Ohio State Will Be Great...Next Year

Oscar PSenior Analyst IJanuary 17, 2008

It is the rallying cry of Ohio State Buckeye fans all over, including throughout articles and comments on this website:

"We are going to win the National Championship next year!!!!" 

"We are going to get the monkey off our back and finally beat a SEC school in a bowl!!!" 

"We are returning almost everyone from a team that had gone to the National Championship game two years in a row!" 

"Laurinaitis is back! There is no stopping us!" 

Talk is cheap.  

Ohio State will undoubtedly be better next year. I would be the first to admit so.

This is a team that has won the Big Ten outright two years in a row, and as much as we like to make fun of them, they are a good team. 

Seemingly the biggest problem for Ohio State is not talent, it is a problem that is prevalent throughout the Big Ten: making adjustments. 

Big Ten football has not stagnated because of talent, or speed, or any level of depth. It has stagnated because of coaching.  

Jim Tressel is a great coach, but even great coaches can learn a thing or two every now and then. Just ask Mark Richt. Tressel has led his Buckeyes to the National Championship game two years in a row, which is no small feat, even if it was coming out of a shallow conference.  

Unfortunately for Buckeye fans, Tressel has been unable to adjust his game plans to counter the attacking style of the SEC. More importantly perhaps, the Buckeyes rarely play from behind in Big Ten play.  

Clearly, they do not  handle playing from behind well. They make mistakes, commit stupid penalties, and then snowball out of control until they are completely out of the game.  

It is lack of adjustments when falling behind to equally, if not more, talented teams that has doomed the Buckeyes in the last two National Championship Games. 

That goes to coaching. Buckeyes fans this offseason have been particularly fervent in their gloating and trash-talking, claiming their team will be back in the National Championship Game next season, that they are the greatest thing since sliced bread.

If they are able to upset USC early next season there will, admittedly, be very little in their way to get to another National Championship Game.  

With Michigan losing all of its star players and Illinois losing one of the best running backs in college football there will be very little competition in the Big Ten next season.

Buckeye fans are, for the most part, blind to all of this though. Many like to trash-talk and proclaim their school as the "best program in college football." 

If you proclaim that they are not as superior as they think they are, at this point in time, you will get bashed. You will be told you are uneducated. You will get cursed out. Basically, you will have to deal with angry little men.

It is a simple fact, at this point in time, the SEC is better than the Big Ten. That may change in the future, but that will only change if the Big Ten and Ohio State adjust. 

Michigan is making a move towards adjustment with the hiring of Rich Rodriguez. Whether that works, only time will tell.  

Ohio State already has a great coach. Whether he learns how to adjust, no one knows.

Meanwhile, Ohio State fans will continue to trash-talk. They will continue to proclaim next season as their return to brilliance. It all may very well happen. 

But until it does...

Put up, or shut up.