The program with the second most wins, Texas, gave up 550 rushing yards and 679 total yards in a loss to BYU two weeks ago, fired its defensive coordinator, hired a relatively disgraced former assistant then gave up 449 more yards and 44 more points last week in a loss to Ole Miss despite the fact that Rebels ran the same play over and over during the game. At least they stopped the bleeding last night with a win vs. Kansas State to get back to 2-2.
The program with the fourth most wins, Nebraska, had its own crisis last week. The Huskers gave up 38 straight points in a revenge-game home loss to UCLA, then their head coach upset fans by getting into a war of words with a program legend and by, well, insulting them repeatedly during a profanity-laced tirade from two years ago that surfaced Monday.
The program with the ninth most wins, USC, suffered one of the more embarrassing losses in program history two weeks ago, dropping a 10-7 decision in the home opener vs. Washington State in which its quarterbacks managed to throw for a whopping 54 yards, zero touchdowns and two interceptions. Things weren't much better yesterday in a 17-14 win vs. Utah State that wasn't easy on the eyeballs.
There are some other issues in that list – heck, the top program nearly lost to Akron and Uconn, the No. 3 program just lost to the team that nearly lost to Akron, No. 6 has had a series of embarrassing January defeats and No. 8 hasn't been relevant for a decade – and it all just goes to show you that wins aren't guaranteed in college football.
Perhaps no situation, though, exemplifies just how quickly fates can change in college football than the fact that USC and Texas played one another in the national championship game in 2005. That game, a classic showdown between Reggie Bush-led USC and Vince Young-piloted Texas, ended with the Longhorns capturing the national title at the Rose Bowl thanks to Young's last-minute TD run.
Now, just eight years later, both programs have had their fair share of embarrassments this year. And it's not like 2005 was the last hurrah for each program, either; Texas was in the national championship game after the 2009 season, while USC was 10-2 in 2011 and was listed among national championship favorites a year ago.
Watching both of their games back to back after Ohio State's win against San Diego State two weeks ago was a lesson in just how quickly the good times can fall apart in college football. This game goes in cycles, and very few programs in the country can avoid the negative ones.
In fact, it wasn't too long ago that Alabama was on the other side of things. The Crimson Tide was just 6-7 in 2006, and the six wins the team actually had ended up vacated. Two years before that, the Crimson Tide lost a bowl game to Minnesota, which seems relatively unthinkable today.
All of this makes what Ohio State has been able to accomplish over the past few decades all the more remarkable. Not even losing perhaps the best – and certainly the most consistent – coach in school history less than three years ago has put a lasting dent in the program, as Ohio State immediately hired a two-time national championship winning coach who led the team to an undefeated season in his first try.
Dating back to 1967, Ohio State has a total of two losing seasons. In that time, the Buckeyes have four seasons without a loss.
Sure, there have been some bad times. The end of the Woody Hayes era was a black eye – more on the program than the face of Charlie Bauman – and the transition from Earle Bruce to John Cooper wasn't pretty on the field. There were Michigan and bowl losses after that, and Cooper's bottoming out was swift. The Tattoogate scandal and following lost season was an unfortunate end to the Jim Tressel era.
But in the end, it hasn't been bad to be a Buckeye fan over the years. The run of consistent success the team has put on the field is virtually unparalleled.
That constant winning makes Ohio State a target of vitriol from opposing fan bases and certain media members – and results in misguided criticism like the bashing of Urban Meyer for OSU's high point total in its win vs. Florida A&M – but that kind of stuff wouldn't happen if the Buckeyes weren't winning and winning big.
So Buckeye fans, let the good times roll. You never know when they might come to an end. Just ask around.