OSU: More Random Thoughts

It's the dead period for recruiting, and the Alabama game plan is just now starting to be put in place, but there are still things happening in the Ohio State world. Let's take a look at how things are shaping up.

- I'm nowhere near ready to make my prediction on the Alabama game, but I have started looking seriously at the matchup. As the season is now a few weeks past the finale, I'm more convinced than ever that this playoff system is the greatest event to ever hit college football. I'm sure they will think eight is great some day, but they will be wrong. There's no way every conference deserves to be represented. If you earn your way in, you're in. If not, you cry. Have a tissue.

- As you look at what Ohio State accomplished this year, it's even more remarkable once you understand this is the offensive era in college football. You must have a quarterback, or you cannot win big. This is not a game where you give it to the tailback 35 times, the fullback 10 times, and throw it 10 times. The quarterback has to play well, or you get beat. To be where they are today with their third string quarterback speaks volumes on the coaching. There's no doubt this staff can recruit and stack a roster. This year they proved they can coach.

- Regarding the Michigan coaching search, I believe it's down to two: Jim Harbaugh and Les Miles. There's no way they're hiring off the scrap heap with Steve Addazio or Greg Schiano. Jim Mora is a name floated by his agent. Sean Payton is a name floated by someone with brain damage. They can wait on Harbaugh, and I think he talks with them shortly on or after New Year's Day. The players were told they will have their coach when they return from break.

- I do not think it will be Harbaugh, but it might not be as far fetched as people think. To me, I have to see it to believe it. Miles wants the job, and I know there are factions and fractures within the Michigan community that will never accept him. It's always said that winning brings communities closer, and it does, but losing has a way of bringing people together as well. Not being relevant for a decade gives the AD clout to tell the individual factions to shut the Hell up and leave us alone, because your ways have us in this position.

- The Hatter was definitely taking this job when they hired Rich Rodriguez, but the Kirk Herbstreit announcement killed things. The faction that hated Les went and hired RichRod, and all the other factions ganged up on him. But being a bad team in a bad conference has a way of humbling factions, and I think Senor Hackett is the new sheriff in town. I like the way he's handled this search so far, but the proof will be in the hire. Coming away with either Harbaugh or Miles is a win.

- Can they salvage a recruiting class in one month? It will be tough, but with Miles or Harbaugh the answer is YES. I can guarantee you Mike Weber will visit Michigan officially. Can they land him? Too tough to say today, but they will get their shot. They can hit the ground running with a buzz of excitement, and that might be enough to save the recruiting class. Introduce Dan Mullen or P.J. Fleck as your new coach, and watch the yawning begin.

- The Ohio State win over Michigan State settled the conference ownership question, and there's no doubting Urban Meyer holds the title. Had the Spartans prevailed, they would have defeated OSU twice in a row and taken ownership of the league. So there's no way to underestimate the win from the Buckeye perspective. It was huge, no doubting that.

- For my money, this team became who they are today at Penn State. They learned how to dig, and scrap, and claw out a win in Happy Valley. You get nothing out of drilling the junk in the Big Ten 56-10 every week, other than a false sense of how good you are. Which comes back to bite you the next time you're in a dog fight. Last year's team could not get it done in crunch time. This team, although much younger, established an identity through two overtimes at Penn State. That game made this team a tough, hard-nosed group of kids that refuse to lose. That will also come in handy against Alabama, because that is not going to be a walk in the park.

- I have a gut feeling that there are going to be a few shockers after the New Year with college coaches taking NFL jobs. The NFL is a copycat league, and some schools are going to get raided in a month or so, I believe. They will be able to thank Chip Kelly for that. My main candidates? How about Brian Kelley to the Giants? Maybe Jimbo Fisher to the Dolphins? How about Jim Mora to the Raiders? The money is great, and you don't have to get on your knees and beg little high schoolers to come play for you. Somebody is losing a coach to the NFL in a month or so. Bank That.


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