Ohio State, Big Ten Continue Fighting National Perception Issues

By Kyle Rowland on April 29, 2014 at 8:30a
32 Comments

There have been few 24-game win streaks like it. No national championship, no conference championship, zero wins over top-15 opponents.

Two years of wins piled up and came tumbling down in a heap of fraud claims and ‘I told you so’s.’” Ohio State couldn’t avoid the questions of legitimacy that have plagued the program since Urban Meyer’s Florida Gators humiliated the Buckeyes in January 2007.

It’s been more than three years – 40 games to be exact – since Ohio State defeated an opponent ranked in the top 10. It was Jim Tressel’s final game as head coach, and even it has been erased from the record books. The Buckeyes can blame themselves and put guilt on the Big Ten.

When Meyer was hired in 2011, he said Ohio State wasn’t broken. He quickly proved that by going 12-0 with a group of players that lost a school-record seven games the previous season. Meyer’s also tweaked the Big Ten, urging coaches to up their recruiting prowess and win marquee games. He’s lived up to his reputation as a stout recruiter, but hasn’t gotten over the national perception hump.

A new season presents new opportunities, though the outlook isn’t as sunny as last year’s forecast. In a national championship or bust year, the Buckeyes went kaboom.  But Ohio State still figures to be involved in the inaugural College Football Playoff. To do so, it will need to shore up a new offensive line, hope Ezekiel Elliott and Co. replenish a backfield that’s lost Carlos Hyde’s production and trust in a top-five recruiting class. And don’t forget about that pesky secondary.

But the true indicator will come the second Saturday in November. Ohio State travels to Michigan that weekend. In 2014, though, East Lansing is enemy territory, not Ann Arbor. If the Buckeyes win in a hostile environment over a top-10 team, it will up their national standing and boost their resume for the playoff.

Many questions linger around Ohio State. There are personnel issues and schedules being pondered. How about two-time Big Ten offensive player of the year Braxton Miller? Will his shoulder be OK? Will he take more punishing hits? The new defensive coaches must mesh together, with Chris Ash correcting a muddied secondary.

The true barometer remains marquee wins. A non-conference slate of Navy, Virginia Tech, Kent State and Cincinnati is improved from last year’s bakery. But the Big Ten schedule is brimming with cupcakes, cream puffs and marshmallows. No Wisconsin, no Nebraska, no Iowa. There is, however, Maryland, Rutgers, Illinois and Indiana. Michigan is at home, leaving Michigan State as the only real opportunity to impress a legion of non-believers.

Any amount of losses, be it one or three, will strengthen the narrative surrounding Ohio State and the Big Ten. Overrated, slow and plodding would be of the most popular adjectives. The debate about whether they’re correct could go on for days. But there’s evidence of a gap on the offensive and defensive lines. It’s seen when Big Ten and SEC teams play and by glancing at NFL rosters. The Big Ten’s NFL Draft low moment came last April when it was almost shut out of the first round.

In the past decade, you’d think pundits were discussing the Mountain West or Sun Belt when hurling insults in the direction of Jim Delany’s empire. It’s due in part to Michigan, Penn State and Nebraska’s struggles – three traditional powers that may as well be named Oregon State, Virginia and Iowa State.

Two-thirds of the conference ranked outside the top 50 in the Sagarin Ratings last season, while leagues such as the SEC and Pac-12 were featured prominently.

Through it all, the conference’s superior brand hasn’t taken a hit. The Big Ten is still rich in money and power. But the on-field results haven’t yielded positive returns.

In a what-have-you-done-for-me-lately generation, irrelevance is creeping into the Midwest. 

32 Comments

Comments

jamesrbrown322's picture

One of the best things OSU has going for it is Meyer. Seriously, ESPN LOVES him. So that should help. Ultimately, the best scenario for the Buckeyes is to run through the competition this year, with MSU's only loss coming to OSU and defeating a team with two or fewer losses in B1G Title game, then beating two SEC teams on the way to a national title. Until that happens, along with some B1G bowl and headline non-conference success, probably nothing will change.

Until then, here's a message for eSECpn and the other "pundits."

Yep...

 

"I can accept failure, but I cannot accept not trying." - W.W. Hayes

+19 HS
D-Day0043's picture

I agree. The only way the perception changes is to get it done when it counts - on the field. While our schedule is better than last year, the pundits are still going to say it is soft because we don't play any $EC teams. Any highly ranked B1G team we beat will be discounted because they are in the B1G, so we are damned if we do and damned if we don't. We simply have to beat the $EC in the postseason to get any respect nationally. 

The good news is that most of the top $EC teams have lost their quarterbacks, so now is the time to capitalize and get it done.

Where in the hell did you find a Mr. Rodgers giving the finger GIF? Lol!

I am D-Day0043 and I approve this message.

+4 HS
PJ33's picture

Mr. Rogers was singing a song about fingers one at a time. Pretty funny though. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D7jh94L6QaY

+5 HS
Go1Bucks's picture

The first televised double bird.  Wonder if it got him a suspension?

Go Bucks!

+2 HS
OSU_1992_UFM's picture

I see what you did there....

UFM_Renewal

+1 HS
UrbanCulture's picture

I think some losses in the past two years could have helped the coaches realize that you can't ignore defensive issues due to wins piling up.

"Did we win? Did we win?"

+3 HS
osu407's picture

How helpful the Michigan State game is for our perception may rely heavily on Michigan State's game against Oregon in early September.  If they lose, many people will dismiss last years MSU team as a fluke and even if (read as when) we beat them it won't help us nearly as much as we would like.

+1 HS
buckskin's picture

That national title in 02 tasted so much sweeter due to our national perception compared to Miami. It will be even better the next time we win it.

+7 HS
Ahh Saturday's picture

The Buckeyes problem is not merely one of perception.  We lost to the only two good teams we played last year and one of those "good" teams was humiliated by FSU.  The Buckeyes weren't perceived to have choked away the last two game, we just plain lost them.  One of the reasons that those losses stung as much as they did was the fact that there was no chance at redemption until the playoff.  Beating VT won't do a thing to silence critics, same with Navy and UC.  Even beating MSU won't do it, nor should it.  The Buckeyes can prove nothing until the playoff.  They can prove nothing to their critics, their fans, or even themselves until they take down a top OOC opponent.  Hope it makes for a hungry football team.

+7 HS
CGroverL's picture

I don't buy that whole ""We lost to the only two good teams we played last year and one of those "good" teams was humiliated by FSU"...WHY! I'll give you 3 reasons: Reason #1 is UPSETS. Any team that finishes with 8 wins has what it takes to pull off an upset. Upsets happen all of the time and the Buckeyes avoid them, more than most teams seem to avoid those upsets...in fact, when it comes to coming back in games that they are supposed to win, recent history says the Buckeyes come back and win whether it takes a defensive stop or a last second "hail mary" type pass. Reason #2 is simple...you cannot judge how a game will turn out by comparing previous games. In no way can you ever do that. Just because FSU thumped Clemson and Clemson beat our beloved Buckeyes means nothing. Did our Buckeyes get thumped? I'll tell you this; Ohio State's loss to Clemson DOES NOT mean that Florida State would have thumped Ohio State......which, in part, brings me to #3....How many teams out there REALLY CAN THUMP OUR BUCKEYES. I can remember a 35-3 loss to USC but I can think of no other thumpings that the Buckeyes have taken in recent years...NOT EVEN IN 2011 when their record was 6-7. This whole "perception" is a problem that is wrong and just happens to be going against our Bucks. It's the price you pay for having the LARGEST fanbase in college football. It creates hate and people think of that hate so much that they start to believe their garbage that they READ. If the Bucks were so bad, they would have been upset a time, two, or three against teams that they were big favorites in....but they always come back and win those games. It is a mark of great teams. This is all about perception, and the perception is espin supported horsecrap......I can't believe you are buying into it. The Ohio State Football team  is going to a tough game for any of the best teams in football in almost EVERY SEASON...Don't ya think. I think that makes a great team year in and year out and FEW teams can say that.

"I hope they're last in everything"

Thanks, Urb!

+3 HS
btalbert25's picture

The only problem is Clemson feasted on bad teams all year too, much like Ohio State.  Then lost to 2 really good teams they played pretty badly.  It's fair to question our season based on not winning those 2 games against good teams at the end of the year.  It's also fair to judge it based on how a VERY mediocre Michigan team probably should have beat us.  Had Brady Hoke played a little Tresselball we probably don't come out of that game undefeated. We can be judged on the 12 wins but we can also be judged on the close call with Buffalo and the way too much offense Cal had etc. 

Was FSU really 7 TD's better than Clemson?  Maybe not.  Would FSU have beat us by that much?  It's impossible to say, my guess is they would have got it done by at least 3 TD's though.  Our D wasnt capable of winning a title and that game would have been Ugly.  At the end of the day, Clemson was us.  Good enough to get the job done against a lot of teams on a shitty schedule, but not good enough to beat the really good teams on their schedule.  Yes, I'm saying South Carolina was very good. 

This, to me, is where perception is reality.  South Carolina, A&M, Auburn, Missouri, and Bama would have won or been in contention to win any conference.  I think any of those teams could have finished ahead of MSU or us.  They certainly were far better than anything else in the conference.  South Carolina was the 2nd best team in their division, possibly the 4th best team in the conference and they beat the 2nd best team in the ACC comfortably.  I'd take any of the above mentioned teams over Oregon or Stanford.  Oklahoma impressed in their bowl game with Bama, but don't Saban's teams always shit the bed when they don't play for the title? (except when they play a B1G team in a bowl game).  

+2 HS
Furious George 27's picture

As long as OSU plays in the CCG, they would play the best of the trio of Nebraska, Wisky and Iowa assuming 1 makes it to the CCG. If MD avoids injury and IU gets a D they could be much better than expected.

Yeah, well…that’s just like, your opinion, man.

+1 HS
CGroverL's picture

What is the CCG? Duh.....Conference Championship Game, right? I'm stooopid. It does seem at this point that the east is a bit tougher than the west, doesn't it? It is east and west, not north and south or legends and lepers or anything like that, right? Damn...I'm a "stat guy" too. and I'm lost.

I guess that's what happens to people like me. I'm opposed to playoffs, was opposed to the BCS, Bowl Alliance, and the Bowl Coalition. If it were up to me, I'd probably not even have a computer because "progress peaked with frozen pizza". Last, I can never resist to quote John McClane (Bruce Willis in Die Hard 2).

"I hope they're last in everything"

Thanks, Urb!

CC's picture

It’s been more than two years – 27 games to be exact – since Ohio State defeated an opponent ranked in the top 10. It was Jim Tressel’s final game as head coach, and even it has been erased from the record books. The Buckeyes can blame themselves and put guilt on the Big Ten.

Hasn't it actually been worse? 39 games since Tress was the coach.

+1 HS
Nicholas Jervey's picture

Everyone wants to forget about 2011.

Ceci n'est pas une signature.

jamesrbrown322's picture

If the NCAA doesn't count 2010, then we don't count 2011.

"I can accept failure, but I cannot accept not trying." - W.W. Hayes

+4 HS
DCNick's picture

OSU losing to Michigan State actually helped the perception of the Big Ten. People are now willing to accept that there are at least two elite teams in the Big Ten.

+3 HS
PoKeY21's picture

That's actually a good point. MSU did do a lot to help the perception. Beating Stanford after that really helped too and with Franklin rolling on the recruiting trail that should help out a little. If we could only get Nebraska and Iowa to get their shit together and do something about Ferentz and Pelini the B1G might turn it around. But Fuck scUM I hope they lose forever and perception be damned!

When my time on earth is gone, and my activities here are passed, I want they bury me upside down, and my critics can kiss my ass - Robert Knight

JohnnyKozmo's picture

That and MSU beating Stanford.  If they hadn't done that, it would have been even worse for tOSU.

Young_Turk's picture

The job isn't to replace Carlos Hyde.  It's to replace the offensive line.  Replace Carlos would be easy if we had the same line as last year.  Go look up the stats for YPC for every back last year.  All are comparable to Carlos.  The job is to reload at O-line.  We'll be fine with our stable of backs as long as the line comes together.  

+2 HS
Max Power's picture

I wouldnt go as far as saying that replacing Hyde would he easy if we returned the same O line. While I agree that replacing last years line is no easy task, neither is replacing one of the better RBs OSU has fielded in the last decade. I dont think there has been a running back who was as reliant as Hyde since Eddie George graced the field. Beanie Wells is a solid argument but Hyde is a stronger runner IMO. I think El Guapo has a unique blend of speed and power that is rarely seen in a running back. Braxton stole much of the limelight from Carlos, but without 34 on the roster, tOSU doesnt even make it to the B1G championship last season. Had he not been suspended for 3 games, he would have rushed for more yards than Wells did in his sophmore year. Replacing Hyde will be no easy task. I think many fans took Hydes importance for granted. Although Brax won Offensive POY in the B1G, Hyde was the teams MVP last year

+2 HS
Young_Turk's picture

You really can't compare Beanie and Carlos.  I'd take Beanie in every situation.  Carlos benefits from...the best O-line since Pace and co...the best system ever...some of the best blocking WR's ever....a all-time weak B1G....a very easy schedule....and dual threat Braxton.  

If you want to compare backs, compare Carlos against Frosh Eze, or career backup JHall from last year.  What were their YPC compared to Carlos?  The data reveals he was not as special as everybody is trying to make him out to be.  Yes, his stats are very glossy compared to backs of prior years, but those stats are apples and oranges.  

Carlos was reliable (except when he wasn't), was able to win a yard at the line of scrimmage (except when he couldn't), didn't fumble the ball (except when he did).  He was a good, reliable back.  He was not great.  IMHO.  

Last years team is a difficult one to talk about MVP.  Braxton missed significant time (as did Hyde).  Hard to give it to a defensive player based on the D's stats, but RDS comes to mind.  O-line never gets a MVP, but if you had to go unit first, then player in the unit, it's Jack.  

 

chemicalwaste's picture

I have to disagree with the second to last paragraph. Every player had those moments. Walter Payton had those moments. Dickerson had those moments. Thurman Thomas. Eddie George. The way carlos runs with authority and his ability to run over tacklers, just some of the things that make him great.

DC-town's picture

This is non-sense...if you're talking about the sec chanters, you're not going to truly shut them up until you beat an sec team in the playoffs-

until then, look the part on the field and dominate the big 10, pass the eyeball test, that's all we can do.  Don't squeak by a mediocre northwestern team and expect props.  But if we go out and house v tech, cincy, etc- the sec might not show us love, but we'll have all the respect we need-

'Piss excellence' -RB

+1 HS
Will in Arizona's picture

The Virginia Tech game scares me - it will be a major challenge for a rebuilt offensive line.  Their offense is pretty bad and will be replacing a three year starter at QB, but their defense was elite last year, including making Alabama's offense look inept at the beginning of last season.  They are a team that could go 7-5, but with a win over Ohio State, all but eliminating the Buckeyes from the playoffs.

mr.green's picture

This is a legitimate worry. But part of the perception is that we would be worried at all about VTech. They are par with Penn State, IMO. Teams we should be able to beat easily because they don't have any depth but teams with winning histories that make our fan base nervous. 

HENRYJONESJR's picture

I really do not think the loss to MSU helped OSU.  If OSU had won - MSU still would have played in the Rose Bowl and beat Stanford thus two teams better than them.  Unless they were playing Stanford football at that time.  

btalbert25's picture

Isn't it time to accept that the B1G being inferior isn't just perception, it's reality.  This article tells us everything we need to know.  The B1G almost had no one drafted in the first round.  The NFL doesn't give a damn about ESPN agendas or whatever other kind of nonsense people believe in.  Look at 247's recruiting rankings last year.  1 team from the B1G was in the TOP 19!!!!!  Kentucky's class was almost better than the B1G's 2nd best class, Michigan.  Right now, UK football is recruiting as well as a blue blood program like Michigan.  8 teams in the conference finished out of the top 50 of Saragrain's rankings.  

The B1G is horrible, really bad.  I love the Buckeyes and agree they aren't just the best team in a crappy conference, they've had some great teams, but they've had some that weren't so great that ended up highly ranked because of the shit conference too.  I think if you had flopped Georgia, South Carolina, LSU, and Florida with Ohio State for Tressel's runs here any of those programs would have very similar runs.  Ohio State likely would have been a very good SEC team that perhaps lost 1-4 games per year and been highly respected.  

I'm not going to debate reasons for why certain programs recruit so much better, quite frankly that's all just excuses.  Bottom line Michigan, Nebraska, and Penn State should never be getting out recruited or at least having similar classes as a school like UK, who was just outside the top 20 and was what the 10th best class in the SEC? 

+1 HS
CGroverL's picture

I apologize for my rant earlier....to a fellow member of Buckeye Nation. I was talking about how the Buckeyes avoid upsets while I was watching Ohio State @ Northwestern, 2013...which is ANOTHER game that the Buckeyes should have lost but won anyway. Ohio State has been doing this for years, never got really blown out during their awful 2011 season, and are a threat to the other team in EACH AND EVERY GAME THEY PLAY IN. People talk about not beating a top 15 or a top 10 team.....Two seasons ago, Tennessee started the year unranked, beat NC State and Georgia State (FCS team that finished the season 1-10), and afterwards, were ranked #23. Their season after that was miserable and they finished in the bottom quarter of the SEC with their only SEC win coming against Kentucky...they got ranked, though and finished with a (1-7) record in the SEC.

In that same season, Northwestern started the season unranked, and after they won their first 2 games, they remained unranked (one win was against Vanderbilt, an SEC team that finished a great season RANKED). Northwestern then won their 3rd, 4th, and 5th games of the year and finally got into the poll at #24. Now....the Wildcats lost their next game, and were wiped from the polls.

There is a problem with perception. The perception is 100% unfair and is put totally on the shoulders of Ohio State while they blame the entire conference. At least some justice was done in 2012...Northwestern finished 10-3 and ranked #17 after beating Mississippi State (the 2nd SEC team they beat in that season) in their bowl game. Vanderbilt also had a great season as they ended up finishing (9-4) after winning in their bowl game over NC State....they finished at # 23....

Say what you want...but if Northwestern had finished with the same record as Vanderbilt in 2012, Vanderbilt would have finished ranked higher than Northwestern. In the final AP Poll of the 2012 season, 5 of the top 9 ranked teams came from the SEC. The highest ranked 1-loss team came from the SEC, the highest ranked 2-loss team came from the SEC, and the highest ranked 3-loss team came from the SEC........There is a perception problem....When will it end?

No research was done (in over a year) for all of the garbage that I wrote. I spent months saying it over and over to SEC fans on another site after the 2012 season...my rankings were all from the AP. I remembered all of that garbage, Do you know why? Because that is what PERCEPTION takes away from good football teams and everyone thinks I'm crazy...Am I? Maybe so...Go Bucks!!

"I hope they're last in everything"

Thanks, Urb!

nikolajz1's picture

We really blew a chance last year losing to Clemson. The B1G going 2-0 in BCS bowls along with our lower level teams keeping up with the SEC would have started to turn the tide. 

+1 HS