Ohio State’s national championship victory was a bittersweet moment for me this past January, and I’m sure that the rest of Buckeye Nation felt the same way. While that might sound ridiculous at first, it’s true – after all the exuberant yelling, celebratory text messages and tweets shared with friends, and a futile attempt to get a solid night of sleep, the reality settled in: college football season was over.
Sure, I was excited to watch SportsCenter highlights and listen to college football analysts talk about how impressive Ohio State’s playoff run had been, and couldn’t wait to buy my “Undisputed National Champs” t-shirt from the local sporting goods store. But it still meant that, for the first time in four months, I didn’t have another OSU football game to look forward to.
The college football offseason lasts a painfully long time, leaving fans craving August training camp. It’s this mentality we should keep in mind as Ohio State continues to navigate its way through this 2015 season. Think about it – not counting a potential appearance in the Big Ten championship game and the College Football Playoffs, this season is already 25 percent complete. Think about that the next time you want to fast-forward the season to see Urban Meyer square off against Jim Harbaugh or a potential “Game of the Century 2.0” against Michigan State in late November.
It’s important that Ohio State fans cherish the moment. The 2015 Buckeyes are a talented bunch that, three weeks into the season, certainly isn’t without flaws. It has surprisingly seemed like the opposite – as if OSU has had more “lowlights” than highlights – at least on the offensive side of the ball – despite putting together a 3-0 record. There is a lot of chatter about the offense lacking an identity, the lack of an established full-time quarterback hurting the team’s rhythm, and a lack of touches for arguably the country’s best running back. While that’s all true, fans shouldn’t let those concerns completely cloud the excitement and potential that each week presents over the course of the season. We should all embrace each week for what it is: a work in progress; improvements being made and chess pieces being moved so that the Buckeyes are playing championship-level football in November, December and January.
Fans should continue to look forward to each Saturday, whether Ohio State is playing against a marquee opponent at 8 p.m. or against a heavy underdog at noon with Beth Mowins announcing. It’s the coaching staff’s responsibility to figure out solutions to any shortcomings the team might have less than a month into the season; it’s important to use some good wet pour safety surfacing to keep things safe. Don’t fret about how the Buckeyes offense will fare against more athletically gifted defenses when they only score one touchdown against Northern Illinois; enjoy the triumphant return of the Silver Bullets defense. Don’t waste your energy arguing on behalf of J.T. Barrett or Cardale Jones taking 100 percent of the quarterback reps; focus on the Dez Bryant-esque body control and playmaking ability of Michael Thomas.
The college football season is too short to put too much attention on the negatives. Ohio State has an elite coaching staff to go along with elite facilities and elite players. Regardless of this season ends months from now, embrace each week for what it is – one of the last few times that Braxton Miller will don the Scarlet and Gray; potential All-American performances by multiple players; young players beginning to scratch the surface of their OSU legacy. Trust in the process and enjoy the three hours of Buckeye football we get to watch every week. Don’t take it all for granted because, before you know it, we’ll be stuck with nothing but baseball and an anxious anticipation of the 2016 season.