"All we needed was a chance and we were able to show the world what we could do."
- Darryl Baldwin, via Jon Solomon, CBS Sports
Whatever you thought of the BCS system, whether it brings a positive connotation to you or a negative one, there's no question that the College Football Playoff committee got it right in their first try when they bumped Ohio State up two spots to the fourth seed. Sewing up the final spot in the inaugural College Football Playoff, there were plenty of complaints about the Buckeyes jumping over TCU and Baylor, but Ohio State put those arguments to rest after upsetting the number one team in the country and then defeating the Heisman trophy winner in the national championship game.
Now that the Buckeyes sit atop the college football world, Ohio State validated the committee's decision, which turned out to be a brilliant. The simple fact is that if the playoff system wasn't in place this season, Ohio State wouldn't have been playing for a title at all. Oregon might not have been either, considering Florida State was unbeaten heading into the postseason. The College Football Playoff started out the way it should have and you have to credit the committee for making the tough decisions, but getting it right in the end.
"That's Urban Meyer. He never stops trying to figure out another way to motivate players, improve the program, get coaches to coach better. That's the secret recipe to him. It's not scheme. The scheme is fine, but there's too much emphasis on that. Get your guys to play fast and get them motivated, that's your value as a coach."
- Steve Addazio, via Pete Thamel, Sports Illustrated
If you were trying to find a better replacement for Jim Tressel, following his resignation in light of the Tatgate findings, look no further than Urban Meyer. Ohio State fans knew nabbing coach Meyer from his retirement from college football was a huge deal at the time of his hiring. Now, the third-year head coach has a Big Ten championship and national championship (including record-setting win streaks and record-high offensive numbers) under his belt and seems like he's just getting started. When coach Meyer was on the stage following the national championship game, something just felt right. He was supposed to be there. Coach Meyer has held a certain body language and has had a specific mindset while at Ohio State and it's something that has translated to his players on the field.
As freshman quarterback Stephen Collier shared in the article, coach Meyer and his staff have a knack for getting players motivated to do the right things, the smart things, and leaving it all on the field:
"It's unreal," said scout-team quarterback Stephen Collier. "If you have a problem being motivated here at Ohio State, there's actually something wrong with you."
"This team wasn't supposed to do this ... To say we had this vision back in September or even August, no, not a chance."
- Urban Meyer, via Matt Hinton, Grantland
When Braxton Miller went down, Ohio State fans lowered their lofty expectations almost instantly. The play of J.T. Barrett was enough to bring that expectation back up to new highs and more, but a fractured ankle in the final game against Michigan sent those dreams down a notch. With the Buckeyes on their third quarterback, Cardale Jones, it would have been acceptable to put up a good fight in the Big Ten championship and maybe even etch out a win. If they didn't make the playoff, it wouldn't have been the end of the world. Then Ohio State blew out Wisconsin 59-0 with their third-string quarterback wowing all spectators, including the College Football Playoff committee.
With such a young offensive line, and inexperienced players all over the starting offense and defense (sprinkled with some veteran leadership) the general consensus was that Ohio State was one year away from being able to win it all. Instead, that group capped off an unbelievable run to the national title game after taking down the king of the SEC and Heisman trophy winner in Marcus Mariota. With this young (championship) team mostly intact for next season, expectations will be high, but the Buckeyes have proven time and again that they can handle any sort of adversity thrown at them.
"Cardale has always had talent. But something happened in the last couple months. Everybody has a chance to push restart ... and he pushed restart and he hit the right button."
- Urban Meyer, via Ari Wasserman, Northeast Ohio Media Group
Just less than 24 hours ago, Cardale Jones was viewed as a third-string quarterback that had miraculously played out of his mind for two straight games on some of the biggest stages in college football. Now? Jones is a three-time starter that is also a national champion quarterback with an unblemished starting record (against three really good teams, mind you). Jones stepped up in the biggest way possible, firing his cannon of an arm left and right, while taking off up the middle and trucking defenders for first downs.
Jones has already been lighting up talking points on sports shows across the country about his potential as a quarterback in the NFL and if he should be considered going above Marcus Mariota. While that is probably crazy, his performance has put the nation on notice and gives Ohio State a heck of a problem to have headed into next year with three potential Heisman-contending quarterbacks on their roster. I'm sure glad Urban Meyer is making the decisions and not me, but with the hype surrounding Jones and his emergence as a national champion, plus a sensational playmaker in Braxton Miller and do-it-all quarterback J.T. Barrett, it's not going to be easy.
STICK TO CHAMPIONSHIPS:
- Ohio State's win cost a furniture store $1.5 million in customer purchases. Worth it.
- Our Fearless Leader played his part in Ohio State winning the national championship.
- Nobody could stop Ohio State fans from taking down the goal posts at Ohio Stadium.
- Urban Meyer getting a tattoo? A promise is a promise, after all.