Ohio State is probably not the best team in the country. I've made my peace with that; the defense remains at least semi-legit, but the offense has been operating without any real identity or fire for the better part of five games now. The talent is still there, but right now that isn't indicative of being the best team out out of 117 or so.
And that's okay! As I've said before in this space, the football season is a process, and it's some that comes in fits and starts. The exponential progress that we saw at the end of last season is an anomaly that we probably shouldn't have gotten used to through many, many re-watchings of the Big Ten Championship, the Sugar Bowl, and the National Championship. More often the progression of a season means three steps forward and two and a half steps back, or at least that's what I'm telling myself to make a one touchdown win over Indiana.
Anyway, for this week's Twitter Reax I thought I'd try something different. For every tweet freaking out about the potential outcome of the game, I'm going to pair it with a tweet from a player who has far more chill than most fans would find acceptable or a gif/video of something awesome that happened during the game. At the end of this, you can decide for yourself who handled the outcome of the game better. But first, David Letterman and a cute dog.
Ace's game face pic.twitter.com/2o2xbwTm0r— EzekielElliott#15 (@EzekielElliott) October 3, 2015
Okay, on to the main attraction:
14 yards rushing at the half for Ohio State...absolutely unacceptable.— Jay Richardson (@JayRichardson99) October 3, 2015
Ezekiel Elliot 61 yard TD pic.twitter.com/Y4OQbJHnMA— gifdsports (@gifdsports) October 3, 2015
See what I'm going for here? Zeke had the third best game by a running back in Ohio State history, but from Twitter and until the third quarter you would've assumed that we had assembled a RB out of sticks and twine and just kind of threw it at the Hoosier defense.
Thought 16 and 12 was splitting time. Need the both in there! What y'all think ?— Terrelle Pryor (@TerrellePryor) October 3, 2015
S/O to them Bucks 5-0— Cardale Jones (@CJ12_) October 4, 2015
MAKES U THINK (that TPeezy has some bad ideas).
They tried— Bryant Browning (@Br_Browning) October 3, 2015
I owe the slobs Hyde park About to have to pull out a student loan for this dinner bill— EzekielElliott#15 (@EzekielElliott) October 4, 2015
I really just considered making this post the Ezekiel Elliott show. Those three insane runs he broke off were magnificent, and while Zeke is being gracious here, given that the offensive line did not have the type of game that most would hope to see from them, it's good that the team can say all the right things after a closer than expected contest against freaking Indiana. I mean, at least no one was talking about transferring at halftime.
Also on the plus side, Hyde Park doesn't list prices on their menus, which I can only assume means that everything is completely free. So good news for Zeke there.
How is the ultra talented #1 Buckeye team so un-fun to watch? I haven't had fun since the VT game. #firstworldCFBproblems— Jonathan Thoma (@JonThoma) October 3, 2015
A W is a W. #GoBucks— Stephen Collier (@S13Collier) October 3, 2015
Okay, I like Thoma a lot. He's a good dude. But I feel like playing for Jim Tressel from 07-09 should answer that question pretty quickly. In fact, this whole season has felt very Tressel-esque, with all the baggage that entails. Playing down to your opponent and looking confused on offense? Check. Playing mostly lights out defense and winning a lot of games in spite of ourselves? Also check! It's not ideal, but I can learn to live with it again.
Based on the 1st 4 games of the season, Northwestern has looked liked the best team in the B1G— Bobby Carpenter (@Bcarp3) October 3, 2015
What Carp said may actually be true, but the Wildcats don't really have a fanbase that cares as much as Ohio State does. That still kind of counts for something in my book, as long as fans aren't raging douchebags about it. like so:
@CJ12_ imagine how good they'd be without you— Kori Bogard (@kdbogard) October 4, 2015
And, of course, the counterpoint:
A lot of respect to our opponent....They came to play. An ugly win is still a win. Just need to improve.— Taylor Decker (@TDeck68) October 4, 2015
My point is this. It takes a very, very, very small person to vent directly to an athlete via social media, mostly because it involves no real effort on the part of said idiot. All you have to do is type and hit enter. By that same token, to earn that kind of criticism, you have to be an elite athlete that spends dozens of hours a week honing your trade, which is then broadcast on national television for all to take apart later. So all I'm saying is that no matter what happens on the field, I will always have more respect for the people who, after a frustrating win, can say this:
It was great seeing my boys from high school out there supporting me tonight even though I had to play their school pic.twitter.com/QjNh3uxBnn— EzekielElliott#15 (@EzekielElliott) October 4, 2015
But I also think this is pretty good too:
Soooo a good friend of mine just said Cardale Jones looks like Tyler Perry ..Nuthn to do with football ..just funny.— Jay Richardson (@JayRichardson99) October 4, 2015