Was Alabama “unequivocally” better than Ohio State in determining that all-powerful fourth and final spot in this year’s college football playoff?
The only thing that’s “unequivocal” in college football right now is the instability of, well, college football.
Put simply, there were legitimate reasons for and against Ohio State’s case to be the fourth seed in the forthcoming college football playoff next month. This coming from a lifetime Buckeyes fan. To spare you a lengthy relitigation of that fierce debate (a 51-49 decision either way), I’m going to give the megaphone to former Colorado Buffalo quarterback and Fox College Football analyst Joel Klatt. His reaction to the controversial criteria of the playoff selection committee and the playoff’s future, heard and seen yesterday on The Herd radio/TV hybrid program, was insightful and necessary.
Simplicity is one of the fastest routes to unequivocal stability and, equally important, trust. Will the influential power players of the NCAA apply Mr. Klatt’s thoughtful suggestions in the near future concerning college football’s playoff qualifications?
Perhaps, except the NCAA thrives on complicating things and Mr. Klatt’s easier and more rational format could mess all that up.
For so many in Buckeye Nation, we’ve always felt like the permanent underdogs, as well as singled out for excessive criticism by the national media. However, we’ve always risen above it and have always gotten stronger no matter the obstacles. That’s what we do and will continue to do. And now, we even have a new mantra beyond the traditional Buckeye chants:
“Ohio Against The World.”
It feels right (especially in the t-shirt I’m wearing with those letters on it).
In addition, Nike gets it.
2002 was an unforgettably amazing year and equally amazing national championship. I remember being on a family vacation in London at the time and my parents coaxing an employee of a bar that was showing the game between The Ohio State Buckeyes and the Miami Hurricanes to let us in from the cold to see it (FYI – we were literally watching the game from the outside window).
How about an IO for relentless dedication?
The reason why this was a problem was because yours truly was underage by a few years…But once they understood the importance of the “other” football, they seated my family in front of the big screen inside. They put us there partly to be accommodating (though there were some obnoxious Miami fans behind us) and partly to keep an eye on me and my beverage being held in my right hand.
All I’ll say is that
Coca-Cola really hit the spot.
The Buckeyes shocked the world that night and won the national championship in double overtime against the Goliath of college football. It was an instant classic for its sensational back-and-forth nature, intense drama and moments that nearly resulted in a heart attack. But they did it and Ohio State were the kings of college football.
Fast forward to the 2014 season and the 2015 championship game between Ohio State and Oregon in Arlington, Texas at the coliseum-like AT&T Stadium. This was a battle of speed, flash and something shiny and new versus strength, speed and tradition. In thrilling fashion, the Buckeyes won with relentless determination and skill. Cardale Jones was incredible (despite a couple understandable bobbles). The receivers made athletic catches and speedy getaways, the offensive line was dominant, the secondary players contained their marks, the linebackers were flying, the special teams did their job and the defensive line made life uncomfortable enough for Mariota and Co. for the Buckeyes to stall a late game comeback.
Oh, and this running back named Ezekiel Elliott ran through the parted Scarlet Sea with dynamism, toughness and a 4th-gear drive for a bowl record 246 yards. He was hungry and he proved to be the ideal complement to Jones in the backfield against the aggressive, speedy Ducks defense.
Once again, in true Buckeye fashion, Ohio State shocked the college football world with a dominant 42-20 win against Heisman Trophy winner Marcus Mariota and the Mighty Ducks of Oregon in the first-ever College Football Playoff National Championship…as the fourth seed.
While a breakdown of the key stats could be highlighted, it seems a little more fitting to shine a light on what this season and championship game means in the micro, as well as the macro:
- Ohio State is now 9-0 against Oregon, including the last two wins against the high-flying Ducks squad everyone knows today (played in California and Texas)
- The Big Ten representative won the National Championship for the first time since the 2002 season, signifying a conference comeback. Also, the bowl season became a national statement thanks to key wins against tough opponents (and remember that Jim Harbaugh was recently hired by That State Up North and Penn State is coming back)
- Therefore, the myth of “Big Ten Inferiority” is (finally) coming to an end and a bright future awaits the conference
- The Buckeyes beat the #1 team in the country in the SEC (the best conference for the past several years) in Alabama in the heart of SEC country
- Urban Meyer and his coaching staff are motivating and strategic gurus
- The talent level in Columbus is stellar and the top recruits will continue to make Ohio State their collegiate home for the foreseeable future
- “Ohio State’s victory in the first championship game of the College Football Playoff produced ESPN’s highest overnight rating ever” (AP)
- The Buckeyes have risen from the abyss from a few years ago and are officially entering an era of golden success under Ohio-native Urban Meyer
- Plus, there is serious strength and serious speed in the Midwest, the Big Ten and, specifically, in Columbus, Ohio
The Ohio State Buckeyes are THE National Champions for the 8th time in school history!
Right now, Ohio St8 is number 1 in college football.
“Ohio Against the World”
There are shirts and sweatshirts with the above phrase proudly printed on them, one of which caught the eye of an ESPN cameraman. To say the least, it was fittingly awesome to see it on national television at the 2015 Sugar Bowl last night/this morning. After an exhilarating upset, a majority of people will say that Ohio State was a sleeping giant against the Alabama Crimson Tide.
And you know what, they’re right to some extent.
The Buckeyes were serious underdogs versus the cream-of-the-crop of the SEC in New Orleans (SEC country, by the way). After running, throwing, blocking, leaping and hitting the hardest they had all season, Ohio State continued to shock the college football world by slaying the biggest, baddest dragon in all the land.
42-35 is a score that will be remembered well beyond January of 2015. The dominating era of the SEC is over, while the Buckeyes have entered a new era of success that’s continuing to rise without a visible ceiling. Plus, the Big Ten (Michigan State, Ohio State, Rutgers, Wisconsin) is having one hell of an impressive bowl season. The results are changing and so is the perception, including Ann Arbor signing Jim Harbaugh.
It was also fitting that earlier yesterday Oregon absolutely blitzed and blew out the Florida State Seminoles 59-20 in the first College Football Playoff Semifinal in a national championship-like environment in the perfectly pristine Rose Bowl in picturesque Pasadena, California. It was fitting because the go-to college football blowout was Ohio State’s national championship disaster versus the Florida Gators 42-14 (we all remember who Florida’s coach was then too). On the same day the Buckeyes “officially” (
2011 Sugar Bowl) beat the SEC and #1 team in the country, Winston and the Seminoles are now the standard-bearers for worst college football performance in a major game in recent memory.
From a Buckeye fan to all those down in Tallahassee, have fun with that sign on your back. And don’t think people will soon forget the poor sportsmanship of most of your players displayed when they walked off the field without shaking Oregon’s hands after the game. That nationally televised action spoke volumes regarding its program reputation.
The statistics in the 2015 Sugar Bowl are plentiful, but the ones that had the largest impact were:
- Third Down Conversions (OSU 10-18, AL 2-13)
- Total Yards (OSU 537, AL 407)
- Time of Possession (OSU 31:19, AL 28:41)
- Cardale Jones (243 Yards Passing, 43 Yards Rushing)
- Seven Different Ohio State Receivers Had Receptions
- Ezekiel Elliott (230 Yards on 20 Carries, Long of 85)
- Amari Cooper (71 Yards Receiving, Long of 15)
- Blake Sims (3 Interceptions, including a Pick-Six)
- Ohio State’s Reverse Touchdown Thrown by the 5th String Quarterback (Wide Receiver Evan Spencer) to Michael Thomas for the Catch of the Year
Ohio State head coach Urban Meyer has repeatedly said that the future is bright in Columbus and he’s absolutely right. In terms of his freshman and sophomores, plus another stellar recruiting class ready to arrive, the Buckeyes are here to stay. In fact, last night’s amazing upset was not only one for the ages, not only was it against the #1 team in the country, not only was it against the top team in the SEC and its top coach in the heart of SEC country and not only did the Buckeyes win with their third-string quarterback in his second career start (truly surreal), but Ohio State did it a year early. It was long-believed that the 2015/2016 season would be the year, but to Arlington, Texas Buckeye Nation will go.
The Buckeyes will be the underdogs in the 2015 National Championship game versus the sensationally electric Oregon Ducks at AT&T Stadium on January 12th. It will be a different type of challenge for the Scarlet and Gray, but not one that unfamiliar. Ohio State upset a similarly fast and dynamic Oregon Ducks squad in the 2010 Rose Bowl 26-17 when nobody in the national media gave them a shot. With that being said, the Oregon Ducks, led by Heisman Trophy winner Marcus Mariota (ie -“Super Mariota”), will undeniably be a challenge worthy of a national championship.
Buckeye Nation is really hoping that their sleeping giant hasn’t fully woken up and that Urban Meyer and Co. are really good at Nintendo…and not just at beating “Super Mario Bros.,” but also that “Duck Hunt” game.
P.S. The nickname for Ohio State’s quarterback is 12-gauge…