It was a cool, breezy, November night in Columbus, Ohio. Scarlet clad fans stormed the field after watching the top ranked Buckeyes defeat the second ranked Wolverines.
It was 986 days ago, and it was the last time Ohio State won a "big game."
It was the last time the Buckeye's weren't "outclassed" by equal competition.
It was the last time Jim Tressel was called "The best play-caller in College Football."
After two National Championship defeats and an embarrassing performance against USC last season, Ohio State's reputation has taken its lumps. And although the Buckeyes played both Penn State and Texas (top five teams) down to the wire, a loss is a loss, which gains no respect.
The next chance Ohio State gets to repair it's image is September 12, when the USC Trojans visit Columbus for part two of their non-conference series. And regardless of how much I hate this term (because every game is a must win), this game is as close to a must win for Jim Tressel as he’s going to get.
And it’s not just the Buckeyes reputation that’s at stake; the Big Ten conference is at risk as well. The country has grown weary of watching Penn State, Illinois, and Michigan get blown out of the Rose Bowl. The conferences 1-6 bowl record last year didn't help the way people view the league.
Not to mention how this game will affect recruiting, momentum, and the perception of the Buckeyes remaining opponents.
The Buckeyes can regain some of the trust from college football fans that they’ve not-so-elegantly lost the last three years with a win against USC.
I’ve put together a list of five things Ohio State must do to beat the Trojans come September 12. Let’s get started!