Somehow The Slow Team From The Bad Conference Won: Don't Ask Me

jeremy whittContributor IIIJanuary 5, 2011

Jermale Hines, Brian Rolle, and Mike Adams celebrate the victory.
Jermale Hines, Brian Rolle, and Mike Adams celebrate the victory.Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

The ESPN panel took turns throwing Ohio State under the bus. Lou Holtz was the only announcer that picked Ohio State.

The panel talked about Arkansas' and the SEC's speed, and how there was no way that Ohio State could match up with that speed.  It all sounded familiar.  Then I realized I heard all of this stuff a year ago, and the year before that.

If, according to ESPN, Arkansas had more speed and talent, then why does ESPN rank OSU's recruiting classes higher than Arkansas over the last four years? Just wondering!?!

Here's the other thing.  For one, many of these OSU players are from the south.  Two, anyone who is worth their weight in college football salt knows that OSU is extremely fast.  If anything, OSU's weakness this year was the size and power of the interior DL.  The speed is a non-factor.  The skill positions are loaded with as much speed as you'll find in D1 (although Oregon's Barnor, James combo is lights out fast).  Then they'll talk about the size and the athleticism of the lines.  PLEASE!  Ohio State DL Simon and WIlliams are extremely fast for their positions, and Heyward, while not fleet of foot, is still athletic for 6'6" 290).  What won the game for OSU in the end last night?  It was the depth and speed of the BACKUP defensive backs that kept Mallet in the pocket long enough to get sacked.  It was kind of ironic to hear all that speed talk and then see OSU reach onto their bench and pull 4.4 after 4.4 like they were picking oranges from a grove in Florida.

The problem is that this argument isn't transitive in terms of it's relationship to conferences.  While the SEC may be faster and more athletic top to bottom, you can't just say that Arkansas is faster and more athletic because theyre from the SEC.  That's only a bi-product of the new SECPN monster, bound and determined to promote the SEC as the best conference in America for now and forever.

Buckeye-bashing is becoming a time-honored tradition.  This started with Florida's victory in the NC, and grew with the LSU game, culminating in an anomaly (0-9) that was regurgitated more than Larry Merchant talking about "Ring Generalship" during an HBO boxing match.  The 0-9 Buckeye detractors neglected to look at the bigger picture.

Sometimes a team is good despite their conference being a step below another conference. You'd think that games like the UCF/Ga game would teach them something, but I digress.  Maybe since Ohio State beat Arkansas they could hang with (IE possibly defeat) Auburn, Alabama, and the rest of the SEC.  Maybe instead of jumping around  like a kid with a new toy with your new anomaly, you could have referenced some of the other games in that bowl series, some of which were extremely close football games.  Or better yet, you might point out the fact that OSU is 7-1-2 in the regular season versus the SEC, and now 8-10-2 overall.  Better yet, you might think about giving the team that just beat you a little credit!

Oh no.  It had to be luck!  Because there is no way that much slower team from that terrible conference could have beaten Arkansas without getting extremely lucky.  We're going to hear about those five dropped passes until the cows come home, but few will remember the terrible forward progress call, or the fact that OSU played the second half with a third string defensive backfield.  Don't talk to me about luck.  

The lines held suit.  The Big Ten was beaten in the games they were expected to lose, and they won the game they were supposed to win.  Don't come on here or any other sight with your whining because you lost a bet you shouldn't have placed.  This is what happens.  You're sore, you're upset, you're incapable of giving OSU any credit.  I understand.  It's called saving face.

But, enough with that skill crap when talking about Ohio State.  There's a reason they've put more players in the NFL than ANY SEC team.  They have incredible talent.  You don't have to whine, and be dumbfounded.  You were the same people telling us Robiskie, Hartline, and Troy Smith would never play a down in the NFL.  The trio started 26 games this year.

Despite efforts to undermine the Ohio State victory with pass-interference no calls, and phantom safeties (if that was Arkansas you can bet your $%% that ball would have been spotted at the two), Ohio State prevailed.  

The Buckeyes have played in more BCS games than any team in the country (nine), going 6-3 against some of the best competition in college football.  The only certainty is that their wins will be belittled by the SEC faithful, and that their losses will be shrugged off as inevitable. Despite that fact, they will return to these big games, and win again.  They will continue to recruit elite high school prospects, and continue to be the thorn in the side of the SEC and ESPN argument that the BigTen is irrelevant. 

The simple fact is that the SEC and BigTen's bowl games are usually quite competitive.  Just go look at the record books.  The SEC started this conference talk.  This is a team sport, not a conference sport.  You can't make that many assumptions based on conference affiliation.  The loyalty, the only redeemable loyalty is to your favorite team.  When was the last time you heard a Pac10 or BigTen chant?  You didn't. 

I heard an "S-E-C" chant late in the game last night, and it wasn't coming from SEC fans. 

Unfortunately, the SEC, the BCS, and many other factors are just flat-out making college football less enjoyable.  It's a gimmick.  It's based on money and what they want you to believe.  You don't have to believe it, or support it.  Personally, I think it's a shame that so many fans are vindictive and do the opposite of what Tressel did all week and last night AFTER the game, recognize the talent of your competition.  We're not claiming to be the best.  We never have.  We just want some recognition of our own.