I was riding down the road here in Chattanooga yesterday. It was just two days after another back-breaking loss to a top 5 team. As I approached the Range Rover in the lane next to me I noticed the Ohio State spare-tire cover, the OSU magnet, and the Ohio State license plate cover. We made eye contact and I gave him the ole' 'O-H' hand signal. He just kind of pointed at me with this dead serious face and gave me a stern thumbs up.
Don't be down OSU fans! That was a well played game by a young team that remains among the Nations elite. Ohio State may have lost 18-15 on the scoreboard, but they proved that they could beat that team. Mark May's' 3+Td prediction looks a little silly today.
Ohio State controlled the line of scrimmage for most of the game. USC scored early but the Buckeyes stormed back into the lead - a lead they wouldn't relinquish until the final moments of the ballgame. This is the second game in a row that OSU took a team, who had first place votes, to the brink. While the detractors still have their 'statistics' and their hatred, they cannot argue that Ohio State was competitive, if not better, in their last two games against top 3 teams. I don't see how anyone could have watched the Texas and USC games and still argue that Ohio State has inferior athletes.
There will be an outcry from a portion of the scarlet and gray faithful. They will call for Tressel's head and serve up Terrelle Pryor on a similiar platter. For those fans, happiness only comes in the form of a National Championship.
A Tennessee fan asked me before the game Saturday, "Do you think you have a Championship team"?, "Yes", I said. He responded, "Do you really"? There's an obvious bias against Ohio State in the south. Even following a nail-biting game versus the 2nd most talented team in the country - those detractors will not respect Ohio State. Giving in would negate the last three years of them basking in their inferiority complexes as they watch their .500 SEC teams' struggle against UCLA or Iowa. State is an easy target. This will not go away until Ohio State wins another big game, but that perception does not define Ohio State. What defines Ohio State is the atmosphere from Saturday night - which was electric. What defines Ohio State is the effort for four quarters. What defines Ohio State is two fans, 500 miles from the shoe, two days after a tough loss, wearing their colors, showing their pride, and ready for the next challenge. Ohio State fans are resilient. No amount of criticism will lower the passion we have for the program. There will be a group of us down at Taco Mac on Saturday to watch the Toledo game. That's how we roll, if we can't get the game at home we will find a way to get the game, even if it means a road trip to Cleveland. The fruits of the loss showed up yesterday as 4-star WR Corey Brown from Cardinal O'Hara committed to the bucks, citing the atmosphere and campus. There will be others - stay tuned.