A Bitter Pill

If you're not a college football fan, you're probably sick of my writing so much about it, but this is the last you'll hear of it until the fall. So one again bear with me. Late last night I told Kelly that I secretly thought the Buckeyes could lose that game. They were favored way too much. But I couldn't imagine that Coach Tressel would let his team come out so lethargic. And never would I have believed that Florida would take OSU to the woodshed.

That was the most dominent beat down in any type of sports championship I can ever remember. Let me know if you have any other contenders.

And I should note, before I get too far, that we watched the game by ourselves last night. If I were with other people they would've called the Price Hill Church of Christ to rescind my ordination certificate.

So why did the Buckeyes lose so horribly? My thoughts . . .

  • First, it wasn't because of speed. That's the dumbest thing I've heard repeated over and over in all the sports shows today. Florida wasn't that much faster. I'm sure if you looked at the 40 times of all these players, there wouldn't be that many differences. So we should just stop the stupidity that wants to laud the speed of the SEC champs.
  • What people interpreted as speed was actually the result of the inept defensive scheme that Ohio State used to match-up against the Florida offense. It was pathetic. The Bucks played the deep zone to keep the Gators from going over the top on them; they didn't want to get beat on the long ball [which Chris Leak really can't throw that well anyway]. So all they had to do was go five wide and eat up the zone with underneath passes. Do you remember how the Colts hammered the Bengals on Monday night a few weeks ago? It was the same thing. Florida never had the huge play. They just ate them up.
  • Offensively, the Buckeyes didn't get the running game going early. I'm pretty sure they went three straight passes in their first offensive series. A consistent running game has allowed the Bucks' passing game to open up. Then, when they were in the hole, the offense panicced and never got settled. Florida's defense took full advantage. Of course losing Teddy Ginn hurt, but I'm not sure he makes a winning difference. Speaking of which
  • That kick-off return might have been the best thing that happened to Florida. It made Ohio State even more over-confident [I let my pride get the best of me and made two phone calls after the fact] and it let Florida know that they could really play with reckless abandon. Florida came right back and never let up.
  • But overall, it came down to coaching. Tressel's staff was outworked by Urban Meyer's. Going for a fourth and one in the second half on your own twenty yard line? Gutsy if you make it, but it ended up foolish. Not changing up game plans at half-time when you're getting hammered? Unthinkable. I've said before that this team wasn't nearly as talented as last year's and this game exposed it. That being said, I'll be interested to see how the program recovers from this. That was a generational kind of loss.
  • But disregard all of these reasons because you can't explain away this fact: overall, Florida just flat out wanted it more. They came out ready to play.

Unlike many Ohio State fans, I've seen Florida play numerous times this year. And it must be said: that team never played so well. They were lucky to end the regular season with one loss; they should've lost three more games but those teams they were playing choked. They were consistently inconsistent, making foolish penalties and turn-overs. They were not better than USC this year. They were not better than Michigan. And they were not better than Ohio State.

Last night, however, they played flawless football- something they haven't done since the Spurrier days. But with no playoff, you don't have to be the best team. You just have to be good enough to win that one game. And last night Florida did it.