2012 was a great year for Ohio State and for Buckeye fans nationwide, as Urban Meyer lead his team to a perfect 12-0 season in his 1st year as head coach.
Last July, I predicted that going undefeated was a very real possibility. I also mentioned the Buckeyes could still be crowned National Champions via the AP Poll.
That didn't happen, but in the recently-released preseason polls, Ohio State is No. 2, behind only Alabama, and Braxton Miller is a serious Heisman candidate, even more so with the allegations and controversy swirling around ESPN's darling and 2012 winner, Johnny Manziel.
It's understandably infuriating to some degree that Ohio State was punished with a bowl ban for the 2011 tat-gate debacle where a few players received tats and/or money for their autographs when considering that all of a sudden everyone wants the NCAA to go away and to give Manziel a free pass for his bylaw-breaking, money-making broker deals.
It's pretty messed up that practically everyone wanted Ohio State to get the death penalty for the poor choices made by a small handful of players, but now want a massive NCAA overhaul. If it happens to a team from the SEC, or a star player from an SEC team like Manziel, THEN AND ONLY THEN do we want to affect change?
Before I get fired up any further, I will instead digress — for now. The primary focus of my ramblings here today is not about the what-ifs of the 2012 season, or the hypocrisy that we're seeing now over players making money off of themselves, for themselves, but rather Urban Meyer and his staff having wrapped up yet another stellar recruiting class in 2013 and already assembling a 2014 class that is looking just as stacked.
A huge Scarlet and Gray tidal wave is about to crash down on the Big Ten and all of College Football (I'm talking to you Alabama/SEC) in 2013.
The initial groundwork for Operation: 2013 Big Ten and National Champions was laid last fall when Ohio State hired Urban Meyer as head coach.
It wasn't always pretty, but neither were the close wins by teams like Notre Dame and Alabama either. And if those close wins and narrow escapes by those teams were gutsy and gritty, and "good teams find a way to overcome adversity and get the win, whatever it takes," so too were similar victories by the Buckeyes.
Because Ohio State is relevant and seemingly always challenging for conference and national titles, especially in the BCS era, there are many CFB fans who just happen to be AP poll voters, with personal vendettas against the Buckeyes, and so unfortunately, there IS a double-standard.
Let's compare the rise and fall in the rankings this season of Ohio State and Notre Dame, this years media (ESPN) darling, shall we?
Week Ohio State Notre Dame Preseason #18 NR Week 1 #14 #22 Week 2 #12 #20 Week 3 #16 #11 Week 4 #14 #10 Week 5 #12 #9 Week 6 #8 #7 Week 7 #7 #5 Week 8 #9 #5 Week 9 #6 #4 Week 10 #5 #4 Week 11 #6 #3 Week 12 #4 #1 Week 13 #4 #1 Week 14 #3 #1So what exactly does the chart above show? Well, both teams had a handful of lackluster wins and at least one very near loss, but Ohio State dropped in the rankings on three occasions, all after wins, while ND didn't drop once.
In addition to the obvious rankings-bias illustrated against Ohio State above, I'd also like to mention how nice it is that Ohio State can win and drop 4 spots in the polls, but when No. 1 Alabama lost to a 2-loss Texas A&M team AT HOME, they plummeted all the way down to No. 4—three whole spots, after a loss.
Wait, what? Was I talking?
Haha, nevermind, I digress,.....AGAIN!
Looking forward to 2013, none of that matters. The No. 2 Buckeyes will undoubtedly be one of the top contenders battling to earn a berth in, and win, the final BCS championship prior to the end of the BCS era and the start of the new 4-team playoff system that goes into effect starting in 2014.
While several Buckeye starters from the 2012 team are gone, Ohio State is one of those schools that never rebuilds, but instead, reloads.
That has never been truer now that Urban Meyer, arguably the best recruiter in college football, is on the recruiting trail for the Scarlet and Gray.
While Jim Tressel was often criticized for not being able to close out his classes, Urban Meyer has the complete opposite reputation when it comes to pursuing and signing elite targets.
His ability to recruit and land the nation's best HS players are evidenced by OSU's class rankings in 2012 (3rd), 2013 (1st) and 2014 (6th already as of now).
Here are the recruits in the 2013 Ohio State recruiting class:
Player Position Star-Rating ====== ======== =========== Tracy Sprinkle DE *** Tim Gardner OG *** Christopher Worley LB *** Trey Johnson LB **** Darron Lee S **** Donovan Munger DT **** Tyquan Lewis DE **** Jayme Thompson S **** Billy Price DT **** Gareon Conley CB/WR **** Michael Hill DT **** J.T. Barrett QB **** Cameron Burrows CB **** Eli Apple (Woodard) CB **** Dontre Wilson RB/WR **** Ezekiel Elliott RB **** Evan Lisle OT **** Corey Smith WR **** James Clark WR **** Marcus Baugh TE **** Jalin Marshall WR ***** Joey Bosa DE ***** Mike Mitchell LB ***** Vonn Bell S *****
It's good to be back blogging and I can't wait to spend this potentially magical season with all of Buckeye Nation, especially my readers here and my followers on Twitter — HD