Why 2007 Made Ohio State a Bigger Punching Bag

Tim Bielik@bielik_timSenior Analyst IMay 22, 2009

NEW ORLEANS - JANUARY 07:  Jim Tressel, head coach of the Ohio State Buckeyes stands on the field prior to the AllState BCS National Championship against the Louisiana State University Tigers on January 7, 2008 at the Louisiana Superdome in New Orleans, Louisiana.  (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)

2007 started with Appalachian State stunning Michigan and ended with LSU beating Ohio State in the Allstate BCS Championship Game.

2007 also saw the freefall of Notre Dame and the emergence of Missouri and Kansas in the Big XII and Illinois in the Big Ten.

But for the Buckeyes, 2007 was supposed to be a reloading year. Good, but not elite.

As in, potentially looking for a BCS berth.

No one would've guessed that Todd Boeckman would have started as well as he did.

Beanie Wells quickly became a household name.

And most importantly, no one could've predicted the tidal wave of upsets that put teams such as Cal and South Florida in the top two over the course of the year.

But in this situation, Ohio State was sitting at seventh in the BCS after beating the rival Michigan Wolverines. Two weeks later, OSU found themselves at the top, holding onto the low branch as all the others above them snapped on the BCS tree.

Teams were quickly playing themselves out of BCS spots. Upsets we never would've imagined took place:

Stanford over USC

Colorado over Oklahoma

Pitt over West Virginia

Kentucky over LSU

Illinois over OSU

And also some amazing finishes, such as LSU's miraculous TD pass with one second left against Auburn, or Wes Byrum's second field goal to win over Florida in the swamp.

2007 had it all. But really, anyone who followed the game knew LSU was the best team all year.

No one expected the Buckeyes to win the title game. And of course, they lost, 38-24, giving up 31 straight points.

However, to call this an embarrassment is ignorant, considering the Tigers would have beaten almost anyone in 2007.

Simply put, Ohio State was a year away in 2007. Luck and the impossible run of upsets put them in a no-win situation in New Orleans.

Any fan of the game should recognize that the odds of all six teams above Ohio State losing in succession were astronomical. Ohio State could play some football in 2007 but were simply outmatched in the Bayou.

This was expected, so why pile it on a program whose reputation was quickly shattered after the blowout at the hands of Florida just a year earlier?

This scenario in any other year would never happen. Not even if 2007 was replayed more than a million times.

But 2007 was just an exciting year and the epitome of college football.

2007 showed that the regular season is the playoffs of college football, at least for now.

But 2007 also gave Ohio State a black mark added to the disaster of the year before for which the program will have to alleviate.

It may take one year, or three, or it just might never happen.

But considering that LSU basically had a home game, a better team, and the other six teams ahead of OSU from the beginning of their season all fell to defeat, the Buckeyes were in a no-win situation.

Regardless, OSU did not get the job done, and thus their fate of the past few years has been sealed.

Say what you want about the game. But LSU was simply better.

They were the best team in 2007, and they showed it by winning the games they had to win.

Teams that failed to face LSU did not. Simple as that.

And by default, and the structure of the system and how the dominoes fell, Ohio State found its reputation much more shaken and fractured than it had before, even in the John Cooper era.


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