As I sit here in disappointment for a second straight year, I must admit, Ohio State didn't deserve to be in the National Title game.
Did you hear that America? I agree with you.
Let me make one thing clear: I'm as big of a Buckeye fan as you can find, so getting this admission out of me is some feat.
Where was the urgency? The Buckeyes came out early and played like they had something to prove, and after 10 points they obviously felt that they had proven enough.
LSU didn't get the memo.
Don't get me wrong, the Buckeye players gave effort the whole game. For that, I am EXTREMELY PROUD, but after watching the likes of Kansas and West Virginia, where was that kind of emotion?
With all that was riding on this game (pride and self-respect most importantly), I thought I would see some young men playing possessed—that was nowhere to be seen.
Perhaps, that emotion was there, but channeled improperly. OSU lost composure in many key situations with penalties and personal fouls.
The one thing most Buckeye fans feared was the thought of Todd Boeckman having to make crucial plays and LSU forced him into doing just that.
I was disappointed in the game plan presented by Ohio State as I expected much more of Chris Wells. He was very effective early on and it seemed once Ohio State fell behind, the coaching staff panicked.
Boeckman made some bad decisions and didn't seem to have that internal clock that quarterbacks must possess.
Boeckman was not the only one to blame—his receivers dropped key passes in critical situations. The offensive line did a good job handling Glenn Dorsey and company, but Boeckman was eating too much time. The OSU offense became very bland and predictable and Bo Pelini was licking his chops.
On the other side of the ball, the thing that could not happen indeed happened. Ohio State found themselves playing in a zone quite often, sending repetitive blitzes off the edges.
To make things even worse, those aforementioned personal fouls were aplenty, keeping LSU drives alive and kicking. You would have thought the hole was deep enough, but uncharacteristic missed tackles put the icing on the cake.
Jim Heacock was yet again out-schemed, caught off guard, and controlled for most of the game. LSU won the game of "Tressel Ball" as Mr. Heacock played right into the strengths of an opponent's quarterback and offense.
The turning point in the game was obviously the blocked field goal, correct?
Technically, yes, but I thought it was one play earlier when Brian Robiskie dropped a sure touchdown. At that point, I gritted my teeth and prepared for the worst.
It's like in a baseball playoff game: The opponent's best hitter is up, there are two outs and men on in a key situation, and the pitch is popped up into foul territory for an easy out...except the catcher drops it. The batter than proceeds to launch a game/series changing homerun. That was the exact feeling I had and then it all unfolded in front of my eyes. The momentum had shifted into LSU's favor and it was very evident.
From that instant on, the game never had a sense of control for Ohio State, even after the Malcolm Jenkins interception. It was a surreal sentiment knowing that the game was over long before the clock indicated so.
I want to congratulate the LSU Tigers and their fans. Your team is first-rate and you deserved this title. The Tigers were too much for my Buckeyes to handle, and for that I applaud them.
Lastly, I will say it again: I am proud of my Ohio State Buckeyes and the season they had. It was yet again another rough way to close the season, but after all, this is just a game. The sun will rise tomorrow, life will go on, and THE Ohio State University will continue to compete at the pinnacle of college football.