Ohio State could play half its games at night in 2017, Buckeyes get it done in the classroom, and more
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Today is Friday, May 26, and it’s time to Wake Up Sloopy.
No shortage of Ohio State night games in 2017
Could Ohio State play half its regular-season games at night in 2017?
It’s not out of the question. Ohio State announced game times for its first two matchups of the season and — spoiler alert — they’ll both take place at night. Ohio State will travel to take on Indiana at 8 p.m. in the season opener on Aug. 31 and will host Oklahoma at 7:30 p.m. the following week. Neither of those are surprises given that the Indiana game is on a Thursday and the Oklahoma game could be a top-10 matchup, but it’s still a reminder that Ohio State could be in for quite a few of these.
Playing at night has become more common during the tenure of coach Urban Meyer. Here’s every night game Ohio State has played in the regular season since 2012.
Oct. 6, Nebraska 8 p.m.
Oct. 13, at Indiana 8 p.m.
Oct. 27, at Penn State 5:30 p.m.
Sept. 28, Wisconsin 8 p.m.
Oct. 5, at Northwestern 8 p.m.
Oct. 26, Penn State 8 p.m.
Sept. 6, Virginia Tech 8 p.m.
Sept. 27, Cincinnati 6 p.m.
Oct. 25, at Penn State 8 p.m.
Nov. 1, Illinois 8 p.m.
Nov. 8, at Michigan State 8 p.m.
Sept. 7, at Virginia Tech 8 p.m.
Oct. 17, Penn State 8 p.m.
Oct. 24, at Rutgers 8 p.m.
Nov. 7, Minnesota 8 p.m.
Sept. 17, at Oklahoma 9 p.m.
Oct. 15, at Wisconsin 8 p.m.
Oct. 22, at Penn State 8 p.m.
Nov. 5, Nebraska 8 p.m.
That’s quite a list. Ohio State has averaged just shy of four night games per season under Meyer, and the Buckeyes played five night games in the 2014 regular season. With the first two game times set for 2017, Ohio State is already 2 for 2 in playing after sunset.
What games could join them? Let’s look at the full 2017 Ohio State schedule.
2017 Ohio State schedule
Aug. 31, at Indiana
Sept. 9, Oklahoma
Sept. 16, Army
Sept. 23, UNLV
Sept. 30, at Rutgers
Oct. 7, Maryland
Oct. 14, at Nebraska
Oct. 28, Penn State
Nov. 4, at Iowa
Nov. 11, Michigan State
Nov. 18, Illinois
Nov. 25, at Michigan
Ohio State’s trip to Nebraska and its home game against Penn State are both mortal locks to be played at night. Given that Iowa hosted a night game in November against then-No. 2 Michigan last year and beat the Wolverines, it seems plausible the Hawkeyes could go back to that well. That would bring the total to five.
There are at least two more options that have some sort of precedent. Ohio State played a night game at Rutgers in 2015, and there’s a chance that happens again. The Buckeyes played Michigan State at night in November 2014. Even if the Spartans aren’t the premium opponent they were back then, there’s the case of Ohio State playing at night against Illinois in November 2014.
It’s doubtful that both games end up being played under lights, but it’s not hard to imagine one of those happening. That would bring the total to six night games.
Ohio State football makes the grade
Ohio State football just produced its highest collective spring GPA in nearly a decade.
The Buckeyes finished with a 2.92 GPA as a team for the spring semester, the highest such mark since 2009 per an Ohio State press release.
Here’s how the Buckeyes have fared in the past eight years:
2017 – 2.92
2012 – 2.88
2013 – 2.79
2016 – 2.74
2015 – 2.73
2011 – 2.72
2010 – 2.63
2014 – 2.51
Three Ohio State players finished with a perfect 4.0 GPA for the semester — center Billy Price, long snapper Liam McCullough and safety Jordan Fuller. Price graduated in May with a degree in business administration and will begin graduate school in the fall while finishing his Ohio State football career.
Michael Thomas strives for greatness
Michael Thomas had quite the NFL rookie year in 2016.
The former Ohio State receiver set New Orleans Saints rookie records for receptions, receiving yards and receiving touchdowns in 2016. In just his first season as a pro, he was hailed as one of the most dependable and valuable members of the offense.
Being very good has never been enough for Thomas, though, which is why he told The Advocate that he’s not satisfied with his rookie numbers or overall play.
“Just finishing my routes, being a technician, being perfect depth, being in the right place at the right time,” Thomas said. “Using my eyes better, visualizing the coverage pre-snap better.”
Those are the kinds of details that separate the game’s elite receivers.
Thomas knows it better than anybody. From his uncle, Keyshawn Johnson, to superstars such as DeAndre Hopkins, Thomas has tried to soak up information on what sets the great ones apart.
As good as Thomas’ rookie season looked — 92 catches, 1,137 yards and 9 touchdowns — the tape told a different story to a player who has his eyes set on taking his place among the game’s elite.
“I feel like I’m going to take my game to another level,” Thomas said. “When I watch film, even though I had statistically a big year, I still have a lot to make up for.”
Thomas will certainly have the chance to become the featured weapon in the Saints offense. New Orleans traded Brandin Cooks to New England in the offseason, which makes Thomas the team’s leading returning receiver.
That could lead to an increased focus from opposing defenses, though the Saints added former Ohio State star Ted Ginn, who might be able to take some pressure off Thomas.
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