Being the professional that I am, I found myself with very limited internet access during my trip back to Columbus for The Game hence the recent silence on this blog. So before we get to basketball, a few thoughts on the Buckeyes win over that team up north.
Paying Tribute to a Legend
The honoring of Coach Tressel and the 2002 National Championship team was one of the most moving moments I’ve seen in Ohio Stadium since the tribute to Bo Shemblecher before the start of the 2006 Ohio State/Michigan game. Although many outside of Buckeye Nation were quick to point out the irony of Tressel’s appearance at the game, a true Buckeye fan would have it no other way.
It was one thing to see Coach Tressel join his team on the field but when they lifted him to their shoulders, I wasn’t the only one in that stadium fighting back the tears. Those on the outside only seem to remember the fall. The rest of us remember what Coach Tress did for Ohio State, his dedication to his players and the memories he brought us all. The only thing wrong was that the honor couldn’t continue. A television time out just wasn’t enough. For a moment in the closed end of the field, there was something bigger than the Ohio State/Michigan football game.
And the Defense
It was also tough to see John Simon walk out on the field without his uniform to honor his parents during pre-game senior recognition. Simon has had a great season and shown his ability as a leader.
Even without Simon though the Ohio State defense dominated Michigan during the second half. Other than the Denard Robinson tackle fail, the defense truly looked like the Ohio State defense. I knew that they would handle the Robinson/Gardner whatever but it would have taken some very big odds for me to bet that Michigan wouldn’t make it across the 50 in the second half.
The defense came a long way this season but by the end, there was no question they were an Ohio State defense.
Ready for Anyone
Yes, the Buckeyes have looked sloppy at times this season but they know how to win games. What was once an offense that relied almost entirely on Braxton Miller has developed into a well developed attack that includes a powerful front line, unstoppable running ability in the Miller/Hyde combination and a passing game that was not to be expected. Miller completed 14/18 for 189 yards. What a difference from the beginning of the year.
Just like the 2002 National Championship team, the 2012 Ohio State Buckeyes kept you on the edge of their seat, made you frustrated and nervous but in the end, they knew how to get the job done. I have no question they would carry that success into the bowl season if given the chance.
As for the rankings, I’ll have more on that in a later post.
Brady Hoke Turns to Woody
Has anyone noticed that Ohio native turned Michigan Coach Brady Hoke has been pacing the sidelines in his shirt sleeves all season? It was cold in Columbus last Saturday but there he was–no coat, no sweatshirt, just a short sleeve shirt.
Hmm…I wonder where he got that idea.
Although the focus around here has been on football, the No. 4 ranked Buckeye basketball team gets a chance to prove themselves tonight as they take on Duke. You will recall that when the Duke came to Columbus last year, they left licking the wounds of an 85-63 loss. It wasn’t only the biggest loss of the season, it was on of Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski’s biggest losses ever.
Unlike Duke, the Buckeyes haven’t really been tested this year. Since being ranked 8th in the preseason, Duke has worked their way to the No. 2 spot with wins over No. 3 Kentucky, Minnesota and soon to be fellow ACC opponent No. 2 Louisville. Other than an almost game against Marquette, this will be the Buckeyes first true test.
They will also get the pleasure of facing the insanity of Cameron Stadium and the Blue Devils 96 game home winning streak against out of conference teams.
You know the Duke fans if not the players look at this as a revenge game. Here’s to the Buckeyes giving them another year or two to wait.