Ohio State and its Underappreciated Dynasty

Let’s pretend for a moment that Ohio State hasn’t been Ohio State for the past 20 years. Let’s pretend all those teams were say, Purdue. Let’s pretend that “Purdue” made three national championship appearances, and won one national championship. What would the narrative be about the Boilermakers over the past 15 years? Many – which means everyone – would say that Purdue was a dynasty. They made the only post-season game that counted multiple times and walked away with one championship.Here’s the problem, those teams that made three national championship appearances weren’t the Purdue Boilermakers. There were The Ohio State Buckeyes. Obviously, expectations for each of the two previously named schools are very different, but even if both had similar outcomes, their dynasty status should still be the same. I live in Ohio, but I’m not an Ohio State fan. Because of my lack of loyalty to one particular school over another, College Football Roundtable Co-Founder Jeff Rich (@JRichRadio) calls me an observer of football more than a fan. That’s probably a fair assessment. In the past, and probably in the future, I’ve been critical of Ohio State, Gordon Gee, Jim Tressel, et al. But let’s get one thing straight, despite one's feeling about Tressel as a person, he’s pretty damn good coach, and obviously a better motivator of men. What he was able to accomplish as coach at Ohio State, despite how he left there, is nothing short of amazing. Comparing Tressel to Bear Bryant, Woody Hayes, and Pop Warner is probably a stretch, but it would be tough to argue he isn’t one of the – if not the best – coach of the past twenty years. Who else could be better? Maybe two other men: Pete Carroll and Nick Saban. Please do not try and insert someone else into this argument. Those are the best three. You pick the order. I’m not good at breaking down games, or discerning which team is always better than another, but I am good at administering the eye test. I know Ohio State was blown out of the water in two national championship appearances, and didn’t look awesome in several other big games. Keep in mind, those teams did beat Texas in Austin and had one respectable loss versus USC in a home-and-home series. During that period, they established their ownership of Pink Taco Stadium University of Phoenix Stadium. Note: Ohio State is actually 3-2 in games in Glendale/Tempe, but I’m not taking out the Pink Taco line. Ohio State carried the banner for the Big Ten for those 15ish years, and yes the conference was only slightly better then than it is now, but what difference does it make? SEC people – me included – always say, you can only play the teams on your schedule, and you can’t control what the other teams in your conference are going to do. So, why does everyone poo-poo Ohio State’s BCS record or record versus out of conference teams? Or the teams they play? Or the fact that they never play outside of Columbus? Well, in all fairness, Alabama rarely plays outside of Tuscaloosa, and neither does Texas or Tennessee. LSU, Florida, Florida State. Nope, nope and nope. All play at home all the time. Why the Ohio State hate? Explain it to me? It’s a question I had to ask myself. I’m one of the people who railed against Ohio State’s schedule. No, I don’t like the fact they play Kent State, FAMU, or other garbage teams, but in fairness, until the powers that be decide your strength of schedule means something significant, then play whatever crap teams you want. Just understand people are going to judge your team on that. The teams that Ohio State plays now have NOTHING to do with its legacy or its past. It’s not only disingenuous, but it’s disrespectful for us to assume Ohio State will lose every big game it plays. Our expectations are high for Ohio State because we are used to them winning, and when they lose, idiots like me and Mark May say that Ohio State didn’t deserve such high expectations, but the truth is…they do. They deserve the benefit of the doubt, and they deserve to be in the Top 25 (probably not this year though). Winning and losing is cyclical. Ohio State is down. I’m not sure if Urban Meyer is the right guy for Ohio State, but I know Jim Tressel was. And I know I shouldn’t discount his national championship because of what happened in 2007 or 2008. Each of those three teams was different, even if the fans were the same. Oh, and if your team had made THREE appearances in the BCS National Championship and only won one, would you be upset? I didn’t think so. Feature image: Ohio Stadium at sunset/Flickr.