"The race doesn't always go to the swift. And the test doesn't always go to the strong. But that's the way to bet ‘em."
Some would say that the turning point of the game came at 28-21 when we couldn't stop the Michigan attack. I say balderdash. We had as much chance of stopping Michigan's offense as Karen Holbrook had of stopping drinking at Ohio Stadium this year.
No, the real turning point happened that first Wednesday of February, 1999. That's when Chris Perry, out of Fork Union Military Academy hemmed and hawed and chose Michigan over Ohio State.
Shades of Biakabutuka. Holy Anthony Davis, sports fans. Didn't Perry read about our impenetrable defensive line? Didn't he see that we were going to stop the run and then clamp down on Navarre?
No, guess not…
We couldn't stop Perry. We couldn't stop Navarre. Hey - we couldn't stop Edwards or Breaston either! All of the keys to victory belonged to the weary Wolverines.
We did scare them for a bit, though. Didn't we?
This has been an odd, awkward and bizarre year for our Bucks. Almost every time we tried to shoot ourselves in the foot (plus or minus one out-and-up at Madison…), we prevailed anyway. But that's not the way to bet ‘em…
All the things that hurt us all year long, hurt us again on Saturday…
1. Stupid (and ill-timed) penalties
2. Loss of composure
3. Open receivers without a ball near them
4. Consistently poor kickoff returns
5. Running backs that forget to run north-south
6. Disorganized play-calling
7. Sandlot offense
All the things that didn't hurt us all year long, did hurt us on Saturday…
1. Inability to pressure the quarterback
2. Poor tackling
3. Inability to stop a tailback in obvious running situations
4. Halftime adjustments
5. Tired game plan
BJ Sander tried to bail us out by punting the ball out of the stadium. And, listen, if I told you we would be out-gaining Michigan midway through the fourth quarter, would you…oh, never mind.
Really, we are partially victims of our own high expectations. Here was an OSU team that struggled mightily to generate any offense this year (98th out of 117 teams going into Ann Arbor) and we had to outscore a team with an offense hitting on all cylinders. And despite the greatness of our defensive line, we had some mis-matches behind them. We also had a safety-converted-to-cornerback and a wide-receiver-converted-to-cornerback trying to stop the best brace of receivers in the country. It's just not the way to bet ‘em…
Look at the bigger picture: A better OSU team (last year's) barely beat a not-as-good Michigan team at our own stadium. And we had Clarett. And Wilhelm in the middle.
Why did we think we should have stolen one in the plain site of 112,000 fans and two bumbling announcers? We shouldn't have. The more pertinent questions are:
1. Isn't it amazing that this Buckeye team only lost two regular season games this year and were playing for a trip to the national championship on the last day of the season?
2. Isn't it amazing that Michigan lost two games this year?
So, with all the shots we could take at Tresselball and Bollman and even the inability to recruit Chris Perry; with all the distractions of Clarett and Arden and Irizarry and Reynolds and Troy Smith and Santonio; with all the critics nationwide pulling for destiny to stop these seemingly indomitable Buckeyes, I have only two words for Coach Jin Tressel:
E-mail Mr. Bucknuts at firstname.lastname@example.org