15 Days - 30 B1G Years - 1996

13-9. 13-9. 13-9.

Remember all of those great things that I said about 1994 Penn State? If there was any team that may have surpassed them, it was 1996 Ohio State. They crushed Pitt 72-0. They went to Notre Dame and won by two scores (and that still meant something then). They were crushing a very strong Big Ten. Ohio State was number two in the country, hosting Michigan. Win, and the Buckeyes head to the Rose Bowl and play with a national title hanging in the balance. It's the same scenario that they faced the year before. But in 1995, Ohio State had to head to Ann Arbor, and they lost by a touchdown (and a Tshimanga). Plus, Nebraska had that title locked up from Week 1. But in 1996, it was different. The route to the crown was open. And, the Wolverines would come south. Surely this time...

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13-9. 13-9. 13-9.

The loss dropped Ohio State into a tie for the conference title with Northwestern. What made this even more painful was all of the dominoes that fell around the country after the game finished. The next weekend #3 Florida State beat #1 Florida. The following weekend, #3 Nebraska was upset by Texas in the Big 12 Championship Game. In the Rose Bowl, Ohio State would beat Jake Plummer's undefeated, #2 Arizona State Sun Devils. That night, the Sugar Bowl watched Florida roll Florida State in the return bout, 52-20. Florida, with its one loss, was named national champion. As I look at the jumble, if they had beaten Michigan, Ohio State would have been national champions.

13-9. 13-9. 13-9.

It's hard to be down on a team that wins the conference, wins the Rose Bowl, and finishes #2 in the country. But it's what it could have been - should have been - that makes this so disappointing. 

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