Ranking the Buckeyes Football Teams This Decade
Jim Tressel has led a resurgence for the Ohio State football program this decade. In his second year, he made an impact in leading the Buckeyes to the national title.
In all, the Buckeyes have gone to seven BCS bowls in Tressel's eight seasons. Ohio State has also made it to the championship three times this decade.
The Buckeyes could arguably be the best program of the decade. But which of their teams are the best of the decade?
No. 10: 2001 (7-5 overall, 5-3 in Big 10)
It was a struggle in Jim Tressel’s first year. The Buckeyes lost two home games to Wisconsin and Illinois, as well as road games at UCLA and Penn State. In the Outback Bowl, the Buckeyes fell to South Carolina 31-28.
While only the loss to Penn State (5-6) would be considered bad, five losses is the most for a season this decade.
There were no Buckeyes taken as first-round picks the following draft and only two players taken in the first three rounds.
No. 9: 2000 (8-4, 5-3)
Things were looking good for OSU with five wins to start the season. The 3-4 record for the remainder, including a home loss to Minnesota, is what led to John Cooper’s firing.
The Buckeyes fell to South Carolina in the Outback Bowl 24-7, adding insult to injury. There were two first-round picks in the following draft, but no more until the sixth round.
No. 8: 2004 (8-4, 4-4)
The record is average enough, but when you look closer and see a last-second win over Marshall, you know it wasn’t a very good year.
There was a three-game losing streak midway through the season, the only one of the decade. They did win five of their final six games, including a 33-7 win over Oklahoma State in the Alamo Bowl.
A 37-21 win over No. 7 Michigan would be the highlight of their season.
No. 7: 2008 (10-3, 7-1)
2008 (10-3, 7-1): When your seventh-best team of the decade made it to a BCS bowl, you know it has been a good decade. Despite being competitive against Texas (24-21 loss), the three losses still loomed large.
They were smoked by No. 1 USC and lost at home to Penn State. The rotating quarterback situation did not help at points in the season, before Terrelle Pryor took over the helm as a freshman.
No. 6: 2009
This year’s team looks to be a lot like last year’s. They get a bump up, though because Pryor will be in his second year and figures to be improved.
The loss of Beanie Wells will hurt, but not that much. Expect a similar record to last year, with the possibility of another BCS bowl game.
No. 5: 2003 (11-2, 6-2)
This team might have won 11 games and a BCS bowl game over Kansas State (35-28), but the amount of close games drops them a spot or two.
The Buckeyes won their first five games, but three of those were one-score games against non-conference foes. They also won by just one point over a 3-9 Penn State team, and in overtime at home against Purdue.
No. 4: 2007 (11-2, 7-1)
This was a hard team to place. Sure, they advanced to the national title game, but they got in the back door and were trounced, again.
The defense might have been the second-best of the decade, but the offense was far behind. There were only three draft picks the next year, and the team lost at home to Illinois. For the most part, it was turnovers which led the Buckeyes to their success.
No. 3: 2005 (10-2, 7-1)
One can argue this team was the best of them all for the Buckeyes. There were five first round draft picks the following spring.
The season featured a close loss to No. 2 and eventual champion Texas, as well as a 17-10 loss at Penn State, which went on to finish No. 3 in the country. The season concluded with a 34-20 BCS bowl win over No. 6 Notre Dame. It was the hardest schedule of the decade as well, with seven top-25 opponents.
No. 2: 2006 (12-1, 8-0)
There weren’t many problems for the Buckeyes until they escaped with a 17-10 win at Illinois. The 42-39 win over No. 2 Michigan clinched a berth in the national championship game.
It wasn’t hard to get there, thanks to not having No. 5 Wisconsin on their schedule. The lack of competition and long layoff killed the Buckeyes in a 41-14 defeat at the hands of Florida.
No. 1: 2002 (14-0, 8-0)
It is impossible not to put the Buckeyes' national championship season at No. 1.
Despite the unblemished record, the team had many close calls. The Buckeyes had to come back to beat Cincinnati and Wisconsin in the fourth quarter and trailed Penn State early before winning 13-7.
OSU then had to struggle to win road games against average teams in Purdue (10-6) and Illinois (23-16) before edging Michigan 14-9. There was some more luck in the championship game, but the Buckeyes won 31-24 in double overtime.
The defense was loaded and the offense was talented, but very young.