I have been wrong plenty of times before in my life, and I’m sure there will be plenty of other times the rest of my life that I’ll miss on things. All you have to do is go look at some of my college football picks to see instances of me being hilariously wrong about teams and their talent, effort, and coaching.
There was nothing funny about yesterday’s Michigan-Ohio State game. Everybody else saw the warning signs, but apparently I was too dumb to notice them. There had been games earlier in the season where the Buckeyes started slow, and I just dismissed them as Ohio State not being inspired to play hard because the were playing a weaker opponent. Against Northwestern, I just shook the performance off because of the wind and the rain.
I gave Ryan Day the benefit of the doubt following last year’s loss to Michigan because I know every once in a while Michigan was going to get one back. To me, the Wolverines had just got their once in a decade win. In my eyes, Day at least went out and fixed the biggest problem the Buckeyes had last year and hired Jim Knowles to overhaul the defense. Little did I know that Day might be the biggest weakness.
Day’s own arrogance got in his way. We’ve seen the issues Kevin Stefanski has had with the Cleveland Browns not only trying to be a head coach and run the offense. With both Stefanski and Day, it worked initially, but it has fallen flat in their teams biggest games. Not that I really think Kevin Wilson is the answer to all of the problems on offense, it has just become obvious that something needs to change with how the offense is run, which is a wild thing to say when Ohio State has had one of the best offenses in the country under Day... until games where it matters the most.
For all of Urban Meyer’s faults, at least he had his teams fired up to play Michigan. That just doesn’t seem to be the case under Day. We might get some lip service about how this game is always the most important one on the schedule for the Buckeyes, but his teams haven’t played like it is the last two seasons. Not only did Ohio State get embarrassed last year in Ann Arbor, they got run out of their own stadium yesterday in the second half.
There is talk about how Ohio State would be wise to move on from Ryan Day. I wouldn’t say I’m quite to that point, I just know that I’m a whole helluva lot closer to getting there than I was before the start of yesterday’s game. What is holding me back is I’m not sure right now who you would get that is going to better right now. I do know there at least has to be some concessions made by Day on how the Buckeye offense is operated, because it certainly isn’t working when it needs to. Maybe put a clause in his contract that the next time Day calls a bubble screen he gets fired.
As tough as it is to admit I was wrong about Ohio State, it’s even tougher to admit I was wrong about Michigan. I thought last year was a fluke and the Wolverines wouldn’t be able to do the same thing in Columbus this year. The prospect at winning two in a row against the Buckeyes looked like it was going to be even tougher for Michigan when Blake Corum was injured last week. The Wolverines didn’t even need Corum, as Donovan Edwards ran for 216 yards and two scores.
With Corum’s status being iffy for the game, I thought J.J. McCarthy would wilt under the pressure inside Ohio Stadium. McCarthy didn’t even play that great in the game, only completing 50 percent of his passes. The ones he did complete, he made sure they counted, with the majority of his yards coming on three touchdown passes. While C.J. Stroud completed 19 more passes than McCarthy, there certainly aren’t as many that standout or were as important as McCarthy’s completions.
While there is a shot Ohio State could make the playoff if TCU or USC fall in their conference championship games, I’m not holding my breath for it to happen. Honestly, after the beating Ohio State took yesterday, I don’t think they belong in the playoff. If the result was reversed and the Buckeyes won 45-23, nobody would be saying Michigan deserves to be in, so I can’t justify saying Ohio State deserves to be one of the four playoff teams.
Instead we’ll likely watch the Buckeyes head to another Rose Bowl. It’d be hard to blame C.J. Stroud if he opted not to play in a non-CFP bowl game, since what does he really have left to show NFL scouts? Maybe Ohio State goes and wins a bowl game, but that doesn’t change the fact that this team played soft a lot of the year and those players and coaches that are coming back are going to have to take a long look at how they go about things, since it’s obvious that whatever they are doing now isn’t working.
I wish I would have seen it earlier. Not that it would have made yesterday easier to stomach, I just wouldn’t have felt like such an idiot for believing in something that wasn’t there.