Ranking Ohio State’s 2017 home games, Cardale Jones graduates in style, and more
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Today is Monday, May 8, and it’s time to Wake Up Sloopy.
VOTE: What 2017 Ohio State home game is your favorite?
My co-worker Ben Axelrod wrote a great piece Saturday breaking down the 2017 Ohio State schedule. If you haven’t checked it out, be sure to do so. It got me thinking about Ohio State’s home slate this season. It’s an interesting collection — five not-so-great matchups and two amazing ones.
Here’s how I’d rank the seven home games based the interest in the opponents:
Here’s a list of Ohio State-Maryland scores since the Terrapins joined the Big Ten: 52-24 in 2014, 49-28 in 2015, and 62-3 in 2016. It doesn’t get much worse or more boring. Spoiler alert: This year won’t be any different.
Is UNLV good? Not particularly. The Rebels are led by former Las Vegas Bishop Gorman coach Tony Sanchez and went 4-8 last season. The two teams have never played, so that’s kind of unique. Ohio State fans are doomed to watch Maryland’s mediocrity every year for the foreseeable future.
The Illibuck is back after a one-year break! That’s one of the only redeeming factors of this game. But that — combined with the fact that Lovie Smith might have an improved squad — is enough to top the two aforementioned teams. Behold, one of the most majestic trophies on the planet:
— Ryan Ginn (@rmginn) November 2, 2014
Not a great sign when Army is the fourth-best game, but I view this as the uniqueness factor on steroids. Some Ohio State fans will be upset because the Buckeyes are facing a triple-option team, but it should be fine. Army showed last year that it’s on the rise, beating Navy for the first time since 2001. I’m also partial to service academies. Ohio State’s game against Navy in 2014 was one of the coolest games I’ve ever seen.
Look at that! Amazing. Everything about that day was great.
3. Michigan State
The Spartans’ time in the sun probably has come to an end. However, Mark Dantonio has been a thorn in Urban Meyer’s side. Even in 2016 when Michigan State didn’t make a bowl game, Ohio State needed to stop a late 2-point conversion to hold off the Spartans.
I wish I could put 10 spots between Oklahoma and Michigan State to demonstrate my interest gap between those two games. Also, it’s wild that this game isn’t No. 1 on the list. The Sooners are a great program in the middle of a fantastic run, and star quarterback Baker Mayfield is back for one more season. There’s also the fact that these two teams don’t meet very often, and it’s the home opener. So why isn’t it my No. 1?
1. Penn State
This looks like a good bet to be the de facto Big Ten Championship Game. Michigan lost way more talent than either Ohio State or Penn State (and finished behind them in the standings last year). Furthermore, the West Division is still noticeably worse than the East. And here’s the thing: Ohio State hasn’t played in the conference championship game since 2014 despite back-to-back seasons with one regular-season loss.
If the Buckeyes are as good as people think they’ll be, they need to get back to Indianapolis. To do that, they need to take care of Penn State’s dynamic duo of quarterback Trace McSorley and running back Saquon Barkley. It’s going to be an insane atmosphere. Mark it down for a night game. There’s no chance it kicks off before sunset.
Cardale Jones is an absolute legend
On Friday, I reminisced about Cardale Jones’ legacy as his graduation approached. I don’t think I’ve ever covered another athlete like Cardale. Two days after that post, he delivered the goods on graduation day.
— Cardale Jones (@Cardale7_) May 7, 2017
First, congrats to him on getting his degree! Of course he referenced his infamous tweet from 2012 on his graduation cap. What an absolute legend.
Ohio State adds another national championship
Ohio State men’s volleyball went nearly 400 days without a loss before finally dropping a match March 11, so it was clear that the Buckeyes were the best team in the country this year. Still, it was amazing to see the ease with which Ohio State took care of its NCAA Tournament foes. The Buckeyes had a bye to the NCAA semifinals, which along with the finals were hosted at St. John Arena on Ohio State’s campus.
They didn’t drop a set either time, sweeping Hawaii and BYU to win their second straight national championship.
In front of a crowd of 8,205…. the title stays in the MIVA. pic.twitter.com/jcpDCB9ME0
— MIVA Volleyball (@MIVAVolleyball) May 7, 2017
If you want to know why Ohio State is so good, start with coach Pete Hanson. This marked his third championship at Ohio State, an astounding achievement in a sport dominated by the West Coast. Be sure to check out his pregame speech below. It’s a great look at the final moments before a championship match.
Moments before taking the court last night… pic.twitter.com/CEspr57eEP
— OSU Men's Volleyball (@OhioState_MVB) May 7, 2017
Get ready for a Twitter Q&A…
I know y’all love my fellow Ohio State writers Jeremy Birmingham and Ben Axelrod, so we put together a way to ask them anything while also giving you a way to never miss our work.
If our @Landof10OSU Twitter account gains enough followers, both Birm and Ben will do a Q&A on that account.
— Ben Axelrod (@BenAxelrod) May 5, 2017
As of Monday morning, the account was closing in on 2,500 followers. Follow the account and put it over the top! Don’t forget to tell your friends, since getting to 5,000 will lead to another Q&A session.
• Here’s an interesting feature on Nebraska twins and the mom who raised them.
• Indiana guard James Blackmon Jr. is staying in the 2017 NBA Draft.
• Nebraska signee Matt Sichterman wants to play football and be an engineer.
• An Iowa DT went No. 1 in the CFL draft. (He’s from Canada.)
• Ranking Michigan’s recruits over the last 10 years.