Ohio State has a rich, storied football history and tradition, but recently, you almost wouldn't know it.
While the Buckeyes have won no less than 10 games in each of the last four seasons (43-7 overall) and will play in their fourth straight BCS Bowl game, they've come up short against several of the nation's best teams in the last two BCS Championship games, as well as the so-called "Game of the Year" this season, losing convincingly 35-3 to USC.
Many have speculated as to why the Buckeyes appear to not be able to win big games on the national stage.
Is it poor game-planning?
Or bad play calling?
Does Ohio State—and the Big Ten as a whole, for that matter—truly lack the team speed of the SEC or Big 12?
The exact reason why the Buckeyes are not winning these games is debatable, but what seems to be the overwhelming sentiment is that they aren't winning them—and that means they're overrated and undeserving.
Even many spoiled Buckeye fans share this stance.
I've got news for those folks...
No team can play and win every game they ever play in, especially when it's against the caliber of the opponents Ohio State has faced.
The Buckeyes' last seven losses have been to seven teams all ranked in the Top 15, and in all but two of those losses, Ohio State was the underdog, while their opponent was then ranked No. 1, No. 2, or No. 3.
Here we are again.
Now, with this year's Fiesta Bowl meeting, Ohio State will face the Texas Longhorns for the third time in four seasons. They split the first two meetings as Vince Young led the Longhorns to a 25-22 victory in Columbus in 2005. The following season, the Buckeyes beat Colt McCoy and Texas 24-7 with unrelenting defense and in-your-face pressure all game long.
As this year's BCS rematch nears, the default projection seems to be that No. 3 Texas, like every previous top three team Ohio State has faced, will win and seemingly win big!
The Bucks have been seeking redemption since the 41-14 massacre in the BCS Title Game versus Florida.
They have not found it yet, but with a win on Jan. 5, they will undeniably acquire an all but certain high level of redemption.
Texas beat the Oklahoma Sooners by 10 points in the Red River Shootout, and yet Oklahoma, not Texas, is playing in the 2008 BCS Championship Game. Nobody called this game a blowout either, but when Ohio State lost as an underdog to LSU in the 2007 title game by 14, everyone called that a blowout. But why?
I'll stray from that topic, however, before I go off on a long and winding rant that may cause a serious carpal tunnel flare-up for myself and eye strain for my readers.
There is certainly a legitimate argument to be made that Texas should be the No. 1 or No. 2 team playing in that game.
So, all things considered, in my opinion, Ohio State has to be given some respect by either beating Texas or by losing close.
Losing close is subjective. How close does the game need to be to be considered a close game?
I am sure it wouldn't be unrealistic to ask for the media and non-Buckeye fans to show some class and give the Buckeyes their due if they keep the game within 14 points or less, or certainly if they win.
I, of course, would prefer to see the team I was born to love win this game, but I'm objective, and I'm also a realist. I know they aren't expected to do much, and no one is giving them a snowball's chance in hell.
Ohio State can, should, and better receive an ample amount of credit if indeed they make this a close game, as I expect they will.
In any college football game played, both teams obviously can't win.
Heck, in college they can't even get half of a win. (Even Donovan McNabb knows that!)
But they can put on a show and be competitive. They may lose, but if it's close, that's all I can ask for.
Show up, play hard, and leave it all on the field, and no matter what, this guy right here typing on your behalf will always love you and cheer you on, win or lose.
Can No. 10 Ohio State Gain Redemption Without Beating No. 3 Texas?
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