I still remember it like it was yesterday. Just a few days past Christmas Day and enjoying the last days of break from school. My stomach filled with butterflies and leftover homemade noodles my mom makes every year. Both of my parents decked out in OSU attire, while I was donning a white 13 Buckeyes jersey I had just opened a few days prior.
The Buckeyes, a team that I was bred to follow, were playing for their first National Championship in 30+ years. All we had heard the previous month was how unstoppable and unbeatable the opponent was. The Miami Hurricanes, who would later send over a dozen players on their roster into the NFL, played the role of Goliath to our David.
I remember sitting on the edge of my seat the entire game, palms sweaty and nerves higher than Josh Gordon. I had basketball practice early the next morning, but nothing was stopping me from watching the end of this game.
As Krenzel’s pass floated in the air and into the end zone, all of Buckeye nation held their breath. After a blatant pass interference had not been called and the ball dropped to the ground, so did our hopes of a National Championship.
BUT WAIT! A late flag flies in and the correct call was made on the field, though delayed. ONE. MORE. SHOT.
And you all know what happened from there. We scored a touchdown to send the game to overtime, eventually winning it on a fourth down Ken Dorsey pass that fluttered to the ground like a lame duck (foreshadowing to 2014).
There have been so many amazing Buckeye football memories over my past 30 years. We all endured the Cooper era, though one of my few memories was David Boston pumping each arm up and down as he scored the game winning TD to take down Jake the Snake Plummer and the Arizona State Sun Devils.
Tress brought a renewed hope and future to OSU, hanging the trajectory of the program — both on and off the field. Winning a Nat’l Title in his second year, and playing for two more during his tenure. I recall many great memories from his time at Ohio State. Who could forget the miraculous Anthony Gonzalez catch against TTUN? Or his outstanding and dominate record against the maize and blue? I’ll never forget the Beanie Wells long TD runs against TTUN in the Shoe during the epic 42-39 game in 2006.
Then, after some shady stuff went down the end of the Tressel era came to an abrupt end. In what seems like child’s play compared to all the NCCA violations committed over the past decade, Tress was out and Buckeye spirits were down. Who would lead us into the next dominate era? Luke Fickel surely didn’t seem like the man.
Just like our deflated spirits were resurrected when that late flag was flown in the 2001 Fiesta Bowl, in came a flux of rumors that Urban Meyer would be the next football coach at THE Ohio State University! While many hated the move originally, mainly because he trounced us in 2006 when he was at the helm of the Florida Gators, they got on board when he led a pathetic team to a 12-0 record in his first year (that’s how it’s done, Harbaugh).
As the Urban Era was ushered in, so were many new and great moments in OSU football. Most notably, and my favorite Buckeye football memory ever, was Zeke running untouched down the field during the 2014/5 College Football Playoff Semifinal against the great Alabama Crimson Tide (Roll Tears)! We also had the Braxton Miller spin move in the season opener at Lane Stadium against Virginia Tech. I had the privilege of attending both of those last two games!
And who could forget about the National Championship he won us in just his third year? Beating the Wisconsin Badgers 59-0 in the Big Ten Championship, then the aforementioned Alabam spanking, finished off with the trouncing of the Oregon (lame foreshadowed) Ducks! Not to be forgotten, all three completed with our THIRD string quarterback.
All of those memories bring us to the current state of Ohio State football. We all were left with a sour and bitter taste in our mouths after the drubbing Clemson put on us last January. Many of us thought we would get beat, but not 31-0. That was pathetic and embarrassing to the Great State of Ohio.
Thursday starts a new season, though. A chance for a redemption season. A chance to wipe away the memories of hanging a 0 on the national stage. Yes, we beat TTUN AGAIN last year, but that had become commonplace year after year.
Thursday brings many changes to the staff and team as well. While our QB will be a 5th year senior and 4 year starter, we have new personal on the coaching staff. Most notably, Kevin Wilson, who coincidentally enough came over from the school we’ll be playing Thursday night — Indiana. Also Ryan Day as QB Coach.
My outlook this year is bright. If we don’t run the table in the regular season and win the Big Ten Chanpionship game, it will be a major letdown. Expect the Bucks to return to the CFB Playoffs, hopefully winning it all this year against Alabama.
The reason for this prediction? Look no further than our 5th year senior and one of the best defensive lines in college football history. We are also 2-3 deep at EVERY position this year — most being 4 and 5 star recruits or returning starters. This will be the strongest secondary we’ve probably ever had at OSU, and that includes the 2014 team that sent almost the entire secondary into the first or second round of the NFL draft.
I’m excited to see the development of Barrett under new leadership and coaching. Look for him to have a year closer to his redshirt freshman year. I think he’ll break even more records and go down as one of the best QB’s to ever put on the Scarlett and Gray.
I’m also looking forward to seeing Mike Webber develop into the back he’s shown glimpses of becoming. Also, excited to see highly touted JK Dobbins get some time in the backfield, along with Demario McCall.
My prediction for week one? Buckeyes roll over Hoosiers in Kevin Wilson’s revenge 63-0. Yes, I think we’ll easily score that many and also get to see many of the young and coming Buckeyes. I also believe our defense will be that dominate, especially against the weak offensive line of IU (their weakest unit this year). I think we’ll pass the ball a lot, but not get too cute and fancy this early.
So, what say you? Leave a comment at the bottom of this blog, or in the comments section of this post on Facebook. I’d love to hear your favorite Buckeye football memories and a prediction of what you expect with the team in 2017!