2011 Ohio State Buckeyes: Slowly but Surely, the Storm Will Begin to Clear Up

Hayden GroveContributor IIIOctober 2, 2011

COLUMBUS, OH - SEPTEMBER 24:  A three-year old Ohio State Buckeyes fan sleeps in her grandmother's lap during a game between Ohio State and the Colorado Buffaloes at Ohio Stadium on September 24, 2011 in Columbus, Ohio.  (Photo by Jamie Sabau/Getty Images)
Jamie Sabau/Getty Images

For Ohio State fans, including myself, the past nine months have been more than rough. 

We've found out five of our star players would miss the first five games of the season. Our beloved head coach, who was the face of our program, had his reputation torn down to a few miserable remnants by the media.

The prodigy quarterback, who, although stupid at times, made more plays than anyone else on the team, left to go to the NFL. Three of our defensive starters were suspended for the first two games of the season for receiving improper benefits.

It was a seemingly endless torrential downpour of bad things happening to Ohio State.

The media and the fans of college football rejoiced. Down went the mighty Buckeyes, who year after year made it to BCS Bowl Games, who were now going to have a troublesome season, and for the first time in a while were going to be "mediocre."

They hate us, excuse the cliché, because they ain't us. 

Well here we are: 3-2. 

The time of what could most possibly be the most hellish period of the Ohio State football program is over.

Congratulations, all you Buckeye haters. You did it. You got what you wanted.

But sadly, your time is done. The floods have washed away and led to a fertile new ground to plant the seeds of Ohio State football.

DeVier Posey, Mike Adams, Solomon Thomas and Daniel Herron will be returning for the Buckeyes this week, and with their return comes the end of the hell that was Ohio State football.

NEW ORLEANS, LA - JANUARY 04:  DeVier Posey #8 of the Ohio State Buckeyes looks on before taking on the Arkansas Razorbacks in the Allstate Sugar Bowl at the Louisiana Superdome on January 4, 2011 in New Orleans, Louisiana.  (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty
Chris Graythen/Getty Images

Sure, they may lose more games this season, (the way Nebraska looked tonight, I know they'll have a chip on their shoulders when the Buckeyes come to Lincoln for a prime time game), but that's besides the point.

This is the first sign of the return of dominance for the Buckeyes. It's going to be a domino effect.

They're getting a few key guys back this week, which may or may not help them to a win against the Huskers.

Next, they'll get a morale boost from playing a much better game against the Cornhuskers, win or lose.

They'll then come out and play even better against a ranked Illinois team. Again, win or lose, it's besides the point; we're taking baby steps.

A big night game against Wisconsin in The Horseshoe and wearing the Nike Pro Combat Uniforms will have spirits high in Columbus. A win against the Badgers could be a big catalyst in this process, but even with a loss, the Buckeyes will continue to take baby steps of momentum to where they once were.

Indiana, Purdue, and Penn State will be business as usual for the Buckeyes, who will then be entering what should be the biggest, and quite frankly ONLY, important game left on the Buckeyes schedule: Michigan.

Let's face it. Ohio State, for only this season, could lose the rest of their games, but if they beat Michigan, it would be a successful year.

COLUMBUS, OH - NOVEMBER 27:  Jordan Hall #7 of the Ohio State Buckeyes returns a kickoff against the Michigan Wolverines at Ohio Stadium on November 27, 2010 in Columbus, Ohio.  (Photo by Jamie Sabau/Getty Images)
Jamie Sabau/Getty Images

It may be Ohio State's lack of success, or maybe just Michigan and their love of Brady Hoke and 5-0 start, but Wolverine fans seem to be getting cocky. They seem to think that Ohio State should be a dominant victory in which the streak finally ends and the rivalry returns.

If Ohio State could change that tune, should Michigan continue to be successful until they play Ohio State, the Buckeyes would have an incredible amount of momentum going into next season. The whole "rebuilding" process could be expedited, and the college football world could see just how resilient Ohio State is. 

But even with a loss against the Wolverines, the Buckeyes will show their resilience next season.

Coach Luke Fickell will be replaced, and the Buckeyes will have a new identity.

Braxton Miller will be running the show, and will hopefully begin his transformation into a mature quarterback for the Buckeyes.

It may seem like I'm running around, but my point is exactly this: The storm is over.

It may just be me, but the first five games for the Buckeyes seemed like they took a year. It was a never-ending roller-coaster ride, ending with the unfortunate drop to the Spartans.

It's time to drop the "Shock the World" mentality, and begin the "Step by Step" mentality.

By next season, Ohio State will have returned to their dominant selves. No matter their record this season, by next season Ohio State will have their identity and their puzzle pieces will be in place for another decade of dominance.

The writing will be erased, the challenges will have been completed, and the time will be right for these Buckeyes.

COLUMBUS, OH - NOVEMBER 27:  The Ohio State Buckeyes sing the school alma mater with the marching band after they defeated the Michigan Wolverines 37-7 at Ohio Stadium on November 27, 2010 in Columbus, Ohio.  (Photo by Jamie Sabau/Getty Images)
Jamie Sabau/Getty Images

Most of you are frustrated. I am frustrated. It seems like Ohio State football has lost that spark. It always used to be, at least in my household, "Oh, the Browns lost again, well at least the Buckeyes won."

Now, the Buckeyes have lost our trust and confidence and everything that seemed to be a constant in our football lives, has now vanished.

There's no Vest standing on the sidelines. There's no No. 10 or No. 2 in the huddle. There are two L's in the schedule before Week 6.

But we have to trust the process.

This is the week Ohio State bandages the wounds and begins its recovery.

You can look now; the scary part is over.

The road to recovery for the Buckeyes begins now.

"Step by Step."  


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