Jeremy Birmingham/Land of 10
Ohio State defensive coordinator Greg Schiano's contract is a bargain for the Buckeyes.

Greg Schiano and Kevin Wilson are insanely good bargains, the high stakes of Ohio State vs. Oklahoma and more

Ryan Ginn

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Today is Thursday, May 18, and it’s time to Wake Up Sloopy.


Best bargains in college football?

In 2016, Texas A&M’s John Chavis made more than $1.5 million to coordinate the nation’s 90th-ranked total defense. He was the highest-paid assistant in college football. That same season, Cam Cameron made $1.2 million to lead LSU’s offense. His final stats don’t exist, because he was fired in the middle of the season.

Contrast that with Ohio State. On Wednesday the public records office released the contracts of Ohio State’s three new assistant coaches and four others who received updated contracts upon the expiration of their previous ones. In 2017, offensive coordinator Kevin Wilson and defensive coordinator Greg Schiano will make $1.35 million combined.

Though both were dismissed from their previous jobs, Wilson and Schiano are two of the most respected coaches in college football. Wilson developed a pair of Heisman Trophy-winning quarterbacks as an Oklahoma assistant before becoming the head coach of Indiana, where his team regularly gave Ohio State fits. Schiano led Rutgers to national prominence, a feat that now looks like it should get him inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame, and also led the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the NFL. In his first season in 2016, Schiano helped the Buckeyes to the No. 3 scoring defense in college football.

It certainly helps that Ohio State found them at a time when other teams were still paying buyouts, but shrewdness is never something to apologize for. Last year, Schiano had one year left on his five-year, $15 million NFL contract, so he had plenty of money coming his way outside of Ohio State. This year Wilson will be paid $542,000 from Indiana, and there’s no offset language. That means Wilson will make $1,192,000 in total because the buyout won’t be reduced by the amount he makes at another job.

A dozen college assistants last year made $1 million or more, and that number is going to climb this year. Michigan has revealed that it will have three million-dollar assistants after having none last year. Meanwhile, Ohio State has two of the best assistant coaches in college football and got them for half of what some top assistants make.

As far as bargains go, that has to be at the top of the list.

Ohio State-Oklahoma has plenty at stake 

Ohio State’s win at Oklahoma paved the way for the Buckeyes to become the first team to make the College Football Playoff without winning its conference. As one might expect, there’s also plenty of intrigue surrounding the rematch.

ESPN recently ranked the top 10 games for 2017 with the most at stake, and Oklahoma at Ohio State came in at No. 1. If that’s a shocker there’s a case to be made it’s not even the game on the schedule with the most at stake for the Buckeyes  the list seemed to define “most at stake” differently than the commonly accepted explanation in which positioning for the playoff is paramount.

What qualifies as a high-stakes game? Think about a team with a long losing streak against a rival. Think about a coach entering the season on thin ice who needs a breakthrough. Think about games that launch teams into particularly challenging portions of the schedule.

I think that’s a weird way to define a high-stakes game, but it’s not my list. ESPN can use whatever criteria it wants.

Anyways, here’s what the outlet had to say about the Buckeyes and Sooners, which is apparently the regular-season game with the most at stake this season.

What’s at stake: This clash will appear on any preseason list of big games, but there’s more at stake for both teams than potential playoff positioning. Oklahoma still must prove it can do more than win a weakened Big 12. The Sooners’ 21-point home loss to the Buckeyes effectively eliminated them from national-title contention last September. Although the Sooners improved throughout the season and played their best, especially on defense, down the stretch, they won’t be taken seriously without a solid showing in Columbus. Ohio State’s offensive showcase in Norman seems like a long time ago after the unit struggled in the second half last season and flatlined in a 31-0 loss to Clemson in the CFP semifinal. There are questions about QB J.T. Barrett, and an offense that must show up on its home field.

I still think in terms of the traditional interpretation, meaning Penn State and/or Michigan could be high-stakes games for Ohio State, but there’s no denying that this one could shape the seasons of both teams.

Curtis Samuel is working hard 

Now that he’s getting his NFL shot, Curtis Samuel isn’t going to waste it.

Samuel will be in Los Angeles this weekend for the NFL Players Association Rookie Premiere, but he’ll also have a guest with him on the trip.

“I’ve never been to L.A. before, so this will be my first time,” he said. “Just to be able to go to something like that, it’s humbling. I’m going to still be focused. I’ll definitely tell you, I’m taking my playbook out there with me. I need it. The grind never stops.”

Given how many ways teams can use Samuel, we expect there’s plenty for him to learn in the Panthers playbook.

JaQuan Lyle apologizes for incident 

It wouldn’t be a Wake Up Sloopy if it didn’t include the latest travails of the Ohio State basketball team, so here’s that daily item before we wrap things up.

No matter when his departure from the team happened, Ohio State is now without point guard JaQuan Lyle. On Wednesday night, the point guard issued an apology for an incident in which he was accused of public intoxication, as well as punching a door and a police car.

B1G happenings

• Indiana offered nine players from the same Georgia high school.

Gary Harris looks back on his time at Michigan State.

• Can Penn State overtake Ohio State in the Big Ten recruiting rankings?

• Penn State: “Last year wasn’t good enough.”

• Wisconsin’s Twitter account got hacked.

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