Nov 17, 2012; Madison, WI, USA; Ohio State Buckeyes head coach Urban Meyer (center) and the rest of the team celebrate following the game against the Wisconsin Badgers at Camp Randall Stadium. Ohio State defeated Wisconsin 21-14 in overtime. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

Why Ohio State Will End the SEC’s Reign of Terror


Matt Lardner is a writer for FanSided partner BroJackson.com. For more great content, head on over to Bro Jackson and check out Matt’s work.

Notre Dame almost made it. Brian Kelly righted the ship, restoring luster to a program that had been struggling recently with an undefeated regular season. Then, the Crimson Tide poured in like a tidal wave, embarrassing the Fighting Irish in the national championship. SEC dominance continued. But what the Golden Domers outlined was a basic formula for non-SEC schools to match SEC squads.

Remember, Notre Dame was unranked for most of the previous season. A team with a better jumping-off point could show up at that final game with a shot to compete.

This is the recipe: You need a rabid fan base and tradition as an elite school, a coach who is both a savvy recruiter and a strong game manager, the ability to recruit on a national level, major conference competition to prepare for the postseason, and a pipeline into pro success.

Any college football fan realizes where Notre Dame comes up short. Without belonging to any conference, many of their toughest games were against foes that SEC schools would pummel.  Two different schools took the Fighting Irish to overtime: Stanford, not a top tier team but a respectable foe, and Pittsburgh, a Big East school that finished the season with a losing record. They beat BYU and Purdue, both at home, by three points each. If you’re continually edging out mediocrity, that’s not going to cut it.

So who’s the team this year that has a chance to break the SEC stranglehold on collegiate gridiron glory? It’s a squad that meets all of the requisites of the previous paragraph, a team with a maverick workaholic of a coach, consistently top-tier recruiting classes, led by a stud quarterback, and a team who just so happened to go undefeated last year, under the radar.

Georgia, Texas, Florida, Missouri, South Carolina, California, North Carolina, Mississippi. These are  states that players ranked five and four-star recruits on Rivals are joining the Ohio State Buckeyes’ 2013 recruiting class from. Players from football hotbeds on both coasts and the South decided to journey up to Columbus, Ohio, and wear scarlet and gray for coach Urban Meyer. Ohio State has the number two ranked class of 2013–right after the Crimson Tide.

Ohio State has what Notre Dame didn’t—talent—signed with consistent continuity. Sounds hypocritical after a coaching change, but Jim Tressel wasn’t ousted for poor performance. Tressel recruited in the top tier and coached at the top tier, and the results during his years reflected it. He left a strong base at Ohio State of well-coached talent. So when a coach walks in, a few years removed from two national championships, and relentlessly recruits the top talent from all over the country, we’re going to see consistent success. It was a foundation that Kelly never had, from the bungled years of Willingham and Weis.

Meyer adds another wrinkle that Tressel-led teams never had: a prolific spread offense. The Buckeyes of Tressel’s time were actually very similar to last year’s Fighting Irish: offensively conservative teams who clamped down on defense and pulled off close victories. Unsurprisingly, most Ohio State postseasons ended in defeat, like when they were torched by Meyer’s Gators, a wide open attack pioneered by quarterbacking tandem Chris Leak and Tim Tebow that isolated the speed of the electric Percy Harvin. The BCS championship was a 41-14 defeat for the Buckeyes, a single point away from Notre Dame’s 42-12 bashing at the hands of the Crimson Tide.

This time, it’s Braxton Miller leading an exciting offense that’s paired with an athletic defense, particularly in the secondary. The SEC has shown that speed kills, so Ohio State went out and recruited it. The one game Alabama lost last season, they were haunted by the dual threat phenom Johnny Manziel, a guy who could scramble and keep plays alive, frustrating the pass rush. Though Texas A&M’s elite offensive tackles neutralized much of the Bama pass rush, it’s easy to see parallels between Miller and Manziel, and the Buckeye quarterback, in theory, should be able to confound the Crimson Tide front seven.

There’s no replacement for making it through the SEC gauntlet, but Ohio State will be more prepared after playing through its Big Ten schedule than Notre Dame was last season. Though they only have one fit nonconference opponent in the California Golden Bears, they host worthy challengers Wisconsin and Penn State, and venture into Ann Arbor for the climax of their season, a game the Buckeyes will certainly give a damn about if they’re undefeated headed into the Michigan clash. This year, they avoid Nebraska and Michigan State, averting potential threats to a perfect season. Everything else, barring a slip-up, should be easy enough for the Scarlet and Gray to win with gusto.

It was the sins of Meyer’s coaching forefather Tressel that made the Buckeyes bowl-ineligible and therefore irrelevant last season, as gratis tattoos are banned both biblically and in NCAA bylaws. Last season’s undefeated campaign wasn’t always pretty, but it saw Miller assert himself as a dangerous weapon, and groomed players to Meyer’s new system. This year, with another crop of elite talent and experience for returning starters, last season’s dress rehearsal could translate into another flawless record.

And that brings us to a potential title game. The SEC, as it stands, is enjoying a period of unchallenged dominance, boasting the most talented and pro-ready players, the stiffest competition in college sports. It’s been practically a super conference the last few years, a point best illustrated by the Alabama-LSU final to cap the 2011 season, two schools from the same conference vying for the ultimate prize. But by poaching talent from the fertile southern grounds and invigorating the offense of the Buckeyes, Meyer has created a team from the Midwest that can trade blows with these juggernauts. I’m not predicting that the Buckeyes will definitely unseat the SEC, but I think that it might be Scarlet against Crimson, and most importantly, it’ll be a close game. Could this be the season the tides turn?

Tags: Alabama Crimson Tide Football Georgia Bulldogs LSU Tigers Ohio State Buckeyes Sec Football

  • Damone Moore

    No, this ain’t the season. And let’s be clear, Dual Threat QBs are not our Achilles’ Heel. ACCURATE QBs are. BAMA plays alot of man to man in order to get pressure on the QB, if a QB can 1. remain standing against the blitz and 2. read the one on ones and drop them in then he’ll be successful. Gholston was a dual threat QB and we killed him as well as Mizzou’s QB but LSU’s Mettenberger as well as Georgia’s Murray TORCHED us when we gave them the opportunity. An improvement in the pass rush should us drop for guys back and stop taking so many risks.

    TAMU and JFF won’t win this year especially after BARELY winning in T-Town by 5 after we turned the ball over 3 times, 2 in scoring range. Also, expect Sunseri to see alot less CB duty and have his deficiency in speed covered up more by additions in the secondary because him and Belue got picked on all last year. With the being said, tOSU has NO shot against BAMA this year. The same team that was in a dog fight against Michigan is not a team that’s going to the beat the one that slaughtered Michigan who by the way had Denard Robinson, Dual Threat QB, leading them.

    Between TAMU, LSU, and the SEC East Champion (S. Car or Georgia), those are the only teams that have a chance to prevent the 3peat which I’m predicting.

    ROLL TIDE!!!!!! Can’t wait for football season.

    • RobbieCofDC

      Damone: you DO know your stuff. Congrats. Those crazy LSU Tigers are rolling up the Tide in 2013; payback is ‘you know what,’ Tiggers have an underappreciated but tough defense, and our RBs will be quicker than anything else your Tiders have seen. Will be great game; LSU on top at end. Can Verne NOT call the game, though? You’ll be the best 11-1 team ever. Geaux Tigers!

      • Damone Moore

        LSU scares the hell outta me because I think they beat us worse in a loss than TAMU did us in a win. They controlled that game even with us playing almost error free football. Had we noticed the screen at the last minute we coulda had 2 losses and no ‘ship.

        I just don’t know about the D. Cam Cameron should make the offense better though. I can’t wait though because that game is ALWAYS good even when we lose…….

      • RTR in T-Town

        Still crying about BAMA stomping LSU’s butt for the BCS championship in front of the home crowed aren’t you? I was at the game. You would have thought someone called in a bomb threat as fast as LSU fans were running to get out of the SuperDome before we started singing “Rammer Jammer”. It was a beautiful thing to behold.

      • jazzmanjimmy

        No Defense for the Tigers this year

  • Voodoofoxx

    Is it April fools day already? Wow this year has flown by… Take a look at Ohio state’s schedule, and after you get finished laughing (don’t worry I’ll wait), go back to your hole. More than half of the teams they play I’ve never heard of. I understand the fan base needs to be pumped up, and hey fiction can be fun (ask ND). While Alabama has three cupcakes, I think seven for Ohio is a little much (diabetic even). If Ohio doesn’t go undefeated they have more problems than I have time to list. I don’t even know if any of their opponents are ranked? They barely beat a Michigan team that Bama smashed last year, (and Bama smashed them when they were fresh!). So I think the Ohio team last year and they ND team last year were very similar (ND beat Michigan by7 and Ohio Beat them by only 5). Last year I compared those to get my NC pick. My pick was 41-14 Alabama (Just like the UA vs UM game (Alabama 41-14) seeing that UM and ND were well matched). Using that logic I was one point off. If I was a betting woman I probably would have won big that night.

    If my prayers are answered Urban will be back in the big game.. And once again leave with “health problems”. Anyone watching the pre or post game show for the NC game could see that Meyer was green, not for the Irish but rather with envy when he picked ND to win. Then after they were more than beaten (“If this was a prize fight they’d call it off.”), Meyer’s only reply was to start praising Johnny Manziel. The saddest man I ever saw, Urban Meyer eating crow.

    • Jeff Cook

      you’re a moron! over half the teams? there are only 4 non conference games and if you never heard of at least one of them then you must have just vacated that hole you speak of. the other games are all big 10 and any college fan has heard of these! all teams schedule 3 cupcakes and one tough non conference team. again, you sir are a moron!

      • DaleC

        voodoopfox is female… other than that, right on :-)

  • rob

    Not Ohio state last season was a fluke surprised Meyer didn’t fake a health issue yet

  • DaleC

    I like Urban Meyer and think he will do a great job to bring Ohio State back.

    That said, I remember the last two times Ohio State was supposed to beat SEC teams in January. Does 41-14 in ’07 sound familiar? How about 38-24 in ’08?

    Anyone want to go even money with me and you take Ohio State?

    • http://www.arrowheadaddict.com Patrick Allen

      What do games that happened 5 years ago have to do with the future?

      I think the point here is that Urban is bringing SEC -style football and mentality to the Big Ten. Ohio State can recruit very well so it stands to reason they should be able to put together some pretty good teams in the coming years.

      I am a Buckeyes fan but I agree that the SEC is the class of college football. But to say that other teams in other conferences will never be able to beef up enough to start beating the SEC isn’t realistic.

      If the Buckeyes become more like an SEC team in the Big Ten because of Myer then other teams will begin to follow suit. That could make the Big Ten eventually a better match for the SEC, even though they aren’t now.

      • DaleC

        Well, the “experts” picked the Buckeyes back then, too.

        You must have missed my first line because I didn’t say they would “never” compete.

        I also did not say SEC, I said Bama. I doubt Ohio State will ever beat a Saban coached Bama team. I don’t say that because I am a Bammer, I am an alum of Auburn and UAB.

        In the coming years, yes. This year, no. Probably not next year either.

    • Michael Alford

      you forgot about Ohio State beating Arkansas. Selective Memory much?

      • DaleC

        You mean the win they vacated?

        If we include that win, I think they are 1-9 against the SEC in bowl games.

        I also said I think Meyer will bring them back. Selective Reading much?

  • Bryce Jordan

    Somebody should end this writer’s end of terror.

  • godblessstexas

    Matt Lardner, Ohio based writer who does not know what he is talking about. What in Ohio States record against SEC teams does he think suckeye nation will end SEC dominance

  • Jeffrey Willis

    Hahahahaha

  • Jonathan Bankston

    if ohio state wins it, it will be because an SEC team is not playing against them.. What is the suckeyes record versus the SEC?

  • Ritanya Leistone

    Mental illness should be treated, not writing news articles.

  • YouMakeMeLaugh

    That’s a good one…..

  • http://www.davidsmusings.com/ David

    Where the SEC crushes B1G teams (and we can obviously include ND in this) is in the trenches. Not much said about that from this writer. Until the ACC, B1G et al, get to that point, this is another pointless gung ho article from a midwest writer (See Michigan, see ND) who is just wishful thinking in print.

  • nope99

    Tired and trite….more sec truisms…dude you need to report on arena football.

  • RTR in T-Town

    The last time Meyer met a Saban coached team, Tebow cried all the way back to Gainesville and Urban had to be rushed to the hospital (clutching his chest) the next day. We Tide fans can’t wait to see another Urban Meyer team crushed under Saban’s heel.
    Keep dreaming!

  • Benny

    What a joke of an argument. At least come up with something feasible.

    Strength of schedule? Notre Dame’s 2012 schedule was astronomically tougher than Ohio State’s looks to be in 2013. You said Stanford isn’t a top tier team, but they won the Rose Bowl and finished in the top 10 for the third straight year. Then a few lines later, you tried to talk up Wisconsin and Penn State as opponents who will prepare OSU. You actually called Cal a “fit nonconference opponent.” Cal went 3-9 last year and lost their last two games by 42 and 48. They’re a fit team like your argument is fit.

    Then there’s the comparison of Miller to Manziel. The comparison of a QB who had 3,200 yards and 28 TDs to a QB who had 5,100 yards and 47 TDs. I can’t even comprehend how wrong that is.

    And I actually laughed out loud when you wrote, “Ohio State has what Notre Dame didn’t – talent.” Like Everett Golson, Stephon Tuitt, Cierre Wood, Zeke Motta, Kapron Lewis-Moore and others aren’t 4*/5* talent from outside the midwest. Like Kyle Rudolph wasn’t a 5* and top draft pick. Like 5* recruit, Heisman runner up and NFL draft pick Manti T’eo doesn’t exist. According to Rivals.com, Notre Dame recruited better than Ohio State did in 2009 and 2010, the two classes that were seniors and juniors last season. OSU had three players drafted into the NFL in April. Notre Dame had five. If there’s a talent disparity there, it’s in Notre Dame’s favor.

    The only thing I can think of is that you wrote this piece for the page views. That’s it.

  • Michael Clark

    Some Scores from 2012:
    Alabama 41 – Michigan 14
    Michigan 44 – Purdue 14
    Ohio State 29 – Purdue 22
    Notre Dame 20 – Purdue 17
    Notre Dame 20 – Michigan State 3
    Ohio State 17 – Michigan State 16
    Michigan 12 – Michigan State 10
    Ohio State 26 – Michigan 21
    Notre Dame 13 – Michigan 6
    Notre Dame 30 – Oklahoma 13
    Texas A&M 41 – Oklahoma 13
    Texas A&M 29 – Alabama 24

    By all accounts, Ohio State, Michigan, and Notre Dame played at roughly the same level in 2012. Alabama beat two of them 41-14 and 42-14. Anyone who saw those games knows both were over by halftime and most of the points scored by the loser of each of those games was after Bama began substituting freely and was content to run out the clock on offense. Ohio State with Meyer’s recruiting and offense might one day challenge the best of the SEC, but it won’t be in 2013. And the BCS championship game won’t be played against an SEC opponent only seven days removed from a narrow, bone-crushingly physical, come-from-behind night game in Baton Rouge, either. After the first quarter (when Bama’s minds were obviously still in Baton Rouge) and some adjustments on defense, they handled A&M’s dual threat QB running a spread rather nicely, to the tune of 24-9 in Bama’s favor. Had any one of two or three plays near the end of the game gone the other way it could have altered the outcome of the Bama-A&M, Notre Dame-Michigan, OSU-Michigan, or OSU-Michigan State games. That is something that could not have been said about either the Bama-Michigan or Bama-Notre Dame games.

  • jazzmanjimmy

    Nick Saban>>>>>>>>Urban Meyer
    Last 2 games Bama 32-13 and 31-6.
    No Basis in any kind of facts. Just really hoping. I don’t know who will win in 2013, but if I had to bet on one team it would be the Tide. They would have destroyed Ohio State as well and probably would this year if they played.

  • Dave Mitchell

    Join me, Dave Mitchell on Thursday night at 7pm EDT for the Ultimate
    Sports Talk Show at “www.ultimatesportstalk.com” where my guest will be
    Matt Lardner. We will discuss the merits on Ohio State unseating the
    SEC as BCS Champions this year.

  • scottdhunt

    Matt
    remember why Myer left the SEC. Alabama gave him a heart attack. Oh, excuse me, he had to spend time with his tired wife for a year. SEC rules. Myer should stay in the Mid West! easy wins

  • Steve Canada

    He isn’t getting that many players out of the South my friend, not nearly enough.

  • Steve Canada

    Good quality Southern boys say down here. You have nothing to offer them in cold Ohio. lol.

  • Dinobot Josh

    Yeah! The South didn’t kidnap all them colored boys 200 years ago just to lose them to the Yanks up north!