Given that my last post did not exactly spark the conversation I wanted it to, I decided to take a different approach on topics to stir things up a bit. I understand that WFNY has primarily covered Cleveland sports and Ohio State has taken a back seat to it, but I will figure out a way to get ya, this I promise. You see, I do not love healthy arguments – I crave them. Unless we are talking about politics, I pretty much have a strong opinion on it and my goal is not necessarily to force it upon someone, but to get engaged in enough banter that I can be properly educated on the opposite side purely for perspective. In fact, on several occasions I have taken the opposite stance from which I believe just to hear the opinions and reasoning from someone else. I know, that is probably not healthy but if you knew me you would know that is par for the course.
So with that, I see this Ohio State Buckeye fan-base as having two very definitive sides with their football program. People who believe that they will be wildly successful right out of the gate and will accept nothing less, and those that believe that this team has an uphill battle regardless of the current coaching staff and talent. Go ahead, you are allowed to roll eyes and think that there cannot be a true Buckeye fan out there that would believe the latter, but you would be wrong.
It is obviously no secret that outside of the disgusting Penn State scandal, Ohio State has been at the forefront of the college football world since the tat-gate team got an assist for Jim Tressel’s “resignation” on Memorial Day of 2011. Technically though, it started with this dating all the way back to 2004 when the Big Ten began looking at alternate options to televise their conference after a low-ball offer from ESPN. If you do not know the back story on this, please do yourself a favor and educate yourself on it. It is a very enlightening story especially seeing how things have progressed from then, until now. This story was the very catalyst that brought Ohio State to the forefront of scrutiny both on and off the field and then became a relentless pursuit by ESPN even resulting in a lawsuit (and a loss) against Ohio State. It may have been coupled with the hiring of Urban Meyer and outright defeat, I will never know, but ESPN soon learned that there is no money left to be made on bashing a program like this and had to step down from the bully platform. Now, they are just short of embracing Ohio State releasing their Buckeye site several months ago, followed by their All Access show that dedicated 4 episodes to the program. If you watched the shows, the individual segments were solid but the main feature had a heavy focus on where the program was headed, instead of the turmoil it had been through.
So now you have to ask, is Ohio State over-hyped even outside of our own limits? Recently, I have thought about that pretty much every time an article comes out about them and I have come to conclusion that I just do not care anymore. You know why? They continue to attract and land top talent. There is not a bigger difference maker than landing talented recruits. We thought Ohio State had some good recruiting classes in years past and in the short time Urban Meyer has been here he has done very well for the program and looks to only get better, but with that quick start comes
unreasonable lofty expectations from Buckeye Nation. The questions then begins to circulate around if these expectations are warranted. Meyer has 2 very famous championships and is surrounded by what he claims to be some of the best talent he has been around. Attach that to a very young and relate-able coaching staff, expectations from within are only heightened. To top it off, ESPN is now an ally? Sometimes I can be a rational person, but I cannot possibly wrap my head around that meatball.
Let’s be truthful here for a minute. While the expectations are at an all-time high, nobody really knows what to expect from this Ohio State team this season. We all watched the Luke Fickell-coached team last year and between a him being thrust into a position he may not have been ready for and a whirlwind of suspensions, there was no way to get a proper gauge on what this team could become. A year later, there is an entirely new offense in place with almost entirely a new coaching staff. As loyal Browns fans, we know what new coaching regimes do to a team. While this does not look to be the same scenario with constant turnover, we truly do not know what this team is, or is not capable of let alone how they match up against opponents. As I had mentioned previously, the question marks on this team are positioned primarily on the offensive line and wide receiving corp. The real problem lies in that those were areas of concern even last year and there have been several players to depart from those positions since then. Braxton Miller is an incredible talent in his own right but can only be as successful as his surrounding cast allows him to be. He can and will make plays when situations break down, but a dominant team is a whole entity and not just a few highly talented individuals.
Given the young talent on this team, it is likely that the Buckeyes lose a couple of games this season deeming it a failure to most. It is not fair to judge what others see as successful but it is the very real and likely scenario for the Ohio State Buckeyes. They can possibly still win the B1G this year but given what we have seen over the past 2 weeks from the conference, that would be a minor accomplishment. It looks great on paper, but the reality of it does not satiate the true college football fan especially given what this specific fan-base has endured over the past 2 years.
*Image courtesy of news.yahoo.com