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The last time the Ohio State Buckeyes won the national championship…

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Two weeks into the 2014 season, some declared the Big Ten officially eliminated from the College Football Playoff in the first year of the new format’s existence. a little more than three months later, Ohio State made all of those early-season critics look completely silly.

The days of the BCS were officially done and a new four-team playoff format was being introduced in the 2014 season. With a focus on results on the field to impress the selection committee now the emphasis for determining what merits a shot at a national championship, Ohio State took the biggest loss of the playoff format in Week 2 of the college football season. Fresh off a 17-point victory over Navy in Baltimore to open the season, Urban Meyer and the No. 8 Buckeyes were handed one of the more surprising losses when unranked Virginia Tech left Columbus with a 35-21 victory. To complicate things more, Ohio State lost starting quarterback Braxton Miller to a season-ending injury, forcing Ohio State to go with backup quarterback J.T. Barrett. On the same day that saw other potential Big Ten playoff candidates go down (Michigan lost to Notre Dame, Michigan State lost to Oregon), the Big Ten became an easy target for many.

The playoff era was brand new and we had some ideas of how it should work, but nobody two weeks into the regular season should have been taking the plunge off the short plank suggesting the entire conference was ruled out of the playoff race with more than two months of games still to play. So Ohio State kept playing.

A 66-0 victory over Kent State the following week was enough to regain some confidence against a weak opponent, but Virginia Tech jumping up to No. 17 in the polls and then immediately losing at home to East Carolina didn’t do much to change anyone’s opinion. Ohio State may be the best team in the Big Ten, but they are still not good enough for a playoff hunt, some suggested. But the Buckeyes rolled on with blowouts of Cincinnati, new Big Ten members Maryland and Rutgers before heading to Happy Valley for a matchup with the Nittany Lions. Ohio State took an early 7-0 lead on a 10-=yard touchdown run by Ezekiel Elliott and extended the lead to 17-0 going to halftime, but the Whiteout crowd at Penn State kept the energy up as the underdog Nittany Lions drew even at 17-17 in the final seconds of the fourth quarter to force overtime. After Penn State took the lead in the first overtime, J.T. Barrett forced a second overtime with a five-yard touchdown run and gave the Buckeyes the lead with another four-yard run in the second overtime. Joey Bosa sealed the win for Ohio State by pushing a helpless Penn State running back backward and into quarterback Christian Hackenberg for a game-clinching sack. Meyer would later credit the double-overtime victory in Beaver Stadium as the catalyst for Ohio State’s championship push.

Ohio State took care of business against Illinois and won a high-scoring matchup at No. 7 Michigan State to drive right back into control of the Big Ten race. Victories over Indiana and Michigan to close the regular season moved Ohio State to 11-1, but an injury to Barrett in the win over the Wolverines left Ohio State to rely on third-string quarterback Cardale Jones. That wasn’t a problem in a 59-0 Big Ten championship game victory over No. 11 Wisconsin, which helped cement Ohio State as the fourth team in the inaugural College Football Playoff, critics be damned.

Now that Ohio State got one foot in the playoff door, it was time to prove they deserved to be there. Taking down No. 1 Alabama, the prohibitive favorite in the 2014 season, in the Sugar Bowl was all too perfect for the Buckeyes to make some noise. Elliott’s long touchdown run against the Tide will forever be the signature moment of Ohio State’s championship drive.

But much like when Team USA took down the Soviets in the 1980 Olympics, the mission was not yet complete until Ohio State won one more game. After Alabama, Ohio State had to go up against Heisman Trophy winner Marcus Mariotta and Pac-12 champion Oregon in the national championship game in Arlington, Texas. But as the final score would indicate (42-20), that was hardly a problem. Ohio State gave up an early touchdown to Mariotta and the Ducks but answered with a long touchdown run by Elliott and a Jones touchdown pass. Ohio State took a 21-7 lead and scored the game’s final 21 points to pull away. Elliott scored on the ground each of those three times.

The first year of the College Football Playoff was historic, and it remains the last time a team from the Big Ten won a playoff game. It may not seem all that long ago, but a lot has happened since the last time the Buckeyes won it all.

Last National Championship: 2014 (4 years and counting)

Who was President?

Barack Obama, the 44th President of the United States, was in the White House at the time. It was the second year of his second term in the Oval Office.

Our current president, Donald J. Trump, wasn’t running for the presidency just yet, although some were trying to push him to run for the governor’s office in New York.

What was on TV?

2014 was a pretty significant year in the late-night television scene. Jay Leno stepped down as host of “The Tonight Show,” this time for good. As Leno stepped down, Jimmy Fallon was given the responsibility of hosting “The Tonight Show” on NBC. With Fallon being bumped into the first late-night time slot, Seth Meyers is made the new host of “Late Night.”

The NFL continued to dominate the ratings department, with NBC’s Sunday Night Football being the top-rated television program of 2014. “The Big Bang Theory” held a firm grip on the top spot when it came to sitcoms, and “Empire” and “Scandal” were among the top dramas in the game not part of the “NCIS” franchise.

What movies were hot?

2014 saw the superhero genre in a pretty good spot in 20124. Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy was a bit of a surprise hit at the box office and Captain America: The Winter Soldier was on its way to being one of the top movies in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

X-Men: Days of Future Past turned out to be the last good X-Men film too. But this was also the year The Amazing Spider-Man 2 was released, and that was anything but amazing.

But the top movies of 2014 at the box office were American Sniper and The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1. And The LEGO Movie made sure everything was awesome.

Who was on the cover of NCAA Football?

Sadly, nobody.

The 2014 season was the first season that did not see a release in the NCAA Football video game franchise due to legal issues related to player likenesses. Despite the efforts from EA Sports to provide some form of compensation to players, the NCAA and FBS conferences started pulling their licenses from the game franchise and the game had no more legs to stand on for the 2014 season.

As it stands, the last player to appear on the game before Ohio State won a national championship remains former Michigan quarterback Denard Robinson.

What else happened in 2014?

In addition to the Big Ten, SEc, and Pac-12 champions being in the inaugural College Football Playoff, the ACC landed a team in the mix as well with the defending national champions from Florida State joining the party. Jameis Winston and the Noles were 13-0 coming into the playoff but were eliminated from the playoff in a 59-20 setback against the Ducks in the Rose Bowl.

Other conference champions form 2014 included Baylor and TCU splitting the Big 12 title, which added fuel to the debate over whether Ohio State should have been in the playoff or if the Big 12 should have had one of its co-champs in the field. TCU’s Gary Patterson swept the major coach of the year awards.

UCF, Cincinnati and Memphis split the AAC championship, while Boise State won the Mountain West and Marshall took Conference USA. NIU won the MAC and Georgia Southern won the Sun Belt in their first season in the conference and as an FBS school.

Former USC head coach Pete Carroll and former Wisconsin quarterback Russell Wilson lead the Seattle seahawks to a blowout victory over Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos to capture the franchise’s first Super Bowl victory.

The Golden State Warriors won their first NBA title since 1975 with Steph Curry leading the way past LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers in their first NBA Finals matchup. This marked the first of five consecutive NBA Finals appearances for the Warriors, including this past season’s loss to the Toronto Raptors.

The San Francisco Giants topped the Kansas City Royals in seven games to win the World Series, making Madison Bumgarner a playoff hero as the World Series MVP.

The Chicago Blackhawks won their second Stanley Cup in three years with a Stanley Cup Finals victory over the Tampa Bay Lightning.

The wrestling community mourned the loss of James Hellwig, better known to many as The Ultimate Warrior. He died of a heart attack one day after appearing on WWE Raw.

Ohio State and the case of bad losses

Ohio State’s biggest hurdle to getting back to the College Football Playoff has typically been their inability to avoid a bad loss. The 2015 season saw Ohio State as the best team in the Big Ten, but a last-second loss on a field goal by Michigan State at home ended up being too much to overcome to get a crack at back-to-back national titles to begin the playoff era. The 12-1 Buckeyes ended their season ranked fourth in the final AP poll after blowing out No. 8 Notre Dame in the Fiesta Bowl. Meanwhile, the Spartans reached the playoff and were shutout by Alabama, 38-0. Ohio State had been in the top two of the AP poll all season long until their defensive battle loss to Michigan State.

The losses would become a bit more ugly in the eyes of the committee in the coming years. A blocked field goal returned for a touchdown by Penn State in 2016 took the Big Ten title race for a detour. No. 2 Ohio State slipped in the polls and lost out on a tiebreaker to the Nittany Lions for a chance to play for the Big Ten title. Despite Penn State eventually winning the Big Ten, Ohio State still managed to get invited to the playoff, where the Buckeyes were blanked by Clemson, 31-0.

Despite winning the Big Ten championship each of the past two seasons, the bad losses in the regular season proved to be too much to overcome. A 55-24 loss at Iowa a week after stunning No. 2 Penn State left the Buckeyes on the outside looking in on the playoff action in 2017. Last season, a 49-20 loss at unranked Purdue was enough of a landmine to keep Ohio State out in a year that saw undefeated Clemson, Alabama, and Notre Dame all in the playoff. The Buckeyes lost out on the final spot to Big 12 champion Oklahoma last season.

Entering 2019, Ohio State is undergoing some change with a new head coach in Ryan Day and a new starting quarterback in Justin Fields. One thing that remains consistent in spite of roster turnover on the starting lineup is the quality of talent to be found in Columbus. Player for player, Ohio State still boasts the most talented roster across the depth chart among Big Ten teams and should be a strong contender for the Big Ten title and a spot in the playoff this fall and in the years to come. If they can just avoid those pesky upset losses on the road, perhaps Ohio State will bring an end to their brief championship drought soon enough.

Iowa places longtime strength coach Chris Doyle on administrative leave after allegations from former Hawkeyes flood social media

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Iowa is the latest football program caught up in the maelstrom of needed, necessary change.

Saturday, Iowa announced that longtime strength & conditioning coach Chris Doyle has been placed on administrative leave.  Additionally, an independent review will be conducted into allegations that Doyle directly contributed to “racial disparities in the Iowa football program.”

The development came after former Hawkeye football players took to social media en masse in the past couple of days to accuse Doyle of creating a hostile environment. Specifically, as it pertained to black Iowa football players. One former player spoke of Doyle mocking black football players that “made you walk around the football facility on eggshells … and caused anxiety that could be unbearable at times with your dreams and career on the line.”

“There are too many racial disparities in the Iowa football program,” former starting offensive lineman James Daniels wrote in a tweet. “Black players have been treated unfairly for far too long.”

In a video statement, Kirk Ferentz described the past 24 or so hours as “a defining moment” for his program.

“I appreciate the former players’ candor and have been reaching out to many of them individually to hear more about their experiences in our program,” the longtime coach stated. “I am planning on talking to all of them in the coming days. This is a process that will take some time, but change begins by listening first.

“Many of the discussions have centered around our Strength and Conditioning program and Coach Chris Doyle. I have spoken with him about the allegations posted on social media. They are troubling and have created a lasting impact on those players. Therefore, Coach Doyle has been placed on administrative leave immediately while there is an independent review. He and I agree that all parties will have their voices heard and then a decision about how to move forward will be made.”

Doyle has been the strength coach at Iowa since 1999. Last year, he was the highest-paid at his position in the country.

Missouri adds 2026 game against Troy in Columbia

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For the second time in a week, Troy has added a Power Five opponent to its future football slates.

Late last month, it was Iowa added to the 2024 schedule.  This week, Troy announced a future football game against Missouri.  That one-off matchup will take place Nov. 21, 2026.

Obviously, the game will take place at Missouri’s Memorial Stadium.

Troy and Mizzou have played four times previously, the first in 2002 and the most recent this past season.  Mizzou won three of those matchups, with the Trojans knocking off a 14th-ranked Tigers squad in 2004 at Troy.  All three of the Missouri wins came in Columbia.

The game against Missouri will actually be the second in 2026 for Troy football against an SEC school.  Troy had previously announced a home-and-home series with Mississippi State that starts that season.  In 2027, the Bulldogs will travel to the Trojans.

Since becoming an FBS program in 2001, Troy has played 25 games against members of the SEC.  The Trojans are 3-22 in those matchups.  The other two wins came against Mississippi State in 2001 and LSU in 2017.

After winning 10-plus games in three straight seasons from 2016-18, Troy tumbled to a 5-7 record in 2019.  That was the Trojans’ first season under Chip Lindsey.  Lindsey replaced Neal Brown, who left to take the head job at West Virginia.

Ole Miss’ Charles Wiley enters transfer portal

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For the first time in a couple of a few months, an Ole Miss football player has hit the transfer portal.

In February, it was cornerback Deantre Prince hitting the transfer database.  Four months later, former Ole Miss football teammate Charles Wiley has done the same.  The Jackson Clarion Ledger was the first to report the move.

Wiley will be leaving the SEC as a graduate transfer.  That will allow the linebacker/edge rusher to play immediately in 2020.  The upcoming season will serve as his final year of eligibility.

Now, for what’s seemingly becoming a daily disclaimer when it comes to transfers.

As we’ve stated myriad times in the past, a player can remove his name from the portal and remain at the same school. At this point, though, other programs are permitted to contact a player without receiving permission from his current football program.

NCAA bylaws also permit schools to pull a portal entrant’s scholarship at the end of the semester in which he entered it.

Wiley was a four-star member of the Ole Miss football Class of 2016.  The Stockbridge, Ga., native was the No. 23 player regardless of position in the Peach State.  He was also the No. 17 weakside defensive end in the country.

Wiley took a redshirt as a true freshman.  The next three seasons, he played in a combined 33 games.  The 6-2, 244-pound defender started three of those contests, with all three coming in 2018.

All told, Wiley has been credited with 57 tackles, 12 tackles for loss and 5½ sacks.  He set career-highs in tackles for loss (six) in 2018 and sacks (three) this past season.

Highest-rated signee in Duke’s 2018 recruiting class transfers to FCS Eastern Kentucky

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A touted member of a Duke football recruiting class a couple of years ago has found a new home.  And at a lower rung on the collegiate ladder.

In May, it was confirmed that Tahj Rice took the first step in leaving Duke football by entering the NCAA transfer database.  On Twitter this past week, Rice announced that he has committed to Eastern Kentucky.  And he’s changing his surname for good measure.

“Thank you Duke for the moments and memories it won’t be forgotten,” the defensive tackle wrote. “I’m excited to say I’ve transferred to @ekusports and I’ve decided to change my last name to Mcclung because it’s LONG [overdue].”

According to his official Duke bio, Rice is the son of Iana and Marcus McClung.

As Eastern Kentucky plays at the FCS level, Rice/McClung will be eligible to play immediately in 2020.  He’ll have another seaosn he can use in 2021 as well.

Rice was a four-star member of the Duke football Class of 2018.  The Louisville product was rated as the No. 15 strongside defensive end in the country.  He was also the No. 3 recruit regardless of position in the state of Kentucky.

Most notably, Rice was the highest-rated signee in the Blue Devils’ class that year.  In fact, he was the only four-star signee for Duke that cycle.

Rice played in 24 games the past two seasons.  He would’ve played in a 25th, but an appendectomy cost him an appearance in the 2018 Independence Bowl.

During his time with the Blue Devils, he was credited with 16 tackles, 2½ tackles for loss and 1½ sacks.

Rice is one of at least five Duke football players ( the others are HEREHEREHEREHEREHERE) who have left the Blue Devils since the calendar flipped from 2019 to 2020.