Thursday, August 07, 2008

Why This Year is Different

Every member of Buckeye Nation wants to replace this picture with a new one of Tressel holding the same trophy (mostly because the FedEx logo will be on there instead of bush-league Circuit City).

But another thing us Buckeyes should be thinking about is: why is this year different? As CFN most recently points out, lately the SEC, not Michigan, is our biggest weakness. Funny, but only because it's true. So why won't Ohio State go to the BCS Championship for the third straight year and get pummeled by Georgia or Florida?

I'm going to do my best to make an argument, either to convince myself, or to convince the masses. Ohio State football has less credibility than Brett Favre or Elliot Spitzer at this point -- but at least Favre could probably hang with the SEC. So, college football fans, why should you not fill your calendar with karoke on January 8, 2009? I'm not sure. But, here goes:

1. Returning starters

This year's Ohio State squad has 20 starters returning to play one more year of football. For those of you not good with math, numbers, or football, that's 91% of last year's starting team. In 2006, the first year OSU revisited the BCS Championship, there were 10 returning starters. Last year, there were 11. This should be good enough to get a perennial Big Ten powerhouse through most of the big games.

2. Beanie

If Beanie Wells leaves after this season, which would still be a year early, there's a decent chance he'd be the #1 pick. There's also a decent chance that he'll be OSU's 2nd Heisman winner in the past 3 years. Not only does he have an inhuman combination of size and speed, it allows Tressel to build an offensive gameplan around the running game -- which makes everyone sad except for Big Ten fans.

3. Tressel

There's just something about the guy. From his no-nonsense (and no smiling) interviews, to his recent revelation that if he didn't have to take a vacation, he wouldn't, you have to believe he knows what he's doing and that he's committed to helping this team win. The era has started in Columbus when people go to Ohio State to play for Tressel, as Terrelle Pryor showed when he committed to playing for the Buckeyes: "When I called Coach Tress he welcomed me to the Ohio State family."

There are plenty of other things the Buckeyes have going for them, but for now, I just hope even a couple people will avoid prematurely trashing the Buckeyes, at least until after the game under the lights in L.A. on September 13 .

But I realize this is a long shot.