Today we're going to look at four lists of ten – (1) the ten best moments of the Fiesta Bowl, (2) ten other observations of the game, (3) a look back at this column's ten bold predictions from the beginning of the season, and (4) the subsequent ten "not-so-bold" statements from that same column.
The Ten Best Moments of the Fiesta Bowl – in some cases, a few plays are grouped together into one value-packed moment:
10. The Buckeyes stop MAC-caliber running back Jarrett Payton twice inside the four-yard line in the second overtime. Who knows what would have happened if McGahee was in, or even if Miami would have thrown out Frank Gore's redshirt for just the end of one game, but if what had been happening throughout the game was any indication, nobody running the ball for Miami was having much luck running the ball in short-yardage situations.
9. Krenzel gets absolutely crushed by Vilma more than once and just pops back up to the amazement of everyone. What a warrior – Krenzel clangs when he walks. Matt Wilhelm giving Ken Dorsey the same (clean) treatment that Vilma gave Krenzel in the second overtime. The hit rattled Dorsey and may be the reason he missed an open tight end on second down.
8. Miami is called for pass interference on fourth down in the first overtime. It was explained after the game by back judge Terry Porter that Gamble was held off the line of scrimmage, but because of the quick release by Krenzel, it occurred while the ball was in the air. Therefore by rule, it was pass interference. Dan Fouts at the time screamed that it was a bad call, and the tail end of the replay that was shown proved that there was no pass interference…unfortunately, that's not where the penalty occurred. Dan and all 113 Miami fans worldwide that are on the Internet crying about the call haven't figured out that while holding and pass interference both occur on just about every play, they are only called sometimes. That time it was called. On the other side of the field, Gamble held Andre Johnson and it was called – however, the ball was 5 yards over anyone's head. Uncatchable – questionable call gave Miami first down on the two. They ended the game on the one.
7. Krenzel is the team's leading rusher for the game with 82 yards. Apparently in watching game film, the coaches saw that Miami's man-scheme results in nobody left to cover the quarterback. Result – CK ran as often as he threw.
6. Clarett skips around Sikes then dives into the Ohio State end zone for the winning touchdown. However, any minute now the Southern speed that was going to blow Ohio State out of Arizona before the game even began is going to take over…
4. Andy Groom punts the ball over Camelback Mountain for 70 yards, and Roscoe Parrish is only able to return it back for seven because the coverage made it down the field. Hey Coach Cooper, the punt, as well as the tackle on the play, were both made by former walk-ons. Just something to think about if you land another coaching job.
3. On first and goal, Krenzel misses a wide-open Branden Joe and instead tries to thread the needle to Ben Hartsock. The ball is intercepted and run out of the end zone, and Maurice Clarett comes from behind and rips the ball free. Buckeyes end up with a field goal. Clarett's finest play of the season, ironically, comes on defense.
2. Fourth down and fourteen. Overtime. National Championship game against a team that has won 34 games in a row. Krenzel takes the snap from center, yawns, steps up in the pocket with guys flying all around him, and finds Michael Jenkins for a first down. Business as usual. What, you were worried?
1. Cie Grant blitzes of the left end, tosses Dorsey to the ground as he heaves a pass in desperation right to Donnie Nickey, who (intentionally?) juggles the ball and drops it. Game over. Season over. Streak over. Drought over. Ohio State is the national champion. Everyone screams. Everyone hugs. Everyone can finally celebrate. Everyone can finally pee.
Ten Other Observations of the Fiesta Bowl
1. If Clarett doesn't slip up on the play that was intended to be a reverse, then Chris Gamble scores an easy touchdown. The entire Miami defense was focused on Clarett and Gamble had nobody to outrun, which is important, since Miami's speed was supposed to control the game (cue laughter).
2. Speaking of speed, and size, and too many weapons, and total domination, why is it that some people in the media who only rely on Sportscenter highlights for reporting, and many Miami fans, all point to Porter's (correct) call as the reason Miami lost? Wasn't Miami favored by almost two touchdowns? I remember reading the Canestime message board before the Michigan game, and there was a thread that said that if Ohio State won, then a certain fan wasn't even going to bother watching the Fiesta Bowl. And several people agreed with him.
3. Ohio State's cheerleaders won the field goal kicking national championship. Lynn Swann couldn't figure that out. Bad call!
4. All that stuff about Ken Dorsey being an average quarterback with extraordinary people around him – that's true. All that stuff about Ken Dorsey being a great leader and locker room guy and Heisman candidate – that's true as well.
5. Gamble slipped on McGahee's touchdown. He had the angle and just fell down.
6. Kellen Winslow II is a ridiculous talent. Just about everything that comes out of his mouth is ridiculous as well, with one exception: He said, "we beat ourselves." There's some truth in that. Ohio State beat Miami. Miami's over-confidence, mistakes, inability to block anyone and questionable coaching beat Miami. But Terry Porter did not beat Miami. Winslow gets partial credit for that answer.
7. Only one of Miami's five turnovers was unforced – Dorsey's awful pass that was intercepted by Fox. The other four were all because of Ohio State's defense or Clarett.
8. On third down in the fourth quarter, Krenzel took the snap from shotgun and ran a few yards toward the OSU sideline. The resulting fourth down was a short field goal for Nugent, but from the right hash. If Krenzel just dives and keeps the ball in the middle of the field, Nugent just kicks it straight. Hindsight, nothing – that's what I said at the game before the play. Just ask anyone who hadn't already tuned me out.
9. After watching the tape of the game, it is definitely time for Keith Jackson to retire. He still has a way to go before he hits rock bottom (Pat Summerall) but he definitely cannot see much of what is going on. I love Keith Jackson and his voice is still the voice of college football. But there's more to play by play than just a voice.
10. It just wouldn't be me not to criticize something, even in a championship win, but Robert Reynolds was lucky not to get a 15-yard penalty for a late hit. Will Allen did the "throat slashing" thing after a couple of plays, including the one that took out McGahee (before anyone knew he was hurt) and even Mike Doss taunted the Miami sideline. Even perfection cannot always be perfect.
Ten Last Minute Bold Statements – from 8/22/02
#1. Our Wide Receivers are overrated.
Before the season this group was called one of the deepest groups of wide receivers in Ohio State history. Jenkins had a good year. Gamble practically disappeared to the defensive side of the ball (thankfully). Nobody else did much of anything. Jenkins was the go-to guy.
#2. The Offensive Line will be better than expected.
They definitely got better, and they're all back next year. Here's to Adrien Clarke keeping his December diet going until next season.
#3. Opposing teams will plan around the OSU front seven.
The teams that didn't plan around the front seven lost. The ones that did…lost.
#4. Ohio State will play fourteen games this season without allowing a 100-yard rusher.
I was wrong. Ohio State allowed one 100-yard rusher, Anthony Davis.
#5. The best thing about this year's schedule is the first four games, against non-conference opponents, then two against the likely weakest links in the Big Ten - Indiana and Northwestern, then a virtual bye week against San Jose State…
Nothing like all of that ramp-up time to get things going.
#6. Buckeye fans are going to have a hard time finding a new whipping boy.
Though we Buckeye fans like to moan even in victory, close wins are far more enjoyable to relive than the blowouts.
#7. It's a good thing OSU has all of those running backs.
After Clarett went down, the drop-off to Ross and Hall became more than evident. JaJa? We hardly knew you, and I would have loved to have seen what you could do.
#8. The lack of a proven fullback is a blessing to this offense.
Yeah, sometimes I have no idea what I'm talking about.
#9. Michael Doss is going to New York in December.
What I meant to say was Michael Doss is going to Tempe in January.
#10. Take the under, every time.
Here is the season from an under/over standpoint:
Michigan U 40
Illinois U 48.5
Purdue U 44.5
Minnesota U 46.5
Penn State U 49.5
Wisconsin U 51.5
San Jose State N
Northwestern U 59
Indiana O 51.5
Cincinnati U 53
Washington State U 52.5
Texas Tech O 44.5
So if you bet the under in every game that there was a line, you would have won 9 and lost 2. I expect a Christmas card next year from everyone who took my advice.
Ten Quick Last-Minute Not-So-Bold Statements – from 8/22/02
1. Paul Keels is going to continue to show no emotion during football broadcasts, providing more completely unmemorable big play calls while fumbling over Buckeye player names. Millions of rabid Buckeye fans in the world and Ohio State has a paycheck player doing the play-by-play for its flagship sport.
Not so bold prediction, not so surprising result. If you ever need a sleep aid, you can relive the "magic" of Paul not really caring that the Buckeyes pulled out another close win at www.1460thefan.com.
2. Hineygate is going to continue to be the most overrated part of the Buckeye home game experience.
It's a matter of opinion. There's not much to really dislike about a Buckeye gameday, especially when they win.
3. There won't be an ESPN Gameday visit to Columbus this year. Stop wondering.
Well, if you don't count Washington State or Michigan…or the Fiesta Bowl…okay, there's wrong, dead wrong, and couldn't be more wrong. I was all three.
4. If Michigan State isn't undefeated going into the Michigan game the first weekend in November, then they choked mightily along the way.
Michigan State sucked all year. Choked mightily is an understatement.
5. It would be smart not to park your car near High Street the day of the Ohio State/Michigan game, win or lose.
See what happens when you people don't listen to me? And a moment of silence for the 12 (?) cars that were sacrificed to Woody Hayes that night…
6. There will be plenty of really bad calls and even more missed calls throughout the year.
All year, and in the Fiesta Bowl. But not on fourth down in the first overtime.
7. Over half the freshman class will play this year.
8. The trend of lacking of experience and stars on the offensive line for Ohio State ends this year.
The unboldest of the unbold predictions.
9. Illinois will not repeat as Big Ten champions.
The underachievers of the year in the Big Ten. Michigan State? Hard to win without a coach.
10. Ohio State will finally win its Homecoming game for the first time this century.
Hey – San Jose State beat Illinois at home.
One month until signing day, and then it's all downhill until Spring practice starts.
Wearing all three Championship shirts at once at firstname.lastname@example.org