from the NCAA. But there are some benefits for players entering the portal in this window. They have time to enter, announce a decision, and enroll in classes in the Spring. A lot of positives, but for fans and coaches this puts the transfer decisions.

Ohio State has announced quite a few offers throughout, but the raised senses around the fan base made it really challenging to cipher through what was fact or fiction. Now imagine hearing Treveyon Henderson has an announcement to make, the running back room is deep, and looking at the landscape of news I can understand why fans expected the worst.

But the news ended up being unrelated. Ohio State has offers out, they’re hosting their share of prospects, and we wait until this week’s crazy news cycle to find out how the buckeyes did.

This week was chaotic like a rollercoaster, the thing about rollercoaster is when they go down they usually go back up – which is why they’re fun. The Buckeyes landed a commitment from a five-star recruit. A few reasons this news was not more noteworthy, the five-star recruit was Jeremiah Smith, a receiver, and he’s in the 2024 class.

This is still exciting news, and there is by no means any reason to not be excited about it. Not everything in the recent news would give anyone reason to not be excited about the 2024 class. Smith is awesome and I’m excited to see what he brings to Columbus, but Hartline landing a five star is not as newsworthy as it once was.

What is newsworthy though is the potential scenario of Ohio State going 0-for-3 on blue chip edge prospects to close out the class. As of writing this article, Matayo Uiageleilei recently gained a USC prediction on On3, Damon Wilson has become a Georgia lean and Keon Keeley committed to Alabama. Recruiting has always been a marathon, not a sprint, but the final stretch has been rough in 2023, highlighted by news this week.

And now to the biggest news of yesterweek. Dylan Raiola – No. 1 overall player and quarterback in the 2024 class - decommitted from Ohio State. A significant reason in why many believed Smith committed. Then Raiola didn’t tweet about Smith’s commitment like he had every other 2024 commitment up to this point.

Once again the rumor mill began swirling. Raiola is closely linked to Nebraska now. There are family connections, his father played there and his uncle is a coach on Nebraska’s staff. Two other rumors include Raiola not appreciating the Buckeyes taking a 2023 commit — which also happened last week — at quarterback, and the other gossip is about a significant NIL deal.

Throwing in some opinion here, if either of those rumors are true, is Raiola the quarterback you want at Ohio State? The two on the roster in Kyle McCord and Devin Brown went headstrong into rooms with multiple top-50 quarterbacks. The 2023 commit, I forgot to mention in Lincoln Kienholz, flipped from a surefire opportunity to light up the world in Kalen DeBoer’s quarterback friendly offense up in Washington.

Instead he chose to step into a fiery competition knowing that there was also an all-world recruit already committed in the class of 2024. Talk about having dog in him. That is the type of player Ohio State fans have talked about missing in recent years. The 2023 class might not close as strong as fans might have hoped, but the transfer portal has the potential to fix that. But we already talked about that.

Going back again, Ohio State fans couldn’t even catch their breath by enjoying a nice, early set of December college basketball games. Earlier in the week, Tanner Holden saved Ohio State from shame at home by hitting a deep three to send Rutgers back to Piscataway sad.

An incredible shot that was, and here it is to enjoy:

The Basket-Bucks weren’t done with the week yet. They had a noteworthy game on Saturday at the Mecca, Madison Square Garden. Ohio State’s trip to New York CIty started off well against the North Carolina Tar Heels; They went into halftime with a lead. A championship level team was here for the Buckeyes, until they had to close out a game.

The Buckeyes blew a lead late allowing the Tar Heels to send the game to overtime, and then went on to lose the game to UNC.

Finally, Ohio State fans, I have seen the new internet rumor. No, I don’t think Marvin Harrison Jr. is interested in transferring to USC. With that being said, it is time to take a collective breath here before we start this week.

Being a college sports fan is not easy, and it is an everyday job on top of all the responsibilities you take on in your life. This week really challenged the reasonable approach, and as always the next week will bring it’s fair share of crazy.

That being said, Ohio State is far from dead, and there is plenty to be excited about.

The Buckeyes have six All-Americans voted on by various outlets. Marvin Harrison Jr. is Ohio State’s first unanimous All-American at receiver, and he joins an exclusive club including 36 other Buckeyes. Paris Johnson Jr. was a consensus All-American, and this is a milestone that is hopefully just a prelude to the his final legacy for the Buckeyes. Four others joined them with C.J. Stroud, Tommy Eichenberg, Dawand Jones, and Ronnie Hickman all being named All-Americans.

The other news keeps you busy. The games are really what being a fan is all about. Ohio State is in the College Football Playoff. They’re taking on Georgia in less than two weeks and the world has ruled the Buckeyes out. This is the time to rise, and remember the fact that Ohio State should never be counted out of anything.

Ohio State still has a top-7 recruiting class, they’re playing for a championship, and people are beginning to rally behind a cause. The Buckeyes are alive, and winning in two weeks will reinvigorate an entire nation of people.

I can’t even begin to predict how these next two weeks will go, but man it’s crazy being a fan of a college football team right now. With all the news, the rumors and all the stories out there, sometimes the joy can get lost in the mess.

That being said, there is still a lot to look forward to in the wild world of college football, especially as an Ohio State fan.