Ohio State — post Clemson.

What a crappy way to bring in 2017 if you are a Buckeyes fan. For those of you who don’t know or have already succeeded in blocking out all memory of the game, Ohio State got railed by Clemson in the Playoff Semifinal game on New Year’s Eve.

To be honest, I wasn’t as disappointed as I thought I would be.

I haven’t seen a lot of it going on, but those of you who are bashing Urban Meyer and his staff for play calling or lack of preparation, please remember that under Urban, Ohio State has lost 6 games in the last 5 years. To put that in perspective, Northwestern (a team with a winning record this year) has the same number of losses this year as Ohio State does in the past 5. This can’t be allowed to happen consistently, and I have no doubt that it won’t, but I’m willing to give the youngest team in the FBS a pass for this game, even though they got embarrassed.

Let me repeat that — the youngest team in the FBS played a top – 10 strength of schedule, and went 11-2. Obviously any season Ohio State doesn’t go undefeated is considered a failure, which  is more a testament to our team’s unbelievably high standards than a lack of understanding that, well… sometimes you can’t win ‘em all. I hope Urban makes this clear to the team — that they should be extremely proud of what they accomplished this year… but understand at the same time that being complacent with 11-2 is what turns great programs good, and good programs bad.  

The fact of the matter is our young and fiery, but inexperienced and undisciplined team ran into a Tiger team that was prepared, disciplined, and hungry. Ohio State made too many mistakes, missed field goals, fumbles, and dropped passes, and Clemson was able to take advantage. I’m not saying that those 2 missed field goals make the difference in the game, obviously the score was more lopsided than that, but you can’t deny there is a big difference in momentum and confidence between 17-6 and halftime and 17-0 at halftime, especially for a young team on a massive stage like this.

This is not to take anything away from Clemson — they absolutely dominated and devastated the Buckeyes in every part of the game, and 100% deserve to play ‘Bama for the title. There is no excuse for the slaughter that occurred, but I still believe that if these teams played that game 10 times Ohio State would win a couple of them.

This was a crushing and humbling defeat.

But that game is in the past, and we’re on to next year.

This loss will be a huge motivator for the team next year. Not only are we returning the vast majority of players, but we have a much more favorable schedule next year: Oklahoma, Michigan St, and Penn St. will all make the trip to the ‘Shoe. Ohio State exceeded expectations this year, and will continue to do so at least as long as Urban is coaching, and probably beyond.

So don’t be discouraged fellow Buckeyes. Like Woody Hayes said,

“There’s nothing that cleanses your soul like getting the hell kicked out of you.”

Next year, we’ll be ready.

 

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