Tuesday, January 13, 2015

The national champion Ohio State Buckeyes

It was a completely dominant performance by Ohio State in clobbering Oregon in the national championship game. Final score: 42-20. Not quite as close as I thought it might be.
The story of the game was athleticism and pure brute strength and physicality. Despite four turnovers, the Buckeyes relentlessly punished the Ducks in all other facets of the game. Ezekial Elliott, in particular, was unstoppable. Oregon's defense had no answer for him, (and neither did Wisconsin or Alabama. Elliott's rushing numbers in the last three games are mind-boggling: 76 carries for 796 yards).

On the other side of the ball, Ohio State's ferocious defense anchored by Joey Bosa put enough pressure on Mariota to render the Ducks' offense largely ineffective. Oregon also made more mistakes (dropped passes, false starts, holding calls) than they had all year--probably due to the fact Ohio State was the best team they'd played all year.
Last year, I ripped Urban Meyer something fierce. I'm still not a big fan, because I believe he will do whatever is necessary to win, ethics be damned. In any case, there is no denying the man is a great football coach. He's a master motivator, and it's remarkable that he overcame the loss of Braxton Miller and J.T. Barrett to direct the Buckeyes to a national championship. When your second and third string quarterbacks are better than they guy who was supposed to be the starter before the season began, then you know you have something special going on. The Buckeyes didn't miss a beat with Barrett or Cardale Jones.
I have to admit I had no idea who to root for in this game. On one hand, it's great for the Big Ten's national perception to win a national title, finish 6-5 in bowl games, and go 4-0 in January bowl games. On the other hand, it also meant having to pull for Meyer and OSU, which for me is just slightly better than rooting for Michigan.
In the end, though, I was approving--if not necessarily happy--with OSU winning it all. There are some that may argue that this isn't good for all the other Big Ten teams. Listen, Ohio State will get great players regardless of how this game turned out. But why can't other Big Ten coaches use this to their advantage by giving it a positive spin? Tell potential recruits, "hey, if you want a chance to play against some of the nation's best players in the conference that produced the national champion, the come to [name the school]."
I admit that there's a big part of me as a fan who is jealous of Ohio State. If not for a game against the Buckeyes at Spartan Stadium in November that took a radical momentum shift in OSU's favor just before halftime, maybe it's MSU in that position.
But there's no use in stewing, and it's a sign of how far Dantonio has elevated MSU's program that I can even wonder--with a straight face--what it'd be like if MSU had beaten OSU and was in the college football playoff instead of the Buckeyes.

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