But there is one way in this country in which all men are created equal – there is one human institution that makes a pauper the equal of a Rockefeller, the stupid man the equal of an Einstein, and the ignorant man the equal of any college president. That institution, gentlemen, is a court.
-Atticus Finch, To Kill A Mockingbird
We, The Rivalry, Esq. place before this college football court, the 2009 season of the Ohio St. Buckeyes. The dominant force of the Big Ten, the last four seasons have seen zero losses to non-BCS Bowl teams. No other team in the country can say that. Unfortunately for national title hopes, the last four seasons have seen eight losses to teams in BCS bowl games. All the summer, we have debated, will it be more dominance of lesser teams and failure against the elite? I say to you, ladies and gentlemen of the college football jury, ENOUGH! Let this court give them the fair assessment that they deserve.
I. Case History
Last year made four Big Ten titles in a row for the men in Scarlet and Gray (and yes, I know that two were shared). That's impressive. Ohio State won ten games, most of them very convincingly. It was the two regular season games that they lost the defined the team in the nation's eyes. USC just obliterated the Buckeyes. the final score may have read 35-3, but the difference between the teams felt quite a bit larger. Penn State slipped out of Columbus with a 13-6 victory. While there was no shame in losing to the two Rose Bowl participants, it did feed the official Ohio State narrative. They beat the teams that they should. They can't beat the elite teams.
Fair or not, losing (albeit on a last minute touchdown) to Texas in the Fiesta Bowl didn't make matters any better.
II. Factual Summation
A. The Rivalry, Esq. Says
Here's some of what we've written about the Buckeyes over the off-season
B. Michael Jackson Says
Because all blogs are required to compare athletic teams to some random entertainment icon, we're equating Big Ten Teams and Michael Jackson songs. The quality of the reading improves if you listed to the barely justified song choice as you continue.
Being so close to being college football's team of the decade and seeing it get ripped away in two straight BCS Championship games, that has to make you want to Scream.
III. Emotional Plea
A. I Hate Ohio State
Maybe its because he's lived too long in the South, where hatred is a tangible commodity, but Bama Hawkeye has felt his hatred for Big Ten rivals boiling. Here's why he hates Ohio State.
I hate Ohio State because Jim Tressel has ruined the sweater vest for the rest of us...I hate Ohio State because they injured their own best player by jumping on top of him after the opening kickoff of the BCS Championship game against Florida...I hate that they have so utterly dominated the league this decade...I hate that they still call it the Horseshoe despite additions making the stadium look more like a stirrup...I hate that your failings in particular have caused the rest of the nation to turn a jaundiced eye to the entire conference...I hate that you ruined Iowa's 1985 season...I hate your damn stickers...I hate that you have a losing record in bowl games...I hate Ohio State.
B. Why You Should Love Ohio State
Because dotting the "i" is still cool. Because Terrelle Pryor may be the one skill player in the Big Ten that makes SEC coaches go, "Oooooo, I wish I had him." Because since 1920, there has never been a decade in which Ohio State or Michigan has beaten the other 8 times. That may no longer be true by Thanksgiving. Because they don't lose to teams that they should beat. Because the world could use a bit more Woody Hayes in it. Because they're in the Big Ten.
A.The Rivalry, Esq. Calls the Games
|Opponent||Graham Filler Picks||Law Buckeye Picks||Bama Hawkeye Picks|
|FINAL RECORD||11-1 (7-1)||10-2 (7-1)||10-2 (7-1)|
B. Bama Hawkeye Calls the Bowl Game
Conference champs, but no trip to the national title game...that means that Ohio State goes to its first Rose Bowl since Jake the Snake lined up against them. Unfortunately, they get a third meeting in 16 months with USC.
V. On Appeal
Much is being made of the struggles with the running attack outside of Herron, but reports from the scrimmage seem to agree that the line has improved its run-blocking over what we saw in the Fiesta Bowl. This is actually a pretty big development: in the first half of the Fiesta Bowl, the line did quite well for itself against a very talented Texas front seven that would end up third-best against the runnationally. In the second half though, Texas adjusted, and largely limited the Buckeye rushing attack outside of Herron's late TD run that put the Buckeyes ahead. (*sniff*) It's important to note that this all went down without the best blocker on the line. A healthy Justin Boren could make this one of the more devastating rushing attacks in the country.