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J. Browning talking? Early NFL entries, The UW D, The Luster of the Rose: Baver Answers Colin's Questions - Rose Bowl Wk. (pt 2 of 2)

Colin: Bosa, Dre’mont and Mike Weber have already declared for the NFL draft. What other Buckeyes will be joining them?

Baver: The chances of Haskins leaving are just a tad less than 100%, and it sounds like KJ Hill is out the door as well. It wouldn’t be a shock to see each of Jordan Fuller, Kendall Sheffield, and Damon Arnette declare. I’d say the most likely scenario is that two of those three leave. I think Michael Jordan will likely be back, and that Day will promise him that he moves back to guard. There was once talk that Malik Harrison was mulling over his options, but it now sounds like Harrison is coming back. 

Colin: Justin Fields from Georgia may be leaving the Bulldogs and last we knew he was giving OSU a hard look. If he transferred to Ohio State is he the starter the first season he is eligible and what is the likelihood Fields could be eligible to play here immediately? Also, Tate Martell had tweeted something like: “Better not swing and miss twice” recently. Was that tweet directed at Fields?

Baver: If Fields is leaving Athens (which now sounds likely), I would think he has some in-the-know folks advising him that he will indeed be granted a waiver to play immediately at his new school. OSU seems to have a fair shot at landing Fields if he does transfer, and my guess is he would probably be eligible to play in ’19, but that’s not a given. 

Tate was indeed taking a dig at Justin Fields, insinuating that Fields couldn’t beat out Fromm at Georgia, and won’t beat out Tate at Ohio St. I’ll say this though, Justin Fields is a special talent, who is in a situation at Georgia that is not unlike Dwayne Haskins’ situation sitting behind JT Barrett. And as for Tate Martell, if I were him, I’d worry first about Matthew Baldwin. I have heard from multiple Buckeye insiders that say Baldwin is most likely the starter at QB for Ohio St next fall.

Colin: The Rose Bowl still carries some luster among fans in the Midwest, do you think it has any magic for the players?

Baver: It definitely does, which is why Haskins and Dre’Mont are playing. The updated mock draft I looked at Saturday had Haskins as the #6 overall pick and Dre’mont at #15. That same mock had Washington’s CB Byron Murphy at #8 overall, and Murphy won’t be missing this one either. The Rose hosted a playoff game last year, and in the year before that, the Rose matched Penn St vs USC. That non-playoff game drew 16 million viewers, not far behind the playoff games that year that each drew around 19 million viewers. The Rose is the one bowl that is still a pretty big deal to players and fans even in the years when it is not hosting a playoff game.

Colin: Everybody seems to think the Huskies are just going to roll over for the Buckeyes. Is this a trap game? 

Baver: Washington is top 10 in each of the 3 major polls, and I’d say they deserve it. Michigan’s defense turned out to be somewhat of a fraud, but this Washington D is really, really good. They have not given up more than 24 pts in regulation in any game this year, and gave up only 137 yards TOTAL in the Pac-12 title game. There were still a lot of chinks left in the OSU armor when they battled Northwestern, and this of course will be a tougher matchup for OSU. I’d caution against underestimating a team with a defense like Washington has.

Colin: There is lots of good film on how to gash the Buckeye defense. How many points would you expect the silver bullets to give up on New Year's Day? Can our offense match it against a high ranked Husky pass defense? 

Baver: UW QB Jake Browning: “We’ve reviewed a lot of tape from Ohio State’s loss to Purdue, and I think we’ve keyed in on their biggest weaknesses, especially on defense. From what I’ve seen, I don’t think they can stop our passing attack.”

My questions for Jake Browning: “The passing attack you are referring to....is that the same passing attack where you connected on 16 TD’s in 13 gms, with 10 picks? And the same one that has a 4-year starting QB that regressed in his junior season and again his senior season? Washington may put some pts up on an underachieving OSU D, but Jake Browning even putting the words “passing” and “attack” together is laughable. Their offense generated 3 pts in the P12 Championship. What usually makes UW’s offense go is tailback Myles Gaskin, and the good line he has in front of him. Doing the math, Vegas has OSU giving up 25 ½ pts. I have the Bucks giving up a tad less than that. 

I do not see Ohio State having nearly as much success on offense as they had against UM and N’Western. Still, I see too many things pointing OSU’s way in this one: (1) Urban’s final game, (2) Urban’s prior bowl success, (3) Chris Peterson’s 0-3 record in the big out-of-conference games at UW, (4) PSU beating UW far worse than the score indicated in last year’s Fiesta Bowl, and (5) OSU fans attending the game expected to outnumber UW fans by a 2-1 margin.

The Call: Ohio St 31 Washington 23