The 2012 football team will be most remembered by their perfect record, Urban Meyer’s first season and the postseason ban. The perfect season shows how much this team bought into Meyer and his system from day one and it shows the leadership from the 21 seniors who have had three different head coaches in three seasons. These group of seniors went from a 12-1 2010 season that included a Sugar Bowl victory to losing their father figure head coach Jim Tressel and their starting quarterback Terrell Pryor who was supposed to lead them to another BCS berth in 2011. They had the look of a preseason top 3 team before the sanctions, suspensions and dismissals hit Columbus but instead, they were left in shambles.
The man that guided the Buckeyes to a National Championship in 2002, an 8-1 record versus Michigan, six Big Ten titles, 7 BCS bowl games and most importantly the father-type relationship that he had with his players, was gone in the blink of an eye. Terrell Pryor, probably the most heralded recruit to ever land in Columbus, who led his team to back to back BCS bowl wins and was one of the Heisman front-runners for 2011 was also gone. The other two stars on an offense that was just starting to really live up to its full potential, Dan Herron and DeVier Posey were suspended and before the 2011 season even started, it was essentially over.
When the sanctions hit, any of these seniors could easily packed their bags to go to a program that had a chance at a BCS National Championship and no one would have blamed them. Instead, they bought into the new coaching staff right away and wanted to leave their mark as seniors. Most probably dreamed of putting on the scarlet and gray from a young age and playing for a National Championship, especially after capturing a Rose Bowl victory as freshmen and a Sugar Bowl victory as sophomores. But their quest for a BCS National Championship was taken away from them in 2011 and they wanted to make their mark as a senior class in 2012.
No, this 2012 class will not be remembered nationally like the 2002 class that went to Tempe, Arizona and upset the University of Miami but in Columbus they will always be remembered for what they gave to this program. With a new coaching staff, new offense and coming off of a disappointing 6-7 season, no one really knew what to expect coming into this year. They answered by going 12-0 and achieving a perfect season for only the sixth time in program history.
We all know Meyer’s love for John Simon, the B1G Defensive Player of the Year, saying that he would go as far as to name a future son after him if he were to have another. Then there is a player like Zach Boren who was known as a bruising fullback in the past until his playing time diminished under Meyer’s spread offense. When the injury bug hit the linebacking corps, Boren stepped over to the other side of the ball and excelled, he led the team in tackles with 9 in his final game versus Michigan. This graduating class is not full of NFL stars like the past but it was full of players who committed to the program and that is what really matters.
When B1G Championships, BCS Bowl Appearances and BCS National Championships start to pile up over the next couple of years, look back on the 2012 seniors as the stepping stone to future greatness. With next year’s schedule set up for another chance at perfection, look for the 2013 Buckeyes to extend this 12 game winning streak all the way to Pasadena, California for the 2014 Vizio BCS National Championship Game.
Thank you 2012 seniors.