The Ohio State Buckeyes started off the season as National Champions after running through the first-ever College Football Playoff by beating mighty Alabama and the Oregon Ducks last season. They were picked to run through the season undefeated and end up with a shot to defend their title, behind one of the best coaches in the country and not just one but three fantastic quarterbacks to choose from.
But, as we’ve seen plenty of times in college football, even the best laid plans go to waste. The Buckeyes suffered their first regular season conference loss under Urban Meyer, were knocked out of the driver’s seat for the Big Ten championship, and likely bounced out of the championship playoff. So it went on Saturday for the Ohio State Buckeyes, who lost to Michigan State on a last-second field goal amidst rain and snow in the Horseshoe at Ohio State. Fans, understandably, took it hard.
Opposing fans…not so much.
But if that’s not bad enough, word came after the game that it looks like Cardale Jones and Ezekiel Elliott are going to be leaving after this year.
Elliott had his own complaints with the play calling that saw him only get 33 yards via 12 carries on a day when the passing game was dismal for both teams.
Michigan State had the excuse of having to play their backups with starter Connor Cook injured, but Ohio State had no such excuse.
A few hours ago, a loss shouldn’t have seemed so devastating. Sure, this season’s main goals are sunk, but you’re The Ohio State University: recruits are knocking at your door left and right, it’s your first loss since week one of last season and you’ll be right back in the playoff conversation next year.
But now? Now, you’re losing two of your best players, the coaches are facing calls of no-confidence from the team, and you’re standing on the edge of a much bigger cliff than it seemed before the game.
Whether Urban can turn it around and get his team to believe in him is the big question. After all, this is a team that’s been in an amazing three-year window for national title contention. They won one, sure–but they’ve been derailed twice thanks to the Spartans of Michigan State. That’s the type of hitch that gets remembered down the line no matter how many other wins you rack up.