The Ohio State football team is 8-0, ranked No. 3 in the polls with the first College Football Playoff rankings a week away and has three players mentioned prominently in the Heisman Trophy conversation.
The Buckeyes’ season has gone as smoothly as possible so far. But as coach Ryan Day points out, the team’s ascent would only make a potential fall all the more painful.
“The more this builds, the more we have to lose,” Day said on Tuesday during his weekly news conference. “We’re not going to get anxious about that or anything. But we also know we’ve got a bigger bull’s-eye on our chest week in and week out and we go we have to work harder and we’re more invested each week.
“This has been something we’ve been talking about for a long time. We expected to be in the situation, and now we have to act accordingly.”
Day said that means the Buckeyes must remain locked in and perform the way they have all year, with toughness and precision.
“These opportunities don’t come around but a few times in a lifetime, and you have to capture those moments,” Day said. “What are you willing to sacrifice to go achieve those goals?”
Maintaining focus will be a challenge the next three weeks. Ohio State is off this week and will be prohibitive favorites against Maryland and Rutgers after that before showdowns against No. 5 Penn State at home and No. 14 Michigan in Ann Arbor.
The topic Day was asked about the most on Tuesday was the Heisman Trophy. Defensive end Chase Young put his name in the conversation with a four-sack performance in the 38-7 victory over Wisconsin on Saturday. Quarterback Justin Fields and running back J.K. Dobbins are also contenders for college football’s top individual prize.
Day said the Heisman debate is not something that consumes anyone in the program.
“If they’re reading the hype, if they’re reading all that stuff, then they’re more foolish than I thought they would be,” Day said. “I don’t think our guys are going to do that. I think that we’re just going to work every day to get better.”