There’ll be plenty of time to lament what might’ve been, what could’ve been for the 2012 Ohio State Buckeyes were it not for the shortsighted arrogance of school officials in 2011.
For now, it’s all about what is. And what it is was the perfect end to a perfect, albeit bowl-less, season in Columbus, neatly wrapped in a bow that only a victory over That School Up North could provide.
On a day when Jim Tressel, the accidental architect of a 2012 postseason ban that will cost his beloved Buckeyes a shot at a BcS title, and his 2002 title team were honored, The Ohio State University paid tribute to the former coach, kicking four field goals en route to a sloppy-at-times 26-21 win over hated rival Michigan.
A first half that took on the look of the classic 2006 edition of The Game, with the Wolverines taking a 21-20 lead into the locker room, gave way to a defensive struggle over the last two quarters as the two teams combined for just six points, all off the right foot of OSU kicker Drew Basil. The Wolverines turned the ball over four times on the day, including a fumble and interception on its last two possessions of the game that healed seal UM’s fate, while the Buckeyes were flagged for nine penalties.
It was a sloppy, uneven affair throughout, but in the end it was about an OSU defense not giving a damn for whether Devin Gardner or Denard Robinson was under center, or how suspect UM’s playcalling was at times, or even the whole state of Michigan.
It was about capping a perfect 12-0 season in Urban Meyer‘s first year at OSU, the sixth unbeaten, untied season for the school and the third for Meyer — at three different schools. It was about further cementing their first-ever Leaders division title. And, most of all, it was about sending the seniors out the only way that matters in the great state of Ohio, with a win over That School Up North.
Yes, as one of the only two remaining unbeatens left standing, these 2012 Buckeyes should be glued to their television sets tonight getting an early scouting report on its potential opponent in the BcS title game. Thanks to Tressel’s lies and coverup, and a misguided decision on the part of school officials, that won’t be happening.
Still, in what was a “rebuilding” year for the Buckeyes, the program can hang its hat on an undefeated season capped by both a division title and a win over their hated rivals. And can head into the offseason armed with the knowledge that only they, not the administration, can keep themselves from going one step further in Year Two of Urban renewal in Columbus.