"If we don't get in, Meyer later said he was thinking, what am I going to say to my team?"
- Urban Meyer via Pete Thamel, Sports Illustrated
Last Sunday, Ohio State fans watched with bated breath as the College Football Playoff seedings were released for the first time. Buckeye nation took to social media sites such as Twitter and Facebook to watch the event together, but what of the Buckeyes themselves? Ohio State head coach Urban Meyer held a viewing party with his coaching staff, and Sports Illustrated was there to cover the event.
Reading through the article, it's interesting to note coach Meyer's anxious behavior after the article stated that he didn't get much sleep between the Big Ten championship game and the College Football Playoff pairs being announced. As soon as the seedings were announced, coach Meyer quickly changed his mood of elation and set out to get to work. With Alabama and Nick Saban awaiting the Buckeyes on Jan. 1, Ohio State will have to be in top form if they want to make it into the national championship game.
"But the only way the Big Ten can regain its place at or near the top of the football pecking order is by winning important interleague games such as this one - the best teams in the SEC and Big Ten facing off for a place in the national championship game."
- Bob Hunter, The Columbus Dispatch
A lot has been made about strength of conferences in the past decade, and while the SEC has been top of the line for the past few seasons, the Big Ten has consistently tried to earn back some of the nation's respect. Unfortunately, the Big Ten has struggled in the postseason while the SEC has come away with seven national titles in a row from 2006 to 2012. Bob Hunter of the Dispatch brings up an intriguing prospect when he mentions that the SEC's best and Big Ten's best teams are facing off in a playoff that will decide who moves on to play in the national championship game.
Because of the outcome having such a large effect on the playoff, this game could provide Ohio State (and the Big Ten) a fantastic opportunity to help turn the tide when it comes to discussing the nation's top conferences. Interestingly enough, the Big Ten has two former SEC coaches in Urban Meyer and James Franklin, both of which have teams in the postseason. Winning this year's games would help move the needle on the national opinion of the Big Ten.
"J.T. Barrett has been tabbed as the CFPA National Freshman Performer of the Year, the organization announced today."
- College Football Performance Awards
J.T. Barrett is at it again. Making the rounds of receiving countless awards for his excellent season as a redshirt freshman for Ohio State, Barrett has wrapped up another award. This time, Barrett was named the 2014 recipient of the National Freshman Performer of the Year, by the College Football Performance Awards (CFPA). Last week, the Texas native was named the Big Ten's 2014 Griese-Brees Quarterback of the Year and 2014 Thompson-Randle El Freshman of the Year. He is also a semifinalist for the Davey O'Brien national quarterback award.
Barrett quickly became a Heisman Trophy candidate after finishing his season with school record totals of 3,772 total yards and 45 touchdowns responsible for. His touchdowns total is a Big Ten record. He passed for 2,834 yards and a school-record 34 touchdowns and, in addition, rushed for 938 yards and 11 touchdowns. Barrett was also named the Big Ten Freshman of the Week a conference-record seven times. Barrett also joins Ohio State quarterback Braxton Miller as a winner of the National Freshman Performer of the Year award, who won in 2011.
"Everybody was waiting for the Silver Bullets to come back, including the head coach."
- Urban Meyer, via Austin Ward, ESPN
Anybody watching the 2013 version of Ohio State's defense can tell you how lackluster the defensive secondary was. It seemed like the days of the Silver Bullets were long gone as Connor Cook took to the air against the Buckeyes with ease, leading Michigan State to a Big Ten championship over Ohio State. Cook wasn't the only quarterback that tore through the secondary that season, but 2014 brought on a familiar feel to the Buckeyes defense of old.
It might have taken quite a bit of time, but the Silver Bullets are well on their way to returning. At this point in the season, the much improved Ohio State defense ranks 17th in passing defense, 33rd in rushing defense, 23rd in scoring defense, and 15th in total defense. That's quite a bit better than last season, where the Buckeyes ranked 112th, 9th, 28th, and 47th, respectively, in the same categories. While the rushing defense dropped a bit, keep in mind Ohio State had to replace All-American linebacker Ryan Shazier. In every other category, Ohio State has improved and a lot of that credit has to be given to Chris Ash, who is the co-defensive coordinator and in his first season with the Buckeyes.
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