The 2016 Fiesta Bowl Is Fitting For The Buckeyes

Congratulations to the Ohio State Buckeyes for being selected for The 2016 Fiesta Bowl. The players, coaching staff, and Ohio State Head Coach Urban Meyer are to be commended for a tremendous 2015 season, with the opportunity of beginning 2016 on a positive note against a well-regarded and highly-ranked team from the University of Notre Dame.

Am I disappointed that Ohio State will not repeat as national champions, as the Buckeyes were not picked as one of the four best teams in the country by the College Football Playoff committee? Absolutely. Do I believe Ohio State ranks as one of the four best teams talent-wise this season? Absolutely. Do I believe Ohio State deserved inclusion within the College Football Playoff? No.

As so many of you witnessed throughout 2015, as I did, Ohio State never seemed to play up to their potential. All season, Ohio State fans waited and wondered for the juggernaut that finished the 2014 season with a mighty and triumphant flourish to appear. That team finally appeared with the demolition of That Team Up North on November 28th, with a resounding 42-13 victory.

Unfortunately, the Buckeyes had not demonstrated the same type of intensity and domination throughout most of the 2015 season. Yes, there were flashes ~ at Virginia Tech. At Rutgers. Ask yourself – what kind of performance was registered against Hawaii? Northern Illinois? Maryland? Did that Ohio State team look like one of the best teams in the country at that point? With the eyes of the nation watching, Ohio State played listlessly against Michigan State, and lost, at home, to a team playing two backup quarterbacks. I was there, in the stands of Ohio Stadium – trust me. The better team won that day, plain and simple.

Before I am besieged by multiple tweets and comments, let me simply remind you that my thoughts are similar to other former Buckeyes, such as Kirk Herbstreit, Chris Spielman, and Matt Finkes. If former players could see the same type of issues that faced this team this season, and have the same type of reaction by the ranking that led Ohio State to the Fiesta Bowl, how far off can I be?

Would I have liked The Rose Bowl over The Fiesta Bowl? Yes – who is not awed by “The Grandaddy Of Them All” on January 1st? I am intrigued by the idea of playing against Notre Dame, a team similar to Ohio State in the sense that both teams are only a few points away from being undefeated. I will offer up an analysis of The 2016 Fiesta Bowl as it gets closer and closer to January 1st.

In the meantime, I urge you, and the 2015 Ohio State Buckeyes, to think in the vein of Henry David Thoreau ~ “Make the most of your regrets; never smother your sorrow, but tend and cherish it till it comes to have a separate and integral interest. To regret deeply is to live afresh…”.

3 Thoughts From The Mind Of Minnich ~ Hokies Will Come ‘Loaded For Bear’ Against OSU

“Loaded For Bear” is an old expression, meaning someone or several people are ready for a difficult challenge. You could make the argument that although Virginia Tech effectively disrupted and dismantled Ohio State’s offense in 2014 using the Bear Front Cover 0 scheme, it will be the Buckeyes who are truly ‘loaded for bear’ as they begin the 2015 season in Blacksburg at 8pm EST on 09/07/2015.

Three Quick Things I will be keeping an eye out for during the game:

1. The Bear Front Cover 0 Scheme: How quickly will Virginia Tech use it against Ohio State, and how effectively will Ohio State be able to neutralize it? As stated up above, and as any Ohio State fan remembers from 2014, Virginia Tech used the Bear Front Cover 0 to its maximum effectiveness last year in Columbus. Why would Virginia Tech possibly deviate from something that worked so well? All offseason, Ohio State has practiced on how to defeat the scheme. The chess match between Virginia Tech’s Bud Foster and Ohio State Head Coach Urban Meyer and Ed Warriner will be fascinating.

2. Special Teams Truly Need To Be Special: Besides a stifling defense, Virginia Tech has made a sterling reputation off its special teams units, often blocking punts that swung the momentum in their favor against their opponent. Cameron Johnston is a tremendous punter, but needs to be prepared for the possibility of the Hokies going all out with a punt block scheme.

3. It Truly Is ‘Miller Time’: Braxton Miller returns to the field of play for the first time since January 2014. How much of a factor will Miller be as an H-Back, or as a listed punt returner? The aforementioned Foster will be on high alert any and all times Miller steps on the field for the Buckeyes.

I believe this game is going to be a tougher game than many Ohio State fans want to acknowledge. Blacksburg is going to be loud, raucous, and well-liquidated after a whole day in preparation for this game. Virginia Tech will not only run the Bear Front Cover 0 scheme, but look for various blitzes and stunts that will test Ohio State’s offensive line and the starting quarterback; for the record, I believe that will be J.T. Barrett, but I anticipate Cardale Jones getting playing time as well. Both Chris Spielman and Joey Galloway believe this will be a close one; who am I to argue with Buckeye legends? I have it being close until the fourth quarter, with Ohio State pulling away, to make it Ohio State 28, Virginia Tech 17.