We all saw what happened on Saturday in Ann Arbor. Buckeye Nation is still in mourning for a third straight loss to Michigan and will be for quite some time. If there was ever a year to take down Michigan, 2023 was the year to do it with Jim Harbaugh finishing out a three-game suspension for the Connor Stalions cheating scandal. Instead, Ryan Day coached scared and Kyle McCord threw a couple of interceptions in Ohio State’s 30-24 loss to the Wolverines.
Now Ohio State will miss out on playing in the Big Ten Championship Game for a third straight year, and while the Buckeyes should be heading to a New Year’s Six bowl, they won’t be playing in the College Football Playoff. Since Ohio State won’t be playing for a national title, it’s likely we have seen the last of Marvin Harrison Jr. and TreVeyon Henderson in a Buckeye uniform since it wouldn’t make any sense to put themselves at risk if they declare for the 2024 NFL Draft.
Even though there might be a number of Ohio State players sitting out, there will be plenty of Buckeyes looking to mark their mark, whether it be to end the season on a high mark and raise expectations for next year, or they might be looking to close out their Ohio State career with one last strong performance. Despite whatever bowl game they play in technically being meaningless, there are still some important things that can come out of the game.
What we want to know is what you most want to see for Ohio State’s bowl game. It could be a certain opponent, a specific bowl game, a player you want to see get some more playing time, or the coaching staff preparing for the game in a different way. The Buckeyes will likely get an intriguing opponent in a desirable vacation setting, so even though the game is meaningless when it comes to the result mattering, there is still reason to watch, especially since it will be the last time Ohio State takes the field until the spring game in April.
Today’s question: What do you want to see for Ohio State’s bowl game?
We’d love to hear your choices. Either respond to us on Twitter at @Landgrant33 or leave your choice in the comments.
Brett’s answer: Ryan Day to let Brian Hartline call the offensive plays in the bowl game
It feels like Ryan Day has too much on his plate right now. Despite having a great offensive mind, Day turtles in the biggest games. Why not give Hartline a shot to see what he can cook up for the bowl game? When Day elevated Hartline to offensive coordinator in the offseason, it sounded like it would be more of a collaboration between the two with some shared play-calling. If that is what actually happened, it certainly wasn’t obvious.
There’s no question that Hartline is a rising star in the coaching ranks. I just wonder if Day elevated Hartline’s position to keep him from looking at and taking head coaching jobs. At some point, Hartline is going to move on to a position where he calls all the shots and isn’t looked at as just an outstanding recruiter. I get why Day is doing what he has done with Hartline, but it’s only sustainable for so long.
Unfortunately, Day is such a control freak it feels like he wouldn’t even be able to stomach somebody else calling the plays for even a series. What Day is doing right now obviously isn’t working against Michigan or in other high-pressure games, so he needs to take a long look at himself in the mirror and make some changes. Unfortunately, I doubt he does that since the College Football Playoff is expanding after this season and the Big Ten going without divisions increases the margin for error for Ohio State.
Believe me, I’m not expecting Day to give up play-calling in the bowl game since he is too proud to admit there are things that need to change. It’s just fun to think about how a bowl game might look if Hartline was given a little power and could show what he has to offer when it comes to offensive game-planning.
Matt’s answer: I still want them to make the College Football Playoff
This is going to be a bit redundant because I am going to have another article about this topic coming up later on Wednesday, but I still want to see the Buckeyes make the College Football Playoff. I realize that this incarnation of the Ohio State football team is far from perfect, but so was last year’s team, and it came within a last-second field goal of almost certainly winning the national title.
Unlike last year, the Buckeyes had every opportunity to beat Michigan in the regular season finale last Saturday, and I think it is pretty clear that the Wolverines are one of the two best teams in the country. So, if a questionable replay review goes the other way, OSU very well could be preparing to play Iowa in the Big Ten title game. In all honesty, despite the sub-par play from the quarterback position, I have more confidence in the ability of this year’s team to make a championship run than I did in the 2022 squad’s.
While it is clear that Jim Knowles pulled back on the reins a bit in Ann Arbor, the current Ohio State defense is a unit that can level the playing field with anyone. Last year, the Buckeyes had a dominant offense, but still got smoked by their rival in The Horseshoe. This year, warts and all, the defense made it a one-score game on the road. That says something to me.
So, if the Buckeyes were to sneak into the CFP this year (and they would need a significant amount of help to do so), I do think that the issues that led to last weekend’s loss are correctable enough to not only upset the No. 1 Georgia Bulldogs, but also to win the title. Is that outcome guaranteed? No, of course not, but I do think that they have a shot, and, as long as they have a legitimate chance to win it all, I want to see them have the opportunity.
The team was clearly rejuvenated by making the playoff last season, and Ryan Day and company clearly put forth their best effort of the year in the semifinals. If they are fortunate enough to have another shot at it this year, I expect something similar, which could have historic implications for the team.