What we learned: Signs point to Meyer's predicted OSU 'exodus'

Urban Meyer TOS 151121

Less than two weeks ago, Ohio State coach Urban Meyer predicted that an "exodus" of talent would be leaving the OSU program for the NFL draft, referring to a lengthy cast of underclassmen with pro potential.

What he couldn't have predicted was how quickly three of them would make it so obvious.

Junior running back Ezekiel Elliott was the most blunt about his intentions Saturday after a season-crushing 17-14 loss to rival Michigan State. Elliott said he won't be back at OSU next year, and took a poke at Meyer and his staff at the same time. Quarterback Cardale Jones was a little more subtle about his future, but certainly left Buckeyes fans with little hope that he'll be back. Then there was star junior defensive end Joey Bosa, who said Monday that the prospect of playing with his younger brother, who will be an OSU incoming freshman in 2016, would be the only reason he would consider staying.

Scouts from 17 NFL clubs saw Bosa, Jones, Elliott, and other OSU draft prospects play Saturday.

Among other OSU underclassmen who could consider applying for early NFL draft eligibility are wide receiver Michael Thomas, linebacker Darron Lee, cornerback Eli Apple and safety Vonn Bell. A year ago, Meyer had the uncommon fortune of a national championship season that didn't result in any early-declaring underclassmen, which hadn't happened since LSU in 2007.

This year, he won't be nearly so lucky.

Here are 10 other things week learned from the day in college football:

2. Miles feeling secure. Speculation is rampant that the power boosters at LSU have had their fill of Les Miles, but the Tigers' coach said he doesn't believe his job is in jeopardy after a resounding 38-17 loss to Ole Miss. There are about $17 million reasons why he's almost certainly right. That's the buyout price -- $15 million to Miles and another $2 million to his staff -- if the right people really want to open their wallets that wide before paying a high-profile replacement a dime.

3. Sparty's case. Is Michigan State suddenly in the national championship hunt with a 17-14 win over Ohio State? You bet it is. If the Spartans win out from here, they'll have wins over the CFP selection committee's No. 3-ranked team (OSU) and No. 5-ranked team (Iowa) in the three weeks before the four-team playoff field is chosen. There won't be a more impressive season-ending impression than that one anywhere in the country.

4. Fighting Irish in Fenway. Notre Dame played Boston College at Fenway Park on Saturday, and if you didn't see what the fabled baseball park looked like after it was lined for the gridiron, behold it here.



5. Only Harbaugh. "Laying an egg" is a pretty well-known euphemism for playing a poor game. But Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh wasn't about to acknowledge any awareness of the phrase when it came up in his postgame press conference Saturday. "The egg analogy doesn't resonate with me," Harbaugh said. "I don't really like comparing humans to chickens or any other type of animal." You should know this by now: What resonates with Harbaugh is hard work, khaki pants, his own awkwardness and almost nothing else.

6. Booker is done. Utah running back Devontae Booker tore the meniscus in his knee last week and, initially, there was hope he could return for the Utes' bowl game. Utah coach Kyle Whittingham announced that is no longer a possibility, bringing an end to the senior's college career. Next stop: the 2016 NFL Draft.



7. Mass disappointment. Ohio State's crushing 17-14 loss to Michigan State brought with it a record level of sadness: the Buckeyes broke a home attendance record with 108,975.

8. Title-game berth on line. Rivals USC and UCLA will play for the Pac-12 South title next week, but the stakes won't be quite what each would have hoped entering the season. They've lost seven games between them, yet surprisingly, a Pac-12 championship remains in reach for both.

9. McKenzie at Mizzou. Oakland Raiders general manager Reggie McKenzie was at Missouri for Tennessee's 19-8 win over the Tigers on Saturday, but forgive him if he kept an extra-close eye on a player who isn't even eligible for the 2016 NFL Draft: his son, Kahlil McKenzie. The freshman defensive lineman managed to get his father into a selfie after the game, and managed to get a sack during the contest.

10. Scooby on mend. It looks like NFL scouts will get one more look at Scooby Wright this season. The Arizona linebacker, who was the Pac-12's top defender in 2014, has been sidelined due to injury for nearly all of 2015, but he told FOX Sports that he is aiming to return from a sprained foot in time to participate in the Wildcats' bowl game.

11. Wait, how many? Arkansas coach Bret Bielema is doing some damage to his reputation as a grind-and-run offensive coach this season, and Saturday broke that stereotype once again. Brandon Allen threw seven touchdown passes against Mississippi State, while star running back Alex Collins rushed 19 times for just 53 yards. Never let it be said that Bielema is unwilling to adjust to what works. Or at least, what makes the offense work -- Mississippi State still won, 51-50, behind 508 passing yards and five touchdown throws from Dak Prescott. Combined, Prescott and Allen completed 68 of 93 passes for 914 yards, 12 touchdowns and only one interception.

Follow Chase Goodbread on Twitter *@ChaseGoodbread*.

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