I have gotten into the habit of not writing about football on this blog because I’ve noticed that most of the people that read my blog don’t really care much about football. However, since my Ohio State Buckeyes won the National Championship last night, I thought I’d make an exception and do a post about them.
If you’re not a football fan, don’t worry. In truth, this post will be about a football team, but will have very little to do with the actual game itself. This post is about what they had to go through to get where they are now. The drama all started before the season even began.
Three weeks before the start of the season, the Buckeyes were predicted by most to win their conference (the Big 10), but not really be a threat to win the title. Then, a week later, disaster struck. Their starting quarterback, and reigning Big 10 offensive player of the year, Braxton Miller hurt his shoulder and was lost for the season. Into the starting quarterback position stepped J.T. Barrett, a redshirt freshman who hadn’t taken a snap during a game in two years (he was injured his entire senior season in high school according to an announcer from ESPN).
Now, the experts, who were predicting a conference championship, were predicting that they wouldn’t even make it to the conference championship game. After the second game of the season, a bad loss to Virginia Tech, it looked like the experts were right. Everyone, myself included, wrote the Buckeyes season off. We thought it was pretty much over. Thankfully, nobody on the Buckeyes paid attention.
After looking like crap against Virginia Tech, J.T. Barrett, and the rest of the team, took off. They won nine straight, including a decisive win the road against Michigan State (who ended the season ranked number five in the country), leading up to The Game; Ohio State vs. Michigan. By this time, Barrett was in the conversation to win the Heisman Trophy (given to the best player in college football, in case you didn’t know). Even though Michigan was having a down year, they still were playing the Buckeyes tough. Then, it happened.
On the first play of the fourth quarter, up by only a touchdown, Barrett ran for a short gain. When the play was over, so was his season. He had broken his ankle. In stepped third string quarterback, Cardale Jones. He and the rest of the team rallied and pulled away from the Wolverines, winning the game by fourteen points.
The next game was the Big 10 Championship game, a game that nobody thought they could win with their third string quarterback starting. There was no way they’d defeat Wisconsin without their Heisman candidate Barrett and Wisconsin having their own Heisman candidate in running back Melvin Gordon. The consensus was that Wisconsin would roll right over the Buckeyes….. Ohio State won 58-0.
All they could do now was wait to see if they would be picked as one of the four teams to be in the inaugural college football playoff. Again, the experts said that they were undeserving. They argued that one of the Big 12 teams, either Baylor or TCU deserved to go before the Buckeyes did. In the end though, the committee decided that they would be the fourth and final team in the playoff. That meant a matchup against the top ranked team in the country, Alabama.
Before the game, Alabama was a 10 point favorite. Most people thought that they’d win by more than that. I, myself, thought that Alabama would win, but I believed my Buckeyes would keep it a close game. Ohio State then did what few outside of Columbus believed would happen, they won the game. They beat the top ranked team in the country and were going to play for the National Championship.
Even with their victory, nobody gave them any real chance of winning the title. Oregon, the number two team, was just as Alabama, and their playing style would be much more difficult for the Buckeyes to deal with. They’d win the game. After all, Oregon had the player who eventually did win the Heisman Trophy, quarterback Marcus Mariotta. He would lead Oregon to an easy victory against Ohio State.
The Buckeyes didn’t buy that talk for a second. They came out and played their game. They made many mistakes along the way. The mistakes they made are one that Oregon would normally have used to take completely destroy their opponents. The Buckeyes never flinched. They covered for their mistakes, limiting the damage Oregon did with them. It wasn’t a pretty game, but Ohio State did what almost everyone thought was impossible: they won the National Championship, and they did it convincingly.
All season long, they came across people who told them that they couldn’t do it; that they weren’t good enough. And, all season long, they proved us all wrong. They never gave up. They just kept coming.
In the end, they showed us all what they really are: champions.