The Rose Bowl result was one of Ohio State's greatest bowl performances. And it was uniquely special seeing so many young stars step up in a record-setting way. The only downside was the undesired path there - not as Big Ten champions, or as a CFP participant, but instead by backing our way in with a painful loss in Ann Arbor. The entire build up was strange as well as we had star players opting out and the Rose Bowl opponent, rather than a traditional Pasadena foe like USC, UCLA, Washington, or Oregon, was a Utah team that is relatively new to P5 football.
Last year's Sugar Bowl win over Clemson was utterly satisfying; appeasing at least a fair amount of the frustrations of 1978, 2013, 2016, and especially 2019's matchups. The stage was certainly bigger as a CFP semifinal, but in this case it was the season that makes it strange - one in which no fans attended the bulk of the games and for which the schedule was riddled with delays and cancellations. In this case, the letdown came a week later as a Buckeye team decimated by Covid testing faced a stacked Bama in the NCG and was routed.
But assessed as single games, rather than as part of the entire seasons, both the 2020-21 Sugar and 2021-22 Rose bowl performances were spectacular. So which one was more satisfying? Finally stomping Clemson, or the amazing comeback in Pasadena which will serve as a springboard to 2022?