14
Jan
15

Ohio State Buckeyes are in a different kind of touble

Oh how I love my Ohio State Buckeyes football. Yesterday ended one of the most surprising endings to college football. A team that was all but counted out, on every count, came back to stun the world.

As the now infamous shirt says, it really was Ohio against the World.

Ohio Against the World (OTAW)

Ohio Against the World (OTAW)

Nobody gave Ohio State football a chance after an embarrassing loss at home in the Horseshoe to Virginia Tech. And to be honest, my hopes sunk then too. But the Bucks played on and literally clawed their way to the top against ALL odds, ALL naysayers, and ALL talking-head pundits.

Here is a rundown on some of the successes, to include some of the betting lines.

  • OSU vs Michigan State Spartans: +4.
    • The original betting line was +10 after the VT loss.
    • Pundits refused to believe that a J.T. Barrett could orchestrate a win against the 2013 3rd ranked Spartans.
    • Final score of 49-37 (-12)
  • OSU vs Wisconsin Badgers: +4
    • The original betting line at the end of the regular season and the loss of QB J.T. Barrett was a +14.
    • Melvin Gordon shut down
    • Stout Badger defense stood up.
    • Final score of 59-0 (-59)
  • OSU vs Alabama Crimson Tide: +7.5
    • Original betting line at +17.7.
    • Amari Cooper held in check
    • Infamous Nick Saban not prepared
    • Alabama top ranked run defense stomped on.
    • Final score of 42-35
  • OSU vs Oregon Ducks: +6
    • Original betting line at +9
    • Uptempo Ducks kept in check
    • Destroyed 3rd down conversions by Ducks
    • Mariota not allowed to scramble for large yards
    • Final score of 42-20

Ohio State Buckeyes versus Heisman finalists:

  • OSU vs Tevin Coleman (Ind.):
    • Season totals: 270 carries for 2,036 yards for 15 TD
    • Season average: 22 carries for 164 yards (per game)
    • Against the Bucks: 27 carries for 228 yards for 3 TD
  • OSU vs Melvin Gordon (Wisc.):
    • Season totals: 343 carries for 2,587 yards for 29 TD
    • Season average: 24 carries for 193 yards (per game)
    • Against the Bucks: 26 carries for 76 yards for 0 TD
  • OSU vs Amari Cooper (Ala.):
    • Season totals: 124 catches for 1,727 yards for 16 TD
    • Season average: 9 catches for 127 yards (per game)
    • Against the Bucks: 9 catches for 71 yards for 2 TD
  • OSU vs Marcus Mariota (Ore.): *Heisman winner
    • Season totals: 304/445 for 4,454 yards for 42 TD and 4 INT, 770 yards rushing
    • Season average: 20/29 for 294 yards for 3 TD, 52 yards rushing (per game)
    • Against the Bucks: 24/37 for 333 yards for 2 TD and 0 INT, 39 yards rushing

Everyone said we didn’t have a chance after losing the B1G player of the year Braxton Miller – then two more QBs stepped up who were Heisman watched themselves (Barrett was a finalist, Jones would have been if he wasn’t tossed into the spotlight at the end of the season). Everyone said that Ohio State didn’t have any speed, at least nothing to match the SEC – then we out ran the B1G, the SEC, and then the PAC12. Everyone said that our offensive line was too young (remember, the starting lineup wasn’t even final until after the final week) – but we held up to Penn State, Michigan State, Alabama, and then Oregon. Everyone said that our secondary was suspect, especially after last year – but we held most receivers in check.

Is this the decline of the SEC (specifically the SEC-West) and the rebirth of the B1G (specifically the B1G-East)?

SEC-East (5-0):
Missouri: W, 33-17 over Minnesota
Georgia: W, 37-14 over Louisville
Florida: W, 28-20 over E. Carolina
Tennessee: W, 45-28 over Iowa
South Carolina: W, 24-21 over Miami FL
Kentucky: No Bowl
Vanderbilt: No Bowl

SEC-West (2-5):
Alabama: L, 42-35 by Ohio State
Mississippi State: L, 49-34 by Georgia Tech
Ole Miss: L, 42-3 by TCU
Auburn: L, 34-31 by Wisconsin
LSU: L, 31-28 by Notre Dame
Texas A&M: W, 45-37 over West Virginia
Arkansas: W, 31-7 over Texas

B1G-East (4-1, or 5-1 including championship):
OSU: W, 42-35 over Alabama
Michigan State: W, 42-41 over Baylor
Maryland: L, 45-21 by Standford
Rutgers: W, 40-21 over North Carolina
Michigan: No Bowl
Penn State: W, 31-30 over Boston College
Indiana: No Bowl
East: 4-1 (+1 for Championship game)

B1G-West (1-4):
Wisconsin: W, 34-31 over Auburn
Minnesota: L, 33-17 by Missouri
Nebraska: L, 45-42 by USC
Iowa: L, 45-28 by Tennessee
Illinois: L, 35-18 by Louisiana Tech
NW: No Bowl
Purdue: No Bowl
West: 1-4

2015 will be an interesting year for the Bucks. They are a young team and most players are returning. The Bucks have 3 stellar quarterbacks in Braxton Miller, J.T. Barrett, and Cardale Jones. They also have a new 4-star commit dual-threat quarterback named Torrance Gibson. Who is to say if they all stay (my guess is no) but if that is the biggest problem the Bucks have going into the 2015, then that is a heck of a deal.

Ohio State also has a pretty young team and a lot of opportunity to return a lot of players.

2014 OSU Depth Chart

2014 OSU Depth Chart

By my count there is 1 redshirt senior, 6 seniors, 3 juniors, 3 redshirt sophomores, 3 sophomores, 4 redshirt freshmen, and 0 freshmen on the team (not counting special teams). The only “Buckeye” that I know of that has officially declared is DE Noah Spence who was ruled to be permanently ineligible for all intercollegiate athletics competition in the B1G for the 2014 season. I guess we will have to wait and see what everyone does in terms of the draft.

We will also have to see what Braxton Miller decides – will he stay and fight for the position at quarterback or will he use his last eligible year to play guaranteed at another college per NCAA rules? I know if I was in their position I’d be heartbroken – I don’t think that Ohio State Football is one that you simply walk away from and never look back. We probably have one of the best, if not the best, fan bases in the world. We are high-caliber and are coming off a championship year. The lure of staying and playing for a championship may be too much for guys to leave for the NFL even though I’m sure the NFL is their ultimate dream.

With all that said, I feel bad for Braxton Miller and J.T. Barrett this year. Braxton was the talk of the city and on a fast track to even more recognition for the 2014 season. Then his season ended before it began and he stood on the sideline while he healed, silently, all the while other quarterbacks shined as bright, if not more brightly than he did. I fee bad for Barrett because he got thrown into the season with little notice after hiding behind a Heisman favorite in the off-season. He was pivotal in getting Ohio State to a position where Cardale Jones could come in and finish it up after Barrett was injured in the last game of the regular season.

Inversely, I am pretty happy for Cardale Jones. He sat in the shadows for 3 years and was happy with that. He came from a checkered past and at one point even moved in with someone to keep himself on track and out of trouble. He watched and cheered as his team rolled to the end of the season – then suddenly he himself was thrust into the spotlight. Then, suddenly he as the champion not for one game… but three of the three biggest games Ohio had this year. And he did well, very well. Enough that people are urging him to enter the draft early. Part of me says, go for it. Another part of me says, stay, not for football, but for his degree. The NFL can always cut him or give him no playing time but nobody can take his degree from him.

Good luck to Tom Herman in Houston. Thanks for all your play calling. It looks like you are inherting an energetic group of players down there. Good luck to Urban in sorting out the depth chart for 2015.

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