August 2, 2014

The Buckeyes’ “Meaningless” Season

When this season began for The Ohio State Buckeyes, sadly, most of us immediately began talking about Next Year. This season was a “development year” that was going to allow coaches to identify talent, develop said talent, and create a powerhouse for years to come. It is a bowl ban year, after all. There are no milestones. There are no moral victories. There are no expectations.

Right?

Well, I do not know about you, but that was my exact mentality after the dust settled around Urban Meyer being hired while the “meaningless” season was approaching. We talked incessantly about the youth on this team and what could come of it in years to come. Most of us talked about what the coaching transition would be like and not only how it would affect the players, but affect the actual game-plans. Two games into the season, we even started talking about how awful this team looked on both sides of the ball and loss predictions came rolling in shortly thereafter. All fair and warranted points.

Problem is (if there is such a thing), we were all wrong. Here we are headed into Week 12 with an Ohio State team that is currently riding a high of an undefeated season sitting at 10-0 with just two games left. No chance of a B1G Championship. No chance of a BCS bowl bid.

So is it all lost? Of course not. But honestly, I expected to know a little bit more about this team than I currently do. I expected the passing game to develop more through both Braxton and several wide receivers. Outside of the linebackers, I expected the defense to be pretty stout and use some of the senior experience to help develop the youthful recruits learning their role. Maybe that is a lot to ask in just 10 games given the state of the team and lack of true tests by solid opponents. The one thing we did learn from this team is their crazed desire to win at all costs.

This Saturday, Ohio State goes into Camp Randall to face a Wisconsin Badger team that forcefully stole the Buckeyes’ title run on October 16, 2010. Truthfully, “curb-stomped” might be a better descriptor for how that night went and this team is as vengeful as Buckeye Nation.

“I don’t want to go on record saying I hate Wisconsin more than Michigan, but I hate Wisconsin just as much as Michigan,” junior wide receiver Corey Brown said. “Every year since I’ve been here, they’ve been a nightmare. They ruined our perfect season (in 2010).”

These final two games of the season allow all Buckeye players and fans alike, to brush off the ash on the glowing coals and let that fire erupt in what has become enormous rivalries.

This literally has nothing to do with ineligibility during the upcoming B1G Championship or a BCS bowl game. If ever there was a year where I thought the Buckeyes were overrated based upon the rankings and was somehow happy about being ousted during bowl season, this would be the year. Personally, I would be fearful of a match-up with pretty much any team in the SEC outside of Tennessee and Kentucky. I’m sure that sentence was as tough to read as it was to type, but it really is true. This team is too young, with too many holes to play in a major bowl game and come out successful. It has become painfully obvious that the B1G field of play, especially this season, is not well enough equipped to compete at such a level.

But the fun of this is that none of that matters right now. There are literally no other detractors from going into Camp Randall and exacting revenge in front of their own fans for what they did to us two years ago. I am not sure if that link brought back terrible memories like it did for me, but coupled with this, you should be ready for Saturday afternoon. I do not care if that is not football related, it is the hatred for Wisconsin teams all around that has brought this to a rivalry state.

“It’s interesting hearing our players talk about it, especially guys that have been in some of those big games,” said Meyer, about the series. “This is a rivalry game, and it’s a rivalry game because you have to understand who you’re playing and what they’ve done the last few years.”

With Ohio State leading 6 games to 5 over the past 11 years, that is exactly what this has become, a rivalry. Will it have the feel of ‘The Game’? Certainly not, but you can be sure that given the recent history between these schools coupled with Bret Bielema calling out Urban Meyer’s recruiting tactics, that the bad blood will be pumping through each team on Saturday afternoon.

*images courtesy of host.madison.com and horseshoeinsider.com

  • Garry_Owen

    Nothing would be better than beating Wisconsin and sending them to the Big Ten championship game as the loser of the division.
    Go. Have fun. Know that we beat you and that don’t deserve to be there.

  • mgbode

    the only way for Wisconsin to win the division at this point is to have Ohio State lost both it’s last 2 games.

    and I have something that would be better:

    Nebraska somehow manages to lose to either Minn this week or Iowa next week giving Michigan a chance to take their division.

    And, then, with them fully knowing they have the division within their grasp, having Ohio State pummel them on the field to take it away from them :)

    it’s a shame both game start at the same time next week. maybe Minn can throw the upset this week.

  • Garry_Owen

    Well, yeah, all of that was implied. I would love for TTUN and Whinysconsin (I just made that up. It stinks, but it’s all I’ve got.) to play for the title of “Chief Footstool to the Buckeye Overlords.”

  • Garry_Owen

    Oh, sorry. I see what you did there now. Yes, that would be a better result. Either way, it’s UM, Wisconsin, or Nebraska for the Footstool title. I like all options.

  • mgbode

    yeah, I want Nebraska to win the Big10. First, we beat them by 40, so it’ll be a fun lead up to see them go to the Rose Bowl knowing that (yeah, we just went undefeated -if we do- and beat the “official” conference champ by 40. no big deal). Second, they are not Michigan. Third, the Badger are just a pain in the rear and their band is NOT better either.

  • mgbode

    “Personally, I would be fearful of a match-up with pretty much any team in the SEC outside of Tennessee and Kentucky.”

    and Ole Miss and Auburn and Arkansas and Missouri and Vanderbilt and Miss State (exposed to say the least). unless you are fearful of the Commodore’s that NW blew off the field.

    but hey, that’s just 8 of the 14 teams in the conference. no biggie.

    yes, the SEC has the best top teams in the country. but, the BigXII is the deepest (even Baylor can at least score points and put a scare into people).

  • Guest

    63-38 = 25

  • Garry_Owen

    Whoa. Take your wizardry, alchemy, or voodoo – whatever you just did there – somewhere else.

  • Natedawg86

    I hope to see a completely different Ohio State in the 2014 bowl game. I think in the past, we have not been as prepared as the other teams. SEC does a good job of preparing their teams (conference championship game helps as it is less time off between games). Meyer obviously knows how to prepare his teams for bowl games so I am not going to be scared when we match up with one of the SEC teams after the 2013 season. Bring it…

  • Natedawg86

    Bret Bielema would be smart not to invite any of his recruits to this game. They may change their minds

  • mgbode

    Shhhh….I’m on a roll :)

  • mgbode

    the one disappointing thing with the Bucks this year has been the defense (yes, injuries play a big part). hopefully, next year’s team is more up to snuff on that.
    as far as any SEC, ND, USC/Oregon, etc. team next year. heck yeah, next year should be fun.

  • cmm13

    I would also add these two points to the last two losses to SEC teams:

    1. The second Ginn went down in the Florida game we were done.
    Tress’s entire offensive plan went out the window because he lost all of his speed. The Florida LB’s and DB’s swarmed every play and killed us.

    2. We had no business being the LSU game.

  • Steve

    Of course, Wisconsin can respond with the fact that Ohio St didn’t deserve the championships they won with those players that received the illegal benefits. I’m sorry, but they broke the rules, and deserved what they got.

  • mgbode

    who said they didn’t? like Mark McGuire, we’re not here to talk about the past :)

  • Steve

    Fair enough. I just have trouble with the idea of trying to spin something into a positive when it’s best to sit back, take your lumps, and come back strong when you get your chance.

  • Garry_Owen

    Sure. I never said, implied, thought, or intimated otherwise. I just want the teams who play in the championship game this year to know that neither of them is the best football team in the Big Ten.
    Ohio State’s heinous transgressions (sarcasm) are irrelevant to the on-field performances of the various teams this year.

  • mgbode

    what lumps are the Buckeyes taking? right now it seems they are handing them out :)

    next year, we better lose 1 game because Urban Meyer only wins Nat’l championships when he has a loss (he went undefeated w/ Utah as well).

  • mgbode

    on #2 – neither did LSU. every team that year did their best to try to get out of that game.

  • Garry_Owen

    It’s not spin. It’s a positive thing, standing on its own merit. If we beat every championship eligible team this year, then that’s a good thing. No need to spin it.

  • Garry_Owen

    Re #1: I’m not sure it would have mattered. That Florida DL was just killing us up front. Ginn or no Ginn, the OL was not ready to play.

  • cmm13

    Are you trying to tell me that even with Ginn Florida was too fast for us? Pffft. Haaa. Shheeeesh. Yeeaaah.
    …..sulks back to corner.

  • Natedawg86

    I was at the LSU game and I don’t think we got destroyed. They had a lot of penalties that kept LSU in the game. 2 on the first series for 28 yards, and then a roughing the punter pentalty lead them the score that put them up 31-10. Had they not hit the punter we would have had the ball down 14 early in the 3rd qtr. We also had a blocked FG.

  • Natedawg86

    Hmmm….Can we lose to Cal then have them beat USC, Arizona and Oregon? You have to lose early to a good team, and the big ten has to be decent for them to have a shot with 1 L.

  • mgbode

    next year starts the 4team playoff, no? we might have a better shot next year than previous seasons with that one loss.

  • Natedawg86

    I think it starts with the 2014 season. Next years will be 2013, so playoff will actually take place in 2015…holy crap it is 2015 in 2 years(and a month)

  • mgbode

    ah ok. i had read 2014, but assumed in my head it meant 2014 bowls (2013 season).

  • Natedawg86

    2014 is outdoor superbowl at the Giants stadium (not Jets/Giants stadium or whatever they call it). I have the Browns penciled in against the Falcons. I didn’t press down too hard when scribing the Browns though.

  • dingohunter12

    How in the hell does Gene Smith still have a job? Self impose a bowl ban last year, when we were heading to the Huggies diaper bowl or whatever the hell it was, and we are in the clear now…cocky, stupid move..can’t believe he still has a job

  • cmm13

    If you can prove to me that the team was inproved or the play on the field was enhanced by the illegal benefits those players received you’ve got yourself a deal.

    Until then we will all go about our daily business of understanding that the rule violated in the first place is as much of a sham as the NCAA and the profit grabbing goonies that run it.

  • Dave

    Relax. In all fairness, I did say “pretty much” and even some of those teams would give the Buckeyes trouble. It’s a one-dimensional team that hasn’t even come close to being tested by a good team. I’m willing to bet you wouldn’t have assumed Indiana and Purdue would have given us the biggest trouble this season too.

  • mgbode

    Well I don’t think Indiana did. Just let up at the end. And you wouldn’t think Pitt would have been the team to flummox nd

  • Steve

    I’m just saying that it’s at least even, and the righteous ground probably doesn’t favor Ohio St. And it’s the best team in the Big Ten who plays by the rules established. If Ohio St wants to skirt the rules then they don’t deserve to call themselves the best team when they get caught.

  • zonk

    Same could be said for USC (Reggie Bush’s house) , Auburn (Cam Newton – pay my dad not me), and Meyer’s Florida Teams (How about Percy Harvin, Aaron Hernandez and Brandon Spikes missing a game with “injuries” but actually being suspended only a game for failed drug tests, just a rumor cough cough). I think if we really played by and enforced all the rules, the national championship game would be Boise St. against Indiana.

  • mgbode

    and I understand the sentiment that Ohio State just isn’t that good this year. they would likely get taken care of by quite a few teams this year (KState, Oregon, ND, Bama, LSU).

  • mgbode

    because some team in Idaho is obviously playing by all the rules and magically gets enough recruits to compete with the Oklahoma, Georgia, etc. teams of the world?

  • mgbode

    what does any of this have to do with this year’s team and Urban Meyer?

  • Garry_Owen

    I get what you’re saying. Certainly, under the specific rules of eligibility in place, the teams that play in the Big Ten championship game obviously “deserve” to be there, and Ohio State doesn’t. You’re right, and I have no problem with that. Indeed, I’m perfectly okay with OSU “taking its lumps” this year. They earned it.
    But I am strictly speaking about the football that is played on the field. If the Buckeyes beat both Wisconsin and Michigan on the field in the next 8 days, then it is clear going into the championship game that Ohio State is the best on-the-field football team in the conference. Obviously, one of those teams would be there anyway, but the other (Wisconsin) will know that it’s only there because of the suspension. Sure they may “deserve” to be there – but they will not have earned it. The coaches and players (and some fans) of those teams will know it, and to me, that’s enough.