Buckeyes on top

A month ago, when the college playoff committee moved Ohio State up from the fifth spot into the top four, I was one of the biggest critics. My complaint was that a very deserving TCU team was left out. In the semi-final rankings, TCU was ranked third and then won their final game of the season 55-3. I could understand if they dropped one spot, but dropping out of the top four was ludicrous. Ohio State, which was not in the top four, moved into the fourth seed.

I have been a critic of the Big Ten for years. As a scout, my main area of concern for most of my career was the mid-west and the Big Ten. As a conference, I saw firsthand how, top to bottom, the league was not nearly as deep as the other power football conferences around the country. While the Big Ten was big and strong, it was also slow and not nearly as athletic as the likes of the SEC and Big 12.

In 2012, when Urban Meyer became Head Coach of the Ohio State football program, his first goal was to change that. Meyer, who recruited nationally when he was head coach at Florida, did the same thing when he got to Ohio State. He started going after athletes who could compete and beat the top athletes at places like Alabama, Georgia, and LSU. He was very successful, as Ohio State in each of the last three recruiting cycles has had a top 10 class. The Big Ten, in order to compete with Ohio State, has done a better job with recruiting the last few years. As a whole, the BIG still doesn’t have the overall speed and athleticism of the SEC, but the top programs can easily compete with the top programs anywhere in the country.

All we have to do is look at this year’s bowl games and we can see the results. In the Cotton Bowl, Michigan State beat Baylor 42 – 41, and in the Outback Bowl Wisconsin edged SEC power Auburn 34 – 31. Ohio State’s road to the National Championship, wasn’t easy, they beat perennial power SEC Alabama in the Sugar Bowl before dominating Oregon in the National Championship game.

This is a testament to what an outstanding coach Urban Meyer is. Meyer won National Championships at Florida in 2006 and 2008. This year’s Ohio State team is similar to those Florida teams. They are big, fast and very physical. In the Sugar Bowl, Ohio State not only beat Alabama, but they were more physical and athletic team. They beat the best team in the SEC by playing the same type of game. In last night’s game, Meyer was able to easily beat a very fast Oregon team by just physically dominating them.

Ohio State out-gained Oregon by 73 yards, but even more impressively, they dominated the time of possession. Ohio State held 15-minute advantage in time of possession. They did that with a physically dominating run game that rushed for a total of 296 yards. It was plain and simple, Ohio State dominated at the point of attack.

The National Championship not only put Ohio State at the top of the college football world, it puts the Big Ten back on top also. I was wrong when I said that the Big Ten didn’t deserve a spot in the playoff. My apologies to Oho State and the Big as a whole. Not only did you win, you dominated and showed the rest of the college football world that the Big Ten is truly Big!

Follow Greg on Twitter @greggabe

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