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Ohio State Football: Power Ranking the Buckeyes' Past Decade

Kyle WinklerContributor IIIMarch 29, 2012

Ohio State Football: Power Ranking the Buckeyes' Past Decade

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    It was ten seasons ago when the Buckeyes claimed the ultimate prize in college football by winning the national championship.  

    Ohio State has gone through many ups and downs since that night in Glendale, Ariz.  

    Big Ten championships and  rivalry games were won.  

    Two consecutive national title games were lost and a scandal shook the whole program to its core.

    The past decade has been a bit of a roller coaster for fans and players alike.  

    Here are the power rankings of the past ten seasons of Ohio State football.

2011

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    Starting off the list is the most recent season in Buckeye football.  

    2011 was a miserable year for Ohio State as the effects from the NCAA scandal crippled the Buckeyes to a 6-7 overall record.

    Beloved coach Jim Tressel resigned from his position the spring before the season started, all-star quarterback Terrelle Pryor left soon after and a number of players were suspended for part of the season.

    Interim coach Luke Fickell was thrown into a terrible situation and did the best he could to try to salvage a respectable season.  

    The off-the-field distractions and suspensions were too much for Ohio State to overcome leading to four consecutive losses to end the season, including the first loss to Michigan since 2003.

2004

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    The 2004 season ended with the Buckeyes earning a 8-4 overall record and finishing tied for fifth place in the Big Ten.  

    A three-game losing streak to Big Ten opponents in the middle portion of the schedule took Ohio State out of contention for a conference championship very quickly and a loss to Purdue late in the season only added to a below-average season.

    Ohio State did get revenge on Michigan from the previous year and then obliterated Oklahoma State in the Alamo Bowl, 33-7.

2003

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    Ohio State entered the 2003 season as the defending BCS champions and had a big target on their backs every week.  

    They started the season strong by winning nine of their first ten games with the only loss coming at the hands of Wisconsin.

    The season ended with a matchup against Michigan for the Big Ten championship.  The Buckeyes lost to Michigan in Ann Arbor, which would be Jim Tressel's only loss to the Wolverines during his entire career at Ohio State.  

    The 10-2 record was good enough to earn an invitation to the Fiesta Bowl, where they would face Kansas State.  The Buckeyes outlasted the Wildcats and earned a 35-28 victory, giving them a second consecutive BCS bowl win.

2008

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    The start of the 2008 campaign had a rough start, as Ohio State struggled to get past Ohio at home and then got embarrassed on national television by USC, losing 35-3.

    The Buckeyes went on to win their next five games before losing to Penn State in the "Horseshoe."  The regular season ended with Ohio State destroying a struggling Michigan program, 42-7, giving them a 10-2 overall record.

    A 7-1 conference record was good enough to tie for first with Penn State and earn a trip to Glendale, Ariz. to face Texas in the Fiesta Bowl.

    A back-and-forth battle with the Longhorns went down to the final seconds.  Ohio State held a 21-17 lead with under 20 seconds to go before Texas quarterback Colt McCoy threw a 26-yard touchdown, giving the Longhorns the win. 

2005

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    It only took two weeks for a colossal game to unfold in the 2005 season as Ohio State took on eventual national champion Texas.

    Although the game was at home, the Buckeyes just fell short in their first-ever match-up with the Longhorns, losing 25-22.

    Another loss three games later to Penn State would be the Buckeyes' final loss of the season, as they would win their final seven games.  

    A classic game in Ann Arbor between the two rivals ended with Ohio State snatching a 25-21 victory over Michigan, thanks in part to a miracle catch by Anthony Gonzalez leading to a late touchdown.

    Ohio State would make its third trip in the past four seasons to the Fiesta Bowl to face Notre Dame.  The Buckeyes had too much firepower with Ted Ginn Jr. and Santonio Holmes, who totaled for three touchdowns, and beat the Fighting Irish 34-20.

    Ohio State would be co-champions of the Big Ten and ended with an 11-2 overall record.

2009

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    The 2009 football season saw another early matchup with USC, but this game was at home.

    The Buckeyes looked to have the game under control, pinning the Trojans deep in their own territory late in the game.  However, USC freshman quarterback Matt Barkley led a clutch drive down the field and got the Trojans a late touchdown and a 18-15 victory.

    Ohio State would get over the loss quickly and racked up four straight wins before a surprising loss to Purdue.

    A showdown with Iowa for the Big Ten championship saw the Buckeyes win a close game in overtime, giving OSU an automatic birth to the Rose Bowl.

    They took care of business against Michigan, winning 21-10, before heading out to Pasadena to face the favorite Oregon Ducks.

    Terrelle Pryor had his coming-out party with a very impressive game, leading Ohio State to a 26-17 victory.  It was the first Rose Bowl win for OSU since 1997.

2010

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    Ohio State entered 2010 as a favorite to compete for a BCS championship.  The Buckeyes were in control early in the season and started off 6-0. 

    A loss to Wisconsin the following week would be the only blemish on the schedule.  A close victory at Iowa followed by a seventh straight win over Michigan concluded the Buckeye's regular season.  

    The 7-1 conference record put them atop the Big Ten standings along with Wisconsin and Michigan State.

    Soon after the conclusion of the regular season, reports began to swirl that players had been receiving impermissible benefits and selling their memorabilia in exchange for tattoos and other gifts.  The players would be dealt a five-game suspension, but the NCAA allowed them to play in the Sugar Bowl.

    A Sugar Bowl against Arkansas led to the first-ever BCS bowl win over an SEC opponent for Ohio State.

    The victory gave the Buckeyes a 12-1 overall record, although these wins would be later vacated due to NCAA sanctions.

2007

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    The ending of the 2007 season was one of the most bizarre conclusions in college football.  

    With a late season loss to Illinois, national title hopes for Ohio State seemed to be squashed.  After a victory over Michigan and a Big Ten championship, the Buckeyes seemed destined to go to the Rose Bowl.  

    Ohio State was sitting third in the BCS standings and needed Missouri and West Virginia to both lose their final games to get to the BCS Championship Game for the second straight year.  

    That is exactly what happened, as both the Tigers and Mountaineers were upset, giving Ohio State a surprising trip to the title game against LSU.

    The Buckeyes would lose a second straight BCS Championship Game, 38-24, as a 21-point second quarter by LSU and three Ohio State turnovers was too much to overcome.  

2006

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    After 11 straight victories to start the 2006 season, the Ohio State-Michigan rivalry was about to see a first-time occurrence.  This would be the first time that the two teams would be ranked first and second in the BCS when playing each other.

    The game was considered a "de-facto" national championship game and was one of the most hyped games in college football history.  Ohio State had the home-field advantage and the game that followed can only be considered a classic.

    The two rivals battled each other intensely, trading scores for the majority of the game.  Ohio State would hold on for a 42-39 victory and earned the Big Ten title and a trip to the BCS Championship Game.

    This would be the third time during the 2007 season that Ohio State would play the second ranked team in the country.  The Buckeyes fell flat on their face in the title game against Florida, getting blown out 41-14.  

    It was a long fall back to earth for Ohio State with such a successful season ending so poorly on the biggest stage.  

2002

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    It only took Jim Tressel two seasons to give Ohio State its first national title since 1970.  

    It was a season of close victories, with the Buckeyes winning six of their final seven games by less than seven points.

    A gutsy fourth-down call that turned out to be a touchdown scoring play gave the Buckeyes a notable win over Purdue, preserving their undefeated season.  Another close victory over Michigan gave Ohio State a 13-0 overall record and a Big Ten championship.

    Ohio State would face the heavily favored Miami Hurricanes in the Fiesta Bowl for the BCS title.  A very late controversial pass interference call in overtime against Miami gave Ohio State a chance to extend the game.

    The Buckeyes would score, forcing the game into double overtime.

    After a Maurice Clarett touchdown, Miami got the ball back and would try to force a third overtime.  The Hurricanes had a 1st-and-goal on the OSU two-yard line.  The Buckeye defense only gave up one yard on the next three plays.

    It was fourth and goal on the OSU one yard line when Hurricane quarterback Ken Dorsey dropped back to pass.

    Ohio State linebacker Cie Grant timed the cadence perfectly and burst into the backfield, grabbing Dorsey's arm as he desperately threw the ball into the end zone.  

    The ball fell to the turf and the Ohio State Buckeyes were the national champions of college football.

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