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Closing Arguments: Ohio State


"Every adversity, every failure, and every heartache, carries with it the seed of an equivalent or greater benefit." Napoleon Hill

"You're the Ohio State Buckeyes. I want a pissed off football team...You're an angry team, you've got an angry staff, and I'm proud to be your football coach." Urban Meyer

There was plenty of adversity, failure, and heartache to go around Columbus last year, but at the end of the season came the possibility of an equivalent or greater benefit of that adversity. Even though the Buckeyes aren't eligible for the B1G Championship or a bowl game due to NCAA sanctions, there hasn't been this kind of buzz surrounding OSU in years. The fact that it comes right on the heels of the Jim Tressel era makes that previous statement almost difficult to believe.

It shouldn't be that way--but that's the kind of promise Urban Meyer brings to Columbus. Instead of what could've easily been three or more years of wandering in the college football wilderness under the weight of reduced scholarships, a one year post-season ban, and a 'meh' stopgap hiring of a coach to weather the storm, much like we've seen at Penn State, Meyer flipped all of that on it's head. The expectation is that once the one year ban is over with, the Buckeyes will in the thick of the national championship hunt again, and the only down year has already happened.

Meyer has somehow managed to turn a one year post season ban and scholarship reductions into a source of motivation, and if Ohio State plays as pissed off as Urban Meyer coaches, God help the B1G.

Ohio State, after the jump.

I. Case History/Opening Argument

A. Case History

Conventional wisdom would make it easy to render an early, snap-judgement verdict on this team, but I submit to you that conventional wisdom doesn't apply in this case. Oh sure, under normal circumstances, all the upheaval of 2011 would lead one to believe that 2012 would be, in many ways, just a slight uptick of last year's never ending bag of terrible. A good defense that was far too inconsistent, an all-time horrible passing game, and an offensive philosophy that would make Woody and Bo go "that's way too conservative for us" would give you pause for 2012 expectations. To top it off, there is a supposed dearth of playmakers for OSU at wide receiver, a talented sophomore quarterback with accuracy and consistency issues, and their best running back, Jordan Hall, will miss the first two games due to an off-season foot injury. The defense should be good, like it usually is, but other than DE John Simon, there isn't a lot of senior leadership on that side of the ball, either. Yes, normal circumstances would have you believe that OSU, on paper, looks to be slightly improved, but still a fairly pedestrian team in 2012.

But these aren't normal circumstances. This isn't Mid Major Tech, and this year isn't last year. This is THE Ohio Fucking State University, and our coach is Urban By Gawd Meyer, Super Genius. I almost feel sorry for the rest of the conference.


B. Opening Statement

Ladies and gentlemen of the jury, I rise in defense of my client, Ohio State. Gone is the stench of scandal. Gone is the embarrassment, disgrace, and exile of an iconic coach. Gone is Walrus Ball. In is Body By Marotti, A Culture Of Bros, an offensive scheme that is a natural fit for Miller and is as wide open as anything this conference has seen, and a return to the basics for the ferocious Silver Bullets defense. I'm not going to sit here and tell you that OSU will win the B1G title and go to a BCS bowl this year; we all know they can't. What I will tell you is that Meyer, before he has coached his first game, has got everyone on the Ohio State side of the fence to quit feeling sorry for ourselves. We look to 2012 with hope and optimism, something we didn't see happening about 9 months ago. If ever there was a show subject for the History Channel's 'Man, Moment, Machine', it's Urban Meyer, Today, with Ohio State football.

But why? Well, his resume, for one. And c'mon, this is Ohio State. There is talent on this team--18 returning starters-- and it begins and ends with QB Braxton Miller. Meyer has an almost legendary track record for quarterback development, and Miller has all the raw talent in the world. The receiving corps is a little thin, but there is talent there, and the stable of running backs will be traditionally deep, with Jordan Hall, Carlos Hyde and freshman Brionte Dunn.

On defense, they are lead by defensive end John Simon, followed closely by LB Ryan Shazier. Luke Fickell returns to run the defense, and although they may be thin on senior leadership, they are knee deep in young talent. Expect guys like Shazier, Curtis Grant, and Jonathan Hankins to play big roles in OSU returning to their traditionally strong unit.

The early highlight of the Meyer era was his ridiculous close to the 2012 recruiting class, as he hauled in several defensive line prospects, like Noah Spence and Adolphus Washington, who should start paying dividends sooner rather than later. it's continued through early 2013 recruiting, Spring practice, and the opening of training camp and the ESPN All Access TV show. Seriously, if you're an OSU fan, watch the re-runs. You'll want to run through a wall.

The common denominator in all of this, obviously, is Meyer. Last year, Jim Bollman couldn't coach his way out of a paper bag, and Meyer can. The tantalizing potential of Miller, combined with the coaching ability, well, makes me feel like I've been bitten by a rabid dog. I'm foaming at the mouth to see what OSU is going to be like in 2012 and beyond, and I haven't been this fired up about the Buckeyes since they upset Miami a decade ago.

And with all the accomplishments Ohio State has had on the field in these last 10 years, that's saying something.

II. Factual Summation, or Discovery, as the Barristers Might Say

A. What We've Written About Ohio State This Off Season

Ohio State Cocktail Party Preview

Ohio State's Smartest Guys In The Room

Ohio State Potluck, Featuring Rotel Queso Dip

Urban Meyer, Disembodied Heads, and Good Will Hunting

B. What We Can Learn From Pop Culture

I'm a big, huge Bruce Springsteen fan. Have been since I was a kid, will be until the day I die. For those of you that aren't Springsteen fans--I've nicknamed you Unwashed Heathens, by the way--become one. Not being a Springsteen fan is like cheering for the Taliban, but I digress, terrorist. The Boss, as usual, has a most appropriate video to play here.

But I'm not going to play it.

Instead, I'm playing this song. Because you probably hated this song back in the '90's as much as most of you hate Ohio State, and it will be in your head all day--much like Urban Meyer will be in the heads of opposing B1G coaches for years to come:

We'll be singing
When we're winning
We'll be singing
I get knocked down
But I get up again
You're never going to keep me down.
I get knocked down
But I get up again
You're never going to keep me down
Drinking the night away
Drinking the night away

Yeah, the last two lines are for the fan base. Because win or lose, we'll be doing that.

III. Emotional Plea

I started this paragraph two or three times. I wasn't really sure where to go with my emotional plea, and then I was inspired by, of all things, a baseball movie. So, with apologies to Crash Davis, my emotional plea. And if you don't like Bull Durham, tough shit, Meat.

Well, I believe in the 'Shoe, The Game, the dotting of the I, the form tackling of Chris Spielman, the Woody Hayes power formation, high fiber, good scotch, and that the columns of Dennis Dodd (who might be a meth dealer) are self-indulgent, overrated crap. I believe Jim Tressel acted alone. I believe there ought to be a constitutional amendment outlawing Jim Bollman from ever running an offense again. I believe in the safety blitz, soft-core pornography, watching your major bowl games on New Year's Day and not a week after, and I believe we'll see Ohio State National Championship parties that will last three days when Urban delivers.

Just not this year. Because of the probation thing. And the youth and inexperience. And because Gene Smith is a moron.

IV. Verdict

A. The Staff Calls the Games

Note: Every one of us picked Ohio State to lose to MSU. Every. One. Which means they'll probably beat them, of course.


Ted Glover:

11-1 (7-1) L: MSU. Wins Leaders but are ineligible for the B1G Championship game due to NCAA sanctions. Gene Smith can suck it.

Jonathan 'Hollywood' Franz:

10-2 (6-2) L: MSU, WIS

Graham 'Fake Ass Wolverine' Filler:

10-2 (6-2) L: MSU, WIS

Mike "I want to be reincarnated as Tim Brewster's dadgum chili' Jones:

9-3 (5-3) L: MSU, WIS, UM

Hilary 'If loving baffles is wrong, I don't want to be right ' Lee:

9-3 (5-3) L: MSU, NEB, UM

JDMill (He cheers for a team who's head coach's last name is 'Kill'. No jokes will be made at his expense):

8-4 (5-3) L: CAL (lolwut), MSU, WIS, UM

C.E. Bell, but he'll always be the Paki chadnudj to us:

10-2 (6-2) L: MSU, UM

Formerly Paterno Ave, who had his statue removed from OTE headquarters for picking PSU to beat OSU:

9-3 (5-3) L: MSU, PSU, WIS

Brian 'The homer in me picks UM to beat OSU, but deep down I know they won't' Gillis:

9-3 (5-3) L: MSU, UM, WIS

MSUlaxer27, but we just call him '1-11 LAX':

11-1 (7-1) L: MSU

Jesse "T-Magic...sigh" Collins:

9-3 (5-3) L: MSU, PSU, WIS

Baba O'Really, who tore his ACL making this prediction:

9-3 (6-2) L: MSU, PSU, CAL (lolwut)