"The best, the best. That was as good a time as I ever had, to watch that and share that with my son."
- Urban Meyer via Doug Lesmerises, Northeast Ohio Media Group
There have been a number of parallels between Ohio State's run to the college football national championship and how the playoffs have played out for the Cleveland Cavaliers as they try to win the NBA championship. The Buckeyes lost two quarterbacks during the season, while the Cavs have lost two of all-stars during the playoffs. Now Cleveland is trying to ride LeBron James to a title much like the Buckeyes had Ezekiel Elliott put the team on his shoulders with three huge performances to lead the Buckeyes to a title. After James has showed up for a number of big Ohio State football games over the past three seasons, it was time for Meyer to return the favor in Game 3.
Meyer was able to pull double duty in Cleveland on Tuesday night, throwing out the first pitch at the Cleveland Indians game a couple hours before finding himself sitting near the Cleveland bench to watch the Cavs take down the Warriors. Meyer wasn't just a spectator though, as during the game he was given a microphone to get an already deafening crowd even more fired up. Cleveland won't be lucky enough to have Meyer in attendance for Game 4, but LeBron and company know the Ohio State head coach will be pulling for the team no matter where he ends up watching the game.
"It took all the way until the end of the season, but OSU's slate really rounded into form, and it is essential to realize three of the best teams the Buckeyes played weren't on their schedule until the last five weeks. The committee would not award Ohio State credit for those wins until they happened."
- Fox Sports
After losing to Virginia Tech in the second game of the season, there were very few that were thinking Ohio State would be in a position to make the inaugural College Football Playoff. The past few years plenty of people had been talking about how the Big Ten was weak compared to some of the other conferences, but one of the big things that helped Ohio State get the fourth-seed over TCU and Baylor was the opposition in the Big Ten. The November 8th battle with Michigan State in East Lansing helped the Buckeyes to gain a ton of momentum towards their case to be included in the playoff with the impressive win over the Spartans.
Most surprisingly in the wins late in the season that helped the Buckeyes to earn their spot in the playoff was the road win at Minnesota. The Golden Gophers were in the midst of one of the best seasons in school history, and ended up ranked 37th by Football Outsiders after the season was completed. Add in the win over Wisconsin in the Big Ten Championship Game, and late season scheduling is a big reason the Buckeyes won out in the debate, especially since the Big 12 didn't have a conference championship game. The trio of wins by the Buckeyes looked a look more impressive than the wins TCU had over Kansas, Texas, and Iowa State. Baylor meanwhile topped Kansas State, Oklahoma State, and Texas Tech late in the year.
"The rivalry between the Ohio State Buckeyes and the Michigan Wolverines may be responsible for 30% of voters having a negative opinion of the state of Michigan."
- Public Policy Polling
It isn't breaking news that Ohio residents don't particularly like Michigan because of the rivalry the Buckeyes have with the Wolverines, but the negative opinion might not be quite as bad as many would think. Of the 859 Ohio voters polled between June 4th and 7th, only 30% had a negative opinion of Michigan, while 29% weren't sure, and 42% had a favorable opinion of Michigan. Still out of the states bordering Ohio, Michigan did have the highest negative opinion, with Kentucky following up Michigan with a 20% unfavorable opinion rate. The Buckeyes also expectedly were the favorite college team of voters polled, earning 51% of the vote. Cincinnati was Ohioans second favorite college team at 10%, and the Ohio Bobcats came in third at 6%.
Leading Ohio State to the national championship has brought Cardale Jones favoritism with Ohioans, as the quarterback as 33% of those polled wanted to see Jones as the starting quarterback. 27% of those polled weren't sure who they wanted as quarterback, while 23% want to see Braxton Miller. Interestingly enough, 4% of those polled wanted to see someone else aside from Jones, Miller, and J.T. Barrett start for the Buckeyes, so there might still be hope for you Stephen Collier.
Many Ohioans are happy with the job Urban Meyer is doing, with the head coaching getting an 85% approval rating, but somehow 2% of Ohioans polled disapprove of the job he is doing. Apparently winning a national championship isn't enough for a select few. In just a few years on the job, Meyer is inching closer to Woody Hayes as the favorite coach of the Buckeyes since 1950 as well, with Meyer getting 30% of the vote and Hayes getting 35%.
"We have a lot of growing to do. We are nearly where we want to be. There is something to get excited for, and to be encouraged about. I would like to see us progress, not make the same mistakes twice. We have to start a lot faster than we did last year to be world champions."
- Will Allen via Bryan DeArdo, Behind The Steel Curtain
On a defense that features a number of former Buckeyes, the elder statesman of the group is safety Will Allen. The Ohio State alum is fondly remembered by fans for his strong play not only during the 2002 national title season, but also in the year following the championship. After starting his career with Tampa Bay, and spending a short stint with Dallas, Allen has played five seasons with the Steelers. This coming season is looking to be the season where the Steelers will need the most out of Allen though, with the retirement of fellow safety Troy Polamalu in the offseason.
The good news for Allen is he won't be the only former Buckeye in the Pittsburgh secondary, since the Steelers took Ohio State's Doran Grant in the fourth round of the 2015 NFL Draft last month. Now the task for Allen will be to help Grant, along with fellow rookie defensive backs Senquez Golson and Gerod Holliman get ready for their first NFL season during OTAs and training camp. While Allen has made the Pro Bowl three times during his NFL career, now he is hoping to help the Steelers bring another Super Bowl to Pittsburgh, especially since the 12-year veteran missed out on the last Super Bowl win for the Steelers.
STICK TO SPORTS:
- A 4 a.m. last call could be coming to select city in Ohio.
- Scotland-based BrewDog will soon be building a brewery in Columbus.
- Sad news out of pro wrestling earlier today.
- The nitrate warning for water out of the Dublin Road treatment plant could last a couple weeks.
- Torii Hunter's ejection last night is even more hilarious when backed by "Hot In Herre".