Everything is sort of quiet around the Woody Hayes Athletic Center, the holidays are almost here. Since hindsight is 20/20, let’s look back on 2012. Who’s ready to rumble?
The 2012 story didn’t begin on January 1, 2012. Of course, so much had already happened up to that point that I would be remiss without first going back to November 29, 2011 when the hiring of Urban Meyer as the next head coach at Ohio State became official. With that, we also have to think back to December 22nd of 2011, the day the sanctions prohibiting the Buckeyes from playing in a bowl game after the 2012 season, reducing scholarships and prohibiting Ohio State from competing in the Big Ten Championship game was announced.
“Gator don’t play…”
2012 started out with a trip to something called the Tax Slayer dot com Gator Bowl where the Buckeyes squared off with? Of course it had to be Urban Meyer’s old team, the Florida Gators. In a game that was quite honestly hard to watch, the Buckeyes fell 24-17. Unfortunately it was a game that didn’t feel like it was winnable in the end despite the mere seven point deficit. The good news from that day was that on the next day, January 2nd the Gators former boss officially took the wheel driving the Buckeye football program.
Anticipation and predictions
We waited all spring and through a long dry summer to finally see what Urban Meyer’s offense with Braxton Miller at quarterback would look like once it actually came to fruition on the field. Preseason speculation saw the Buckeyes picked to win anywhere from 7-10 games. With the Big Ten being in another of its string of down years, it wasn’t too farfetched to think the Buckeyes could be 10-2 or even 9-3. I think the consensus among people closest to the program were that road games at Michigan State and Wisconsin seemed like stumbling blocks for a young team. I think most thought Nebraska at Ohio Stadium would be a toss-up considering all that Nebraska had returning from 2011. Naturally, we all know anything can happen in The Game.
The first quarter against Miami… Read More
Ken checks in again…
Recently, there was an interesting, well done article on MGoBlog about lucky teams this past football season. Here is how ‘luck’ was defined for the article;
What I Am Measuring
Luck can mean a lot of things but for this, I am comparing a team’s actual wins this year versus taking their opponent adjusted performance and re-simulating the season with the exact same schedule. Two teams who play a tightly contested game are roughly the same on that Saturday. Over a long horizon these wins and losses tend to even out but over a 12 game season there will always be teams whose final records don’t quite match how they played throughout the year.
Basically, how did a team’s actual number of wins compare to the simulated number of wins. The larger the difference, the luckier the team.
Coach Hoke’s alma mater was 2012’s luckiest team. Ball State was simulated to win 6.4 games this year but pulled out a 9-3 record. [Ed: Hoke’s current team was simulated to win 7.6 games this year and won 8 games.] Beyond that, three of the four teams following Ball State are of high interest to Wolverine fans.
Team Actual Wins
Ball St 9 6.4 Ohio St 12 9.5 Mississippi St 8 5.8 Notre Dame 12 9.9 South Carolina 10 8.2
Michigan’s two biggest rivals and bowl opponent all crack the top 5. As noted above, Ohio St and Notre Dame were easy candidates for this list with perfect seasons, but their perfect seasons were the luckiest undefeated seasons in the seven years I have been measuring the luck factor, and by a considerable margin.
So, there you have it. Luck-o-the Irish jokes aside, it appears that Ohio State lucked their way to a couple extra wins this year.
Let’s take a look at luck from a different perspective; Los Vegas odds makers. Read More
Chills were running down my spine as TBDBITL marched into St. John Arena on Friday night for our Celebration of Perfection. As I looked around at my Buckeye family decked out in their scarlet & gray while singing “Across the Field” at the top of their lungs, all I could think was, “I am so proud to be an Ohio State Buckeye.”
Because I am a member of Block “O,” I had the luxury of sitting in the first row behind the stage and therefore, had a great view of all the evening’s festivities. And lucky for us, Coach Meyer and the team walked right past us to get to their seats, giving us high-fives and smiling at us as we cheered.
It was in that moment, when the team was standing in front of us, when the entire arena was giving them a standing ovation, that I realized it really doesn’t get any better than this…being among my friends, cheering on this team once again, as we did for all 12 games this season. I love being a student here. Transferring to Ohio State was honestly the best decision I ever made. Getting to see this team go 12-0 this year will be something I will never forget. And celebrating their success tonight is also something I won’t forget.
Over the past couple of years, Ohio State football has sent Buckeye Nation on somewhat of a roller coaster of emotions, but Coach Meyer and this team, in particular, the seniors, have turned the tide, and it has been a pleasure to watch. Seeing them hoist their Leaders Division Championship trophy tonight was a great moment.
No, they didn’t get to go to the Big Ten Championship Game. No, they don’t get to go to a bowl. No, they don’t get the chance to play for a national championship. But you know what? It’s okay. They’re 12-0. They made the great state of Ohio proud. And as Coach Meyer says, this team will be remembered. They’ll be remembered in our minds as champions. As leaders. As legends.* And legends are forever.
It is truly a great day to be a Buckeye. 12-OH!
*no pun intended with the division names*
Major Award winner Ken has submitted the following guest post for your perusal and enjoyment…
I want to thank the staff at tBBC for the opportunity to post an article. I also want to thank the Thurman’s, Dave and Drew, of The Silver Bullet, for mentoring me on the ways and mysteries of sports blogging, way back when… I was going to upload a photo of the other swag, the t-shirt, but I decided not to compete in the Chris Lee/Anthony Weiner Self-Portraiture contest. I’ll make this short, not to burn bandwidth. OK, on to what we’re here for..
“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, …“
A Tale of Two Cities- Charles Dickens
I did not realize that Charles Dickens was an observer of Ohio State football, but so it seems. For this review, I want to give my brief view of this season. There was some excitement as the 2012 season rolled around, for me it started at about the time that Urban Meyer was named as Ohio State’s head football coach. An accomplished native son returns home to re-establish Ohio State’s primacy.
Part of my anticipation was the hopeful emergence of Ohio State football from the Dickensian dystopia of the 2011 season into its rightful position as a national flagship program. I felt that the season would be a success if the Buckeyes finished 9-3, even 8-4, while showing game on game improvement. To me, this was to be the transition year, compared to 2011 as the ‘placeholder’ year. To finish 12-0 while showing improvement in offensive and defensive execution was truly a bonus.
Specifically, I thought the offensive line developed as a strength, both Hyde and Smith emerged as playmakers at running back and Miller seemed to improve his option reads. A lot of the early season ’Gaah!’ with Miller’s reads may have been that he wasn’t all that comfortable with his read keys, and when you’re in an ambiguous situation, you revert to what you are comfortable with. In this case deciding whether to keep or hand-off, regardless of the option key. Miller seemed to get a better handle on this as the season progressed. I’m fine with the riches at running back, and granted there is only one football to be put in play, but with the up tempo offense, there should be carries aplenty.
Defensively as the season progressed, I uttered far fewer in-game “dammit‘s” as the defense took better attack and pursuit angles and improved in wrapping up the ball carrier. The senior leadership and effort on this defense was remarkable, they will truly be missed. There are some significant holes to fill on Ohio State’s front seven, so Spring Practice will be interesting to see who emerges into starting roles. There are no lack of candidates.
The key change to this years squad, part of the ‘Urbanization’, was the more aggressive approach of the offense. The was not a team that was content to sit on a lead. I credit the coaching staff for instilling the mind-set of continually improving. There were instances where, with the game somewhat in hand, the offense kept running the offense, likely because the coaches wanted the players to work on execution and get used again to success.
Finally, comparing the teams of 2012 and 2010, both showed comparable offensive numbers in terms of points per game and yards per play on offense. The advantage the 2010 squad had was defensively, allowing close to 100 fewer plays than the 2012 squad, roughly 8-9 plays per game, or a couple offensive series. If the 2013 defense can come close to the 2010 performance, coupled with the anticipated offensive improvement.. wow. It will continue to be a good time to be a Buckeye.
Vince Lombardi used to tell his teams that they would strive for perfection while knowing full well they’d never reach it. However, he knew that somewhere along the way in the pursuit of perfection they would end up being pretty good. By defeating (we can say the M word again) Michigan on Saturday, the Buckeyes achieved perfection. Along the way they faced adversity and doubters but still wound up being pretty good!
The Reckoning: Mission Accomplished
The 109th rendition of The Game was more than an opportunity to finish a season unbeaten (only the 6th in school history) it was a chance to right a wrong. Heading into Saturday, the sting from last years game in Ann Arbor was still there. When Denard Robinson broke tackles for a 67 yard touchdown run in the second quarter all the emotions from 2011 came roaring back. It all finally subsided after seeing Carlos Hyde look to the Ohio State sideline and give Urban Meyer and his staff the “feed me” hand motion of spooning food into his mouth with around three minutes to play indicating he was more than prepared to finish off the game and that there wasn’t a thing the Wolverine defense could do to stop him.
Last week I introduced the idea of The Reckoning and wanting payback for the showboat antics, not to mention the loss in general, of the Wolverines in 2011. When Hyde motioned to Meyer and the Blue’s spirit and will had been broken, that indication and only then finally had The Reckoning been achieved. I didn’t want to see the Buckeyes win; I wanted to see Michigan broken and demoralized. It wasn’t until I read the stat sheet that I realized just how broken and demoralized Michigan actually was.
Silver Bullets to the rescue
Much maligned throughout the season, and rightfully so, the Buckeye defense stepped up huge and shut down the Wolverine offense almost completely in the second half. Luke Fickell and Everett Withers made adjustments at halftime that anticipated every move Michigan would make in the second half. They set up the Silver Bullet’s in a position to pin their ears back and fly around. The results were several big plays including sacks, fumbles and the eventual game clinching interception by CJ Barnett.
Early on in the game it’s easy to assume Fickell wasn’t sure exactly the extent of Robinson’s injury. Were they using him exclusively to run or did he have the treat to pass despite the injury to his right hand/wrist? Around the middle of the second quarter the discussions regarding Robinson abilities on this particular afternoon had to be compelling to listen in on. Ultimately the decision was made that in their opinions he wasn’t going to throw it and that they’d live with the consequences if he did. The gamble paid off, they were right, Robinson made zero passing attempts and his runs were completely shut down.
If you asked me before the game, I’d have almost guaranteed you that my vision of The Reckoning would have been realized by the Buckeye offense with an absolute onslaught of points and Braxton Miller dancing all over the Blue defense. I’m glad I would have been wrong as seeing the Silver Bullets intimidate and overpower the Wolverine offense was special and, in a way, much more satisfying. Read More
What a long and full day of excitement. Nothing will ever replace or beat my experiences in 2002(I don’t think), but this came very close to being as enjoyble.
There was so much happening after THE Game in 2002 that really the best part that I remember is being on the field with 100,000 screaming fans. I still look at the picture from time to time to play Where’s Waldo and find me. Yesterday will go down as the best day for THE Game because I got to spend it with some good friends and some awesome fans in my section.
Being two hours away and knowing the traffic would be ridiculous, I had to get up at 4:45 to head to meet Gary, Robby and Jerry in Zanesville. We got to our usual lot without any fanfare but we just missed the mayhem. We walked over to Lane Avenue as we usually do to pick up some drinks and a snack or two and saw this ugly thing on the way.
I gave our fearless leader (Mali) a call to see where he was and as fate would have it, he was only about a block away so we met up with him for a few minutes. After seeing him for the first time ever, we went into the 7/11 and got drinks for the brunch that we have with other ushers on D-Deck before the last game of the season. It’s always good food and fun. We headed up the avenue to see Roy and Maurice and check out the DRIVEN tent and see how things were going. Ran into Mali again with his wife, brother Scott, and a friend.
Heading back to the stadium for the brunch and to man our posts, I must say I was not surprised with the traffic but was surprised the area between St. Johns and the Shoe was like a ghost town. Very few booths set up and not at all very many people. The line had started for the Skull session but that was the extent of the crowd around 9am. Read More
In the 109th edition of The Game, the Ohio State Buckeyes completed a perfect season with a home win over the Michigan Wolverines.
We’ll be back with much more coverage later today and tomorrow, but for now, we’re celebrating with the rest of Buckeye Nation.
In the meantime, enjoy!!!