In Lose-Lose Situation, OSU Has No Choice but to Win

By DJ Byrnes on January 3, 2014 at 1:30p
The Orange Bowl: A Lose-Lose Situation for Ohio State

It's been a little under a month since Ohio State's national title hopes were up-ended in some idiot billionaire's climate-controlled dome in Indianapolis, and I still am having a hard time razzing myself up about the 2014 Discover Orange Bowl. My trepidation is not caused solely because any bowl outside the national title game amounts to little more than a glorified exhibition game, or because I think an Orange Bowl bid is unbecoming of The Ohio State University.

No, it's because this is a lose-lose situation for Ohio State football.

I try to avoid being hyperbolic in non-joking situations; so it's with great thought when I say an Ohio State loss in the 2014 Orange Bowl would be the worst loss for the program since the 2008 BCS title game. 

It won't matter Ohio State will be without Christian Bryant, its best safety. It wont matter it's without its future NFL cornerback or its best pass rusher against one of the nation's most electric offenses. And no, the food poisoning/flu that struck the team earlier this week won't matter either.

No, if Ohio State gets ripped open by Tajh Boyd and company in the Orange Bowl, there's only one thing that will matter: Ohio State wasn't good enough.


It's a refrain that will sound familiar to any Ohio State fan who paid a mote of attention to the national debate leading up to this year's title game. Sadly, it's a refrain that will be prominent for the forseeable future.

The Big Ten is in such a hole with national perception, it's going to take more than one bowl cycle to repair. But in the death throes of the BCS, it as as it has been since Jim Tressel was plucked from Youngstown: Ohio State carries the Big Ten's reputation into its bowl game.

I'll be damned if Michigan State couldn't win a four-team play-off this year, but them tagging Stanford with their third L of the season won't mean much outside of East Lansing if Ohio State takes a piss in the Orange Bowl.

Again, such is the hole the Big Ten has dug themselves. Ever since Larry Coker's career got buried in a shallow, unmarked grave outside Sun Devil Stadium in 2003, the conference's shining achievement has been back-to-back championship game losses at the hands of our SEC overlords.

Given that, is there any doubt the chorus of applause Ohio State would earn by beating Clemson would be dwarfed by the tsunami of boos that would descend on Columbus if the Buckeyes were to falter?

If Ohio State wins: then "congrats," they beat a two-loss ACC team. The Big Ten still sucks.

If Ohio State loses: then they lost to an ACC team that got waxed in their two biggest games of the year. The Big Ten still sucks. 

Sure, It doesn't matter if the odds are as rigged as Jim Tressel-organized raffle in the 1980s, Ohio State must win tonight; they can't afford the price of a loss. If Ohio State wants a seat with the big dogs in next year's tournament, the first step in that journey is handling the business against a two-loss ACC team.


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buckeyemanda's picture

Well said. All we need to do is win. But, even so, as the sting of crushed hopes fades throughout the year, we still need to be proud of what we HAVE accomplished successfully and all the records we've smashed. Go bucks.

VestedInterest's picture

This is, of course, how haters will roll.

NitroBuck's picture

What the haters will really hate is if the Buckeyes and Noles prevail, the top 3 teams in the final poll will be FSU, MSU and OSU.  That's right...a pair of B1G teams in the top-3.  Heads will explode south of the Mason-Dixon.  A win tonight provides plenty ammo to shoot down the haters.

Ferio.  Tego.

D-Day0043's picture

^This^ Great point Nitrobuck. I never even thought about that. That would be awesome if the B1G had 2 teams in the top 3. Considering we got crucified for only beating Wisky and Iowa by a combined 17 points. Funny, the mighty $EC only beat those teams by a combined 17 points, because they are supposed to be SOOO much better. 

I am D-Day0043 and I approve this message.

FROMTHE18's picture

staying disciplined is the key for the defense. Over running plays and of course doing the usual missed tackles will kill us. On offense, Hyde...Hyde...and more Hyde. Keep the passing game simple and run the ball with El Guapo. Braxton should break a couple, but getting away from the Hyde run doomed us...hope Herman sticks with the big guy tonight.

sharks's picture

We could be running into a total buzzsaw if we don't bring the pain.

I think we should bring the pain.

On my cell, can't post Mr. T gif.

A man got to have a code...

Jonnferrell's picture

Here you go. . . 

"I miss Brady Hoke."

buckeyemanda's picture

Hyde through their D:

Edit: Oh, shoot! I was too late. Oh well, more Mr. T!

Jonnferrell's picture

You can never have too much Mr. T, fool!  LOL

"I miss Brady Hoke."

Scarlet_Lutefisk's picture

His wiki entry is hilarious.
I'm still bummed they didn't include him in The Expendables films.

trock's picture

We could also use a little juice....and by a little I mean a lot.

Barnsey69's picture

I'm still pissed about that raffle, I just know I would have won the autographed Love Boat poster.
That being said, I couldn't agree more with your take, and it makes me sick to do it.
AND that being said...Go Bucks.

Thank the Maker that I was born in Ohio, cradle of coaches, US Presidents, confederate-stomping Generals, and home of The Ohio State University Football Buckeyes- 2014 UNDISPUTED National Champions!

Nutinpa's picture

Some interesting and reasonably accurate points, DJ. 
It boils down to this:  Urban Meyer's football team has 2 signature wins in the past 2 seasons. 
Wisconsin in 2012 and 2013.  Yes, we have beaten TTUN both years, but nobody cares. The GAME has been supplanted by Bama vs. Auburn as the key, national match up in the media...until one of them starts to suck again...which is not likely. 
This game is 2 things:
1.  An otherwise meaningless exhibition bowl game.  
2. An early referendum on the Urban Meyer era at Ohio State.  A gaudy 24 game win streak only established Ohio State as the healthiest weed in the garden.  A win, even over a 2 loss Clemson team, means something going into next year.  A loss....and the crescendos of "over-rated" will be deafening.

trock's picture

The news cycle won't help OSU if we win either. Being a Friday night, you don't have the sports radio shows to talk about OSU. By Monday the game is old and they have a more important game to talk about. 
With that said, it is a must win. (obviously)

Jonnferrell's picture

The defense has to bring it, that's for sure.  Clemson is no pushover and we have to play our best.

"I miss Brady Hoke."

Young_Turk's picture

Sorry, but wrong.  Winning the game is not a "lose" situation.  Sure, haters will discount the victory, but really its time to stop caring about the perception, and only focus on results.  Glad we're leaving the beauty pageant and moving to a playoff.  Stop feeding the beauty pageant drama and who gives a flying fuck.


GoBucksToledo's picture

I couldn't agree with you more YT.  I'm getting tired of this forced self-loathing.  This is a very good team with nothing to be ashamed of, no matter what the national media narrative or SEC trolls have to say.
Every win is a good win and not every loss is a bad one.  As long as we don't beat ourselves, there is no reason why we shouldn't win tonight and, even if we don't, no need to agonize about it.

Jason Gruber's picture

If we lose tonight, we will officially be known as a good team in a shitty conference. A loss tonight will set us back for five years in the eyes of the nation. While our status as the preeminent team in the Big Ten will take a hit (Michigan State is the new darling to everyone) our "rating" among the national elite will be harmed in a way we may not be able to overcome anytime soon. Look at the schedule the next few years... We still don't have a big time game in the non conference until 2016 and that's against an up and down Oklahoma. Sure, we have Virginia Tech in 2014 and Northern Illinois in 2015, but this leaves us little room to overcome the perception of a team who beats up on little guys and conference foes who are very very weak. A loss tonight will cripple the perception of this program for years to come. 
No pressure...

"You win with people." Woody Hayes

"If winning isn't everything, why do we keep score?" Vince Lombardi

"¯\_(ツ)_/¯" Joey Bosa

gwalther's picture

Disagree with everything you said.
I remember guys making a similar argument before the BCS Title Game against LSU, and then before the Fiesta Bowl against Texas the following year. What happened? Oh, we won the Rose Bowl over an Oregon team with LaMichael James and LeGarrette Blount and then we won the Sugar Bowl over Ryan Mallett and Knile Davis.

Class of 2008

Jason Gruber's picture

The main difference between now and then is the performance of the Big Ten. During that time, the perception of the Big Ten was a lot better than it is now. We followed up our loss against LSU with wins over good Wisconsin and Michigan teams. Now, those wins don't carry the weight they used to. 

"You win with people." Woody Hayes

"If winning isn't everything, why do we keep score?" Vince Lombardi

"¯\_(ツ)_/¯" Joey Bosa

gwalther's picture

During our Rose Bowl and Sugar Bowl years the perception of the Big Ten was a lot better than it is now???? Hahaha. Bro, you have a short memory.
The experts picked Oregon to torch us and our "1968 offense" in the Rose Bowl, and the whole ramp up to the Sugar Bowl was, "can Ohio State beat an SEC team????"
PS - Michigan was 5-7 and 7-6 in the Rose Bowl and Sugar Bowl years, and Wisconsin's first trip to the Rose (which began to build their reputation) occurred in the same year as our Sugar Bowl win. And they lost that game. To Texas Christian University. Like 5 days before we played.
Come on, man.

Class of 2008

Buckeye Chuck's picture

A loss tonight will set us back for five years in the eyes of the nation.

I think you're overestimating how much the average fan cares about BCS bowls that aren't the national championship game. This goes for whether we win OR lose. Tomorrow the NFL playoffs start, and the Orange Bowl is a distant media memory. 
Having said that, I definitely don't buy into the "no win situation for Ohio State" argument. I think we've seen lots of evidence the last 48 hours that it's not a simple thing for a team to just miss out on the BCS title game and then come back to win its bowl. We'll get credit if we win. I don't worry about that in the least.

The most "loud mouth, disrespect" poster on 11W.

Jason Gruber's picture

I don't subscribe to the lose lose argument either. My point is a loss will be a huge blow to the program, not to mention the Big Ten. 

"You win with people." Woody Hayes

"If winning isn't everything, why do we keep score?" Vince Lombardi

"¯\_(ツ)_/¯" Joey Bosa

Baroclinicity's picture

Expecting the worst...hoping for the best.

When you're holding a hammer, everything looks like a nail.

Mikefletcher24's picture

We beat michigan: successful season, period.

Jason Gruber's picture

For we loyal fans, yes. For the national media, not even close. We have to be great every play or we are labeled as lucky and survive. 

"You win with people." Woody Hayes

"If winning isn't everything, why do we keep score?" Vince Lombardi

"¯\_(ツ)_/¯" Joey Bosa

AngryWoody's picture

 He is also the owner of Jack Kerouac's original manuscript for "On the Road", for which he paid $2.43 million.

That book sucked.

Our Honor Defend!

TilstheHun3's picture

While I definitely agree we have more to lose than win on this game, I still think a win would be more valuable than most people think. A win would mean 3 straight BCS bowl wins (Rose vs. Oregon, Sugar vs. Arkansas - yes, it did happen, Orange vs. Clemson - we hope) in 3 tries.
More than anything it would reaffirm Urban Meyer's success in major bowl games, which could help our perception down the road... I mean, sooner or later people are going to have to accept UFM is our coach now, right?

What is this? A center for ants?!? How can we be expected to teach children to learn how to read if they can't even fit inside the building?

Go1Bucks's picture

could have been stated in one line with no comments...
"OSU must win"
Go Bucks!

Go Bucks!

Whosisbrew's picture

I have to disagree with all of this, my good sir.
You're viewing this almost exclusively through the goggles of B1G/conference perception, which, outside of having to watch grown men yell at each other on television about it, is more or less meaningless. Win or lose, network blowhards or going to say the same crap at the start of next season anyway. Even if the B1G won all of its games this post-season, they'd still bring out the same stale criticisms of the conference that they do every season.
And I simply refuse to let that get me down. I want Ohio State to win this game because I want to see my boys end a terrific season on a high note. A win in an Orange Bowl isn't going to change anyone's mind about anything. That's not why I'm watching this game. I refuse to watch it as the irate, agitated fan that ESPN wants me to be, chasing thin, imagined concepts of heightened "perception" that will never come to fruition anyway. I'm watching this game as an Ohio State fan, wanting to see Hyde roll one more time, wanting to see Shazier get what might be his last strip sack or TFL as a Buckeye, and wanting to see my team get a win against a quality opponent and end this season right.

WC Buckeye's picture


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

New Orleans's picture

Ohio State loses even if it wins?
Aaaaarrrrrggghhh! I am so tired of this meme, which treats the Buckeyes as perpetual victims. No respect, even when we win.
If we win (and I'm confident we will), win with class. If we lose, lose with class. That's how you earn respect.

Arizona_Buckeye's picture

The perception of OSU can only be repaired by winning games like this!  MSU beating Stanford was a backdoor compliment to OSU in the fact that it legitimized MSU as a top tier team this year and thus, takes some of the sting out of losing.  We can cap that off with a win over Clemson and start to repair the damage!
I do not believe it is a lose - lose situation but one of rebuilding our image, regardless of how misinformed it is.

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

Whosisbrew's picture

No one is looking at Michigan State's victory in the Rose Bowl and thinking "Oh, look, Ohio State's actually pretty good!" This is all in our heads. Ohio State - or any team, really - doesn't need other teams to win to make itself feel better about its "perception." You want to improve your "image," whatever that's worth, you win.

Run_Fido_Run's picture

Hypothetically, though, if there were a four team invitational to be played after this year's bowls and NCG, selected by committee, then MSU's victory in the Rose Bowl would likely effect how a committee would view Ohio State, even if most fans don't think that way. Not because MSU's win changes the "image" of Ohio State, but because it changes the data analyses. 
Now, obviously, this year's postseason results won't matter to the actual playoff selection committee next year. My point is that a committee - flawed as it will be - probably won't be as beholden to lazy narratives as are fans and media hacks. It will be the job of committee members to try to step outside of that "conventional wisdom." They'll only partially succeed at that task, and fail entirely in other respects, but they wouldn't simply ignore an important data point like MSU beating Stanford late in the season.

Whosisbrew's picture

I still think it comes down to performing on the field, now more than ever. Ohio State didn't play for a title this year because they lost to Michigan State. It's that simple. It wasn't the "narrative" that sealed the deal, or the conference not holding up its end of the supposed bargain. And, correct me if I'm wrong, but wouldn't playoff matchups and seeding be determined before the Rose Bowl would be played anyway?

Run_Fido_Run's picture

You're probably right, in many cases. If the Big Ten champ next year is undefeated, they'll have "performed on the field" and will be in the four team playoff; however, if the Big Ten champ has one-loss, they'll probably need to cross their fingers that the selection committee criteria and process work in their favor.
If that one-loss Big Ten champ does get selected, then your reasoning implies that therefore "they performed on the field"; if they don't get selected for the four team playoff, assuming the same on field results but a different verdict from the committee, then presumably you'll say that they didn't perform on the field. See the difficulty with this line of reasoning?   

Whosisbrew's picture

A one-loss Big Ten team is going to have a hard time getting invited to the dance, regardless of the variables. In that regard we agree. A one-loss Big Ten team, in my eyes, will have performed on the field. The committee will see what it wants to see. My point is that, at this juncture, I've lost a lot of faith in the idea that conference bowl records play a big hand in swaying opinion. I firmly believe that if the B1G won every bowl game it played this post-season, we would be hearing the same crap we always hear next season.

Run_Fido_Run's picture

Whosisbrew: I agree that even if the Big Ten won every bowl game, we'd be hearing a lot of the same crap next year, although it might be mildly tempered. Fans' perceptions operate kind of like ideology, so that inconvenient, or seemingly contradictory, evidence gets filtered out, rationalized, or ignored altogether. We mostly agree in that respect. 

Arizona_Buckeye's picture

Actually I've seen the difference on the boards across the Internet and it has certainly had a change from OSU is overrated because they lost the only game they played their strongest opponent to realizing that MSU is all of that and a bag of chips.  It most certainly lessened the severity of our loss - IMHO

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

gravey's picture

the sky is falling. the sky is falling.  the sky is falling.
i don't hear you or ESPN.
We're 24-1 over the past two seasons.  Enjoy.

Brutus's picture

First off, we will win.
Second, a win will not hurt perception in any way, but it may not help all that much either.  People will just argue that Clemson wasn't that good, which is something many of us were arguing while they were jumping us in the polls.  Haters gonna hate.  Nothing we can do about that.
Last, and to the point about what this means for the Big Ten, a win would mean that there will be two B10 teams ranked in the top 4 to end the season and possibly two in the top 3 depending on how things go in the championship game.  That's where the perception of the B1G starts to change.  Now, I'm not really sold on this argument that the perception of the rest of the conference defines who the Buckeyes are as a team, but if that is indeed the case, then a win tonight is a win for the B1G which by the logic above, is another win for the Buckeyes.
So in the words of Jake Taylor, well then I guess there's just one thing left to do...

Run_Fido_Run's picture

I won't say that the media narratives will become unimportant once the playoff starts next year. If the Big Ten champion has one loss, negative perceptions of the conference could bite them.
However, the selection committee members will have it drilled into their heads that previous seasons ought to have no bearing whatsoever on their selection criteria - this message will be repeated so often that it will become an article of faith on that committee.

Larryp713's picture

I must respectfully disagree with this. Bowl games are about matchups and momentum more than a true evaluation of a team's standing in the world of college Football. Fans make a bigger deal out of it when it reinforces bias or through pure fandom.
I see this so often in bowl games - a team looks like they are wounded and should lose prior to kickoff, and they come up with a great performance, either individual or as a team. The best Buckeye bowl games of recent memory, in my opinion, were bowls I thought they might be flat or matched up against difficult teams for what they do. The Rose bowl against Oregon seemed to be a bad matchup to me, as did the Fiesta bowl against Texas and the Sugar bowl against Arkansas. In all those games, I was very proud of how the Buckeyes came out and competed.
The defensive woes are a great concern, no doubt. But I have to believe that Meyer used every psychological tool in the chest to get the defense fired up. There are so many great athletes on that side of the ball, and I think you are going to see their best effort. Not knocking Clemson, but I see an angry Buckeyes team getting a W tonight.



northwest_buckeye's picture

While I don't agree with everything DJ said in the article, a good amount of it is true. Like it or not fellow Buckeyes, but he makes some good points.
While the media's perception of Ohio State and the B1G may not be reality, it certainly helps to shape GenPop's impression of tOSU. And that impression gets to recruits eventually, which is what concerns me.
I don't give a rat's fat ass what that empty-skulled dipshit Paul Finebaum thinks... Or any other talking head on the four-letter network, for that matter. But giving those people more ammo to slam tOSU as weak and a non-factor is a problem. Winning tonight solves that problem.

I've never said I 'hate' anyone because that would imply I had any emotion for them whatsoever.

buckeyebean81's picture

We fans will continue to be faithfully allegiant win or lose. 
No excuses, just WIN. Let perception take care of itself.

d5k's picture

The elite teams in the SEC are all replacing quality QB's with the exception of Auburn who basically has an option QB.  Shaw, McCarron, Mettenberger, Murray, Franklin and Manziel (would be shocked if he came back...) are all gone.  That could end up being win-win as if 2 SEC teams get in the playoff and both lose their brand is tarnished or the committee could realize the SEC is back to the pack enough to warrant picking 4 conference winners.

Buckeyebiddaddy's picture

All we can do if enjoy  the wins because haters will continue to hate.
ESPN has been reporting all day how the SEC is having a down year because of loss in Sugar bowl...wait  a minute, what was I thinking, they only report that story when a Big Ten team losses... They can't have their only  competition, the BTN, have a product people want to watch.

Crumb's picture

Just win baby win.

"The only good thing about it is winning the d*** thing" - Urban Meyer on The Game The War

BuckeyeDynasty's picture

Why do we care so much about what the B1G/Ohio State haters say?? They are mostly Morons, If you listen to them and actually care about what they say, then yes I suppose you can view a Orange Bowl win as a "Loss", although that would be a ludicrous viewpoint IMO, no reasonable person can argue that at this point a Orange Bowl would not be a big time win for the buckeyes, I don't care who its against, also realize that no matter WHAT Ohio State achieves nay sayers will find a way to Minimalize our accomplishment, there will always be a reason for why our win "didnt matter" or "wasn't impressive", trust me, these people will find a way to break down anything positive we do and turn it into a negative, just let them do what they do, Its actually a good thing that they hate, its the ramifications of consistent success, we win more games in 5 years than alot of programs win in 20, i can understand the dislike. Anyways, fuck em
Go Bucks!

ScarletNGrey01's picture

A BCS bowl game watched by millions against a quality opponent, I would hope the kids could get stoked for that.  I bet Carlos Hyde will be chomping at the bit, he always is.

The will to win is not as important as the will to prepare to win. -- Woody Hayes

Deadly Nuts's picture

We have never lost in alternate uni's!