How a Win Against Oregon Could Launch the Start of an Ohio State Dynasty

By Tim Shoemaker on January 8, 2015 at 8:35 am
Urban and Zeke raise the trophy.

It's a term you're often reluctant to throw out there without some real hard evidence. A term that doesn't come along too often.

It's one that has been associated with an Alabama program which had three national championships in four seasons from 2009-12, and one with the Miami teams in the early 2000s.

A dynasty is something that, in the college football world, is rare.

The key to forming a dynasty is, of course, winning championships. And not just a singular championship, either, it has to be multiple titles in a short span of time.

Neither Ohio State nor Oregon can cement themselves as a dynasty with a win Monday night in the College Football Playoff National Championship, but could a win for the Buckeyes be the start of one?

It may sound crazy at the moment, but when you look at Ohio State's roster it's may not be so far-fetched.

Eleven of Ohio State's starters listed on the team's depth chart are either freshmen or sophomores. Key juniors such as Taylor Decker and Adolphus Washington have also already stated their intentions are to come back to play for another year for the Buckeyes.

Ohio State's superstars in its highly talked about 2013 recruiting class — guys like Joey Bosa, J.T. Barrett, Ezekiel Elliott, Jalin Marshall and others — are going to be around for at least one more year.

"I didn't realize how young the team really was until after we won the Sugar Bowl and we were in the locker room and me and Jalin had that conversation," Ohio State redshirt sophomore safety Tyvis Powell said. "I remember the thought, 'Wow, we are kind of young.'”

You guys who had to grow up rather quickly. There were a lot of guys who had never seen significant playing time before this season step into prominent roles. They had to because of what the Ohio State program lost from last year's team which finished 12-2.

Seven players from that team started as rookies at some point this season in the NFL. Five of them — Philly Brown, Andrew Norwell, Jack Mewhort, Corey Linsley and Bradley Roby — will all play key roles for their respective teams this weekend in NFL Divisional Round playoff games. 

"We have seven players off of last year starting in the NFL — I don't know if there's ever been done before," Ohio State head coach Urban Meyer said Tuesday. "Seven players left our program and are starting, not playing, not backups, not practice squad; starting in the National Football League. In the history of college football, I'd like to know if that's ever been done?"

It's quite remarkable when you step back and think about it. So, is a program that lost that much talent from a year ago really supposed to be here?

The Buckeyes believe they are.

"It’s credit to how this program is, it’s the whole work ethic and what they preach here," said redshirt freshman linebacker Darron Lee, one of the talented members of the 2013 class. "When you come here to Ohio State, you win games, you learn the game and I think that’s huge. I’m learning more about linebacking and the entire defense than I feel I would have learned somewhere else."

Of course the Buckeyes will lose some players after this year is done. Seniors Devin Smith, Evan Spencer, Jeff Heuerman and Darryl Baldwin on offense won't be easy to replace. And the Buckeyes will need to find new guys to fill in for the losses of Michael Bennett, Doran Grant and Curtis Grant on defense.

But it seems like there is already a plan in place for those guys going forward.

“I can sit here and tell you that there are guys you haven’t even seen yet that are gonna be really, really good football players here," Lee said. "The ‘14 class is special. You haven’t really seen anything from it yet.”

But for now, the future will have to be put on hold. Because in order for all of that dynasty talk to even begin, the Buckeyes will have to beat the Ducks on Monday night.

Still, though, a win could be the start of something special in Columbus.

“If everybody buys into the coaches and the people get a little bit more mature and smarter at the game, yeah, I could see that happening," Powell said. "Because the coaches have a great plan and if everybody just follows the plan, it could be a dynasty.”

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