After a second straight collapse on the biggest stage in college football, the Ohio State Buckeyes have a long offseason in front of them.
After last year's beating by an underdog Florida team, the only thing the Buckeyes couldn't afford to do this season was lose another big game on another grand stage—but as we all know, they did.
OSU fans knew the scrutiny was going to pour in, and has it ever. People everywhere are letting their voices be heard—and every voice outside of the state of Ohio is taking it to them.
The Buckeyes reached the title game in a season in which they started only two seniors and had a less then challenging schedule. To most fans of OSU, this would seem to be a positive development in a re-building year. The young players could gain confidence in their abilities on the field. and make a run at redemption in the process.
This created the perfect storm for what was to come. The Buckeyes' inexperience greatly hindered their chances with senseless personal foul after foul, making the Bucks look foolish on both sides of the ball.
The LSU coaching staff had OSU players and coaches looking perplexed with glazed expressions of confusion and heartbreak. Everyone watching the game nationwide became a mind reader for two quarters. You could visibly see into the mind of every Ohio State player through their expressions, which screamed, "Here we go again," and
"This can't be happening—again."
LSU's DBs had OSUs WR's locked down in man-to-man coverage, allowing LSU's defense to bring the house repeatedly. OSU coaches did not have an answer. It seemed as if the Buckeyes had a Rubik's Cube from hell, and Helen Keller trying to figure it out.
The magical upsets that came in—one after the other, all season long—put OSU into a National Championship game that they were not ready to play. Had they performed respectably in the Rose Bowl, they would have been able to dodge an offseason of scrutiny. Plain and simple—they would have benefited from not being on the grand stage before they were ready to perform on it again.
But the grand scheme of riding an easy schedule to get a shot at the big dance proved to be a self-inflicted shot in the foot.
That being said, people should take a long, hard look at the team they root for and boast about before they jump onto their keyboards and begin to bash. OSU is still one of the premier college football programs in all of college football. Other than the two games that everybody in the nation saw, they have only lost one regular-season game in the past two seasons. In recent history as well as over the generations, the Buckeyes' resume is quite impressive.
Unfortunately, the way college football is set up a lot of jealousy ensues when teams aren't playing where they want to be at the end of the season. Fans tend to pile on the team they thought their school should have replaced in the game. Take any team in all of college football and look at their entire body of work, game by game, and you won't find many that compare—this year, or over the last five—to OSU's.
Unfortunately, the BCS is like a sadistic uncle that constantly inflicts wedgies and Indian burns. They enjoy the fact that blogs and boards everywhere continue to buzz over who has the greatest team and force us to simply argue with what ifs. When it's all settled on the field—or should I say, "if"—with a playoff system a lot of this can be put to rest.
The Big Ten is down—there is no doubt about that. The SEC is beginning to separate themselves from the rest, so let the best teams have it out on the field. If an eight-team playoff has six SEC teams, so be it. Then, instead of opinion-based arguments that sometimes seem to border on the equivalent of arguing over religion or politics, these issues can be settled the way they should be—on the field.
Even this year in a championship game that was somewhat lopsided you have Georgia—who got beat up by Tennessee, and lost to a mediocre South Carolina; USC—Stanford, enough said; and probably some others who think they should be the ones playing for that trophy.
What if Georgia or USC had lost to teams like those in playoff games? Would OSU still be everyone's punching bag?
In closing, the Ohio State Buckeyes got in a game that they deserved to be in with the BCS set-up being what it is. However, I highly doubt they were the second best team in football this year.
But, if you are of the majority that's going kick the Bucks while they are down (or rebuilding, or reloading, or however else you want to word it) be careful how loud you proclaim their demise: OSU continues to recruit some of the highest-touted prospects in the nation. and are bringing back virtually their entire starting team from last season.
As I said before, it's almost impossible to agree across the board on any take on college football, but one thing I think the majority of us can agree on is the need for a playoff.
To who it may concern with the BCS, as divided as fans can be about their teams, we don't seem to be so divided on our opinions of you. Let em play.