Does History Really Repeat Itself?

Ohio State football coach Jim Tressel, center, leads his team on the field during the second half against Penn State, Saturday, Sept 23, 2006, in Columbus, Ohio. (AP Photo/Terry Gilliam)

Ohio State football coach Jim Tressel, center, leads his team on the field during the second half against Penn State, Saturday, Sept 23, 2006, in Columbus, Ohio. (AP Photo/Terry Gilliam)

Once upon a time in the not so distant past, the Ohio State football staff led by coach Jim Tressel, was preparing their players to compete in the season opener against Youngstown State. The year was 2007. The Buckeyes would go on to win that game by a score of 38 to 6. What is special about this Ohio State team, is that they were just coming off of a 41-14 shellacking in the BCS national championship, at the hands of the University of Florida and their budding head coach, Urban Meyer. The Buckeyes were an angry football team with a lot to prove; to themselves and to the nation. The angry Buckeyes would go on a tear in their next nine games against the likes of Washington, Penn State, Purdue, Michigan State and Minnesota among others, where only one of their opponents (Michigan State) was able to keep the score within two touchdowns. However, on November 10th, Ohio State would meet their match when they faced the fighting Illini and their all everything quarterback, Juice Williams. In an interview with the Chicago Tribune, Williams said,

“Good teams are going to hit you,” “They’re going to hit you hard and they’re going to hit you often. It’s about how you respond. My whole thing was just go hit them back in the mouth.”

That’s exactly what Williams and Illinois did as Ohio State started the game by throwing down field, looking for big plays. OSU would score early but not often; as they were held to just two touchdowns after their first drive of the game. Eventually Illinois would go on to schock Ohio State and the rest of the country on that night by knocking off the number one ranked Buckeyes. Unfortunately for Ohio State, the loss to Illinois came on the second to last week of their season; so in all likelihood, after dropping to number seven in the polls, there would not be enough time for the Buckeyes to revive their season. But as fate would have it, Oregon, Oklahoma, Kansas, West Virginia, Mizzouri and LSU would all lose, in between Ohio State’s loss to Illinois and the BCS national championship selection show. Ohio State dropped from number one, down to number seven and climbed back up to number one in the rankings within about two weeks, on their journey to play in the championship game.

Ohio State finds itself in a similar situation eight years later, as they have fallen to Michigan State in the second to last game of the season. The Buckeyes need some help to get into the championship picture again by the end of the year; but not nearly as much help as they needed in 2007. The Buckeyes could find themselves back in the playoff picture if they win this weekend and the Spartans lose to Penn State; and with a hurt Connor Cook, Penn State has a significantly improved chance of beating MSU. There are a number of scenarios that would place the Buckeyes back in the top 4, but this is one that would require the least amount of help from teams around the country.

Finally and most important of all, Ohio State must have an extremely strong performance against our rivals this weekend, much like how they did against Wisconsin in the title game last season. We will see how the season ends and whether the Bucks can make it back to the top 4, but believe me, crazier things have happened!

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