Buckeyes Now Looking at Big Picture

By Kyle Rowland on November 20, 2012 at 5:00p
40 Comments

After months of neglecting the big picture, Ohio State is now aware and focused on what lies ahead. If the Buckeyes beat Michigan, an undefeated season will be completed. That comes with the possibility of being crowned AP national champions. 

Urban Meyer has embraced the magnitude.

The first goal of Ohio State’s season was already achieved in last Saturday’s win over Wisconsin, clinching an outright Leaders Division title. The Buckeyes’ season to this point has centered on the unspoken.

Before the season, Meyer considered coming up with motivational ploys for his team. With no postseason games, he thought they might have trouble approaching each game with intensity and enthusiasm. Meyer quickly realized, however, no added incentive would be needed for Ohio State.

When talk of going undefeated surfaced or the AP poll was brought up, Meyer dismissed it as unwelcome noise. The Buckeyes didn’t need extra motivation and they certainly didn’t need distractions.

But that wall came down at the conclusion of Saturday’s dramatic game.

“We can talk about it now,” Meyer said. “I kind of put a muzzle on everybody before. But our players won a ring tonight. They’re champions of their side, which is, really, at the end of the day when you keep score, you want to go be a champion.”

Ohio State enters its season finale as a five-point favorite over arch-rival Michigan, and with Kansas State and Oregon losing last week, a split national championship suddenly looks more realistic.

The Buckeyes are currently ranked fourth in the AP Poll. Notre Dame is No. 1 followed by Alabama and Georgia, who play in the SEC championship game next week. Notre Dame plays at USC on Saturday.

Everything about the past year inside the program has verged on the unrealistic. First it was the bowl ban. For months, Ohio State officials said the program had little chance at being denied the 2012 postseason. But when the NCAA hammer came down, it hit hard and painfully. Meyer called it a gut punch.

Then before the season even started, the media started diminishing Ohio State’s prospects of going undefeated. Many called it far-fetched and impractical. The AP title? May as well not even ask about it – a bigger long shot than Chaminade beating Virginia.

But Ohio State has continued winning, often in heart-stopping fashion, and a funny thing happened Monday night. Chaminade pulled off another stunner 30 years after beating Virginia.

“I feel like we can’t be beat,” junior defensive lineman Johnathan Hankins said. “We’re not settling for a loss. We want to go undefeated.”

The Buckeyes’ winning ways have set up a dream scenario for Saturday afternoon.

“It’s something I’ll look back when I’m older,” senior linebacker Zach Boren said. “It’s just kind of come full circle for us, and it’s kind of a neat story.”

Jim Tressel returns to Ohio Stadium Saturday.

Vested Interest 

The storylines for Saturday’s game are plentiful. But one of them doesn’t even have an effect on the game. Well, not technically.

Jim Tressel, the man who, in many ways, is responsible for Ohio State’s current bowl ban, will be in Ohio Stadium for Saturday’s game. Tressel will be on hand for festivities recognizing the 2002 national championship team’s 10-year anniversary.

The decision for Tressel to attend is expected to gain attention, some of it positive, some of it negative. By and large, though, he is still a popular figure among fans. The national championship win over Miami, a 9-1 record versus Michigan and his overall record speak more to Buckeye Nation than his role in the tattoo-for-memorabilia scandal that left the program in tatters for a year.

“Honestly, I feel like the fans never really lost their love for coach Tressel, because of the stuff that he did and the kind of guy that he was,” senior safety Orhian Johnson said. “I know that I never did. All I can think of is guys going out there and praising him for what he did. I don’t have any animosity toward coach Tressel in any way, shape or form.”

With the very real possibility that Ohio State would be playing for a national championship this season if not for the postseason ban, a tinge of uneasiness would not be surprising. But current players don’t think that should be the case.

“I would hope there would not be any awkwardness,” senior punter Ben Buchanan said. “I was recruited and played for coach Jim Tressel for three years and just love him.

“I hope that Buckeye fans would welcome Coach Tressel back. The things that he did for this university were amazing. I have the utmost of respect for him, and for a lot of these seniors, we feel very honored that the man that recruited us and brought us here and developed us when we were younger players is going to be able to see us off in our final game. I’m very much looking forward to having him in the stadium.”

The opinions of Johnson and Buchanan became the theme on Monday when the seniors who were made available to the media were asked about their former coach.

“I am looking forward to seeing Coach Tressel,” right tackle Reid Fragel said. “He’s a great person who I admire very much. I don’t really think it will be awkward. I think everybody is kind of looking forward to seeing him since we haven’t really seen him in a while. I don’t think there’s any bad blood with him and the guys on this team at this point. What’s done is done. It happened, and I think everybody has kind of moved on.”

Catch me if you can.

Quite a Loot

Perform well in a big game and chances are you’ll be recognized. That is exactly the scenario that played out on Monday for several Ohio State Buckeyes.

Two performances in particular that stood out Saturday at Wisconsin belonged to defensive end John Simon and punt returner Corey Brown. Simon tallied a school-record tying four sacks, the most for a Big Ten player since 2010. He leads the conference with nine sacks on the season, and his total on Saturday led to Big Ten defensive player of the week honors.

Brown’s 68-yard punt return for a touchdown jumpstarted Ohio State in its 21-14 overtime win over Wisconsin and served as the special teams highlight of the week in the Big Ten. He averaged 23 yards on three returns and was named the conference’s special teams player of the week.

Michigan quarterback Devin Gardner was named the offensive player of the week for the second straight week after throwing for three touchdowns and rushing for three touchdowns in a 42-17 win over Iowa.

Gardner completed 18 of 23 passes for 314 yards and rushed for 37 additional yards. Still, Denard Robinson was listed as the Wolverines’ starter for this week.

“It definitely makes it a little bit harder to prepare, but you don’t think about it too much,” Ohio State senior defensive lineman Garrett Goebel said. “You prepare for everything and react to what happens.

“It’s always hard to even prepare for one quarterback, even when it's Denard. Two quarterbacks makes it tougher. You have to rep more stuff in practice, different looks. It’s a big challenge.

“Obviously their quarterbacks are hard to defend. They’re dual threats, great players and make people miss. We have to have a lot of guys run to the ball and got to get them down.”

40 Comments

Comments

sir rickithda3rd's picture

i cant wait for this game! hopefully they send the seniors out with a special win. coach tressel 9-1 against mich..... thats ridiculous! glad he will be there bcuz im sure every wolverine fan is deathly afraid of him (deservedly so)

mark may wins douchebag of the year... again

tennbuckeye19's picture

Is that Dom Freakin' Tiberi in the background of the Urban pic above messin' with his microphone equipment?

Dougger's picture

Haha it sure looks like with that gullet of his

I like football

BeijingBucks's picture

Didn't recognize him without plates of food scattered around and the customary leer at teenage sports girls next to him

 

 

None can love freedom heartily, but good men; the rest love not freedom, but license. ~ John Milton

zbd's picture

He just ordered a couple of pizzas delivered by a ttun graduate student.

Doc's picture

I'm glad Coach Tress is coming back and being honored with the rest of the team.  Being that it will be between 1st and 2nd quarters it can't be too long.  I'm sure the crowd will erupt when they are introduced.  I'm hoping the good mojo continues and by 3:30 we are feasting on torched wolverine.

"Say my name."

gwalther's picture

I'll be screaming my ass off in support and love of Jimmy T on Saturday.
 
It's my way of saying- thanks for 10 amazing seasons, Coach Tressel.

Class of 2008

Earle's picture

I just might cry when he gets his well deserved ovation.

Doc's picture

Ditto.

"Say my name."

MediBuck's picture

Me three. The boorish OSU-hating SEC slave media demanded blood for his head, and the NCAA under warlord Emmett was only happy to oblige. This man is a Buckeye legend, and all the haters can go fuck themselves. Their puerile boos will never extinguish the exhilaration I experienced from 7 Big Ten championships, 5 BCS victories, 9-1 record against scUM, a suffocating defeat of an SEC foe in the BCS, and a national championship. O-H!!!

"There is a force that makes us all brothers, no one goes his way alone." --Woody Hayes

OSUBias's picture

Ha, don't sugarcoat it man, tell us how you really fan!! +1

Slider...you stink

gwalther's picture

Someone troll down-voted all the comments showing Jim Tressel love.
 
I'm sure whoever did that is an idiot.

Class of 2008

buckeyedude's picture

Someone troll down-voted all the comments showing Jim Tressel love.

I'm sure whoever did that is an idiot.

Or a Michelin fan. Or both.
 
 

 

 

TheHostileDwarf's picture

I love Tressel and hope they show the welcome he and the 2002 team receive from the crowd during the broadcast. Might get a bit misty...

Not bring able to play in the post-season is unfortunate but at a certain point you just have to suck it up and make the best of what you can control. This team has done that so far. One more game.

I hope we stomp those assholes up North, and I predict we will. Go Buckeyes! Fuck Michigan!

JLP36's picture

HELL YEAH!

JLP36

smith5568's picture

I won't be cheering when Tressel and the 2002 team are honored because I am fairly confident that I will be crying. 

Buckeyebrowny919's picture

i'm not ashamed...i'm just going to be blaming the onions being chopped up in the room

To give anything less than your best, is to sacrifice the gift - Steve Prefontaine

VintonCountyBuck's picture

Hello 11Warriors!! This is my first comment on your phenomenal website. May I just say that I have become a HUGE FAN recently, and hope that I can contibute something productive to your highly entertaining articles, blog posts, and comments.

With that being said, I for one would love to see Jim Tressel lead this team (ala Tom Osborne) out onto the field this Saturday (should be Holiday). Love it even more should he be carrying the Ohio State Flag while doing so! And would ABSOLUTELY cry my eyes out if he were to carry said flag over to the michigan sidelines & plant it firmly in the middle of their bench!! This game has got me so psyched up I may just go and jump in a freezing lake near campus!! Go Bucks!!

“Right now, Michigan is not at the pinnacle of college football, and that’s all Urban Meyer cares about...He’s been there and knows what it takes to get there.” 

Menexenus's picture

Welcome, VCB!  You're my kind of Buckeye fan!
I've never been in a fight in my adult life, but if I hear anyone booing Tress in the 'Shoe on Saturday, we are going to have a problem.
Go Bucks!  Screw Blue!

Real fans stay for Carmen.

Doc's picture

I totally and completely agree with you here.  "I haven't been in a fight since grade school.  But I kicked that guys ass, I guess I can kick yours."  The Wedding Singer.

"Say my name."

MediBuck's picture

Welcome and +rep for you!!

"There is a force that makes us all brothers, no one goes his way alone." --Woody Hayes

Brutus's picture

We'll probably see part of the celebration and ovation for the 2002 team and JT during the broadcast, but not near enough.  Please oh please someone on this site capture the entire ceremony somehow and post it here.  I'm sure it will be up pretty quickly, but just a reminder.  I want to be back for those few minutes between the 1st and 2nd quarter almost as much as I want to be there for the game. 

BoFuquel's picture

Welcome VCB. GO BUCKS!

I wish I didn't know now what I didn't know then.

Arizona_Buckeye's picture

I will be screaming my head off when Jimmy T and the 2002 players are introduced.

The best thing about Pastafarianism? It is not only acceptable, but advisable, to be heavily sauced

BuckeyeChief's picture

Looking forward to the game! Things rolled the right way, so I'll be able to watch it.

 

"Clutch has no boundaries"

headina's picture

(Cool brag moment) I HAVE TICKETS AND WILL BE THERE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! (End of cool brag moment)

GO BUCKS

buckeyedude's picture

I think that having Jim Tressel there is going to bring good karma to the entire game atmosphere.
And I think the Wolverines, upon learning Tressel is in da howse, will have flashbacks and nightmares of years gone by, and will not perform at peak level. (They hate Tressel up there).

 

 

Defiance J's picture

I will be there as well. Can't wait! I like our chances. . . 

Dougger's picture

I'll clear my phone after stuffing my face for thanksgiving so I have enough space to record the 2002 team and Carmen Ohio at the end. It will be shaky, I'll probably be yelling as loud as I can and/or crying

I like football

CC's picture

You know Michigan is afraid of jt being in the building!

MediBuck's picture

Things on the line on Saturday:
1. Completing the Revenge Tour by avenging all Big Ten losses from 2011.
2. El Guapo breaking the 1000-yard mark, making him only the second player after Braxton to reach the millenial mark under Meyer.
3. Braxton Miller's Heisman invite to NYC.
4. 12-0, a perfect season.
5. A legitimate shot at an AP National Championship nod.
6. A WIN AGAINST THAT TEAM UP NORTH.
 
BEAT THE SKUNK WEASELS!!! GO BUCKS!!!!!

"There is a force that makes us all brothers, no one goes his way alone." --Woody Hayes

cinserious's picture

The national media might try to act like the Bucks don't exist this yr but all those accomplishments plus Braxton being a Heisman finalist will ge a HUGE slap in the face to the NCAA, ESPN, and all the other haters out there! Use this as a launching pad into '13 for a NC run and GO BUCKS!

Gone ham, be back soon...

pjtobin's picture

What does aacc mean? Thanks. 

Bury me in my away jersey, with my buckeye blanket. A diehard who died young. Rip dad. 

Et_Tu_OSU's picture

ann arbor community college
aka ttun
aka tsun

"The revolution will be televised."

Lincoln's picture

This entire comment section has be so jacked up! The best:

Me three. The boorish OSU-hating SEC slave media demanded blood for his head, and the NCAA under warlord Emmett was only happy to oblige. This man is a Buckeye legend, and all the haters can go fuck themselves. Their puerile boos will never extinguish the exhilaration I experienced from 7 Big Ten championships, 5 BCS victories, 9-1 record against scUM, a suffocating defeat of an SEC foe in the BCS, and a national championship. O-H!!!

timdogdad's picture

i hope after a chess match 0-0 first quarter, we get a spark (and the crowd too) from the 2002 and tress ceremony and start rolling. like a 10 pt lead but then we have to punt and back them up so they have to start on their 5.  and keep rolling.   

45has2's picture

The Vest's presence alone is worth 3 pts against the weasels. The mere sight of James Weasel Slayer Tressel causes players from TTUN to wet their pants and cry for Bo. GO BUCKS.

"I don't like nice people. I like tough, honest people." -W.W. Hayes

Frankly Scarlet's picture

That 2002 game is still frustrating to watch. Seems like TTUN's offense put on a clinic in time-of-posession and "how to move the ball up and down the field without scoring a TD".  Felt like they had the ball the entire game until lightning finally struck for the Buckeye offense.
Also, that game typified Krenzel's toughness, as he got the snot knocked out of him a few times.

 
"Buclkle your chinstrap, we're gonna grind meat!" - Woody Hayes