Reconciling the 2013 National Expectationship

By Chris Lauderback on May 21, 2013 at 2:00p
Uban's ears have to be burning with his Buckeyes playing the role of media darling this offseason

For Ohio State to fulfill expectations of themselves, fans and the national media - aka winning the 2013 BCS national championship - the Buckeyes will most likely have to post an undefeated 13-0 record. 

Sure, a healthy smattering of one-loss teams have won the national title, including six of the last 11 squads to hoist the crystal football since Ohio State ran the table back in 2002, with Alabama taking back-to-back titles despite dropping a game each season.  

Not surprisingly, all six of those one-loss champs hailed form the Southeastern Conference. 

Meanwhile, the B1G was busy morphing into the nation's punching bag. That fact, along with Ohio State's unquestionably weak schedule, makes it pretty safe to deduct the Buckeyes must run the table if they have any designs on meeting the growing expectations by capturing the final installment of the BCS national championship. 

Looking at the unimpressive schedule, the march to 13-0 would have to feature a non-conference win at Cal, and shortly thereafter back-to-back wins over Wisconsin and at upstart Northwestern, both under the lights. 

Five consecutive wins over decidedly-meh conference foes following the trip to Evanston would set up a a date in the Big House, with the Buckeyes looking to use their 11th win in the last 13 tries against That School Up North as a springboard into their first appearance in the B1G conference championship game. 

A victory in Lucas Oil stadium, most likely over Michagain, Nebraska or Northwestern would almost certainly set the Buckeyes up for a shot at their first national crown of the Urban Meyer Era. 

Where it gets dicey, beyond the fact Ohio State would more than likely have to defeat an SEC foe such as Alabama for the national championship, is that a victory in the BCS title game would also mean the Buckeyes had reeled off 26 consecutive wins, spanning two perfect seasons. Just how big of a deal would that be? For some perspective, here's a list of teams over the last 40 years to win at least 26 straight games:

2003-05 USC 34 Texas
2000-02 Miami, FL 34 Ohio State
1990-02 Miami, FL 29 Alabama
1991-93 Alabama 28 Tennessee
1978-80 Alabama 28 Mississippi State
1973-75 Oklahoma 28 Kansas
1994-96 Nebraska 26 Arizona State

 As you can see, 26 straight wins is pretty rarified air. The reality is that the beauty of college football is that anything can happen on any given Saturday. 

Unfortunately, that reality is often overlooked until you're reminded of its presence via an unmerciful heel-stomp to the marbles, as absorbed back in 1998 when the mighty Buckeyes let a potential national championship season slip away against Michigan State.

Plus, as I touched on last week, as loaded as the 2013 Buckeyes appear to be on offense, a realistic and all-encompassing evaluation of this group identifies a defense that will be replacing its entire starting defensive line from a year ago and six total starters from the front seven.

In talking recently about the 2013 season outlook with Beau Bishop and Bill Rabinowitz, Bishop mentioned the noted ground swell that the season is setting up as a national-title-or-bust scenario and that accomplishing the feat would also mean Urban and company had racked up 26 straight victories which, from looking at the chart above, would be nearly as historic as capturing the crystal.  

Meyer's Year Two success at previous coaching gigs is absolutely deliciousA perfect season would give Urbz a 26-0 record at OSU

Conversely, failing to do so would be a crushing disappointment, especially if at the hands of an SEC opponent, that could have downstream implications on the program and Meyer's reputation among a subset of fans.

As great as Tressel was, delivering the 2002 national championship didn't save him from harsh criticism delivered by a faction of fans and media following back-to-back embarrassing losses to SEC foes in the 2006 and 2007 national championship games. 

With Urban's sometimes polarizing persona which showcases a more aggressive and intensely honest approach to anything and everything about Ohio State football, the expectations have done nothing but escalate since his arrival in Columbus. 

Taking all of these factors into account, it will be interesting to see if some fans experience any shift in feelings toward Meyer and the OSU football program in general should the Buckeyes fall short of the ultimate goal.

It seems preposterous to imagine Meyer's coaching and/or leadership abilities taking a hit should the Buckeyes fail to win it all but achieving the highest levels of success breeds the highest levels of expectations. 

I'm pretty sure that's just fine with Urban Meyer.

But what about you - if the Buckeyes do fall short, does your opinion of either Urban or the state of Ohio State football as a whole get knocked down a peg, or will you be able to keep sight of the bigger picture? 


Comments Show All Comments

spqr2008's picture

14-0  Big Ten Championship game plus 12 games plus National Championship.

OSUs12-OH's picture


"I want a hungry team. I want a team that can't wait to get out there. I want an angry team! You're the Ohio State Buckeyes. You're an angry football team. You're a hungry football team and I'm proud to be your coach." UFM

CCatanzaro's picture

There is only so much of a perfect season, albeit still quite a large fraction, that can be blamed on the coach.  My biggest fear this season is the players taking a week off, regardless of the coaches preparation, that results in a less happy ending than the Purdue/Indiana games last season.  That being said, even though the odds of going 14-0 are against the Bucks, I am still very optimistic.  If they lose a game, then the team and UFM are human.  My opinion and optimism towards the future of the program, however, will not waiver if they don't pull it off.

Dairy-fed intellect and pure, unhinged sass.


Hovenaut's picture

I'll be crushed yes, but I'm a realist.

Quite simply this team will have to take the program to new heights in order to reach the promised land. It doesn't happen often, and I get that.

Here's the thing, and however mighty the SEC people I bump into make themselves out to be, or how my new found conference mates living here in Maryland think of Ohio State football, this program under this coach is just getting it together.

So, in short, if 2013 isn't to be, so be it. I'll live, to root another day.

I had to hear for years as a kid how great that '68 team was, and I never thought 2002 would happen.

Ohio State is very relevant in the discussion regarding championships, very relevant as a contender, very relevant for the next few years at the least.

Plenty of schools out there that would love that status.

Keeping sight of the bigger picture.

Poison nuts's picture

Well....that keeps me from having to write my thoughts on the subject.

"Do not pass me, just slow down - I can move right through you" Superchunk - Precision Auto.

Buckeyevstheworld's picture

Was that suppose to be 1990-92 for Miami?

"YOLO" = I'm about to do something extremely ignorant/stupid & I need an excuse to do it.

wibuckeye's picture

Anyone know what the latest odds are to win the national championship for OSU?


Buckeye06's picture

I haven't forgiven Meyer for 2006 yet.  He needs to bring some crystal to C-bus.
I would be disappointed if we lost, but I am disappointed if OSU ever has a loss.  I believe they have the talent to win every game, but look at last year.  They went undefeated but played well in like 3 games. 
This is their best chance to win it IMO in the next 3 since you replace your O-line next year, and Braxton the year after

lippertini's picture

2006 is important in another way, too.  That year we rolled into the NCG very confident, only to get exposed and humbled.  Let's hope the players and we as fans keep that in mind, as they will likely go into every game through November as solid favorites.

buckguyfan1's picture

One game at a time....  Whenever it happens and yes someday it will come I too will crawl into my man cave and shut out the world for a while.... But until that day comes!

OSUs12-OH's picture

The expectations are high but for a good reason.  In Urban Meyer's first year he assisted OSU in going 12-0 with that lovely post season ban.  Now comes the tough part, do it when it matters.  As we could all see last year, there wasn't a sense of urgency in most of the games before MSU (just go back and watch Cal...enough said right?). I'd expect that to change this year which is why my expectations won't be disappointed if we lose a game (but I really don't think they will with a juggernaut of an offense and young/talented defense).  Will I be seriously upset if they do? Of course obviously.  Will I understand? Yes, but it will still suck.  Let's just hope they get up for every game...without those senior leaders from last year.  That will be HUGE IMO.

"I want a hungry team. I want a team that can't wait to get out there. I want an angry team! You're the Ohio State Buckeyes. You're an angry football team. You're a hungry football team and I'm proud to be your coach." UFM

Run_Fido_Run's picture

I rarely criticize the coaches for the team having "hiccups." Even during the Walrus era, I tended to blame efforts like this one on the team letting its collective foot off the gas pedal.
What does turn me against a staff is when I perceive the program to be on a decline. That never happened during the Tressel era and I don't anticipate it happening under Urbz's watch. I didn't really turn against Coop until it became obvious that he'd lost control of the program in 1999/2000.   

bodast67's picture

RUN_FIDO... I don't think that was as much letting the foot off the gas as much as the offense made two costly plays late in the second half. We dominated that whole game otherwise.




     " I hope when I die, I die laughing"...                

Run_Fido_Run's picture

Fair enough - it was probably more a case of the team losing concentration. If I remember correctly, Bryant Browning was having to play out of position at RT (he ended up being a solid OG) and got beat a couple times on quick outside moves, resulting in sacks/TOs. But the team as a whole dominated MSU in the first half and sputtered in the 4th Q - i.e., it wasn't just about two plays.

bukyze's picture

If you look at it one game at a time, they will be favored in all of them, and should win every single one of them.  But, 1998 happens sometimes (I was at that game, and as I write this, my stomach churns with that awful feeling of dread after we lost to MSU).  I hate to be the fly in the Preparation-H, but if a gun was put to my head, I would have to say we lose a game this year, possibly two (bowl game).  I'm not totally sold on our defense yet, and defending the spread puts me into high anxiety mode.   I would be greatly disappointed, but undefeated/untied doesn't happen that often (only 6 times in the HISTORY of OSU football).  And the only way we win a NC this year is to be undefeated.  No doubt, I think we can do it.  But no matter what happens, I always have confidence that we'll win the next game, and always look forward to the promises of the following year.

cal3713's picture

If we drop only one game, I just hope that it is before the NCG so that we still get a chance to go to a BCS bowl.  The season still tastes sweet when you get to knock off a 10-2 or 11-1 team like Oregon or Arkansas.  The only thing I truly dread is a repeat of 2006. 

yrro's picture

I still wish so hard that in 2007 WVU and Missouri had won their damn games so we could have won or lost a Rose Bowl without a lot of fanfare instead of setting up the dreaded "stop putting OSU in the national championship game" crap. It's amazing just how much the sports world hates a perennial runner-up.

Buckeyeneer's picture

What everyone forgets is that we were picked to be no better than 4th in the B1G and we overperformed. After losing to Illinois, we fell to 7th. If teams 1-6th hadn't lost, we wouldn't have been there. People always seem to forget that a lot of team crapped the bed for us to get in that game. Even the team that beat us, that 2 loss LSU team, is probably the worst national championship team in the last decade. Not saying that they were bad, just saying that they are below the other elite teams that won the whole shebang. It was a crazy year.

"Because the rules won't let you go for three." - Woody Hayes

THE Ohio State University

Aslfinch5287's picture

Went 12-0 in 2012, now its time to go 13-0 in 2013 and win the crystal ball on our way to 14-0 in 2014.

daytonbuckeye's picture

Win the last BCS NC and then win the first playoff NC!

3 85 yards and a cloud of dust.

USMC11917's picture

Taking all of these factors into account, it will be interesting to see if some fans experience any shift in feelings toward Meyer and the OSU football program in general should the Buckeyes fall short of the ultimate goal.

I don't find that interesting, I find that sad of those fans. I do understand your point clearly though. My take on that is that my feelings won't change toward Meyer. I want a coach and players who want to win as much as I want them to. If they lose I want to see emotion and fire and a commitment like the unnamed one made to redeem themselves. That is where I was disappointed with Tressel. His competitiveness wasn't apparent on his face or when he talked to the media. He was very much like a politician. We won't see that on Meyer's face and we won't see that out of players. I like the intensity and the commitment to excellence! As long as Meyer has that, he has my support. 

osubuck57's picture

It's boom or bust with this schedule, this season.Won't see another one like it for quite some time,with divisions, championship games,and new play-off system.Sets up perfectly when all things considered.


Citrus's picture

It is really difficult to go undefeated. I will be disappointed with anything less than a championship but 11-1 regular season, with a win over TTUN, a B1G championship and a Bowl win will make me pretty happy.

CowCat's picture

I honestly think next year is the year.
This year we'll have 6-7 new starters on defense.
We also have to play in Ann Arbor and we might have two showdowns in a row against  TTUN, assuming they win their division.

"We get paid to score touchdowns, not kick field goals"
-- Urban Meyer

buckeyepastor's picture

I think 2014 is a season where we look to be even stronger than 2013 in terms of our roster.  So, if it doesn't happen in 2013, I will be disappointed given our weak schedule, because it will mean that we beat ourselves.   But I won't be devastated.   

"Woody would have wanted it that way" 

Geraffi's picture

Lots of media folks are high on Ohio State to challenge the SEC for the National Championship. I'm high on my Buckeyes, too, but I remember how frustrating most of the games were last season. We are still far from the Alabama team that bet the crap out of Notre Dame last season. We're in our way, but not there yet.
26-0 is possible, but if we fall short, or if we lose in the NC game to a team from the SEC, it just tells me we're not there yet. But we will be soon.  One way or the other, I will always love my Buckeyes and, unless Woody comes back from the grave, wouldn't want anyone other than Urban Meyer steering the ship. 

airborne082385's picture

GERAFFI you hit the nail on the head UFM has said it himself the thing that sets Bama apart is the depth which is exactly what UFM is building however it is not quite there yet.  I honestly feel yes with Braxton and our Offense 2013 could be the year, I would feel even more certain in 2014 i.e. the depth from the two previous exceptional recruiting classes would be well established and Braxton would be a senior however we lose our entire offensive line minus one starter that is tough for any team.  

lippertini's picture

Wouldn't it be nice if we could blow enough teams out early this year to get a bunch of young o-linemen lots of playing time?
Baldwin, Dodson, Farris/Decker, Kramer, Brown, Boren, Elflein, Brown etc.

baddogmaine's picture

The loss of the entire defensive line is huge, and will be felt most seriously against teams that can throw. IN nearly derailed us last year when we had a strong  line. By the time we face scUM, Gardner and a vastly improved set of WRs and a highly rated freshman RB should be working in synch. We might have to face that team twice and I can't say with confidence that nothing weird will happen against a team that will be ready for us. I also am not convinced that our offense will be unstoppable - it got stopped a couple of times last year and I don't think the O-line is going to be better, especially if anyone gets injured .Finally, our punting game is an almost complete unknown, and if Basil gets dinged we lose our place-kicker too. I think we are far and away the class of the B1G but an unbeaten season is a lot to expect.

lippertini's picture

Did you not watch the spring game?  Spence and Washington, along with Bennett, will destroy any 5-step drop team.  Now, short 3-step passing teams like NW could cause some issues, but this where our secondary quality and depth should help a lot.  Hopefully Bryant can learn to wrap...

daytonbuckeye's picture

If we run the table and play and sec team for the MNC, I want it to be bama because if it is anyone else like tamu, we will never hear the end of the sec-ists that we didn't get their best and that tamu's not really an sec school. Then next year I want to clobber florida or lsu in the first round and then beat bama again for the NC. that's not too much to ask for, is it?

3 85 yards and a cloud of dust.

OSUBias's picture

During the NC game I was debating whether or not we would have been #2 and gotten the chance to roll ND if not for the sanctions, when I realized that wasn't the point. We were not the best team in CFB last year. Yes, we went undefeated last year, and nobody else did. Yes the bowl ban or not the year before was a debacle. But we were not close to Alabama level on football in 2012. I think we'll be closer this year, maybe even very close. But EVERYTHING bounced right for us to go undefeated last year. We'll need to be a ton better week in and week out in order to make those games less in doubt (we won like 6 games by 7 points or less). Odds say we probably lose a game this year. I'm going to be disappointed if or when that happens. But less disappointed than getting to a bowl game where I know we're overmatched (LSU in 2007, Texas in 2008, USC in the 34-3 game even though that wasn't a bowl game, you knew that was coming). Urban has the program going upward, and it's unlikely that we'll be to the apex in year 2. It's possible, those guys are always working and I'm shocked at how quickly they make progress. But even Saban has taken longer than that to get to the level they're at now. So, no, my opinion won't change. I'll still bullish on the program for as long as he's at the helm. The real question should be, how will he handle it? Is he going to stew in his office drawing plays on a whiteboard and watching film for like 96 straight hours?

7 yards and a cloud of dust is a beautiful thing

CC's picture

We weren't overmatched by Texas in 2008. We lost the game on the last possession if I recall.

German Buckeye's picture

So when we beat scUm twice this season, is that two pairs of gold pants for all team members?  Unprecedented? 

Buckaroo's picture

It is absurd to place this kind of expectation on the 2013 Buckeyes. A 12-0 Season was a Blessing last year. We have a Great Football Coach in Urban Meyer. We had a Great Coach in Jim Tressel. These are the Best of the Best in CFB. However, the fact is the B1G is not a world beater conference. The SEC misuses the NCAA signing rules to an annual advantage that has proven impossible for any other league to overcome. Until the NCAA FORCES an absolutely uniform system for recruiting and signing athletes to all schools, even Urban Meyer will be hard pressed to beat that abusive system.
My recommendation is for OSU Fans to get darn happy to have a man like Urban as our coach and enjoy it while it lasts! 


WiliestBuckeye's picture

I will be upset if we don't at least get to the national championship next year. We have the easiest schedule we have had in years, the best offense, and a very talented defense. We went undefeated last year and we didn't even look good in most of our games. A lot of upsets in the past were caused by Tressel taking his foot off the gas too soon. Urban's foot is taped to the floor so we won't have that problem anymore. All things point to an appearance on the biggest stage. We should dominate the BIG this year and if we don't I will be disappointed.

"Do not dwell in the past, do not dream of the future, concentrate the mind on the present moment."

New alum's picture

I may have a short memory, but I can't think of one upset that occurred during the Tressel era because he took his foot of the pedal too soon.  In fact, I am hard pressed to think of many upsets, period.  Maybe Northwestern in '04?  He may have let teams back into games that were over, but I don't think he caused upsets.

Proud Michigander, OSU grad. Life is complicated.

icbuck's picture

My sights are always squarely on the Michigan game.  I don't care what our record is. Beat Michigan, and it is a great year.  I don't think I'll forget those Cooper years when we had title hopes derailed by inferior Michigan teams. Since then, I figure, if we beat Michigan the year is a success, regardless of the record.
Also, Urban will be beloved by this fan if he continues Tressel's dominance over UM.  If he follows Cooper's path... great recruiting, great teams, overwhelming opponents on the field, but falls short in The Game... I think that will be a pretty miserable place to be again.
To me, B1G Championships, National Championships, and beating SEC teams do not matter as much as beating Michigan.  Taking care of our rival is what satisfies, the other successes are nice, but probably won't even happen without a win over the enemy.

Patriot4098's picture

High expectations are a hallmark of gtreat footballl programs. If ever we lose a game for any reason, I hope they feel our wrath from top to bottom. With that said, I hope they feel our support as well. Its a slippery slope to expect anything less. It is and always will be the insatiable appetite of Buckeye Nation that propels our teams forward.

This year seems all about unfinished business to me. Unfinished business for last years' 12 and 0 bowl ban season and previously vacated wins. Unfinished business with the B1G/SEC perception and our two big stage losses in those national championship games. Urban Meyer knows it. Urban Meyer started it back in 2006. Ill bet the house Urban Meyer is motivated by it. I expect it.

"Evil shenanigans!"     - Mac

MN Buckeye's picture

The coaches will take any loss harder than the fans.  That said, it is up to the coaches to have the team ready, the players to execute, the band to perform, and the fans to go nuts.  All it takes is one bad quarter, or even one bad play, to turn a game.  So going undefeated would mean another magical year.  

Buckeyevstheworld's picture

The coaches will take any loss harder than the fans. 

Hard to believe anyone took the '07 loss harder than us fans.

"YOLO" = I'm about to do something extremely ignorant/stupid & I need an excuse to do it.

Boxley's picture

A single loss in this regular season would be disappointing, a loss to TSUN it would be horrible, unless we come back in the next week at the BIG championship game and crush them. Still would sting.
However, lets be realistic. I have only witnessed three tOSU undefeated seasons in my life, two in the past ten years and the third in 68. To be EXPECTING to go undefeated and not be accepting/criticizing of the teams coaches, and their decision making? Implying that anything less than 14-0 is unacceptable is delusional.

"...the man who really counts in the world is the doer, not the mere critic-the man who actually does the work, even if roughly and imperfectly, not the man who only talks or writes about how it ought to be done." President T. Roosevelt

lippertini's picture

Totally agree, looking at it dispassionately, 13-0 heading into the BCS is a maybe 25% likelihood.  Then of course, it's 50-50 for that game, so overall 12.5% chance we go 14-0.
Doesn't mean I don't think we have the right people in place to do it, though!

buckeyepastor's picture

No one likes losses, but I think there are lessons that most championship teams learn from a loss that helps put them in that position of being champions.   I think the 1-loss champions in recent years, including Alabama, got a shot in the arm from their loss that helped propel them to the title.   While I was so impressed and proud to be a Buckeye as they went 12-0 last year, I think how UFM and the team handle their first loss will be a defining thing for them.  I hate to invoke his name, but I think of how Tebow and the 2008 Florida team were emboldened by a loss.  I remember that the 1997 Nebraska national championship team suffered a couple of losses in 1996 that drove them to demand perfection the following year.    I think if we get tripped up this year, it may turn out to be the fuel that we need for 2014.   And if we don't get that first loss in 2013 and we run the table, well, I guess I can live with that, too.   

"Woody would have wanted it that way" 

zhamilton05's picture

Here's one non-championship scenario that wouldn't totally disappoint me in 2013:

  • Buckeyes romp through most of their schedule but stub their toe one time (Penn St? @Northwestern?).
  • Meyer rallies the troops to finish the regular season with a hard-fought win in the Big House, depriving Brady Hoke of a spot in the B1G championship.
  • The Buckeyes go to Indianapolis and face Nebraska, who edged Northwestern and TSUN to win the Legends division. OSU wins by 10 points in a high-scoring thriller that gains good national vibes for the conference.
  • Two undefeated teams--say, Alabama and Florida St--meet in the BCS title matchup, so Ohio State goes to the 100th Rose Bowl against 12-1 Oregon.
  • Amid the pageantry, another fast-paced game against the Ducks concludes when Braxton scores the game-winning TD as the clock expires. Miller and Shazier delay their NFL dreams to try and bring a championship to C-bus in 2014.