Patrick quotes Bennett saying:
“Our goals are still there, we’ve gotta keep getting better each week. We don’t have time to really worry about who says what about us because we’ve never really been the crowd favorite so we’ve just gotta keep chugging along, keep getting better and then just whatever happens, happens and they can say whatever they want.”
That's right. It's fun for us to talk Buckeye football here at 11W, but on the field talk is cheap. Either the team gets better or it doesn't. What the team can control is winning the Big Ten championship. It cannot control how other games or the selection committee process shake out.
Right on cue, though, in the very next paragraph, Patrick writes:
But the other thing about that loss to the Hokies isn’t just that it forces Ohio State to redefine what reasonable expectations are: it also offered a slew of reasons for why the Buckeyes might only be the second or third best team in a watered down conference.
Obviously, the coaches and players have no business pondering whether they're only the second or third best team in a crappy conference, so I assume that Patrick is addressing the fans here. But, to me, the same principle that Bennett so eloquently captures also applies to my expectations for the team - ignore all the outside "narratives" and instead focus on the team's on-the-field improvement (or, if it so happens, lack thereof).
I expect the team to win the rest of their games and thus win the Big Ten championship. What's the point in lowering my expectations to those of third-rate programs? To make for a softer fall if they fail again? No, lowering my expectations won't make it any easier for me to stomach lack of improvement, whereas if this team does improve, they should beat every team remaining on their schedule.