As the Buckeyes embarked upon this season, we weren’t really sure what to expect. We felt that a new offensive system could develop while the team depended on a strong defensive unit. We expected the play book to open up more and more as Braxton Miller continued his progression. While many fans were optimistic and had dreams of an undefeated season, the realistic fans felt like an eight or nine win season was a much more realistic goal.
As the Bucks opened the season, they seemed to come out of the gate slowly. Despite winning, it wasn’t always pretty. That trend has seemed to continue as the competition has grown stronger. A quick eight weeks into the season, the Bucks sit 8-0. The offense has looked completely unstoppable at times and lost and confused at others. The fourth quarter has been this team’s strong suit, often coming alive just at the right time to steal a victory away from an upset minded opponent.
When channeling back to our preseason predictions, it would appear that we have hit that eight win mark that many desired. The rest from here on is icing on the cake. But we know better than to think that way as Buckeyes. There was a time where a win against Michigan was all we wanted. When that became the norm, our goal was escalated to consistently win the Big Ten. Once that was obtained on a yearly basis, we then focused our attention of perfect seasons and national titles.
So naturally, sitting on eight wins in eight attempts we are looking for more. This weekend’s trip to Happy Valley will be no pushover. Despite the Bucks undefeated record, I am still not sure where they stand in this year’s Big Ten. The conference has seen several teams lack consistency and not live up to expectations.
I want to urge Buckeye nation to keep in mind the big picture. While our pride tells us that we want to be undefeated, we should be focused on building towards next season. In my opinion even if the Bucks go 12-0 they don’t have a shot at the AP national title. They haven’t done enough to prove to voters that they belong at the top. That could certainly change if they completely dominate their remaining schedule. It would also help if Wisconsin and Michigan can move up in the rankings prior to our matchups.
To me, this season has already been a success. While it’s not a Buckeye style that I’m used to seeing, consisting of a high scoring offense and a bend, but don’t break defense. It sure has been entertaining to watch.
The success of the remainder of the season will directly impact the expectations put on next year’s Buckeyes. And we all know that it’s much easier to start on top then to have to climb up the rankings and depend on other teams to lose to move up.
While we are all hoping for 12-0, progression is what we are really looking for. 2013 is the year, the Buckeyes are now just building the hype towards it.