Well, let me begin by saying that that was depressing. I am not sure why, but when our offensive drive following Wisky's kickoff return TD did not produce points, I got a horrible feeling in my gut. When we settled for 3 before halftime, I started to see smoke coming from the pile of hopes and dreams I had built during the spring and summer. When we were down ten with under 6 to go and went three and out and punted, that pile was already completely ablaze. So, what do we make of these ashes?
Well, let me first say that I am an optimist, so if you think the following is sugarcoated, you are reading me wrong. I want to be able to look forward to what precious little remains of this college football season, and, as such, I apply my optimism and take away the following:
- First, I'd rather lose this game to the Badgers than be embarrassed in another MNC game. The bittersweet portion of this observation is that I don't think we would be embarrassed by an Oregon, an Oklahoma, or a Boise State. Not so sure about LSU, Auburn, or Bama.
- Second, you'd have to think that after last night we will be seeing the offseason hiring of a special teams coach. We need this, obviously. We have the personnel to adequately cover kicks and protect field goal kickers. Execution and discipline are the issues then, and these are issues easily solved with coaching. Yes, the offense didn't execute at critical moments (1st offensive series, the 1st and goal from the 3 yard line, the responsive drive down 28-18). And the defensive got pushed around at the line of scrimmage, and had lapses at key times in the secondary. But special teams cost us this game. The box score shows shockingly close stats between the two teams: (First downs 22 OSU/21 Wisky; 3rd down % 46%/50%; 4th down conversions 1/1 to 1/1; Total yds 311/336; passing yards 156/152; completion % 50% / 50%; rushing yards 155/184; turnovers 1/1; Time of possession 30:06/29:57). A missed FG and a kickoff return TD is a 10 point swing, basically the margin of difference.
- Third, I think last weekend's loss adds great foundation and weight to TP's previous statements that he will be coming back for his Senior year.
- Fourth, at some point the Jim Bollman issue needs to be addressed. I know last year's end of season streak of dominant running performances saved his job, but will it be enough two years in a row? Given the talent we have recruited at the position, and the lack of development (and some would say regression) we see there, how can JT ignore this anymore? I don't think Bollman is generally to blame for individual losses as much as some of the fan base believes, but when you don't see development across entire college careers, I think you have problems.
Okay, now for a few random other thoughts:
- Having almost certainly lost a chance to play for the MNC, please, football gods, place us in a bowl against either i) Boise State (or I guess TCU), or ii) and SEC team that is both a traditional power and perceived to be "good" by the national media (Bama, Auburn: yes; Arkansas, USC, not so much). Either one of these games will provide intrigue and chance for the Bucks to prove something. To play a big role in the BCS-buster discussion by knocking Boise State in the teeth would great; to get the SEC-monkey off our back against a Bama or an Auburn would be even better.
- Devier Posey, get yo head out yo a$$. And stop eating the same food as T Wash. Its infected.
- What happened to getting the ball into Zoom's hands in inventive ways. 1 touch for 15 yards?
- Dane and Boom, you are real Buckeyes. Please continue. You aren't gone yet, but I already miss you. Does anyone know if Boom has said anything about coming back?
- What happens in this game if Moeller and CJ are healthy? Anything different? I say we still lose bc of special teams, but by a lot less.
Sigh. Ok, let's move on, hope for a meaningful bowl game, and do some damage along the way. Dropping 50+ on Purdue next weekend would be a nice start. Also, as much as I hate to root against Dantonio, let's hope Sparty and the Badgers both falter somewhere and we can salvage a shared B10 championship.