Buckeye fans like myself knew that we were in for a strange ride this year. Due to sanctions resulting from the meta-foolish behavior regarding tattoos and memorabilia a couple of years ago, the Ohio State Buckeyes are ineligible to play for the Big Ten Title or a bowl game of any sort. (Yes, even the Poinsettia Bowl.)
Well, that's no big deal. We're coming off a 6-7 season, and it's Urban Meyer's first year. He can take 2012 to get himself and the team together, red shirt his best recruits, and come out with guns blazing for 2013. 8-4 or 9-3 would be an acceptable showing — a preview of coming attractions if you will.
Give the 2012 squad credit for not following the script. Despite the fans' support coming down from off-the-charts insane to just wildly enthusiastic, the young men in Scarlet and Gray have run up a 10-0 record. Victories at Wisconsin and home against Michigan would give Ohio State its first undefeated regular season since 2006 and its first undefeated season overall since 2002.
Now I'll be the first to admit that the non-conference schedule was nothing but doormats and tomato cans. The conference schedule has not proven to be much better as the Big Ten is having one of its worst seasons in its storied history. Everything seems to be off in the Big Ten this fall. Even the "Girls of the Big Ten" Playboy spread was not up to its usual standards (or so I'm told).
I don't know how the Purdue Boilermakers let us beat them in overtime after they outplayed us for 59 minutes and 15 seconds. Nebraska is the conference's highest ranked team eligible for bowl play at #16. That's hard to believe after I personally watched our squad light the Cornhuskers up for 63 at homecoming. We allowed Indiana to score 49 points on us, but the ineptitude was mutual and we put up 52 for the win. Indiana football and 49 points just don't go together.
However, 10-0 is 10-0. It's nothing to be sneezed at. Braxton Miller's sophomore year has been phenomenal. The Donovan McNabb comparisons have already started, and he has clearly outplayed that Shoetree fellow up North. I am referring, of course, to Denard Robinson, the glorified scatback at Michigan. I may have gotten the nickname wrong; perhaps it's Shoehorn or Shoeblue. Hey, you can't expect a Buckeye post to run without taking a shot at the boys in Malaise and Blue, I mean Maize and Blue.
I always considered the '95 season to be the most frustrating of my lifetime. We clearly had the best talent in the country behind Eddie George, Terry Glenn, Orlando Pace, Antoine Winfield, Ricky Dudley, Shawn Springs, etc. But we stumbled in Ann Arbor in what's known to Buckeye fans as the Biakabatuka game. If you ever want to have fun with a longtime Buckeye fan, just say, "Biakabatuka" and watch him crumble like Superman being hit with a double dose of Kryptonite.
However, if we close out these last two opponents and finish 12-0 with no place to go, it will be equally as vexing. The only thing worse than coming up just short is earning a place at the table and being disqualified from going for it all. Are my Buckeyes as good as Alabama, Notre Dame, Oregon and Kansas State? In all honesty, I would have to say no. But stranger things have happened, and I'm sure my boys would love to give it a shot.
Shakespeare was right. "Tis better to have loved and lost, than to never have loved at all."
Be afraid, son. Be very afraid.
I can't argue any of your points, Rev. Ohio State has played a weak schedule and is on probation. The networks are not going to spend time promoting a team that was out of the running before the season started.
It's such a bizarre situation known only to amateur sports. NFL fans would not tolerate a scenario in which the 8-0 Falcons had committed some violation two years ago and were banned from this years' playoffs. If that's so preposterous, why is it allowed at the college level?
Because the NCAA is ass-backwards. Most ridiculous organization out there. They want the money with the illusion of academics and morality.
I do gotta say though, man, I'm TERRIFIED of Ohio State, of Braxton Miller and of Urban Meyer. Whoever wins the Big Ten this better enjoy it, because that road is gonna get exponentially tougher after this season.
Yes, we are going unnoticed. The resurgence of Notre Dame, the putrid play of the Big Ten and the fact that there are more undefeated teams than usual this late makes Ohio State an afterthought. I disagree that no one wants to see us in the Championship Game. We are still a top 10 draw nationally and any bowl would be happy to pick us (unless the Irish were available).
If Oregon goes to the National Championship game, the Rose Bowl Committee would do cartwheels if they had the chance to get Ohio State and Notre Dame.
We were a big underdog against the vaunted, defending champion, 34 game winning streak "U" in '02. Remember how that turned out?
As Tinsley said last night, the people want Oregon-Alabama. And if one of those two get knocked off, Notre Dame is the next one in because everyone loves to hate Notre Dame.
I haven't heard anyone who isn't a Buckeyes fan say, damn, I really wish Ohio State was eligible for the title game so I could watch them against Bama or Oregon or ND. Maybe I'm tuning it out, but I just haven't heard it.
Plus, watching Ohio State isn't exactly fun this year outside of Braxton Miller. He's worth the show, but the rest of the team doesn't have a whole lot of sizzle right now, which it very well may next year with that defense shored up a bit and Meyer helping Braxton develop more as a passer.
It's kind of hard to get people to reconize that we are undefeated when only one of the three polls has OSU ranked. No one is talking about OSU because everyone knows that they can't go to a bowl game this year. You have to remember that Ohio State was ranked as the MOST followed program in the country.
Man, I feel your pain, for real, being blacked out of postseason play with my squad. But I'm just gonna keep it real … NO ONE, and I mean NO ONE outside of Columbus (or OSU alums elsewhere) wants to see Ohio State in the title game this season. So your pain is going to go mostly unnoticed.
The good news for the Buckeyes fans is that there's absolutely no reason this team can't go undefeated next season, with Braxton Miller back as a Heisman favorite and Urban Meyer with another year under his belt of recruiting and getting his system in place. Plus, that defense is only going to get better after struggling before you all beat up on my Nittany Lions. So you can at least take solace in that, even though it hurts.
That's the funny thing about sports. Look at USC, who came in preseason #1 after an impressive year playing through sanctions. Ohio State quite possibly be positioned in the same way atop the polls, yet I'd fear that because the pressure would be more intense, the chances to drop a game or two would be much higher.
Great read JAG and a great season thus far for tOSU.
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