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Ohio State vs. Michigan: Ryan Day faces first major obstacle after Wolverines trounce Buckeyes

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History was on Ohio State’s side coming into its rivalry game against No. 5 Michigan on Saturday. The No. 2 Buckeyes had won 15 of the past 16 iterations of The Game, including eight straight dating back to Nov. 26, 2011. Ohio State coach Ryan Day had been unstoppable, winning 24 straight Big Ten matchups to start his career. 

But history has now been altered in the form of a 42-27 win for the Wolverines — a defining moment for the program and coach Jim Harbaugh. 

Day, on the other hand, is now dealing with his first major obstacle as coach of the Buckeyes. 

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Losing on the road against a top-five team in the nation is one thing. Getting physically crushed by your arch rival in the most disappointing loss since a 31-0 drubbing in the 2016 College Football Playoff semifinal to Clemson is quite another. Above all, it hands Ohio State its first real adversity of the Day era. 

Legendary Buckeyes coach Earle Bruce said it best: “If you don’t win the Michigan-Ohio State game, buddy, that’s a problem. You’re not going to be recognized for too much success. We’ve had 11-1 and 10-1 football teams that lost to Michigan and they’re not even mentioned in the second breath.” 

Heading into The Big House on Saturday, this seemed like one of those Ohio State teams that could rank among the best in modern history. CBS Sports draft analysts project four different players from the Buckeyes offense alone could be selected in the first round of the 2022 NFL Draft, not even including underclassmen like quarterback C.J. Stroud, running back TreVeyon Henderson or receiver Jaxon Smith-Njigba. 

Losing The Game changes everything about how this team will be viewed historically. 

And it wasn’t only a loss. Ohio State gave up 297 yards rushing and six touchdowns to a Michigan offense that threw the ball just 20 times. Three of the Wolverines’ six scoring drives went nine plays or more, while all six traveled at least 60 yards. Broken plays and turnovers leading to a fluky loss would have been more palatable, but Day officially has major cracks in the foundation to fix on the defensive side of the ball.

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Outside of what now seems like an outlier defensive performance against No. 12 Michigan State, the Buckeyes have struggled to defend teams with a pulse on offense. Minnesota running back Mo Ibrahim rushed for 163 yards and two touchdowns in a season-opening game that only flipped the momentum to Ohio State when he suffered a season-ending injury. Oregon’s C.J. Verdell rushed for 161 yards and two touchdowns in an upset victory over the Buckeyes the following week. Purdue quarterback Aidan O’Connell threw for 390 yards and four touchdowns as part of a 31-point effort this month, while Michigan running back Hassan Haskins rushed for 169 yards and five touchdowns on Saturday. 

Ohio State tried shaking things up at defensive coordinator by passing play-calling responsibilities from Kerry Coombs to secondary coach Matt Barnes. That seemed to pay dividends as the Buckeyes held Akron, Rutgers, Maryland and Indiana to a combined 44 points. Unfortunately, the issues are far from fixed. 

If Michigan was an explosive team filled with killer recruits and a dynamic quarterback, that would be one thing. Prior to 2021, Day’s only two losses came to national champion Alabama and national runner-up Clemson. Conversely, the Wolverines rank No. 15 in the 247Sports Talent Composite — Ohio State is No. 3 — and have just one top-10 class since 2018. You can’t out-recruit being punched in the mouth over and over. 

Since Michigan’s last win in 2011, Ohio State has dominated the rivalry and kept the Wolverines living in its shadow. Over that period, Michigan has failed to earn a trip to the Big Ten Championship Game or win more than 10 games in a season. The Wolverines have not won a major bowl game and only have one top-10 finish. Ohio State, meanwhile, has done all of those things and more. 

But the crushing loss gives Michigan something more terrifying than a win: an opening. 

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When Urban Meyer suffered his shutout loss to Clemson in the College Football Playoff five years ago, he responded by hiring a little-known assistant named Ryan Day to run his offense. Similarly, Oklahoma and Alabama hired Lincoln Riley and Lane Kiffin, respectively, to turn around their offenses after devastating postseason losses. 

After losing to The Team up North and failing to win the Big Ten title for the first time, Day faces his first real test as head coach: figuring out how to adjust the defense. Whether he can return the defense to championship level will define whether the Buckeyes can elevate towards their first championship since 2014 — or whether they’re doomed to stay at a lower ceiling.  





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Aaron Rodgers to the Jets? Giants' free agency options & Mike McCarthy's future with Cowboys | Ask Jay Glazer

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Jay Glazer discussed whether Green Bay Packers QB Aaron Rodgers will head to the New York Jets, the New York Giants’ free agency options, and breaks down Mike McCarthy’s future with the Dallas Cowboys.



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Super Bowl LVII: Chiefs and Eagles will meet for title in Arizona

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Patrick Mahomes finally got the best of Joe Burrow. 

All he needed was a little shove.

Harrison Butker made a 45-yard field goal with 3 seconds left — after Cincinnati’s Joseph Ossai was flagged for a 15-yard penalty for shoving Mahomes after he was out of bounds — and the Chiefs beat the Bengals 23-20 in the AFC championship game to make it back to the Super Bowl.

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Kansas City will face the Philadelphia Eagles in the Super Bowl on Feb. 12 in Glendale, Arizona. 

The Eagles opened as a 1 1/2-point favourite, according to FanDuel Sportsbook.

There are no shortage of storylines: Kansas City coach Andy Reid goes against his old team — which he led to Super Bowl 39 — in a game that’s also the first matchup of Black starting quarterbacks in the Super Bowl with Mahomes and Philadelphia’s Jalen Hurts. 

On top of that, there’s a brother-against-brother showdown between Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce and Philadelphia center Jason Kelce.

“Officially done being a Chiefs fan this season!! ” Jason Kelce tweeted immediately after the Chiefs won.

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The Chiefs have been making deep postseason runs on a regular basis ever since Mahomes came to town as the franchise quarterback. 

This was their fifth straight trip to the AFC title game and will be their third Super Bowl appearance in that span. They beat the 49ers for the NFL title in the 2019 season, but lost to the Bucs the following season.

The Eagles clobbered the Niners 31-7 in the NFC title game earlier Sunday. They’ve looked dominant in the playoffs so far, also beating the New York Giants 38-7 in the divisional round.

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Philadelphia is back in the Super Bowl five years after beating the New England Patriots 41-33 on Feb. 4, 2018. 

Now a mostly new generation of Eagles — led by coach Nick Sirianni and Hurts — will come to Arizona to try and win another title.

The Chiefs-Bengals game looked as if it was going to overtime before Ossai’s ill-advised play. Mahomes — who was playing on a badly sprained ankle — was running to get a first down in the final seconds as Ossai desperately tried to track him down. 

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Mahomes was out of bounds when Ossai gave him a shove, sending both players tumbling to the turf. The ensuing 15-yard penalty was enough to push Butker into field-goal range and the kick split the uprights.

A distraught Ossai sat on the bench with his head in his hands, well after the game was over.

The Bengals and Chiefs were playing for the fourth time in less than 400 days and Cincinnati had won the previous three meetings — all by three points. This one was decided by a field goal, too, and all Burrow could do was watch.

The Bengals lost to the Rams in last year’s Super Bowl and they just missed another chance at returning to the title game.

NO DRAMA IN NFC

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Oddsmakers thought fans were in for some close conference championship games. 

They’ll have to settle for a 50% success rate.

The NFC title game was a blowout. Niners rookie quarterback Brock Purdy was injured in the first quarter when Eagles linebacker Haason Reddick drilled his right arm on a play that was ruled a fumble. The Eagles recovered that fumble and the injury proved to be a game-changer.

With Purdy hurt, San Francisco turned to 36-year-old journeyman Josh Johnson, who couldn’t do much before eventually leaving with a concussion. Purdy came back into the game, but could barely throw, and the Eagles cruised to the win.

The 49ers dealt with quarterback injuries all season, losing Trey Lance and Jimmy Garoppolo before turning to Purdy, a seventh-round draft pick out of Iowa State. Purdy stepped into a starter’s role in December and won his first seven games before Sunday’s injury. 

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Here’s a few things to know about the upcoming Super Bowl:

WHAT’S THE UPCOMING SCHEDULE?

FEB. 5

Pro Bowl flag-football game, 3 p.m. EST, ABC/ESPN

FEB. 12

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Super Bowl LVII, Philadelphia Eagles vs. Kansas City Chiefs, 6:30 p.m. EST, Fox

RIHANNA AT HALFTIME

Rihanna will take center stage as the headline act for this year’s Super Bowl halftime show.

With sales of more than 250 million records worldwide, Rihanna ranks as one of the best-selling female artists ever. Her most recent album was 2016′s “Anti.” Rihanna last performed publicly at the Grammy Awards in 2018.

The singer said she turned down a similar opportunity for the 2019 Super Bowl that was ultimately headlined by Maroon 5. At the time, many artists voiced support for Colin Kaepernick, the former San Francisco 49ers quarterback who protested police brutality against Black people and minorities by kneeling during the national anthem in 2016.

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Country music star Chris Stapleton will sing the national anthem, while R&B legend Babyface will perform “America the Beautiful.” 

PRO BOWL MAKEOVER

The Pro Bowl is getting a major makeover this year after the NFL eliminated its full-contact all-star game and replaced it with weeklong skills competitions and a flag football game.

The flag football contest is Feb. 5 in Las Vegas at Allegiant Stadium, one week before the Super Bowl.

The Pro Bowl debuted in January 1951 in Los Angeles and stayed there for 21 seasons before the game moved to different cities from 1972-80. Hawaii hosted from 1980-2009, and the game has had several homes in the years since, including Miami, Phoenix, Orlando and Las Vegas.

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“The game was kind of silly, I guess,” Saints two-time Pro Bowl offensive lineman Ryan Ramczyk said back in September when the news was announced. “Guys weren’t out there playing true football. Hopefully, there’ll be a lot of interactions with the fans and guys will get their opportunity to go out there and show some skills. I could see that being a good change.”

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Ohio State hires James Laurinaitis & Tennessee extends Huepel's contract | Joel Klatt Show

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Joel Klatt discussed Ohio State Buckeyes hiring former linebacker James Laurinaitis as a defensive GA. Joel believes that Laurinaitis can help transform the defense into a powerhouse like the offense is for wide receivers. He then discussed the Tennessee Volunteers giving Josh Huepel a contract extension after their 11-win season.



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