Bank Blog: Quick Thoughts Overall

Ohio State lost a tough one to Michigan State, 34-24, in Indianapolis Saturday night. With everything riding on the game, the Buckeyes came up just short in their bid to play in the national title game. What went wrong for Ohio State?

- It's the morning after and Ohio State fans are still feeling mad, disappointed, frustrated, hurt, shocked and downright surly. And that's EXACTLY how they should feel. Oregon, Alabama, Missouri and about five other schools feel your pain. Only Florida State folks never had to feel the pain this season, while Auburn's fans only won the Lottery for the third straight week, and every miracle gets bigger and better.

- As I've said all year long, it's HARD for darn good teams to go undefeated. Even harder to do it two years straight. Ohio State is a darn good team. They were the previous months. They were again in Indianapolis. And they will be in the bowl game. They are one of the best teams in the country, as is Michigan State. And about ten other teams. This is the year to win a national tile because everybody seems to be "darn good."

- Ohio State was close to winning last night, very close. Why did they lose? First off, and it is understandable, they started slowly last night. Do I know why? I do not, and can only guess. A week after the emotional win over Michigan probably played a part. Did Marcus Hall being suspended end up being a distraction, albeit a small one? Did Auburn's win over Alabama provide even more pressure on Ohio State? Did Michigan State have an emotional edge early? There's no way to answer why, but Ohio State played bad football at the start of that game. That cannot be argued.

- At 3-0, there was little cause for concern. But, 10-0 and things are now getting a little dicey. When it gets to 17-0, Ohio State has a problem and has to now pitch a perfect game to win. It's VERY hard for a darn good team to play perfectly against a quality opponent. They were forced to play the next two quarters in desperation mode, where they needed a score on nearly every possession and they needed stops on nearly every possession. That uphill climb also wears on you mentally as well as physically, and you worry what's left in the tank in the fourth quarter.

- There are other factors that come into play, and one of them is Michigan State and head coach Mark Dantonio. Sometimes in sports you have to shake the other team's hands and admit they were the better team, and this is what happened Saturday night. Michigan State out-coached and out-played Ohio State. Not by much. Not by a lot. But they were the better team. Would they beat Ohio State in a seven game series? I do not know that, but they beat Ohio State over three hours and walked off that field a deserving winner. They were stronger, physically and mentally, and when the game was on the line it showed. Props to them for a well-earned victory.

- I've said for years and years that Urban Meyer is the best coach in college football, and I still feel that way today. Nick Saban is right there and I would NEVER argue with anyone that thinks he's the best. But it's those two and then everybody else. But these guys, for all their greatness, and they are both great, do not win very game every year. It does not happen. It cannot happen. It never has, and it never will. If going undefeated is the benchmark, these two are failures nearly every year. Alabama lost a heartbreaker last week. Ohio State lost a heartbreaker last night. It happens in sports, and the great ones get off the deck and get back to work.

- What the BCS era has brought to college football is the crowning of a champion, and the game has been reduced to going undefeated in the regular season. Schedules are watered down. Conference titles mean nothing. Rivalries are diminished. But folks want the champion decided on the field, so you have to go undefeated. By this criteria Florida State deserves a spot in the game against someone, but who?

- Auburn will get the spot in the title game, but why? Yes they beat Alabama, but lost to LSU. Who lost to Ole Miss. Who lost to Mississippi State. Who lost to Oklahoma State. Who lost to West Virginia. Who lost to Maryland. Who lost to Syracuse. Who lost to Pittsburgh. Who lost to Navy. Who lost to Toledo. Who lost to Akron. Therefore, I have Terry Bowden and the Zips as the deserving opponent of Florida State in the title game. The system is the system, and Ohio State and Meyer knew the rules all along. They had to go undefeated to have a spot in the game. There was no chance of getting in with one loss, and that makes things tough.

- On one hand it's great playing terrible football teams week after week, where there is hardly a chance at losing. The flip side is there will be no forgiveness for a loss, and that's the price you pay of a terrible non-conference schedule and being in a bad league. They HAD to go undefeated, and after last year they HAD to win 25 straight games to get to the title game. That's hard to do.

- The future is very bright for the Buckeyes, mainly because recruiting has been great and that is the lifeline of college football. You win with great players. I would hope Ohio State would keep the coaching staff intact and continue to upgrade the talent, but I have no idea if that happens or not. I think things are in place to make a run every year, and the four-team format might take away the absolute need to go undefeated every year. That would be a plus, because it's very hard to do.

- Then talent needs upgraded on both sides of the football and Meyer has done that every year. This year, the defense was not good, but there were more than a few players out there on a regular basis that are not championship quality. The depth is not there on this defense, and it showed last night when Bradley Roby missed two series with an injury. Losing Christian Bryant bit Ohio State in the rear the minute he went down. Having only one linebacker playing at above average level also is a killer. Are the younger players like Vonn Bell, Mike Mitchell and Cameron Burrows ready to be contributors next year? They had better be.

- On offense, Ohio State put 11 players on the field that can play the game at or near NFL level nearly every snap. They were very talented and very experienced. What will happen next year when the bulk of the talent leaves? What if Braxton Miller and Devin Smith leave? Will the offense resemble this year's defense in lack of experience and talent? That is a question Urban Meyer has to solve over the next year.

- Regardless, the roster is getting to where he wants it to be from a talent perspective. It wasn't there this year. It might not be there next year. But it's getting close to where they can take this program from "darn good" to great. They aren't there yet, but even saying that, they nearly landed a spot in the title game. Things are bright at Ohio State under Urban Meyer, and it's realistic to expect to challenge for the Big Ten and national title on a regular basis going forward. But when your team is at this level on an annual basis, the losses will hurt like the devil and that's the price you pay for rooting for an elite team.

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