vs. Marshall 45-7W
vs. Miami,Fla. 36-24W
vs. Ohio U. 43-7W
vs. EMU 73-20W
@ Illinois 24-13W
vs. Indiana 38-10W
@ Wisconsin 31-18L
vs. Purdue 49-0W
@ Minnesota 52-10W
vs. PSU 38-14W
@ Iowa 20-17W
vs. That Team Up North 37-7W
11-1 is a respectable regular season by any standard.
We pointed towards three games in the pre-season, and those games did indeed prove to be the toughest games of the year. Ohio State capitalized on turnovers and dismantled the Hurricanes in the Shoe in week 2. An early deficit was too much to overcome in Madison as the Buckeyes fell 31-18. Ohio State beat Iowa at Kinnick Stadium 20-17 in one of the most entertaining games of the entire college football season, and while the 37-7 drubbing of rival Michigan was a bit anti-climatic, it was still a great day of celebration and recollection.
It was a season full of injuries. Safety C.J. Barnett's frosh campaign came to a screeching halt following a season-ending leg injury. The rest of the defensive backfield seemed like an NFL injury report - from day-to-day, to probable, to questionable, to I have no earthly idea. The same went for the linebacker position as all three starters missed time during the season. Luckily, the offense remained fairly healthy. Aside from J.B. Shugarts' bum-right-foot, Ohio State's offensive line fired on all cylinders in all 12 games. The interior five started every game this season.
Let's be honest. The goal is and will always be a National Championship - so any result that doesn't end in Glendale, Arizona is a disappointment. Terrelle Pryor said it best, "There's still things I want to do here. I want to win a National Championship". With Wisconsin sitting above Ohio State in the polls and in the BCS - Ohio State is basically eliminated from any miracle scenario that would get them in the Championship game.
Some things never change. Example #1 = Jim Tressel. This year we saw some of the gaudiest numbers in years, but when conference time came around, Tressel tightened up like a sore hamstring in December. The play-calling, at times, was inexcusable. Thank goodness for a great defense. Remember the opening bomb to Devier Posey against Penn State? I could have written a novel(albeit a boring one) between that pass play and the next attempt over 7 yards. Some will say I'm nitpicking here, but style points count! Ask Wisconsin,Stanford, TCU, and Oregon. Tressel-ball works, for the most part, but when the Buckeyes fall behind, they're just not built(nor prepared) to put up a lot of points in a short amount of time.
I would have liked to have seen a little more Jaamal Berry.
129 wins in the BCS era is #1 in the country. A soon-to-be 9th BCS Bowl game appearance is also number 1. The Buckeyes clinched a share of their 6th straight BigTen title - a first for the conference. OSU is 28-11 against ranked teams in the BCS era, and despite my criticism's of the nations' most conservative play-caller, Jim Tressel remains one of the best teachers, recruiter's, and men, in the sport of college football. Ohio State ranked first in the conference in academic performance amongst its' athletes, and is now a shining example of doing things the 'right' way. Let us all bask in the cleanliness and success that is the Jim Tressel era.
Just like 2009, the running game got going towards the end of the season. Boom Herron averaged 110 yards per contest in league play, and eclipsed 175 yards twice.
The injuries and positional competition gave some young players some useful experience, and has really raised more optimism for 2011. The offense should return 8 players next year, and the defense simply reloads.
2011 Projected line-up:
WR1 - Corey Brown
WR2 - Devier Posey
WR3 - Chris Fields(keep an eye on Ty WIlliams and James Louis too)
RB - Dan Herron
FB - Zach Boren
QB - Terrelle Pryor
TE - Jake Stoneburner
LT - Mike Adams
LG - Jack Mewhort
C - Mike Brewster
RG - Take your pick(Marcus Hall, Andrew Norwell, or Corey Linsley)
RT - JB Shugarts
TE2 - Reid Fragel
FS - CJ Barnett
SS - Orhian Johnson
Star/Nickle - Jamie Wood(also could be Nate Oliver, Christian Bryant, or even Moeller if he gets another yr)
CB - Travis Howard
CB - Take your pick between Donnie Evege, Dominic Clarke, Corey Brown, and Christian Bryant - all are capable.
MLB - Storm Klein or Jordan Whiting
OLB - Andrew Sweat
OLB - Etienne Sabino(Jonathon Newsome and Dorian Bell will also see significant action)
WDE - Nathan Williams
SDE - Take your pick(Melvin Fellows, Darryl Baldwin, or Solomon Thomas with longshots true frosh Chase Farris and Kenny Hayes coming in)
DT - John Simon
DT - Jonathon Hankins/Adam Bellamy/Garrett Goebel by committee.
Back to this season....
It looks like the Buckeyes are Sugar Bowl bound to face Arkansas. It may hurt being on the outside in - in terms of the National Championship, but it would be nice to put an end to the SEC Bowl anomaly(0-9) . In the meantime, you can remind your SEC friends that OSU is 7-1-2 in the regular season against the SEC. That should temper the criticism until New Years when it will be put to rest for good.