What an event on Saturday night. Both teams had their hands full.
Vince Young was gigantic. I read before the game he was 6-5, 233 lbs, but he was bigger than that. You will find people that run better than Vince, and you will find some that pass better than Vince. But I don't know if you will come across anyone that has the presence of Vince. He is a great college athlete. We could point out a mistake here or there, but in the end, he did what he had to do against an awesome OSU defense.
While we are on the topic of presence, I must say the entire Texas team had a presence. This team passed the "look" test. Great looking athletes were everywhere. It was obvious they recruit differently than Miami (OH) and even our Big Ten foes. Massive linemen, powerful linebackers, and, of course, long, athletic wide receivers were all over their sideline. We may have seen better teams, but you won't see a physically better looking roster than the Longhorns.
There were missed opportunities for both schools. Whether it was dropped interceptions by a Texas defender or the Buckeyes missing a safety, touchdown, or field goal, the game had plenty of "could've, would've, should've." The Longhorns will review their red zone defense and say, "Great play…Great execution…That is Longhorn defense…That is the play you need to make if you want to win the National Championship…Great character and mental toughness." The Buckeyes will review the film and say, "We didn't execute the way we needed to."
That is the beauty of football. I am not just talking about the OSU/Texas game, but the sport in general. Was it Team A with 11 players beating their opponent, or was it Team B beating themselves? It depends what colors you were cheering for on game day. I would rather not arm-chair quarterback. Give Texas credit for beating a Buckeye Nation in 2005, not just a sideline with 85 scholarships. We were ready. They were ready. They scored more points than we did.
What great effort by our team. Carpenter and Whitner showed incredible senior leadership out there. Hawk played like the best player in college football. You could go on and on about the effort extended by the players. OSU's coaches put together a great game plan, but the game plan always looks more dazzling when you execute and your opponent fails to execute.
Maybe the most painful thing about the loss in my mind is the bowl situation. I think OSU showed a Big Ten championship-looking team on Saturday. Sure, they could slide back into the Rose Bowl race if things fall into place, but I really hoped this group of seniors would get to Pasadena. I'm not even talking about a National Championship game; I am talking about the best bowl game in the world. In 2002, the undefeated season put OSU in the Fiesta Bowl (which we certainly don't regret). In 2005, if they win the conference, they could play somewhere besides the Rose Bowl. Maybe I should keep my mouth shut about a playoff and the BCS system. Today, I just want to see the Buckeyes in the Rose Bowl.
Bring on any Texas fan and I'll look them in the eye and congratulate them. I will tell them "You beat us." However, I couldn't be any happier about the effort the Buckeyes played with. And I couldn't be any more excited about watching this group 10 more times.