Yahoo Sports’ Dan Wetzel, and Sports Illustrated’s Pat Forde and Ross Dellenger discuss the College Football Playoff semifinal Peach Bowl matchup between the Ohio State Buckeyes and the Georgia Bulldogs, and debate if Ryan Day’s job is on the line against the Dawgs.
ROSS DELLENGER: They're not going to fire Ryan Day. But if they do get blown out in this game, you do wonder if he thinks more about the professional ranks.
DAN WETZEL: Let's get to this-- this little Ohio State, Georgia game, just a little thing going down in Atlanta. You're both there. I want to start with the Buckeyes because I think Ryan Day is the most interesting character in this drama. ESPN'S doing the greatest story ever played or something. That's their marketing slogan. I like that. I don't know if you guys have spoken to Ryan. He's done some interviews already.
But much fan unease in Ohio State after the second Michigan loss. They're not going to fire Ryan Day, nor should they. But there's a lot of, we're not sure this is the right guy. He lost twice to Michigan. Is that unfair? Probably, but whatever. That's how you get the job. That's how you get the money. You got to win. And it looked like it was going to be a long, long off season.
They've also had some recruiting losses of late, which you know, they'll fill in. They'll be OK, little ole Buckeyes. But here's the reprieve. And so he has two chances here, pressure and opportunity. They beat Georgia and presumably even beat Michigan. Who the hell cares what happened last month? They get run out the door by Georgia. It's even worse.
And I don't know if it becomes so toxic that it doesn't make Ryan Day consider the NFL a little bit more. Ross, start with you, your thoughts on the Ryan Day situation and the whole Buckeye program, that this feels a little bit like a referendum when these other schools are all kind of sitting pretty. I mean, I don't anyone at TCU really, you know-- there's not going to be a lot-- [CHUCKLES] there might be some disappointment if they lose. But there isn't going to be any anger.
ROSS DELLENGER: No. And it's kind of-- it's crazy to think about that the fan base is in the situation that it's in or feeling like it's, you know, it's disappointed in its coach when Ryan Day's record at Ohio State is 45 and 5. It's truly remarkable.
You know, two conference titles, you know, advanced, obviously, to the championship game a couple of years ago, lost to Alabama, and here we sit, talking about how angry the fan base is. And it's just probably-- gives you an idea of how important that Michigan, Ohio State game is. And well, you know, we had interviews today, earlier this morning here in Atlanta.
And you know, I hopped around to different tables of Ohio State players and Jim Knowles, the defensive coordinator. And you know, every other question probably was about the Michigan game. It was-- it was about a play in the Michigan game or the Michigan game as a whole or-- it was-- there was-- it was-- there was something about Michigan in almost every other question or so.
And so it's still-- it's just kind of lingering over the team. It feels like this kind of dark cloud. And yeah, it can be kind of removed with a win Saturday. But right now, it does feel like it's lingering, does feel like it's lingering over Ryan Day. And I think Dan makes a great point. They're not going to fire Ryan Day. But if they do get blown out in this game, you do wonder if he thinks more about the professional ranks.
And there will be opportunities there, I'm sure, for him if he wants it.
PAT FORDE: Yeah, this goes back-- I mean, I remember sitting there at Big Ten media day in July and Ryan Day saying, 11 and 2 is a successful year in a lot of places. It wasn't for us. And that was last year. You know, we didn't beat Michigan. We didn't win the Big Ten. We didn't win the national championship. And everything-- all off season was all about getting tougher to beat Michigan.
And then they got plowed by Michigan. So it just-- it just exacerbated everything that they were supposedly, you know, trying to fix. And yeah, to Ross's point, I mean, the questions were endless about Michigan, especially, today was their defense day. Yesterday, offense-- there weren't as many. But it was absolutely endless. [CHUCKLES]
And the players-- somebody finally even asked, are you tired of hearing about the Michigan game? They're all like, yes, we are. But that's the problem. It's the last game you played. It's the biggest game you played. And you got trucked. So you're going to hear about it. Georgia was in this same situation last year. They couldn't beat Alabama. They kept losing to Alabama in big games.
They got upset in the SEC championship. They got beat by 17. And all the questions were, oh, my god, here we go again. Are you-- can you ever beat Alabama? Can you get it back together? And they did. And they handled it extremely well. I think there's more doubt about this Ohio State team than there was about Georgia last year. But it's a similar situation, in terms of having a month to stew in a really bad loss.
DAN WETZEL: What about Georgia, win the national title last year, they haven't lost this year, they lost 15 players to the NFL draft a year ago, and it's sort of like, the beat keeps going. What is the mood with Georgia right now? And what were they saying? I know you guys just came from that. So I don't really-- you tell me what to discuss.
PAT FORDE: I feel like there's a level of confidence there. I don't know whether it's overconfidence. But I mean, there's certainly a level of confidence, like, look, we've been here. We've done that. And we haven't lost in a long damn time. And Georgia, I believe, is absolutely the most physically dominant team in college football by a wide margin. They're what Alabama used to be.
Now, on the other hand, the flip side, you know-- and I think this is Ohio State's big hope-- is Georgia's secondary got roasted by LSU. It didn't matter because they scored 50. But they gave up 500 yards. And Ohio State has the best passing game probably in the country. So if Georgia wants to find itself in an unexpected, uncomfortable shootout, it could, if they don't tighten it up a little bit better on the back end this time.