Buckeye (indig)Nation

OSU FootballSo, it’s been two weeks over a week since that thing. Now enough time has passed, and emotions are no longer paramount. We can start to analyze The Game from a more objective point-of-view.

Right?

Actually, not really. An odd feeling continues to swirl through Buckeye nation, like a sour smell that won’t go away. Bring up The Game to an OSU fan, and you’re likely to see that person wrinkle his nose and shut you up with a dismissive gesture.

No, it’s not disappointment. OSU fans know disappointment. Disappointment comes from shame, and there’s not much shame for the 2006 OSU team, that went 12-1, made it to Glendale, won an outright Big Ten championship, and graduated a group of seniors that earned three gold pants against arch rival Michigan.

So, disappointment? Nah. This is more like — righteous indignation.

When you can get a fellow fan to speak, he usually stares off into the aether and says the same thing: I just can’t believe that they didn’t show up to play.

Again, and for the record, we acknowledge that the Gators were the better team, and most deserving of the trophy. But the frustrating part of it is that they earned the trophy without taking OSU’s best shot, and that’s what has got Buckeye nation’s scarlet-and-gray panties in a bunch.

I know many Gator fans may argue this point. But they certainly can’t have it both ways, can they? Either you acknowledge that OSU didn’t show up to play, which minimizes what Florida managed to accomplish; or you argue that Florida really is that superior, which raises questions about the many sloppy performances, lack of domination, and the loss during its regular season. Explaining the latter away with the “SEC was tougher, idiot!” does not satisfy, especially since the SEC only went 1-4 against the Big Ten in 2006, and the conference wasn’t represented very well in postseason accolades and trophies.

OSU fans are indignant because they have to feast on the crow of making predictions based on Tressel’s past performance, only to turn on the television and see him coach the worst game of his professional career.

OSU fans are indignant because they have to continue to rebut the myth of SEC speed, which is getting pretty tiring. If one claims the SEC is faster, then that doesn’t explain Pittman deking the mighty Gator secondary out of their shoes on his 18 yard TD run; or Ginn, brought to a full stop, kicking through a tackle and outracing the speedy Florida kick coverage on his 93-yard TD run. However, the OSU O-line played with a slow, plodding, we-really-don’t-care attitude, allowing Florida’s ends to race into the backfield and jump inside Smith’s facemask without abandon. When you watch someone run past another person, standing still, the one running is always going to be perceived as “faster.”

But I digress.

At the risk of evoking melodrama, the whole event reminded me of Rocky III, with the Gators playing the role of Clubber Lang. Rocky, who had been a superior fighter over a longer period of time, waltzed in unprepared and undercoached against a hungry, angry foe, who then proceeded to beat him into oblivion.

clubber.jpg
GrrrRawr!! I pity da foo who wears a Buckeye uniform!!

Yes, in the movie, Rocky won a rematch. But here in the real world, Lang gets his championship, while Rocky has to go sit and sulk under the gloomy, gray winter skies of Columbus in January.

Tressel had set the bar quite high for fans, not to expect victory all of the time, but to expect solid effort. In other words, OSU fans were made no promises about victories, but had gotten used to expecting the Bucks to play lights out no matter what. Only they didn’t. They didn’t, maybe because they felt they had already proven their case. It’s hard to get enough emotion together to play a third number one vs. two game in a season, let alone the second one vs. two in a row.

Moreover, perhaps the OSU players and coaches felt that they had achieved all of their goals for the year: Undefeated, another win over Michigan, revenge over Texas, an undisputed Big Ten title, and a Heisman Trophy run for their QB. Perhaps they used up all of their emotional reserve, and showed up to Glendale in a “I’m just here for a nice vacation” mode.

But those are excuses. In short, there is no question that Florida deserves the title, because there is no question that OSU didn’t really want it after all. And the fans have come to realize this. It was frustrating that a game so important to OSU fans was not that big of a deal to the team. As I’ve heard on several occasions from fellow fans, so I repeat now:

“Ah, well, if it ain’t important to them, then it ain’t important to me.”

Such is righteous indignation.

Comments

  1. Baby Jeezus says

    “You play to win the game. Hello!!!! You play to win the game” I pity the fool that subscribes to this notion that players viewed this even as nothing more than the Griswalds going to Wally World for vacation. It was the Championship game of the frickin season. No one gives a dam about you beating your arch rivals after November. We only remember game of the centuries (for the year) and National Title Games. Whats it gonna look like when your 60 and you have bald head, bad knees, and never ending bowel syndrome. Whats gonna look like when you look over at your depleted body and glance down to the finger and see no ring??????? Fuck this man. I would rather play with 100 fucking Gollums (Lord of the Ring) who wanted to wear that fucking ring that 100 guys who play for nothing. I ask, we’re you entertained, we’re you entertained, is this not why you are here?????

  2. It just feels like two weeks, actually next Monday will be two weeks. Write this then.

  3. Andy – holy cow. You’re right. It seemed like two weeks ago.

    Baby Jeezus – LOL. Go decaf next time. 😉

  4. Sorry, but I see your “Buckeye (indig)Nation” story as a bunch of crap. We got beat by a better team. When you get beat that badly, you shut up, you go into hibernation for a few weeks, then you suck it up and then go back to work with purpose.

    It was a very sad TEAM loss. Everyone, from top to bottom, is responsible for this one.

    No whining. Hiberate. Let’s talk about something else.

  5. Don –

    >>No whining. Hibernate<< No whining here. Whining would be "we only lost because the field was slippery," or "we're still the better team, but..." Nothing like that here. Like I wrote, "if it ain't important to them, it ain't important to me." The very nature of the blogosphere kinda prevents us from hibernating. It's what we do; it's why people come here. We wrote about Buckeye football for four months straight; it would seem odd if we didn't wrap it up with a few words after one of the most important games of the past forty years. >>then you suck it up and then go back to work with purpose.<< Let the players hibernate; we're just writers. We just want to be a place for Buckeye fans to come and find something interesting to read for a few minutes. And thank YOU for giving us your time. 🙂

  6. sportsMonkey,
    Great commentary and I would agree with just about all of it. I would like to add a little something I discovered while in mourning, of course I didn’t discover it, I merely pieced it all together and tried to make sense of it.

    While the debacle in the desert was certainly what some would call an anomaly or an aberration, I tend to look at it almost as destiny. What?? you might say. Destiny?? WTF are you talking about??

    Here’s what I am talking about. Several coaches have won a NC in their second year, Stoops, Tressel, Carroll, Meyer, etc. There seems to be something about that second year at a new program or in a new conference. Regardless, let’s look closer at Stoops and Tressel because the similarities are very scary. Both won their first NC in their second year, both had defensive coordinators who went on to head coaching jobs (mike stoops and mark dantonio), both guided their programs back to the NCG four years after winning their first, and yep, you guessed it, they both got blown the F out 55-19 and 41-14. I can’t remember if Jason White won the heisman that year or the year before, but it wouldn’t surprise me if he did. Carroll’s situation is not as exact in terms of time line, but in terms of getting back to the NC after losing key assistants it is. Carroll, who was supposed to have the greatest team in the history of college football, with two heisman winners on the team at the same time, was supposed to kill Texas. We know what happened there – VY turned in the best single performance in Rose Bowl history.

    Now Meyer has won his first NC in his second year – let’s see where he is in 4 years and who is on his staff.

    The point I am making in all of this is that what happened to us in the desert is somewhat indicative to a new “gotta win now” trend in college football. Sure we looked horrible, but no worse than OK in their loss to USC 55-19, and that OK team was supposed to have the greatest defense in the history of mankind.

    I think the timing of this event and the fact that it happened against an SEC opponent is what has made everyone overlook these recent events. Florida just happened to be in the right place at the right time and they made the most of it. My hats off to them, they earned it and they were the better team. My biggest problem is that we wait 52 days to play the biggest game of the year.

    Lastly, in order for Florida to be as dominate as they were and for Ohio State to be as bad as they were, the entire sports world had to off their rocker all year. 65 voters from all over the country must have been wrong all year; the pros in Vegas have no idea what they are doing; everyone that Ohio State played all year (including several team who went bowling and won) were overrated and really suck; all of the teams Florida played and beat by one point were grossly underrated and are really awesome (you know Georgia who barely beat winless Colorado and lost to Vandy and Kentucky).

    Either that or we have a lot of PARITY in college football.

  7. Your neighborhood spiderman says

    No disrespect, but saying that these players “didn’t show up to play” or that they had “achieved all their goals” is tantamount to calling them “losers”.

    This was the biggest game, on the biggest stage. I saw those Buckeye players after the first touchdown, and during the whole game standing on their benches, waving towels, trying to get the crowd into it. This team was fired up. They were motivated. They just got beat.

    If you accept the premise that they “didn’t show up”, then Coach Tressel should be fired immediately. How could you not have your team prepared for the biggest game of their lives? How could they be resting on their laurels of an undefeated season? If they didn’t have a concept of the game they were about to play, and the stakes, then they are either very dumb or not well coached.

    You say the O-Line played with a “we-really-don’t-care attitude”. Well, then they are losers, pure and simple. Or, if you think the Bucks felt they had “because they felt they had already proven their case” they are some combination of dense AND losers.

    Finally, if you really believe, as your final statement says, that “there is no question that OSU didn’t really want it (the title) after all” then they are the ULTIMATE LOSERS. I hope no NFL team drafts a single player who would think this way. If they really didn’t want it, why the hell even play the game?

    Either you believe your premise – that this group is essentially “losers” who didn’t care, or you believe they got beat. You cant have it both ways.

  8. Spidey – kind of a weak straw man/excluded middle argument, there. You can’t really set up a polarized false argument like that, and have it carry any weight. Not with anyone that follows college football, anyway.

    Yes, the Bucks lost. No, they weren’t into the game. Yes, it was the worst coaching job in Tressel’s career, not having the players ready for the big game. You make these points as if I said otherwise, when in fact you’re just re-stating everything I said, which proves my point about why Buckeye nation is not disappointed, but indignant.

    >>If they really didn’t want it, why the hell even play the game?<< Which was my point exactly. Something interesting, to turn your own logic around on you... would you say the same thing about Florida, getting beaten by an average Auburn team earlier in the season? Would you argue that the NFL shouldn't draft a single Florida player, because they didn't play well for that game? That it makes them "losers?" Ridiculous. No, you know what's aberrant and what's not. The performance in the BCS title game was an aberrant one for the Bucks. That's not an excuse, that's fact, and that's why Florida deserved the title more than they.

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