Even 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