Nearly every season for my teams, I take a false hope into the season. I simply acknowledge that if everything goes right for my team, why on earth can't they be a champion? That was until the 2014 Ohio State Buckeyes came along. Many that follow me know that I hold the Buckeyes almost as dear as I do the Browns and the Indians. I've been a big fan since I was a kid, I survived the John Cooper era. As a Browns fan at time I almost depend on the Buckeyes to give me that glimmer of hope that feels real.
Then Braxton Miller was injured late in the preseason, and I will admit I went into this season a bit defeated. The small shred of championship hopes I still had, died completely in September when Ohio State layed an egg against Virginia Tech at home.
They didn't look good that game... at all. The offensive line was terrible, the team just didn't click. Things looked bleak at best. My thoughts were immediately that there was no possible way that they could earn consideration for a postseason tournament having a double digit loss at home, against a perceived weaker opponent. But I wasn't devastated, I knew what a tough spot JT Barrett and the Buckeyes were in, so I just looked forward to watching the youngsters develop this season.
And they did, in a big way. The offense really looked sharp after that game. The defense benefited from the boost. By the time they got to what most agreed was to be their toughest test in Michigan State the Buckeyes had becomed a well oiled machine.
Donte Whitner couldn't help but to talk crap.
Then came the Michigan game. We broke them, but they broke JT Barrett...
So suddenly the guy who didn't come to play school, was finally there to play football.
I was told that Cardale Jones had a great arm, but seriously he was getting his first start in the Big Ten Championship game... c'mon that isn't fair.
By the 2nd quarter I was NFL scouting the kid... That's how good he was. I don't recall ever laughing like a supervillian the entire way through a football game before. That's what Cardale Jones did for me. Suddenly in a 59-0 rout of the Wisconsin Badgers I saw something I haven't seen in a while.
Anyone who has read this blog for a while knows I haven't liked a lot of what I have seen as far as prospective professional quarterbacks. Don't get me wrong I think there have been good college quarterbacks, but I feel most of them were products of clever offensive systems. Guys have become more myths than true legends, and the NFL exposes that. Cardale had some true tangibles.
So it seemed a little too good to be true. The best arm I have seen in a long time, makes good decisions, has touch on short passes, is the size of a linebacker with speed, is from Cleveland, and is the third string quarterback on my favorite college team? Get out of here.
So ummm... yes I would really like to see this young man enter this new fandangled college playoff. But a part of me just couldn't see it happening...
...but if they did I wanted FSU
But they gave us Alabama instead.
I went into that game with a dangerous mindset. Not only did I think we were going to win, I thought that we were going to destroy them. So when our own screw ups put us down big early, I kinda thought the Buckeyes were a couple more mistakes away from giving one away. But Cardale and crew didn't let that happen. So blah blah blah SEC is go great. The only thing that even kept them close was our mistakes, and the fact they allowed Cyrus Jones to maul our receivers, So onto the next.
The National Championship game was set. Ohio State and their third string QB vs. Heisman winner Marcus Mariota and the Oregon Ducks.
I wasn't sure what to expect. The Oregon offense makes some games a crapshoot. I knew our defense had to respond big, and the offense would need to grind the clock.
Tensions were high, because beloved comedian Bob Newhart was the celebrity referee...
And in the end the Buckeyes behind Ezekiel Elliott and Cardale Jones simply outclassed the Ducks. In fact we kicked the ball all around the field and still comfortably beat them. Every hater, every doubter could just watch helplessly.
We won a freaking National Championship!!!!!!!!
So suck it Mark May...
So congratulations Urban Meyer hold your trophy up proud.
So the one time I actually give up before the season even starts is going to be a championship year. I've been right about a lot of football related things, but I didn't see this coming. I don't know what the future holds because that NFL scouting I mentioned will (thankfully) be able to continue at least for one more year. As Cardale will be returning to play school and finish his degree. And he masterfully trolled ESPN to be sure to spread a good message on the way.
So who knows what the immediate future holds for the Buckeyes. All we know is that there are new enemies with their sights set on us, we better be ready.