It was an eventfully uneventful game. The hysteria was piled upon “The Game” from the moment the Buckeyes were victorious in Madison, Wisconsin. The week leading up to the game was a “different” one, with Thanksgiving taking a large chunk of the attention, as well it should, but the sentiments were still the same. Urban Meyer put his legendary mark on the Rivalry with his heartfelt “Let’s beat the shit out of Michigan” after an emotional and tear filled speech. The Game brought out the droves of Buckeye faithful in hopes of a perfect season, capped off with a win against That Team Up North. Well here we are: 12-0 and as excited as we would be if we were on our way to the National Championship game against the Fighting Irish. However, it’s already 2013 in Columbus.
People, and I myself, believe that this will be a legendary team. A team with seemingly nothing to play for but themselves and their school, and that was more than enough. No Crystal Ball will be heading to the Woody Hayes Center, but that doesn’t matter. This season wasn’t about trophies, it was about Ohio State. It was about bringing the pride and Ohio State mentality back to Columbus. It was about showing the country that nothing will bring Ohio State down. Nothing. Now we’re back, stronger than ever.
This will be the worst team that Urban Meyer will Coach at Ohio State. Think about it. A year where the recruits were minimal, the players were inexperienced, the coaches brand new. A new system was put in place, a new philosophy was to be had. This was a year that could’ve easily turned into a “warm up”. And in some ways it was. It was a year filled with mistakes, tough times, and close games. Yet, we won them all. With all that went wrong, everything still went right. The Buckeyes, as bad as they were at times, had a perfect season.
Now imagine what will happen in the years ahead. Braxton Miller will know the offense that much better. He’ll be that much more experienced. He’ll know the work ethic necessary to win. He will develop into a player that Urban Meyer claimed will be “laughably good”. Carlos Hyde will have confidence. He’ll know how hard he has to work. He’ll be even better. Guys like Devin Smith, Corey Brown, and Corey Linsley will take an additional step forward with another Urban Meyer offseason under their belt.
Defensively, the Buckeyes will look incredibly different, but the playmakers should still be there. Ryan Shazier will become the leader, a’ la John Simon. Bradley Roby will solidify himself as the premier corner in the Big Ten, and one of the best in college football, should he continue to choose the Scarlet and Gray. Noah Spence, Adolphus Washington, and Tommy Schutt will have a year under their belt and a year of experience is worth immeasurable amounts.
The recruits are going to pile up, especially after such an amazing “warm up” year for the Buckeyes. Not to mention, they will have a National Championship to motivate them in addition to playing for themselves and their Coach. There is almost no doubt, it’s only going to get better.
That being said, I am already sad that the 2012 season is behind us. It hit me just after “The Game” that there would be no more football for the Buckeyes until Spring and into August. It was a season with such hope, promise, and realization. We knew that things were going to change with Coach Meyer, but maybe not as much as they did. The days of Tressel are far, far behind us. We still love the Sweater Vest, but Buckeye Nation is fully immersed in the Urban Era.
Urban has removed us from the dark depths of the Big Ten. The conference is being left in the past and Urban is taking us into the modern era. Finally, the Buckeyes will be able to compete with the likes of Alabama, Florida, and Georgia. The Buckeyes will be an SEC caliber team, unlike any other outside of the juggernaut conference. Yes, the sentiment of the Big Ten is nice. Power running game, stout defense, the big oxen controlling the line of scrimmage. It’s old school football to it’s finest. The Buckeyes played the old school football as best as anyone could. However, it’s a new era and finally the Buckeyes have caught up. Next season, I think we will begin to see that changing of levels very early. Now that we’re caught up, we just want to keep going, but unfortunately we have to wait. We have to wait even longer than we would have in a normal season.
Next year will simply be a continuation of this one. The Buckeyes will start next season looking at 13-0, not 1-0. This could be a historic run for the Buckeyes. Our schedule will allow us to have a real chance at going undefeated for three straight years. The Big Ten is the worst it’s been in years and our out of conference schedule, maybe not by design, is not very tough at all. With Coach Meyer at the helm, and the talent we have coming in and around us already, I definitely see some record breaking numbers in terms of consecutive wins for Ohio State.
All of that being said, this is going to be an incredibly tough off season for the fans. For the players, they will prepare for the challenges and for the next season, starting tomorrow. They will better themselves in every way possible. There is a National Championship to prepare for. For the fans, there is no preparation, they will just have to scratch until the itch goes away with the arrival of August. So for now, it’s just waiting and reliving. It’s reliving the glory that was 2012 and awaiting the glory that will be 2013 for the Buckeyes. The wait for 13-0 starts now…