This football season has stirred up many debates, as all of the preseason top 10 teams have lost at least one game. Ohio State has done what they were supposed to do against inferior opponents, win all of their games and dominate while doing so. Now they sit atop all the rankings and have 5 games left against 5-2 teams.
While it is easy for non-fans to bash Buckeye Nation, due to the BCS debacle and current Big Ten reputation, I thought I would take a few minutes to make a couple of points about the era of Buckeye sports we are witnessing and the sense of pride that should go with it.
The Buckeyes played their 500th game in The Shoe against Northwestern on September 22. Since Ohio Stadium opened up in 1922, it has been home to 377 victories and a winning percentage of 77.2 percent. Ohio State has won 16 straight at home and 20 of their last 21. The Shoe has also been host to 38 consecutive games with 100,000+ fans. That same Northwestern win gave the Buckeyes 22 regular season victories in a row, eclipsing the previous mark set by Woody's boys from 1967-1969.
The Vest has coached the Buckeyes to 25 consecutive victories now and 17 of those have come within the conference. A victory over Michigan State this weekend would set a school record of 18 straight conference wins. As a school, Ohio State has won 17 straight conference games three other times (1954-1956, 1967-1969 and 1974-1976) and that school up north holds the all time mark, with 19. Wouldn't it be great to tie that mark next week at Beaver Stadium?
This year's version of the Silver Bullets are ranked #1 nationally in scoring and total defense and have helped Jim Tressel become the 5th fastest coach to reach 200 victories (33-14 @ Washington). Tressel is tied with Frank Beamer for third in career victories amongst active coaches, behind only Traffic Cop Joe and Bobby Bowden. Tress's winning percentage of 83% (69-14) at OSU is simply amazing. Only USC, Boise State and LSU have more victories over the last 5 years. Since Ohio State lost three straight games in early '04, they have gone 34-4!
Football has always been king at Ohio State and the basketball program has shown flashes of success, although not consistent enough to be considered a historical national powerhouse. That perception could soon be changing. Thanks to Jim O'Brien's vision for the youth of Eastern Europe, Thad Matta has quickly thrust Ohio State into the national spotlight.
Matta has taken a dead beat program and turned it into a National Powerhouse in just three years. Remember the year before he arrived Ohio State was 13-15. Thad is Rad and this year he looks to become only the 2nd coach in history to record at least 20 victories in his first 8 years.
Last basketball season was the perfect hangover remedy following the BCS Title game (you didn't forget the 22 game winning streak did you?) and with this season's recruiting class, I see no reason why the trend won't continue. Hopefully this year we won't need the hangover cure.
Tressel and Matta are both under contract for years to come and quite honestly, where else would they go? Over the last two seasons these two have lead Ohio State to a combined 80-11 record! I know we take heat nationally for our Buckeye homerism, pride and semi-obnoxiousness, but as fans we need to sit back and enjoy this era of Buckeye Sports, which is shaping up to be one of the best in history.