Master of None

By Ramzy Nasrallah on February 20, 2019 at 1:05 pm
Jan 1, 2016; Glendale, AZ, USA; Ohio State Buckeyes wide receiver Braxton Miller (1) makes a catch as Ohio State Buckeyes cornerback Marshon Lattimore (2) defends during the first half in the 2016 Fiesta Bowl at University of Phoenix Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY

© Matt Kartozian | USAT Sports

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Ohio State swept Michigan during Urban Meyer's seven seasons.

The Buckeyes never finished lower than 1st in the Leaders-slash-East Division and won the tiebreaker to get to Indy more often than they didn't. Those results are what HR managers of the corporate world commonly refer to as meeting and exceeding expectations. You know those words! You hear them right before learning of your 1.8% merit increase.

Seven wins in seven Games cannot be upgraded. In this provincial sport that masquerades as a national one, the regional/ornamental stuff still matters a little too much to us. For example, 2019 marks the 40th season since Earle Bruce was named Big Ten Coach of the Year for being the guy to succeed Woody Hayes and coming within two points of winning the national championship on a perfect season.

Ohio State has won two national championships since then, but Jim Tressel did not end the drought in 2002 - nor did Meyer in 2014. Neither of John Cooper’s 2nd place national finishes in the 1990s got him a 1st place finish in that award. For decades, the Big Ten was stingy with its postseason individual honors. Then Nebraska entered the conference in 2011, the B1G split itself in two and created a gaggle of new, hyphenated trophies.

Meyer arrived a year later. Needless to say, the Buckeyes have fared better in those categories:

CHICAGO TRIBUNE SILVER FOOTBALL
MEYER ERA LAST WINNER DROUGHT?
Braxton Miller 2012-13, Ezekiel Elliott 2015, J.T. Barrett 2016, Dwayne Haskins 2018 Haskins 0

The Big Ten’s oldest and most prestigious honor, dating back to 1924. Buckeyes won the de facto conference MVP award in five out of Meyer's seven seasons, led by two-time winner and inherited 2011 Freshman of the Year Braxton Miller.

Dec 29, 2017; Arlington, TX, USA; Ohio State Buckeyes quarterback J.T. Barrett (16)runs for a touchdown in the second quarter against Southern California Trojans cornerback Iman Marshall (8) in the 2017 Cotton Bowl at AT&T Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports
Gold pants team chasing a guy with 5 pairs | Emmons/USAT Sports

Ohio State took the all-time lead during this stretch and now holds a three-player lead on previous leader Michigan, 20-17. Iowa is a distant 3rd with 10.

GRAHAM-GEORGE OFFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE YEAR
MEYER ERA LAST WINNER DROUGHT?
Miller 2012-13, Elliott 2015, Haskins 2018 Haskins 0

A dual-threat QB, a tailback and a pocket passer. Carlos Hyde’s suspension ahead of the 2013 season effectively kept Ohio State’s backfield from splitting the vote.

NAGURSKI-WOODSON DEFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE YEAR
MEYER ERA LAST WINNER DROUGHT?
John Simon 2012, Joey Bosa 2014 Devin Bush, UM 4

Two out of seven seems light, but Ohio State has not had a consistent game-changer on defense since the elder Bosa. Try to wrap your head around what his season might have looked like had opposing offense been forced to contend with Noah Spence.

RIMINGTON-PACE OL OF THE YEAR
MEYER ERA LAST WINNER DROUGHT?
Taylor Decker 2015, Pat Elflein 2016, Billy Price 2017 Michael Deiter, WI 1

Three of seven, in a conference that contains both Iowa and Wisconsin. Reminder No. 1: Jim Bollman didn’t feel like recruiting Taylor Decker, who had to be flipped upon Meyer’s arrival.

SMITH-BROWN DL OF THE YEAR
MEYER ERA LAST WINNER DROUGHT?
Simon 2012, Joey Bosa 2014-15, Tyquan Lewis 2016, Nick Bosa 2017 Kenny Willekes, MSU 1

Holy crap. Who is Ohio State’s defensive line coach? He’s probably underpaid.

Reminder No. 2: Nick Bosa finished with more sacks in 2018 than Michigan’s Rashan Gary. He appeared in 2.5 games. Hey, congrats Kenny Willekes. Earned it.

THOMPSON-RANDLE EL FRESHMAN OF THE YEAR
MEYER ERA LAST WINNER DROUGHT?
Barrett 2014, Mike Weber 2016 Rondale Moore, PU 2

Two of seven, in a conference where literally 8/14 programs sell early playing time to every recruit because their current players aren’t very good.

McCLAIN-HAYES SCHEMBECHLER COACH OF THE YEAR
MEYER ERA LAST WINNER DROUGHT?
N/A Pat Fitzgerald, NU 39

Ryan Day has one shot at this award, and it’s his first full season as a head coach. Meyer ran the table with a postseason band in his first year, but Bill O'Brien canceled how impressive that was by preventing Penn State from winning negative games after The Very Bad Thing happened there. 

After 2019 Day will be disqualified from winning the award in accordance with Big Ten and intergalactic law. Good luck, sir.

Jan 1, 2019; Pasadena, CA, USA; General overall view as Ohio State Buckeyes quarterback Dwayne Haskins (7) hands the ball off to running back Mike Weber Jr. (5) duringl the 2019 Rose Bowl against the Washington Huskies at the Rose Bowl. Ohio State defeated Washington 28-23. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
Dwayne Haskins hands the ball off to Mike Weber Jr. during Ohio State's 28-23 Rose Bowl victory last month | Kirby Lee/USAT Sports
GRIESE-BREES QUARTERBACK OF THE YEAR
MEYER ERA LAST WINNER DROUGHT?
Miller 2012-13, Barrett 2014, 2016-17, Haskins 2018 Haskins 0

Quarterback management under Meyer was masterful with the exception of the transitional period between Tom Herman and Ryan Day. The entire QB room was a threat to win this award every season under Meyer, and 2015 is paradox that will confound football scholars for the rest of the century.

AMECHE-DAYNE RUNNING BACK OF THE YEAR
MEYER ERA LAST WINNER DROUGHT?
Carlos Hyde 2013, Elliott 2015 Johnathan Taylor, UW 3

Hard to compete with the featured back in Wisconsin's WWII-era offense or Saquon Barkley, but the Buckeyes always did. Carries-by-committee since 2017 has effectively eliminated Ohio State backs from contention.

TATUM-WOODSON DEFENSIVE BACK OF THE YEAR
MEYER ERA LAST WINNER DROUGHT?
None Amani Hooker, Iowa N/A

Pick your jaw off your desk. BIA did not produce a single winner of the conference's highest honor for defensive backs.

Four Iowa Hawkeyes won it during Meyer’s tenure. Iowa even had a guy named Hooker win it.

BUTKUS-FITZGERALD LINEBACKER OF THE YEAR
MEYER ERA LAST WINNER DROUGHT?
None Bush, UM N/A

Meyer’s first team moved a fullback to middle linebacker in the middle of the season. Meyer’s last team went several games without providing evidence that any linebackers actually participated. The best linebacker the Buckeyes produced was a quarterback in high school, with apologies to the guy named after the second best Wu Tang rapper.

LBU is somewhere else now. Perhaps it will return someday.

Parris Campbell canceling Josh Metellus
Hey, this GIF ends too soon! Did Josh Metellus catch Parris Campbell? That's a question for the ages.
RICHTER-HOWARD WIDE RECEIVER OF THE YEAR
MEYER ERA LAST WINNER DROUGHT?
None Moore, PU N/A

Ohio State had exactly one season of excellent WR coaching under Meyer. #shhhhhhh

KWALICK-CLARK TIGHT END OF THE YEAR
MEYER ERA LAST WINNER DROUGHT?
None T.J. Hockenson, Iowa N/A

Meyer’s tight ends flourished in Gainesville. None of them have come even close to consideration. This one was a head-scratcher.

BAKKEN-ANDERSEN KICKER OF THE YEAR
MEYER ERA LAST WINNER DROUGHT?
None Chase McLaughlin, IL N/A

Kickoffs were a bit of an adventure during the back half of Meyer’s time in Columbus, and field goals were never a priority.

EDDELMAN-FIELDS PUNTER OF THE YEAR
MEYER ERA LAST WINNER DROUGHT?
Cameron Johnston 2016 Will Hart, UM 2

This award was a bit of a fiasco in 2018 and showed how little effort goes into choosing some of these awards.

Drue Chrisman led the conference in net punting yard average, which is a statistic that accommodates for things like return yards and touchbacks. Michigan’s Will Hart was 9th in net punting and routinely sent the ball into the end zone, which is bad, but a) it kept his punting (not net) average high and b) it's not his fault that Terry McLaurin played for Ohio State.

They looked at the wrong column on the spreadsheet for this one. That said:

He's okay with it. Also, he didn't have a punt blocked for a touchdown on the final Saturday of November. That's the kind of regional/ornamental stuff we'll treasure forever.

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