That game was about as fun as shiv-fighting a gang of drug-addled juggalos in an East Side Waffle House. Tilt of the cap to Divine Dino, Michigan State, and its cussing kicker. Make no mistake, justice was rendered on Saturday night.
The most rattling thing was Ohio State, winner of the last ~69 games, playing like underdogs trying to preserve a heist. Urban Meyer is no doubt condemned to a lifetime of ruing the tiniest of tactical miscues from that game (a.k.a. the downside of being an ultra-competitor).
The worst part of the loss is the hot take performance art about a three-point, last-second loss to the No. 9 team in the country and a 20-year-old letting his emotions get the better of him being tombstones on Urban Meyer's Ohio State run.
They're the same people who spit on Ohio State's grave last September, and yes, they're still the worst.
The only thing on trial is the 2015 team. Joshua Perry said it best postgame:
Ohio State linebacker Joshua Perry on whether or not team will be ready for Michigan next weekend: If we dont, were just a phony team."— Tim Shoemaker (@TimShoemaker) November 22, 2015
Now that the championship mystique is broken, we'll see how this team wants to be remembered. Rolling up to Ann Arbor and socking Jim Harbaugh's Michigan in the kisser is still a great capstone on a 11-1 regular season.
Feel free to count out Underdog Urban Meyer and Ohio State if you want, but I'm hopeful this loss was the unfortunate lesson this team needed. I expect it to be a rallying cry, and I expect the conservative game-planning to be ditched against Michigan. Who knows, maybe it will actually be fun to watch for once?
Either way, I'm thankful for the extra zest to The Game this year. I always knew Michigan would be back because cockroaches don't die, they multiply. The Wolverines enter as "the best two-loss team in the country" — Big Blue is back, baby! — and despite the loss I'm more excited for The Game than I've been in years.
I don't care how wrong I was about the Michigan State game; it's not in me to mope and bite my nails about the possibility of an unfavorable result in Ann Arbor.
That shitty little hipster den isn't going to burn itself to the ground. If my ashes end up in the resulting nuclear ashen heap, then may Warren G. Harding carry Undefeated Iowa to a national title.
ZEKE'S DRAFT STOCK. The only thing for which I fault Zeke Elliott is his pick of venue. Yet, some critics seem to forget we're talking about a 20-year-old who cried during the national anthem. On one level, I respect the honesty and candor and wish we saw more of it in sports.
But ultimately, leaders don't wash team/company dirty laundry in public. He'll learn if he hasn't already; that's part of growing up.
The real question, though, is HOW DID ANONYMOUS NFL SCOUTS SEE IT?
Scout No. 2:
Nah, he's fine. I know our GM will drill him about this during Combine meetings. I'm not sure how much he'll care about the comments, but he'll want to hear Elliott's responses.
In regards to his NFL Draft projection, this isn't a pattern with Elliott and I doubt it will hurt him. Within the Ohio State program, he is known as the ultimate team guy, something that is obvious on the field and with the way his coaches and teammates respect him off the field. Elliott is only 20 years old and was caught up in the moment following the loss. When NFL teams interview him during the draft process, Elliott will likely voice his regret, apologize and show his true character. He is the most talented running back prospect in the 2016 class and his comments from Saturday won't change that.
Urban Meyer speaks today at 11:45 a.m. ET, and I assume he'll be asked how much Elliott's leg infection and 103-degree temperature he suffered early last week played into his lack of carries on Saturday.
After 36 hours of searching, that's my best theory as to why Elliott only got two second-half carries.
#BEATMICHIGANMEMORIES. This week I will be highlighting great Buckeye victories over a certain team up north.
We start in 2004 with Troy Smith's coming out party against No. 7 Michigan:
I was 17 at the time, and I helped carry Troy Smith around like a sultan on the field in the aftermath.
My lasting thought from that day is Ted Ginn is the fastest person I'll ever see.
Games like this show you the power of the underdog role: Ohio State entered The Game 2004 with four losses, including a three-game losing streak. Do we remember that 2004 team as a team that lost to Purdue and Northwestern?
No. We remember it as the the team that dumped No. 7 Michigan. Makes you think.
CREW SAVES THE WEEKEND. Not all football teams lost in Columbus this weekend. The Columbus Crew hosted the New York Red Bulls in the first leg of their Eastern Conference final on Sunday night.
The Crew only needed nine seconds to open scoring on the day:
You might think that was cold luck. No, they drill that.
The Crew were the better team throughout much of play. It got rewarded in the 85th minute when Cedrick Mabwati, who has been a revelation for the Crew, sliced open the Red Bull defense before forcing a deflection that Kei Kamara tapped in the crucial second goal.
Congolese and Sierra Leonean footballers joining forces to bring glory to Columbus, Ohio; how silky is that? Almost as silky Mabwati's dribbling.
The Crew heads to New York for the second leg this Sunday at 7:30 p.m. on FS1.
Heads up: If Crew SC wins and Portland FC (up 3-1 on FC Dallas) goes onto win, the MLS final will be in Columbus on Dec. 6.