Here we are, the first Monday of the offseason with an undefeated Buckeyes team and no bowl game in sight. There were no roses being passed out, no trip to the B1G Title game planned, no thoughts of a BCS Title, there just simply was. Left with one of the oddest feelings I can remember after any season, undefeated or losing, the celebration was almost numbing in a way. We are one of two teams to go 12-0 in the regular season and that is cause for a claim to being one of the best in the country. But, without the rankings to back it up, without the BCS berth and beating of another great team outside of the B1G, there is no proof to some. So what exactly did this season mean?
The first, most obvious point that has been reiterated time after time by Urban Meyer himself, is that this year was for the Seniors. One of the greatest groups this program will ever see led a group who persevered through sanctions and the opinion of naysayers to the 6th undefeated season. In reality these kids had little to play for as compared to other years, but as great football players on a great team their desire to simply win every game was shown. Maybe it was some sort of sick “passing of the torch” moment when we came to realize that the team’s greatest leader, John Simon, would not be able to play in his final game in Ohio Stadium. He had been this team’s rock the entire season, the man to go to when things were going askew, the man to look to for motivation, the man who would make the play. In one ceremonial final walk out of that tunnel, and one final win by the Buckeyes, John Simon showed that his job had been done, that he had prepared this young team for an even brighter future beyond the start to yet another streak of wins against Michigan. John Simon matured every kid on that team, his job as a Buckeye is complete, and he will always be remembered as one of the greats.
Another man began his job as a Buckeye as imperfectly perfect as John Simon’s end, Urban Meyer. Few people expected Urban would fail in any way-shape-or-form this season, but just as few actually believed a 12-0 season was more than a highly-unlikely hope and dream. Even I thought we would slip up somewhere, that one team would play the spoiler, that mistakes by young players in a brand new system would cost us a game or two. But there was Urban, leading the team to a 2002esq ugly, heart wrenching, undefeated season. From blocked punts to false starts to delay of games, this season had more than two seasons worth of “ugh” moments. Through all that Urban kept his eye on the prize, his head clear of the distractions beyond his control, and his players in line. His imperfect non-publicly-correct moments have built a team with character, a team that “beat the shit out of Michigan.”
Not only has Urban made his impact on this group of players, but future Buckeyes as well. A 12-0 season without a bowl game may have affected the players on this year’s team, but there is no negative impact on the incoming recruiting class, or those players trying to decide between the Buckeyes and others. A season like this one shows kids just what The Ohio State University expects. Even when the odds are stacked against us, and so many are happy to watch us fall, we prevail. A season of change, a season of building, and a season of growth. The 2012 Ohio State Buckeyes will be remembered for their record, but beyond that they will be further remembered for the circumstances in which they went out and got the job done.
2013, what a year it will be… LET’S GO BUCKS!
Embrace The Hate