Ohio State football: 5 best seasons in Buckeyes history, ranked

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Best Ohio State football seasons
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Ohio State football finishes No. 2 in 1996.

John Cooper coached some of the legendary players in the history of Ohio State football. Hired from Arizona State because of his reputation as a recruiter, Cooper coached 15 players who would become first round picks in the NFL Draft.

Despite the talent he brought to Columbus, Cooper is largely remembered for what he did not accomplish. Cooper was 2-10-1 against Michigan and 3-8 in bowl games during his Ohio State coaching career. In 1995, the Buckeyes were a national title favorite with Eddie George, Joe Germaine and Terry Glenn on offense but fell short.

Coming into 1996, they were without their three top offensive players looking to retool their offense. The season did not end with a national title, but the Buckeyes won a share of the B1G and the Rose Bowl.

Cooper played two quarterbacks with surprising success. Pepe Pearson stepped in and rushed for over 1400 yards and 17 touchdowns.  The receiving corps featured a young David Boston who would become next in the line of great Buckeyes receivers.

To the surprise of many, the Buckeyes were poised to be in the national title hunt once again when the Michigan Wolverines came to town and pulled yet another upset against the Buckeyes. Ohio State did rebound and defeat Cooper’s former team, Arizona State in the Rose Bowl.