T Nation

Ohio State vs Cleveland Browns

This has came up a lot this year, last year it Alabama vs Jacksonville, I’ve seen grown men almost get into fist fight over. Only the best in college go to nfl , only elite start, enough said the college team would get destroyed. But take the best college team now , vs a mediocre nfl team from the 80’s, bigger,faster, stronger, now. Im not an expert at any mainstream sport , i do think in football expecially with a big enought gaps in size conditioning its possible. Yet i will say in boxing the opposite especially in heavyweight class the boxers of 70s-90s would take apart the heavier classes now . But in powerlifting i see rick Weil bench records, 40 years. With way better peds Guaglers total at 165 just got broke but if a 19 year coan could of made weight he would have broke. I know i post a lot, but i work with a bunch of worker drones, who cant talk about bro science etc.

What rules are they playing by?

I’d put money on the Brown’s taking 9/10 at least. It’s just a different level of play.

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I love/hate these discussions. Hate because there’s an obvious answer. Love because it’s one of my favorite things to unpack anyway.

Ohio State might have 25 guys on the roster who will one day play in an NFL game. Some of them are freshmen and sophomores right now, and aren’t ready for prime time just yet; some of them are stud juniors who are going to get into an NFL camp, maybe play a few preseason games, etc. If they’re one of the absolute most loaded college teams ever, they might have 10 guys who are going to become NFL starters for at least one full season. The Cleveland Browns have 53 guys on the roster who are all playing in the NFL right now. It’s not out of the realm of possibility that OSU could win one fluky game against the worst team in the NFL, but the odds are very long against it…

Think of it this way. JT Barrett is playing great right now. Maybe even one of the best college QB’s in the country. If he were in the NFL right now, where does he rank among starting QB’s? Probably like 27th or 28th, right?

Now project that across every position. OSU or Alabama, in a really good year, might have two or three guys who are actually ready to walk straight onto an NFL roster and play tomorrow. Derrick Henry, who won the freaking Heisman Trophy for Alabama last year, is mostly riding the bench as the #2 running back behind DeMarco Murray on a 3-3 team. Henry might be the 25th-best running back in the League, if we’re being on the generous side. And he was the King Kong running back behind Alabama’s dominant play last year.

The only reason the Browns (or Jaguars, or whoever else is awful in a given year) look so inept is because they’re playing against other teams that are all composed of even better NFL players. Even the greatest college teams ever are typically starting at least a handful of guys that will never make it into the League.

One of my favorite test cases for this is 2002 Miami, one of the absolute most talented college teams ever. The starting 22 has Willis McGahee, Andre Johnson, Kellen Winslow, Jonathan Vilma, Antrel Rolle, Sean Taylor…I mean, this is about as loaded as a college team gets, right? But then again…there are still a bunch of guys starting who didn’t even sniff the League or barely played. Ken Dorsey started 13 NFL games, went 2-11 and threw twice as many INT’s as TD passes. WillisMcGahee and Frank Gore in the backfield is pretty damn solid, but Andre Johnson is the only WR who even played in the NFL. Only two of the five starting offensive linemen played in the NFL (Romberg and Carey; and Romberg started a total of 18 NFL games in five seasons, hardly an every-down guy). The defense has Vilma, Rolle, and Taylor (all of whom became or would have become solid NFL players) plus some fringe NFL guys that hung around for a couple seasons like William Joseph and Jerome McDougle, but again, half the starters never made it past a training camp.

We can go through this exercise with any of the dominant college teams in recent memory. Vince Young’s Texas teams, the USC dynasty, etc. Many of these teams which looked absolutely unstoppable in college are going to have the same profile: a handful of guys who did go on to become absolute stars in the League, another handful that maybe got into a training camp or hung around as a fringe player, and at least a dozen starters who never played a down of professional football.

The Browns, inept and clumsy though they look, are 100 percent comprised of guys that have made it into the NFL. Duke Johnson ran for 1,652 yards as a junior at Miami. Corey Coleman had 1,363 receiving yards last year for Baylor. Gary Barnidge was an all-league tight end at Louisville. Terrelle Pryor was as talented a pure athlete as Ohio State ever had at QB. The team is literally full of guys who were the best player or one of the best players on their respective college teams.


OH-IO!!! Obviously I couldn’t realistically pick them but since I’m in my own little world today I’m going with :heart_eyes: Ohio State all the way! Since Cleveland is dominating basketball, soon to be baseball… I guess why not let the Browns clean house too.

P.S. the Ohio/Wisconsin game had me a little nervous.

Actually, that’s a terrific example of what I mean.

Ohio State needed every ounce of what they had to beat Wisconsin last weekend on the road, in overtime. The Badgers are a terrific college program, one of my favorites…and in the last four years here is the number of players they’ve had drafted into the NFL: two, two, five, and three. So a typical Wisconsin team probably has about 10 guys who are going to get a cup of coffee in the NFL, with maybe four of them becoming bona fide NFL starters. And OSU needed a fourteen-point comeback and overtime to beat them.

I don’t know why I didn’t think of this in my first post, but also…OSU has had 26 guys drafted into the NFL in the last four years. So if they’re lucky, today their current roster might have 30 guys on it who will go to an NFL camp, 25 who will make a team, 20 who will start a regular season game at some point, and 10 who actually become full-time starters for a whole season.

The Browns have 53 guys who have made an NFL team.


@ActivitiesGuy you are absolutely correct with the facts and reality of this topic. I am a chick who loves my sports but for the life of me can’t remember stats. My brother was a college coach and he said even the transition between high school and college was completely a different animal.


I’m admittedly extra-sensitive to this because I played for a small college and would often get a different spin on this conversation: people would say something like “Wow, I didn’t know (X) even had a football team…so, like, who do you guys play? Would you beat a high school team?”

…and I’d explain the ‘lite’ version of what we just went over. That even the best of the best nationwide high school teams might have 10 guys who get an offer to play big-time college football (meaning “be on the roster” - maybe five of them will actually play for the team someday) and maybe another 10 who will play small-time college football. Our roster had 100 guys who were all playing college football, and most of us had been some form of team captain, all-state, etc. My junior and senior year, our two lead running backs had been the state player of the year in their own classification in Florida and Michigan, respectively; we had guys who were their high school’s career leader in passing yards that never became starters.

The same thing works, scaled-up, in the D1 vs. NFL argument.

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How do you think Hue Jackson and his staff compare with Urban Myer and his guys.

I agree with everything Activities Guy is saying, but I think he’s leaving off one other critical point.

Regardless of the player skill level (which he accurately and descriptively discussed), the coaching and style of play is COMPLETELY different at college and pro level. The complexity of coaching, schemes in the plays, and level of practice required to execute at the top level is not doable if you’re in school more than half the day. The system to make an NFL team work is significantly more complex than a college program, and the players have to do a tremendous amount more to learn that system.

My point got missed what about ohio state vs 85 browns.

I have no idea. I wasn’t even alive in 85.

Even to a community college you got a higher level i get it , im talking if the massive size speed difference, overtake the obvious higher level of techniques.

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I understand and apologize for getting things off if I did. Also, my brother didn’t coach a community college. I get your point and it started a good conversation.

I like watching football, but not all weekend like some people, the weekend my workout days . Plus my Hawkeyes look like shit this year even with 6 projected in nfl returning, and they just gave Ferenenz a 10 year 45 million dollars contract. Are playets actually have to go to class , unlike some schools.

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I mean, it’s a tough hypothetical.

No doubt about it, today’s NFL players are bigger, stronger, faster, and execute more complex schemes than the guys did in the 1970’s and 1980’s. So the 2016 Browns are probably beating even the 1985 Bears, to be honest. Is 2016 Ohio State beating the 1985 Bears (or Browns)? Lot tougher to pin down. My gut feeling is no, they still aren’t. But it’s a closer game than 2016 Ohio State against the 2016 Browns.

Oh, I think you’re totally wrong on this one. Assume the average age of the players on the 85 Bears was 25 at the time. That makes them all in their mid-50s so I think even the Buckeyes can take them.



The great Don Hutson, leading receiver for the Packers back in the 1930’s and 1940’s (almost like the Babe Ruth of football; he was catching 2-3 times as many passes as any of his peers) was asked, later in life, how many passes he thought he would catch per season in the modern game.

He said “Probably about 50.”

The reporter said “Only 50? That’s not as many as you caught in your prime.”

Hutson cracked “Well, I am 74, you know.”


Lol, ya, I’ve seen that.

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If they had Ditka maybe.

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This kind of discussion needs to take place over some beers and Polish sausage.