Saturday, December 29, 2007

The Year in Jock Straps: Misery in OH

I can't remember a more miserable year in the history of Ohio sports. Our teams have been on the verge of greatness throughout 2007 only to come up short every time. Let's recap...
After spending the entire season at #1, the Ohio State Buckeyes were embarrassed in the BCS national championship game in early January. They had everything going for them. Troy Smith won the Heisman Trophy. James "The Animal" Laurinaitis was named the nation's top defensive player as a sophomore. Ted Ginn Jr. was considered to be the most dangerous return man in football. The only problem was that they all forgot to show up. For over a month they heard how great they were and how lucky Florida was just to be in the game. Florida used this as motivation and thoroughly trounced my Buckeyes.The worst part wasn't even losing the game. The worst has been hearing for the entire year how overrated tOSU is, how much faster SEC teams are, and how the same thing will happen this year. I know this to be a load of crap. The NFL doesn't seem to think that Ohio State players are slow or overrated. They continually stock their rosters full of Buckeyes. Only USC can boast as many high draft picks as Ohio State. Besides, one Buckeye looked fast enough on the opening kickoff return when Ginn scored on the Gators.

Things did not improve much in basketball. Again, Ohio State entered the postseason ranked #1. They completed two improbable comebacks over the course of the tournament. They looked to be on their way with three future first-round NBA picks and some great senior leadership. Then, once again, they ran into the Gators of Florida. Florida was the better team and may have been destined to win. Another Buckeye championship was not meant to be.

The NBA season ended with yet another Ohio team in the championship round. The Cleveland Cavaliers made an unlikely run through the Eastern conference on the back of LeBron James. Sadly, the San Antonio Spurs were too much for the Cavs. Ohio was 0-for-3 at this point.

The Cleveland Indians had a great run to the AL Central Division crown and through the Yankees to the ALCS. However, the Boston Red Sox came back from near-elimination to win the World Series. 0-for-4.

Now, we've circled all the way around to another football season. This time, the Cleveland Browns have put together a magical season behind a powerful offense. The only problem is that they have lost two of their last three games to fall just out of playoff contention. Even if they win this week, they need for the Tennessee Titans to lose to an Indianapolis squad that will most likely be resting its stars for the playoffs.

Of course, I have failed to mention the other Ohio teams, particularly from Ohio State, that have had fantastic seasons only to fall short in their championship bids. The Buckeye women's' basketball team dominated the Big 10 yet again but lost in the tournament, as did the Buckeye
baseball team. Then there was the men's soccer team that lost to Wake Forest just two weeks ago in the final game. Mount Union, located in Alliance, had one of the most dominating football programs in Division III, but they even lost in their championship game. We're cursed I tell ya', cursed.

2007 has been rough on Ohio sports fans, but there may be some light at the end of the tunnel. The Buckeyes have somehow made their way back to the national championship game in football. Of course, it took a bizarre season in which several top-5 teams lost to un-ranked opponents
(including the Buckeyes). They have to play LSU, another SEC team with speed to burn, but this time should be different. No one give Ohio State a chance despite their #1 ranking. Everyone thinks tOSU "backed in" to the championship compared to losing your last game or losing two games to lesser opponents or only beating 3 bowl-eligible teams to the 6 the Buckeyes beat. They have a legitimate chance, but I'm just hoping they show up.

There was one other glimmer of hope this year. A rebuilding Ohio State men's basketball team got revenge on the Florida Gators, also rebuilding. It was a small victory, but it broke the hold Florida seemed to have over tOSU.

I just have to remind myself that Ohio teams always bounce back despite many, many setbacks. We have won our share of championships and will be back to win more. At least we're not Misery. They can't win anything...except the Big 12 North.

No comments: