Countdown Until THE GAME 2018

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Ohio State, The SEC, & A Closer Look At 0-9

A recent article caught my attention regarding how Ohio State should not be in this year's BCS Championship Game. One of the key points that the article made was how Ohio State's loss to LSU last year in the BCS Championship Game dropped Ohio State's overall bowl record to 0-9 against teams in the SEC. While nobody can dispute the historical fact that Ohio State is 0-9 against SEC opponents in bowl games, I believe a couple things should be pointed out for the sake of balance:

1. The majority of the bowl losses to the SEC occurred under John Cooper's tenure as Ohio State's head coach: If you read below, you will see which SEC team defeated Ohio State, in which bowl game and year, and what the score was. While it is convenient for people around the country to bash Ohio State or Jim Tressel as ill-prepared to handle the mighty SEC, you can see Jim Tressel only is responsible for three of the nine losses. Two of Coach Tressel's came in the BCS Championship Game - as an Ohio State fan, I completely believe I would rather be losing in the BCS Championship Game than not be in the game at all. And another thing ~ no matter how bad Ohio State was defeated the last two seasons, neither game was as bad as what Oklahoma suffered to USC (55-19) in 2005 (a 36 point differential, compared to Ohio State's 27 point loss to Florida or 14 point loss to LSU). Last time I checked, Oklahoma had lost their last 4 BCS Bowl Games, yet I fail to see too many articles supporting a ban of Oklahoma from BCS consideration.
1978 Sugar Bowl Alabama 35 Ohio State 6 - Woody Hayes
1990 Hall Of Fame Bowl Auburn 31 Ohio State 14 - John Cooper
1993 Citrus Bowl Georgia 21 Ohio State 14 - John Cooper
1995 Citrus Bowl Alabama 24 Ohio State 14 - John Cooper
1996 Citrus Bowl Tennessee 20 Ohio State 14 - John Cooper
2001 Outback Bowl South Carolina 24 Ohio State 7 - John Cooper
2002 Outback Bowl South Carolina 31 Ohio State 28 - Jim Tressel
2007 BCS Championship Florida 41 Ohio State 14 - Jim Tressel
2008 BCS Championship LSU 38 Ohio State 24 - Jim Tressel
2. Florida fans should get on their hands and knees and thank the gods for UCLA in 2006: And the reason why is USC was ranked ahead of Florida and headed to play in Tempe against Ohio State until UCLA upset the Trojans. Even Michigan, whom Ohio State defeated that season, was ranked ahead of Florida prior to USC's loss to UCLA, and then the coaches and media voted Florida ahead of Michigan to give Florida its title shot. What is my point, you ask? That the SEC superiority displayed by Florida over Ohio State in the 2007 BCS Championship Game would never have happened if not for some unlikely assistance from voters and a surprising USC choke job in their rivalry game.
3. Ohio State was not supposed to be playing for the title in 2007: After losing so many key players (Troy Smith, Ted Ginn Jr, Anthony Gonzalez, Antonio Pittman), Ohio State was picked to finish third in the Big Ten behind Michigan and Wisconsin. By comparison, LSU was routinely picked to play for the BCS Championship Game last season - like Ohio State, they were truly fortunate that both West Virginia and Missouri lost their last game of the regular season, allowing them to move up to play.
4. How "neutral" are these bowl sites for Ohio State?: Even more fortunate for LSU- how about playing for the BCS Championship Game in your home state? How about the last time an SEC team even played north of the Mason-Dixon line was 1991? I will give credit to Tennessee for scheduling a home and home with Ohio State for 2018 and 2019, but even then, those games are in September. Let's see how dominant a SEC team is in late November in Ohio Stadium, when it is raining or snowing.
I will concede that right now, from top to bottom, the SEC is the toughest conference in college football. That being said, some of the arguments I have made regarding Ohio State when compared to the SEC should also be considered when people start arguing about keeping Ohio State out of the BCS Championship Game - rest assured, if Ohio State loses to USC on September 13th, SEC fans will have nothing to worry about as it relates to another BCS Championship Game by Ohio State.


Tom Grady said...


Having been down here for the BCS game, I can certainly see how Ohio State loses these games. Despite what everyone says on TV, the fan sentiment in New Orleans was certainly that this was not a championship game. Several OSU fans that I talked with made the comment that they already won their championship (having defeated Michigan) and that the BCS was sort of a bonus.

It was a bit odd...when I was down on Bourbon St the night before the BCS, there was more fan focus on Michigan than on LSU. To make a pro fottball analogy, it seemed like Ohio State was treatng the BCS like the pro-bowl - a fun time in a nice warm place to visit.

I can 't help but wonder if that sentiment bleeds through somehow to the players.

Chip Minnich said...

Tom: Thanks for your comments. Traditionally, Ohio State fans live and die with the Michigan game. Considering that Ohio State clinched the Rose Bowl with their win over Michigan, and that most Ohio State fans never thought Ohio State would be playing for the championship in 2007, that may have been why some fans had a casual attitude about playing LSU.

Anonymous said...

Good points overall.

UCLA beating USC that year was perplexing and highly unlikely. It is made even stranger by the fact that UCLA then lost to a mediocre 6 loss Florida State team in the Emerald bowl, 44-27.

Often overlooked is the fact that Santonio Holmes came out early as a junior in the 06 draft. If he had stayed in school, the OSU receiving corps would have been perhaps the best ever in 06. Holmes and Ginn make as two world class speed burners with Gonzalez as a top notch possession/clutch receiver. Very difficult for defense to key on one guy.Roy Hall,Hartline & Robiskie as backups.Also TE Marcel Frost ! was dismissed in August 06, which took away another receiving option.

But consider that Don Shula was only 2-4 in the Super Bowl, yet is considered a legendary coach. How many times did Nebraska lose the championship under Osborne before finally breaking through in 1994?

Also the big 10 is 7-3 in the last 10 Citrus Bowls LOL. How good is that ?