Monday, February 2, 2015

THIS COLLEGE FOOTBALL SEASON MADE ME HAPPY, HAPPY, HAPPY!

Urban Meyer (AP)
I have been a huge fan of college football for more than 30 years, and I have never witnessed a season that's made me as happy as the 2014 campaign.

Sure, many will say I feel that way because I'm an Ohio State alum, and the Buckeyes winning the national title doesn't exactly help my objectivity. 

I am not going to lie, it is very special to me to see them take the crown. I was born about 50 miles from campus, slept in a crib the first night of my life donning OSU gear and hugging a stuffed football that played music from the best damn band in the land. My parents have always been huge fans. My sisters, my cousins, my entire family were diehards.

Shoot, my grandmother once cursed out a trucker on her CB radio because he was saying some unsavory things about Woody Hayes. I mean, the passion is in my blood!

However, Ohio State simply winning a national championship isn't what makes it the happiest season for me. I've seen the Buckeyes win it all before. I have seen countless championship-caliber teams in Columbus throughout my life.

No, that's not why this season tops them all.

During the months heading into the season, confidence that the Buckeyes would reach the inaugural College Football Playoff were high. However, that confidence nose-dived after the two-time Big Ten player of the year, Braxton Miller, had to have season-ending shoulder surgery.

Following their two-touchdown loss to Virginia Tech in week two, the Buckeyes were written off by the "experts."

Following that loss to the Hokies, the Buckeyes looked like an entirely different team the rest of the way, steamrolling the opposition week in and week out. "Experts" continued to keep on pointing at the Virginia Tech loss, though. "Experts" were saying that Ohio State's "weak" schedule was the only reason for the Buckeyes' rebound. 

They were supposed to come crashing back down to earth against Michigan State on Nov. 8th in East Lansing, according to the "experts." The Buckeyes won by 12. 

Three weeks later, during their regular season finale against Michigan, Ohio State lost yet  another quarterback for the season in Heisman Trophy finalist J.T. Barrett. They finished the game out with third-stringer Cardale Jones under center, taking down the Wolverines by 14.

However, most "experts" said that would be the end of the run for the Buckeyes. Vegas had Ohio State as underdogs to Wisconsin in the Big Ten Championship.

The Buckeyes won 59-0.

That annihilation of the Badgers garnered the Buckeyes a berth in the playoff, as they drew No. 1 Alabama in the Sugar Bowl. The "experts" said Ohio State didn't belong because they played in the weak Big Ten. The "experts" thought they were dead men walking, as they they were about to tangle with the kings of the Southeastern Conference. There were 42 ESPN "experts" who made their predictions for the game. There were 41 who selected the Crimson Tide.

The Buckeyes won in convincing fashion.

Of course, it took about five minutes for the "experts" — and Vegas — to make the Buckeyes underdogs to Oregon in the CFP National Championship Game.

We had to hear for 12 days how the Oregon offense (which averaged nearly 50 points per game) had too much firepower for the Buckeyes, and that the Ducks' Heisman-winning quarterback, Marcus Mariota, would have his way against the Big Ten defense.

The Ducks scored a season-low 20 points.

The Buckeyes won by 22.

You see, it wasn't Ohio State winning the title that has me so giddy. It is the exposure to the old system. The same system that allowed the "experts" to essentially give the SEC an automatic bid into the championship game. Every champion of college football prior to this season won it with a pen. A pen usually manipulated by the "experts" at news outlets like ESPN.

This year, the champion had to earn it. They had to play their way to the championship. 

Nothing was given ... it was taken. 

Although I am thrilled it was Ohio State that exposed the "experts," it still comes back to the fact that we don't know everything. That just because everyone believes a certain way doesn't mean it's fact.

THE BELIEF: Ohio State and the Big Ten were inferior, undeserving, essentially the NFC South of the Power 5.

THE REALITY: Ohio State played three teams this season (Alabama, Oregon and Michigan State) who finished in the top 5 of both the Associated Press and USA Today Coaches Polls. In those games (which were all victories), the Buckeyes won by an average of two touchdowns per contest. Add in the win against 13th-ranked Wisconsin, and that margin of victory increases to 25 points per win.

THE BELIEF: Ohio State played a weak schedule.

THE REALITY: Of the 13 opponents on Ohio State's regular and conference championship schedule, 10 made bowl games, and finished the post-season with a winning record.

THE BELIEF: The Big Ten wasn't on the same level with the likes of the SEC, PAC 12 and Big 12.

THE REALITY: The Big Ten finished the post-season with a winning overall record, and defeated the champions of the SEC, PAC 12 and Big 12 by a margin of 10 points per victory.

The "experts" lived by the "belief," as they manufactured college football's narrative.

Well, they were wrong. 

And that's what makes me so happy!