This subject of a "successful season", or not, is simply a matter of expectations. Some years the Buckeyes might not know who their QB will be, might have lost most or all of their offensive and defensive playmakers, and might be replacing half of the lines. In such a season, 11-1 would represent a tremendous accomplishment.
This particular team returned the vast majority of the components of a national championship team. Their schedule was very manageable. They were deemed a consensus #1 team, and the team with the most talent - and it was thought there was a significant gap between them and the rest of CFB (which probably was never true, but still they were "loaded"). Based simply on the roster, they should win the East, B1G, and be in position to have a chance to repeat as national champions. They beat VT on the road, looking great in the 1st qtr, taking the 2nd qtr off, and then dominating in the second half. They ughed their way past Hawaii, N Illinois, and W Michigan. They won, but didn't look anything like a dominant #1 team. They had a QB situation in the process of being mismanaged, they had the curses and temptations of success to deal with, and they were described as playing "uninspired" and looking "bored". They showed offensive and defensive problems as they narrowly beat Indiana, and then Maryland. Finally, vs. Penn State they looked like they were finding themselves. JT Barrett established himself as the starter, and excepting Barkley running through the defense like a bad taco, there was team momentum which was built on when the Buckeyes played a complete, dominant game vs an out-manned Rutgers. Then JT decided to break all that up with his arrest. Ohio State looked like less than world-beaters in wins over Minnesota and Illinois. But it was OK because the season really began against Sparty, and they would "flip a switch" and be as good as they needed to be. The weather and Ohio State's coaches took away the OSU passing game, Sparty was inspired, and was the better team that day in that stadium in those conditions. They were better prepared, wanted it more, and Ohio State looked confused, weak, and inept. Once Sparty freed them from their winning streak and spotless record, they go up to AA and finally look like a great team, but the loss the previous week made it too little way too late.
Long story short, I enjoyed 4 games this year: VT, PSU, Rutgers, and scUM. The other games I was confused and frustrated at what I was seeing, and not understanding why I was seeing it. This was a successful season? No. This team's potential was squandered, and they played far below that potential in 8 of 12 games. Was the season a failure? Of course not. 11-1 says so. But you can win all but one game, not look good doing it, and it can end up costing you all of your post-season goals. The real question is whether 2nd in the East, no B1G championship, and no playoff appearance represents success? Not this year it doesn't.