Skull Session: Ohio State is Officially in the Peach Bowl, Joel Klatt Made Some Sad But True Points About The Game and the Basketbucks Are Spreading Holiday Cheer

We’ve reached the midway point of the week. How nice!

And how about this flex from Ohio State?

Let’s have a good Wednesday, shall we?

OFFICIALLY OFFICIAL. In case there was any doubt, Ohio State officially accepted the Chick-Fil-A Peach Bowl’s invitation to play in the College Football Playoff semifinal in Atlanta, and athletic director Gene Smith was the one to accept that invitation.

The Peach Bowl looks like it will be incredibly fun for the Ohio State program, as the week will be filled with activities outside the regularly scheduled bowl practices. Coaches and players for the Buckeyes will compete against their counterparts from Georgia in stuff like go-kart races, a Family Feud-style game show and a shooting contest on a basketball court, among other events.

While I’m not sure how Ohio State will do in the first two activities, the players talked up a big game that they could beat the men’s hoops team in a pickup game, so I have to believe they will handle business in any basketball- related competition.

May the best team win the Chick-Fil-A bowl week championship belt and – more importantly – may the best team win the Chick-Fil-A Peach Bowl.

Ohio State vs. Georgia is officially official, and we are only 17 days away.

SAD BUT TRUE. In a recent episode of The Ryen Russillo podcast, FOX college football analyst Joel Klatt was asked about Ohio State’s performance against Michigan in The Game this season and how he feels about the Buckeyes as they head to their fifth CFP in nine years.

And, well, his thoughts on The Game are sad but true, while his take on the Peach Bowl may offer some confidence to Ohio State fans as Buckeye Nation prepares for the CFP semifinals in 17 days.

It’s kind of like he punches you in the gut and then hugs you afterwards. You’ll see what I mean.

On the Michigan Game

CLAT: “I fell into this trap. When you looked at the numbers and saw the game play out, I think it was easy to say, ‘It happened again. Michigan beat up Ohio State again.’ And then I watched the film back, and I was like, ‘Nope, this is totally different than a year ago.’ A year ago, they methodically stole their chain, if you will, in the fourth quarter – just ripped it out of their pocket and Ohio State had no answer. It was four, six, eight, four, six, seven in terms of gains running the football. They only had to throw the ball one time in the fourth quarter. Ohio State was doing a much better job against the run this year.”

RUSSELL: “Joel, at the half, (Michigan had) 0.9 yards a carry.”

CLAT: “Correct. Michigan did not, in hindsight, just bully Ohio State. So what was the issue? What happened? I believe that last year’s game left such a scar on the psyche of the Ohio State program that their main goal ended up hindering their ultimate goal.

“Michigan stole their chain (with the run game) and that left a giant scar, so they went into this game with the goal that they would not let them do that again. That main goal ended up hindering the ultimate goal of winning the game . They committed so many resources to stopping the run, and to proving that they wouldn’t be pushed around, that they put guys on an island that they shouldn’t have put on an island in the secondary. They hadn’t done that all year long. If anyone tries to tell you that they played that exact style of defense for the entire season, they are lying to you. I watched every snap that they played defensively. Their system looked different, felt different throughout the year.

“It was working. They were stopping the run. But because of that, it allowed JJ McCarthy to make big plays. It left guys in coverage who hadn’t been in one on one coverage and weren’t used to those situations, and they got beat.

“Michigan scarred Ohio State so badly last year that their game plan was more about proving that they could stop the run and be tough than it was about winning the game and ultimately that ended up biting them in the end.”


As I said, sad but true. And that’s just what went wrong with the defensive game plan. Klatt doesn’t even mention how Ohio State’s offense did itself in with cuteness.

You know, cuteness as in wide receiver screens, drawing up plays for a tight end instead of an All-American receiver and lateral halfback tosses on third-and-short – the stuff Ramzy Nasrallah and Kyle Jones wrote over 8,000 words about a few weeks back. But I digress.

Instead, Klatt talked about how Ohio State’s offense may provide quite a test for Georgia’s defense in the Peach Bowl. That is, if Ryan Day can create an intricate enough scheme to utilize the strengths of CJ Stroud, Marvin Harrison Jr. and company to outsmart and outplay the Bulldog’s brilliant defensive coaches and talented defensive players.

On the Peach Bowl

CLAT: “Are (the Buckeyes) talented enough to beat Georgia? Yes. Do I think it happens? Maybe. Out of 10 times, if they played, Ohio State probably wins three or four times. Would it be an upset? Absolutely. Can they do it? Yeah. If I were Georgia, I would be sitting there and thinking that of the possible outcomes and semifinal matchups, this was the worst one for them by far.”

RUSSELL: “Totally. It would be so dismissive not to think – from an offensive skill perspective and with how much healthier you should expect the Buckeyes to be with this break – that this is the worst draw. Bama is a better draw than Ohio State.”

CLAT: “I agree. What does Bama not have this year? Wide receivers. … In the last 27 games, the only team to beat Georgia was Alabama. How did they do that? Great wide receiver play. They were getting after them again in the national championship game until Jameson Williams went down.

“Tennessee fans will be all over me for this, but Tennessee’s passing game is not intricate enough to really threaten Georgia. They rely too much on the simplicity of that second-level option route and because of that it’s a half-field read, and Kirby Smart can do things that make it difficult for Tennessee to throw the ball.

“The only passing game in the country – I firmly believe this – that is intricate enough schematically and good enough from a personnel standpoint is Ohio State. It’s easily the worst matchup for Georgia in the semifinals.”

That Michigan loss sucked, and there’s no other way to describe it. But by golly, let’s laugh, Buckeye Nation. Ohio State is the worst matchup Georgia could have possibly received, and I believe the Bulldogs coaches and players can feel the pressure building to live up to its No. 1 seed.

As I said in yesterday’s Skully: Is Ohio State an underdog? Yes. Is that a problem? Heck no.

Bring on the Bulldogs – Ohio Against the World.

THE HOLIDAY SPIRIT. The Ohio State men’s basketball team has had an annual tradition under sixth-year head coach Chris Holtmann where the players wrap Christmas presents for underprivileged youth in the Columbus community. That tradition continued in 2022.

I love that the Basketbucks consistently do things like this. Holtmann has made it a point to have his players involved in the local communities of Central Ohio during the season and in the offseason – like with the restoration of basketball courts in Columbus City parks – and their efforts will undoubtedly have a lasting impact for years to come.

Hat tips for The Ohio State University men’s basketball team, and happy holidays to all.

REST IN PEACE, PIRATES. The college football world lost one of its greatest personalities on Monday when Mississippi State head coach Mike Leach died from complications with a heart condition. He was 61 years old.

Simply put, Leach was one of a kind. He was caring, curious, innovative, silly, thoughtful and, honestly, just downright weird. But it was what made him unique. It was what made him one of the most charming personalities in the sport.

On Tuesday, football coaches, players, media and fans expressed condolences to the Leach family and the communities Leach impacted over his 21 seasons coaching at the collegiate level. That included the Ohio State football program and Ryan Day.

There really will never be another person quite like Mike Leach.

Of the many hilarious moments Leach had over the years, a few, in particular, stand out to me, and I want to end this Skull Session by sharing them with you:

The video above is particularly funny: “I mean, what the f––? You’re set. And then you don’t have to live in some gloomy f––– place like Columbus or Ann Arbor.”

Before your head hits the pillow tonight, tell somebody you love them. You never know when that opportunity may not be there anymore.

Thanks for reading today’s Skully. You all allow me to do what I love daily, and for that, I will tell you that I love you all dearly. Have a good Wednesday. I’ll see you tomorrow.

SONG OF THE DAY. “Five More Minutes” by Scotty McCreery.

CUT TO THE CHASE. Mars rover captures 1st sound of dust devil on red planet… The secret lives of MI6’s top female spies… McDonald’s unveils new burger (in Canada)… Texas man amasses collection of 24,268 video games… The health risks of taking your phone to the bathroom… Do you really need deodorant?

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