Sports

It’s a good day to be a Buckeye

OSUScoreEven if Ohio State had lost the National Championship last night, I’d still be a Buckeye fan today. Granted, I’d be wearing my scarlet and grey a bit more humbly, but I would still be wearing it. My earliest sports memories are of watching Ohio State football on TV. The first coach whose name I knew was Woody Hayes (no, I’m not getting into an argument today about him).

What a season.

We lost quarterback Braxton Miller before the season started and the doubters wrote us off. Number 5 in the country? Kiss that goodbye.

We lost to Virginia Tech and reinforced the doubt: “I know who would win if Ohio State played either of those teams (Florida State or Alabama). And in your heart you do, too.”

They said we’d lose to Michigan State. We won 49-37.

Then we lost backup quarterback J.T. Barrett in the biggest game of the season. It doesn’t matter that in this century we are 11-2 over Michigan–The Game matters.  The game was finished by third-string quarterback Cardale Jones. But a lot of people wrote off his performance as just “not losing.”

Following Michigan the hand-wringing and doubting began again: How could Ohio State face Wisconsin in the Big Ten Championship with a third-string quarterback who is an unknown quantity to his team? It’s over for the Bucks. Actually, it was over for the Badgers, 59-0.

Beating Number 1 Alabama in the first round of the playoffs was supposed to be impossible–or the next thing to it. The SEC rules, the Big Ten never comes through (no matter how many teams get added to it). Ohio State did not make it look easy. But it was convincing–despite the commentary during the game:

OSU is overrated every year.

If OSU just had their second string QB not even the starter they are winning this game… No way they can win with this scrub playing

Terrible coaching by OSU.

The “only” hurdle left was to beat Oregon. The Ducks defeated Florida State so badly that Kirk Herbstreit repeatedly said on the air, during the game, that the Seminoles defense had quit.

But in the end, the Bucks beat the Ducks. It wasn’t pretty. Four turnovers for Ohio State–two in the 3rd quarter that made me think they were going the way of the Seminoles.  In the end it wasn’t a blow-out. Well, okay, the 4th quarter was pretty much of a blow-out for Ohio State. Tailback Ezekiel Elliott and quarterback Cardale Jones were amazing to watch.

So I used the word “we” a lot. Did I go to Ohio State? No. I got as far as orientation where reality kicked in and I had to face the fact that I could afford to go for one quarter and come home. So instead I became a commuter student at Kent State (where we joked that the reason there was a stadium with a parking lot was so that commuters would have somewhere to park). But being a Buckeye runs in my family. It’s a deeper loyalty than my love for Cleveland sports–and that’s saying something.

Of course being an Ohio State fan means that you get to celebrate big once in a while. Unlike being a Cleveland fan. But that’s another story.

There are still a lot of unhappy people out there. People who hate Urban Meyer for any number of reasons: his record as a coach, cursing the world with Tim Tebow (who briefly, and weirdly, showed up on the OSU sideline during the game–get back in the booth, Timmy). People who will still insist that Ohio State got lucky. But today? None of that matters much to me.

Image: screenshot from Google

5 replies »

  1. Great day to be a Buckeye! The season was a great lesson on never giving up and the importance of team effort (cue infinite number of sports-life analogies). Cardale and Zeke were amazing, but the defense completely shut down the Ducks except for the opening drive and one play. Lastly, O-H!

  2. No, there was no luck about it. The best team won. Now, I’ll hate OSU as long as Jim Tressell and Terrell Pryor and Maurice Clarett draw breath, but last night was a basic case of what happens when one team is just BETTER than the other one.

    Mainly, though, I’ll remember last night as the moment when what I have been saying for all these years about the joke of a system that has been used to determine “champions” in college football. But last night the title was won by a team that wouldn’t have been in the game in previous years, and that a lot of people thought shouldn’t have been in the playoff this year. Who do you think won this year’s title in that alternate universe where the game involved Bama and Florida State?

    In that world we’d have to hear, again and again, that the system matched the two best teams.

    Now for the rest of my argument: you can’t settle it conclusively when the playoff leaves at least six conference champs, including at least one power conference champ, out of the mix.

    So congrats OSU. And fuck Urban Meyer and Tim Tebow.

    • I agree that the playoff bracketing is messed up. We had a lot of discussions after the OSU-Wisconsin game about whether it would be enough to get in or whether TCU or Baylor would instead. We tossed around the idea of 8 instead of 4. If we did all of the conference champs (even the MAC–really?!?!–and those are my alma mater schools, but they can’t play football) plus some magic number from the top-whatever to make it 16, maybe that would be better. Or maybe not. I just don’t want a month of playoffs. How would you fix it?

      As for Jim Tressell, Terrell Pryor, and Maurice Clarett. Clarett turned out to be a thug–enough said. What an embarrassing waste of talent. I was really disappointed in Tressell for not enforcing the rules (even if it cost his team games). Glad he didn’t have to deal with a Penn State situation–who knows what he would have done. Pryor is just another bad guy making a buck. Seems like the NFL has no scruples and the only real consideration is profit. But I’ve read enough arguments about pseudo-amateur college football and the quasi-slavery system that it is that some days I just can’t get lathered up about breaking that rule (even though I should).

      • read up on tressell. it’s not a matter of not enforcing rules. he was a legendary cheat during his whole career, and a legendary hypocrite. he used to rig random drawings at summer football camps to reward pet players, for goodness sake, just after prayer meeting. as one colleague said, “oh jimmy, praying in the morning and cheating in the afternoon.” it’s pretty hard to get a “show cause” from the ncaa.

        with meyer, a man who faked mental illness and then used his children as an excuse to get out of his florida contract once the novelty wore off and he started losing in the sec, you’ve got a worthy successor to tressell. among his accomplishments at florida was getting aaron hernandez out of a gun beef without missing any games. that turned out well, didnt it?

        even by ncaa football standards, which are horribly low, tressell and meyer are nasty pieces of work.

        tebow is a dope, but there’s no evidence he’s evil. meyer…..

        now, the best part of this whole story is cardale jones. kid can throw a ball 85 yards and is third string. crikey.

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