I knew the mob would be out to crucify the Buckeyes after an alleged “close game” against Michigan State. Like the rest of you, after the third turnover in the third quarter, I was screaming “get the offense off the field!!!” In spite of the faults, the Bucks did a good job against an up-and-coming MSU team. Unfortunately, that was not enough to keep the media gawkers at bay.
According to some, Ohio State is just another national championship blow-out away from embarrassment for the second year in a row. In a scathing article posted on FoxSports.com writer Don Borst laid in to the Buckeyes for their lack of skill, opponents, and talent; all reasons why he wants the entire country to cheer against the Bucks in hopes of a more “compelling championship.”
Of course, looking back to the 2002 team, no one ever thought we had a chance against Miami and look what happened. No one said winning would be pretty, but we’re getting the job done every weekend. If our team was so horrible, how could we be putting up roughly 34 points a game and holding our opponents to a touchdown or less every Saturday?!
We have the number one defense in the country. If you want to compare offenses, Navy is the current leading rushing offense, and Texas Tech leads the country in the passing game and total offense. The only major category teams like LSU, Oklahoma, Southern Cal, and Florida hold a claim to is passing efficiency – and only Florida takes that cake.
Does LSU “deserve” to be in that championship game any more so than Ohio State? Did they really win against Auburn, or just get lucky? (The same can be said about the Florida-LSU game.) What makes me so mad is that jaded media phonies sit in their padded chairs on a TV sound stage and foam at the mouth about how “unfair” a process is when the fact surrounding the case is so simple: win.
Can Ohio State be blamed for a schedule that was predetermined years ago? Can our team be faulted that the Big Ten isn’t all-powerful this year? Should Gene Smith be able to predict that in 2012 Bowling Green could be the South Florida of 2007? What’s the difference between Ohio State playing Akron and LSU playing Middle Tennessee or Florida playing Florida Atlantic University? Everyone has soft games on their calendar.
Of course I want Ohio State to play bigger non-conference games and we’re going to get that wish. In 2008 we’ll start a series with Southern Cal, 2010 brings in a cycle with Miami, and more match-ups with Cal and Virginia Tech in 2012 and 2014. Of course we’ll have our instate match-ups to keep more of the money in Ohio, but doesn’t everyone do that? Yes.
It would be great to see the Buckeyes take on a challenging opponent in 2007…and we’re going to get that. Penn State, Illinois, Wisconsin and Michigan have had their unappealing moments this year, but that doesn’t make them bottom feeders on the national level.
Michigan lost to a stellar Oregon team…a team that is my pick for the Pac-Ten conference title. Illinois lost their season opener 34-40 to Missouri, who is en route to go to the Big Twelve Conference Championship at the end of the season. Penn State lost close games to Michigan and Illinois, which is no different than Florida losing to conference foes LSU and Auburn. If you are looking at “quality of losses,” than the Big Ten is no worse than any other conference in the country.
I’m sick and tired of mud being slung at Ohio State. No, we’re not the Hollywood style-school that USC is. We’re not the Chuck Norris squad that Florida is. We’re not the nationally adored team that Notre Dame is…thank goodness! We’re a regional powerhouse who is CONSISTENT. We do not need to rebuild because our coaches have developed a game plan where they are constantly reloading our team with smart, talented players. I will never indulge media conglomerates who bemoan a “mediocre” Big Ten simply because they are sick of seeing their team nudged out of the national picture because Ohio State answers the bottom line and gets to the big game.
There are more than four weeks remaining in the college football picture and anything can happen. Ohio State could finish the year undefeated. LSU could lose another game. More upsets by unranked teams could claim the life of top-ten squads. What I can guarantee is that this year’s national title game will not look like any other game. If Ohio State returns, you can be sure it won’t look like last year’s debacle…and if two other teams make it to New Orleans, only God knows who will win that game.
This is college football…an unpredictable and unruly game where “fairness” is thrown out the window. If your team can win, it’s still anybody's game; but at least by winning, you can help control your destiny.