Wednesday, December 8, 2010

ARKANSAS HAS SEC HISTORY ON ITS SIDE, BUCKEYES HAVE EXPERIENCE

Ohio State's last bowl game against the Southeastern Conference was in the BCS Championship Game against LSU on Jan. 7, 2008 in New Orleans. (The Buckeye Times/Darla Dunkle-Hudnell)
COLUMBUS — You can’t spell Buckeyes without ‘BCS’.

If you haven’t heard, Ohio State is heading to New Orleans where it will face the No. 8 Arkansas Razorbacks in the 2011 Sugar Bowl on Tuesday, January 4.

When compared to the Razorbacks, an obvious advantage of Ohio State’s is its massive amount of BCS experience. Arkansas hasn’t played in one of the four major bowl games since losing to Oklahoma in the 1987 Orange Bowl. All the while Ohio State is heading to its sixth straight BCS bowl game and an NCAA-record ninth overall appearance since the Bowl Championship Series was created in 1998.

(AP Photo/David Quinn)
Now, while the Buckeyes are obviously the more seasoned bunch when it comes to high-profile bowl games, Arkansas has some serious history on its side when it comes to representing the Southeastern Conference.

As I’m sure we will all be reminded 20 times over between now and Jan. 4, Ohio State is an abysmal 0-9 when facing the SEC in a bowl game. Buckeyes head coach Jim Tressel still believes the thought of Ohio State vs. the SEC is an exciting one.

“Any time that you get to match those two conferences and play people from a league like (the SEC),” Tressel said. “The road Arkansas traveled to get to this point was a battle every weekend, just like we feel as if the Big Ten road is a tough one. So, we’re really excited to be in a matchup like this.”

Tressel said the lopsided record has zero bearing because his team will still go out and execute, no matter the opposition.

“(The SEC) makes it hard because they block well, they tackle well, they throw well, they catch well,” Tressel said. “They play the game well and we’re going to have to be at our best.”

JOB WELL DONE ... With a victory in next month’s Sugar Bowl, Ohio State seniors will depart with a school-record 44 wins for the second straight season. Along with all of the numbers, awards and accolades earned, Tressel said this group of seniors is the most unselfish and team-oriented group he has ever been around.

“Guys that loved being at Ohio State and loved training with one another and loved going out there and playing and practicing,” he said. “And who they are, to me, is much more important than what they do. And what they’ve done is tremendous.”

With a core group of seniors led by defensive end Cameron Heyward, wide receiver Dane Sanzenbacher, and linebackers Brian Rolle and Ross Homan, Ohio State is waving goodbye to plenty of leadership and playmaking ability. But Tressel said what is most important when it comes to this year’s senior class is the culture that they have helped build for future Buckeyes.

“What they’ve done in the community, what they’ve done in the classroom, what they’ve done on the campus to create a culture that makes students and faculty and fans and everyone else proud of following that group of guys, to me, is far better than their record,” Tressel said. “Now I know records get printed in books and all those kinds of things and get remembered, and we’re proud of that form as well. That’s why they will try to create some good history on Jan. 4.

“But you’ll never convince me otherwise that they weren’t an extraordinary group because they really were.”