Relieved… (?)

So it stinks craptastic donkey farts that OSU lost.

But answer honestly… is it really that big of a deal? Let’s step away from the ledge for a moment and remember how rare it is that ANY team from a competitive conference goes undefeated.

Alabama lost last week, to a team that took it on the chin this week against an unranked opponent. Same with Nebraska, to an unranked Texas team with one of the worst offenses in its history.

At least OSU had a litany of reasons (not excuses) for its loss. There were no misconceptions about this Buckeye team heading into Madison:

  • Tough, ranked opponent
  • OSU’s injury-ridden defense – filled with players that were listed as second- or third-string at the beginning of the season
  • Worst special teams of the Tressel era
  • Hobbled star quarterback, playing on what is obviously a very injured leg
  • Excellently talented, deep, and senior-heavy Wisconsin team; playing at home, at night, with nothing much to lose
  • Jim Bollman is still an offensive coach (zing)

Buckeye fans: would you rather be a Nebraska fan this week? It could be worse.

In all seriousness, at the beginning of the season el Kaiser and I examined the schedule and had a discussion on what was “fair” to expect out of this year’s OSU squad. I argued that nine (regular season) wins were a lock – in other words, fewer than nine wins weren’t acceptable without a coaching change or major reason why. Ten wins were considered “expected.” Eleven wins… if the team was better than usual or if the Big 10 ended up terrible (see 2006). And, of course, twelve wins for a team was historically exceptional and beat the odds.

So it’s really not that big of a deal for OSU to lose a game like this. Losing last year, to Purdue – that was unacceptable, and I’m still shocked that Gene Smith didn’t come down heavier on Tressel to make assistant changes after that game. But losing to a very good, ranked, Wisco team, on the road at night, with a banged up team – that’s gonna happen from time to time, folks. It’s perfectly acceptable to root against such a thing happening, but it’s completely unreasonable to expect for it not to happen. Not in a competitive conference.

So… “relieved”…? In a way, yes. Maybe it’s just me, but I have to admit at times I miss just enjoying college football, rather than worrying week to week whether my favorite team will perform well enough to keep or raise its ranking.

Today’s loss means OSU will have a narrower focus, a smaller list of likely scenarios with which to concern itself. As of now, the Big 10 championship is within reach, and that more modest goal suits the circumstances of this 2010 squad a bit better.

And silver-lining wise, the Big 10 now has three or four solid, tough teams that are positioning themselves nicely to represent the conference well in the postseason. And maybe Michigan, too.

So, after all this discussion, let’s talk about a team that we should REALLY feel bad for: Purdue. As if they weren’t already doomed enough for their role in last year’s fiasco, tonight’s loss just assured them of yet more unfathomable pain next week. Condolences and apologies in advance for the upcoming annihilation.

Comments

  1. You’re completely right. I mean, that loss could also have been at home. To an unranked team. From 1aa. On opening day. Man, I feel better already just thinking about that.

  2. I am invoking my rights as a lifetime member of Buckeye Nation to mourn this loss for a period of 2 days and then I will get back to normal 😉

  3. Offensive line came to play, Sanzanbacher was terrific We were manhandled and abused! Special teams should walk home!

  4. ps I’ll still be in the shoe Saturday!!

  5. Relieved… yes. Life goes on. Still great to be a Buckeye.

  6. Did you mean Minnesota? Because Purdue beat Minny last night…

    Or are you referring to the loss of Robbie Hummel (which totally sucks)?

  7. He means Purdue because this is revenge week for OSU as in we will get revenge for last years game and now they will be angry and hungry following up a loss.

  8. I’m with Rambo, I’ve got two days to be sullen about the loss and then I’ll be back and ready to cheer on the Buckeyes again.

    I will say this — I don’t know if any team could have beat Wisconsin the way they played Saturday night. The emotion, the momentum and the way their line blocked was lights out. Our defense showed up late.

  9. If we don’t have a new special teams coach ASAP. I’ll be very dissappointed. Another return for a TD is just unforgivable at this level. Period.

  10. German Buckeye says

    Man, times like this I wish we had a playoff system – top 16 ranked team play for Nat’l Championship. Takes the stress and worry out (and over reacting to one loss seasons). I agree, I’m not liking collegiate level football much right now due to BCS crap…

  11. @Miller – the fact that we don’t have a ST coach at this point baffles me. Who is responsible for these breakdowns? The defensive co-coordinators?

    @German Buckeye – good call. The fans need as much of a pressure release as the players do.

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