2011 was quite a year for the Buckeyes. There were several negatives, a few positives and finally closure to the NCAA investigation. It has been quite a roller coaster, to say the least. Here are 10 big Buckeye events, both good and bad, of the year.
10. Buckeyes killed the SEC bowl monkey
I don’t care what the record books say, OSU finally got rid of that stupid losing streak to SEC teams in bowl games. Note, SEC fans, I said bowl games. Some of your more mouth-breathing brethren think OSU had never beaten an SEC team when that is simply not the case. But, I digress.
The win was a big deal and gave OSU two BCS victories in a row. After a string of epic meltdowns, it was nice. It was also the last good news we would receive from the football team until November.
9. OSU Men’s B-ball loses to Kentucky
This, frankly, sucked. The Buckeyes were the overall #1 seed in the tourney and drew arguably the toughest bracket. They hit a wall against Kentucky and it ended their run for an NCAA championship. It was the most disappointed I have ever been in the men’s squad.
That team was the most balanced team I can remember watching. They had more promise, in my opinion, than the team that lost to the Gators in the championship game. Only time will tell if this edition of the Buckeyes can heal those wounds. My optimism isn’t so high at the moment.
8. Men’s volleyball wins a National Championship
It wasn’t all Buckeye failure after Buckeye failure. The men’s volleyball team won a National title, the first in school history. The Buckeyes were no stranger to men’s volleyball success, though. They had made 16 trips to the semifinals in the 40 year history of the tourney. This was their third trip to the finals. Third time was a charm.
People concentrate on the major revenue sports at OSU. No shock. But let’s not overlook the success of the non-football, non-basketball teams. This was a great positive in a sea of negatives in the spring.
7. Jantel Lavender 4-peats as POTY in the Big Ten
Jantel Lavender became the first basketball player, men or women’s, to earn POTY honors in the Big Ten 4 times. Conference POTY honors have also never gone to any women’s b-ball player in the ACC, Big East, Big 12, Pac-10 or SEC 4 times either. She was a beast.
Unfortunately, she never lead the team to an NCAA title. Also unfortunately, this happened the summer after she entered the WNBA.
6. Terrelle Pryor runs away like a big baby instead of taking his punishment like a man
Do I sound bitter? Because I’m totally not.
TP, unlike the other members of Tatgate, decided to run away from the punishment that had been handed down to him. Not only did he do that, but upon being told he had to take a suspension after entering the NFL Supplemental draft and being selected by the Raiders, he decided to further take down his friends. His statements in an effort to get his suspension lessened lead to the talks of overpayment involving Herron and Posey. That lead to Posey only playing two games this season.
I tried so hard to like TP, I really did, he disappointed me.
5. Little Sisters of the Poor vs Gordon Gee
In one of the more lighthearted OSU gaffes of the season, Gordon Gee had some apologies to dole out. He took a jab at non-BCS AQs by referring to their playing the Little Sisters of the Poor. Not only was that just a stupid thing for a University President to say, it also just so happens that the Little Sisters of the Poor are real and they happen to have a home in Ohio.
Gee made good, though. He visited the Sisters and also invited them to a game. A few of them attended the Toledo game. Perhaps that divine intervention is the reason OSU avoided the upset.
4. Luke Fickell
Luke Fickell deserves major props for fighting through an impossible situation. Short of winning a National Championship, it was pretty likely he wasn’t going to be head coach past this season. It’s unfortunate, it’s not the ideal situation in which one grabs their dream job, but it was what it was.
Luke is sticking around Columbus, for now, to join the new staff. I wish him nothing but the best. I hope he can take over in a more appealing situation down the road after gaining a bit more experience. If he leaves for another shot somewhere else, I don’t blame him.
Thanks for sticking with us, Luke.
3. NCAA drops the hammer
Well, some think so at least. When compared to USC it seems light but USC was, frankly, too harsh. This was probably about right. OSU loses 9 schollys over 3 years, goes on 3 years probation and will be banned from postseason play next season. Also, Tress received a show cause violation, which makes it difficult for him to ever coach again.
I’m just happy it’s over and we know.
2. Tressel Resigned
You know how they say you will never forget where you are when you hear certain pieces of news? Well, when I’d heard about Tressel resigning, I was camping and my phone started buzzing like crazy. I had received about 5 texts telling me that Tress was gone. I instantly started pulling up sites to verify. It was pretty surreal.
That Memorial Day resignation was a long time coming. I know that some feel he was offered up as a sacrificial lamb, and perhaps that is the case, but this had to happen. I still think what he did was stupid, but I don’t think he was a bad guy. He made a mistake. We’ve all screwed up. Most of us haven’t nearly destroyed a football program in doing so, but the people who went completely nutso over calling Tressel this evil human being need to get a grip and some perspective. But alas, he did have to go and the most reasonable of fans realize this. Plus, it lead to event #1 of the year.
1. Urban Renewal
The rumors began to swirl about his hire as soon as Tatgate happened. It started to get annoying, actually. It also sounded like it wouldn’t possibly happen. But it did. Urban Meyer is the new coach of The Ohio State Buckeye football team.
His arrival catapulted OSU’s recruiting class into the top tier, reinvigorated a downtrodden fan base and started a coaching dream team in Columbus. Now, everyone is in eager anticipation of the 2012 season. We know they won’t be in a bowl, but we also know it could be a special season. And, it’s early, but we’re all looking with excitement to 2013.
Here’s hoping 2012 brings us a better year with fewer negative stories!