Have you ever heard the expression, "You want your cake and eat it, too?"
I would like to convey that statement to the folks at ESPN.
We have heard all season from the worldwide leader about how weak the Ohio State football schedule was in 2012. Granted, the Buckeyes' schedule was about as strong as a 120-pound, pimple-faced adolescent (thanks to Michigan, Michigan State and Wisconsin), but ESPN made it as if OSU resides in the Missouri Valley Conference, and played OOC games against the likes of Augustana, Lincoln University and Ayersville High School.
With that schedule, it's no wonder the Buckeyes went 12-0, right?
Well, it didn't prevent ESPN this week from listing the Buckeyes as the "luckiest" team in 2012.
LUCK: success or failure apparently brought by chance rather than through one's own actions.
The Buckeyes were favorites in every game they played this season — again, weak schedule. Yes, they had a close call against Purdue when their star quarterback Braxton Miller left the game with an injury. But behind the inspiring play of backup Kenny Guiton, the Buckeyes rallied for an overtime win. They didn't need a missed field goal or a mishap at the goal line to take down the Boilermakers. They found a way to win "through their own actions."
Here's a question I would like to ask: did any of those folks at ESPN, who produced the list, watch Notre Dame at all this season? Yes, Notre Dame did possess an extremely difficult schedule this season — relatively speaking — but did any of the listers witness their game against the Stanford Cardinal?
In overtime, on a fourth down play from inside the one, Cardinal running back Stephan Taylor crossed the plain for the tying touchdown. However, the officials replayed the run and determined that he was stopped prior to crossing the chalk, when in fact, his knee never touched the turf. So, "brought by chance rather than one's own actions," the Irish remained unbeaten.
A week later against Brigham Young, the Irish survived a 17-14 victory because during the fourth quarter, on a first-and-10 play from the Notre Dame 46, Cougars quarterback Riley Nelson overthrew a wide-open Cody Hoffman for what would have been the go-ahead and eventual game-winning score. "Chance" strikes again for the Golden Domers.
Finally, two weeks following their narrow win over BYU, the Irish needed three overtimes to defeat visiting Pittsburgh, a team who lost to Youngstown State this season — you know, one of the members of the Missouri Valley Conference.
The Panthers had a chance to win the game in the second overtime after the Irish fumbled the football at the one-yard line. Pittsburgh attempted a chip-shot, 33-yard field goal attempt for the win, but "brought by chance rather than one's own actions," the kick sailed wide, keeping the Irish hopes alive.
Now, I believe the Irish are the real deal, and will be hoisting the crystal football in early January, but there is no denying that they were the luckiest team in all of college football.
Yes, the Buckeyes didn't play a single great team this season, and it shouldn't be viewed as a monumental task for winning them all.
But, make absolutely no mistake about it ... the Buckeyes didn't go unbeaten by possessing the luck of the Irish.