659 Days and Counting: Ohio State's Win Streak Grows, but Pressure Mounts

By Kyle Rowland on October 22, 2013 at 9:15a
Happy days in Columbus.

It's both glorious and, at times, the elephant in the room. Ohio State has now won 19 straight games, tied for the second-longest win streak in school history.

Head coach Urban Meyer hasn’t tasted defeat in Ohio Stadium since Nov. 14, 1987, when he was a young graduate assistant. A safety on that team by the name of Mark (Bo) Pelini missed a tackle on 4th-and-23 that led to a game-winning Iowa touchdown. Earle Bruce was fired two days later.

Meyer hasn’t lost a football game of any sort since late November of 2010, when he was the head coach at Florida. It marks 20 straight wins and makes Meyer the first coach in major college football history to have three win streaks of at least 20 games.

The Energizer Bunny keeps going and going and going. For Ohio State, its winning streak keeps growing and growing and growing. With the Buckeyes sitting at 7-0, one might think pressure would build because of the national championship hunt. Instead, pressure for the Buckeyes exists due to a winning streak reaching significant heights.

“I can feel sometimes pressure mounting on players when you streak,” Meyer said. “You start hearing about streaks. It’s my job as a coach and our coaching staff [to keep them focused one day at a time].”

The last two times Ohio State won 19 straight games, it lost the next time out. The Buckeyes won 19 consecutive games from 2002-03, capturing the 2002 national championship before losing at Wisconsin in October 2003. They won 19 in a row again from 2005-06 until, of all people, Meyer and Florida spoiled the party in the 2006 BCS National Championship Game.

According to some players, there’s no issue with staying on task. When asked, Philly Brown didn’t even know how many games in a row Ohio State has won. Braxton Miller was unaware the school record stands at 22, well within reach considering the difficulty of the schedule – or lack thereof.

A popular number counting game in Columbus is adding up the days since Michigan last beat the Buckeyes. That number isn't much bigger than 659 – the number of days its been since Ohio State lost a football game.

During the streak, Ohio State has needed overtime twice and won seven games by a touchdown or less. 

When Meyer Last Lost a Game...

  • Osama Bin Laden was alive.
  • WikiLeaks and the Arab Spring weren't things.
  • Chris Cicero was just a lawyer in Columbus.
  • Jared Sullinger was a freshman for the Ohio State men's basketball team.
  • Nate Dogg, Whitney Houston, Dick Clark and Neil Armstrong were still with us.

“It’s a good honor, but that’s not our ultimate goal,” said Brown, about setting a new school record. “We don’t spend much time on that. We just take it one day at a time. We don’t really talk about the winning streak too much.”

And they certainly don’t mention the “L” word – losing. Brown said he knows an entire sporting nation is waiting for the Buckeyes to drop a game. They’ve become a polarizing program that’s a target for critics.

Brown doesn’t think they’ll be happy anytime soon, though.

“With the way this team is working and playing right now, I just don’t see that happening.”

Only nine teams have won 21 games or more in the past two decades. Last season, the Buckeyes drew comparisons to the 1993 Auburn Tigers, the last team to finish undefeated while sidelined during the postseason in the NCAA’s timeout chair. In 1994, the winning didn’t stop for the Tigers until the season’s ninth game, and even then, the result was a tie. They finally lost to Alabama the following the week – 21 games after the first win.

Ohio State wide receiver Evan Spencer wasn’t aware of that bit of history. Even with a dad who played and coached in Columbus, Spencer didn’t know all the specifics about where the current win streak stood in the pantheon of Buckeye football history.

“I know that we have to keep taking care of business and keep winning,” he said. “It’s unbelievable. I try not to think too much about it because we have to keep winning. But only two other teams have ever done it. The camaraderie we have with our team is great.”

Pundits have diminished the Buckeyes’ streak because zero opponents have been ranked in the top 15. By comparison, Tennessee has played five top-15 teams in the past 19 games and the Vols play No. 1 Alabama on Saturday. The highest ranked team Ohio State has faced in the past two seasons: No. 16 Northwestern. The Wildcats are now a three-loss team that lost at home to Minnesota.

No. School Streak Buster
1 USC 34 Texas (2006)
2 Miami 34 Ohio State (2003)
3 Miami 29 Alabama (1992)
4 Alabama 28 Tennessee (1993)
5 Nebraska 26 Arizona State (1996)
6 Boise State 24 Nevada (2010)
7 Notre Dame 23 Miami (1989)
8 Washington 22 Arizona (1992)
9 Florida 22 Alabama (2009)
10 Texas 21 Ohio State (2006)
The 10-longest winning streaks of the last 25 years.

But 19 consecutive wins are tough to scoff at. Winning is still winning. The last two national champions have lost a game and six of the past 10 have faltered at least once along the way.

"I can get on here and start mothe f’ing people about it, but I don’t make the schedule,” tight end Jeff Heuerman said. “I can't change it. My opinion isn’t going to get us rated higher in the BCS, so right now, all we can do is focus on winning all of our games and winning out the rest of the year.”

Saturday night’s primetime match up in Ohio Stadium is another opportunity for Ohio State to flex its muscle, Meyer said Monday. And from the sounds of the players, confidence is something that isn’t lacking.

“No matter what the score is, there’s never any doubt. We always know we’re going to win the game,” Heuerman said. “That’s really special.”

Said running back Carlos Hyde: “We refuse to lose. We’re a group of brothers. There’s not one point in time when we think that we’re going to lose a game.”

In the early- and mid-1990s, Mike Vrabel came to Ohio State at a time when the program had not been part of the national conversation for close to a decade. But his freshman year – 1993 – marked the resurgence of the Buckeyes. Prior to ’93, it had been seven years since Ohio State had won 10 games in a season. In the 20 seasons beginning with ’93, the Buckeyes have won at least 10 games 14 times.

Twenty years and an NFL career later, Vrabel is reliving the magnitude of Ohio State football at its highest form.

“Every game we play gets bigger and bigger,” he said.


Comments Show All Comments

jedkat's picture

It's pretty nice seeing OSU is 1 of 2 schools to end 2 top 10 winning streaks.
tOSU: Making Rival fans cry since 1870.

"Can we please stop the message board fighting? I really can't stand the message board fighting..."

"No. You're an idiot, and your posts are terrible."

scrotieMcboogerballs's picture

What did Heuerman say?!?! Did he really drop 'Mothe f'ing'?!?

"Who do you think you are?!?!...I am!!"  -Pete Weber, bowling legend and dominator of the English language

Kyle Rowland's picture

He didn't say the actual word. 

osubuck57's picture

If they continue the one game at a time approach, the only road block to running the tables could be in the Rose Bowl against Oregon. Think we would match up well with Stanford, but Oregon, with our present secondary, would keep me up at nights.


ScarletGray43157's picture

Agreed that OSU does not match up well against Oregon at the present time.  OSU defense has some upside if the younger players can get into the rotation significantly and Roby can mature into his talent.  If the Defense is ready to play to their potential at bowl time then this becomes a different team.  As it stands now bucks need to outscore quality opponents.  
One game at a time is the only way to play, streak or no streak.  Always.

In old Ohio there's a team that's known throughout the land...

WC Buckeye's picture

You're right, for the moment.  We have to remember, though, that these guys have 6 more games to work on the deficiencies. The last couple of seasons, we have similar gaps at about this time in the season that have worked themselves out by the end (last year's DL, for example). I like our chances against Oregon by bowl time.

The only thing that's new in the world is the history that we have forgotten.

balbak buck's picture

We are lucky that we are playing in the big ten. Lets not get ahead of ourselves here.There is that team up north that is smelling blood now after watching how our defense play..The problem with our defense is not the players.Its the whole strategy that the DC's are planning.We have good players just like any top10 teams,but we don't have good DC like the others do.

Another Jason's picture

A popular number counting game in Columbus is adding up the days since Michigan last beat the Buckeyes. That number is far smaller than 659 – the number of days its been since Ohio State lost a football game.

That's impossible.

AndyVance's picture

Yes, that's not actually correct. It's been 697 days since M*ch*g*n last beat Ohio State.

Kyle Rowland's picture

I meant to say isn't much bigger. 

AndyVance's picture

Figured it was a simple snafu along those lines - I've written myself into corners like that more than once... It always makes sense when you're typing it :)

Doc's picture

I hate that the media has to bring this up to the team.  Let them alone and focus questions on the next opponent.  This just ads to the distractions and helps them lose focus.  At the end of the season and they have a 25/26 game streak, then ask away, but for now let's worry about PSU.
My comments are not directed at you Kyle, but the media in general.

CJDPHoS Member

The Official DDS of 11W

sivaDavis's picture

The way they make it seem, a 1-loss LSU, BAMA, FSU or Oregon would still go in front of OSU in the title game, so I really don't care about this streak anymore. Kind of sad to keep a team that wouldn't have a loss in 2 years out of a title game. Especially seeing how the past 2 weeks have shown that you could lose at ANY time. What was it? 3-6-7-8-9 all lost? Something like that? Mother f'ing SoS. Hate it. 

"I've had smarter people around me all my life, but I haven't run into one yet that can outwork me. And if they can't outwork you, then smarts aren't going to do them much good." - Woody Hayes

Hovenaut's picture

(Engage sarcasm font)

Why would there be pressure when the winning streak is devoid of any quality opponents?

buckguyfan1's picture

To make a quality diamond, requires great pressure!


i just want us to play well. I've become so numb to the BCS and national narrative that it's taking away from an incredible run that we all should be relishing. I watched every game in 2011 and it was painful to see us struggle as it would for anyone watching something you love suffer. To see how far we've come is a delight and worth being proud of immensely.
One thing I have loved during this streak is watching Coach Meyer outcoach everyone. The players make the plays, but Meyer is a superb game master. That's what's allowed this streak to continue.

"Sherman ran an option play right through the south" - Greatest Civil War analogy EVER.

dwcbuckeye's picture

I did not know Evan Spencer's dad was Tim.  Man, you know you are getting older when you see more and more sons of former players you grew up following. 

droessl's picture

there were some who called him..... Tim

Ethos's picture

holy grail auto-upvote engaged!

"I spent 90 percent of my money on women and drink. The rest I wasted." - George Best

Seattle Linga's picture

Staying Laser Focused is the only way we will do this to perfection.

kalabuckzoo's picture

November 8th, 2014 at Michigan State.  NCAA record 35th straight victory!

bucknutjeff's picture

Actually, Oklahoma holds the NCAA record @47 games (1953-1957), ended by the Golden Domers.

kalabuckzoo's picture

oops, sorry. I didn't read the "last 25 years" at the bottom of the chart above. 
should read,  October 17th, 2015 at home vs. Penn State for the NCAA record 48th straight victory:)

ogama843's picture

Not in the least bit worried about "pressure" from a winning streak being a factor in a loss. If our streak ends, it will be because our defense implodes and our offense doesn't do enough to keep up. I don't think that will happen, and with Urban at the helm i think a breakdown due to "pressure from winning" is even less likely. Have a long way to go, but defense is showing improvement. I'm not worried. (I can say that cause it's only Tuesday.)

Holy Buckeye!

balbak buck's picture

Sorry Man.Defense is getting worse..Northwestern is a lot better than Iowa on offense.But we gave up same yards at the Shoe..

dlb72osu's picture

Game after game, comment after comment...give it a rest. Man, you seem to be barking up a dead horses ass. We get your love for the OSU Defensive Coaches.
Please, just once, post a positive comment about the joy of winning 19 straight games and realize it took some defensive play making to help make it happen.
This is a great place to come and trade ideas and football-speak with the OSU faithful. And I agree that you can voice any opinion, positive or negative. But, my god, you are starting to become the broken record (for those of us who remember vinyl). Please join the party. It feels great!

I am the master of my fate: I am the captain of my soul.

- Invictus

Firmthyfriendship's picture

Defense looked pretty good yesterday.

Oldschoolbuck's picture

Everyone is worried about yards allowed & making pedestrian QBs look great and how awful the DCs are and blah blah blah ...
It seems the D steps up when they need to; someone (Hove or Cajun perhaps?) made an excellent point after the Iowa game:
If you blame the DCs for the first half deficiencies, isn't it logical to give them credit for the adjustments made at halftime, when (with the exception of a brain-dead blown coverage) the D shut Iowa down?
I'll take the "W" every time over style points. If we run the table and are left out of the MNC, there isn't much you can do about it. I doubt if covering the spread every week or holding opponents under 10 points or anything else would change that, given the media narrative about the schedule and conference.

TheBadOwl's picture

RIP Nate Dogg. Pour some out for the homie.

When I walked in this morning and saw the flag was at half mast I thought, "Alright, another bureaucrat ate it." but then I saw it was Li'l Sebastian. Half mast is too high. Show some damn respect.