1870 Mag

Big Ten Champions Comes with Bittersweet News

The Skinny:

The Ohio State Buckeyes are your 2017 Big Ten Conference Champions after defeating Wisconsin 27-21 on Saturday night at Lucas Oil Stadium. In the same 12 hours, they also learned they would not be in the final four of the College Football Playoff.

And that’s sports. And politics, I suppose. You have to move on a prepare for what is next. Even after beating the undefeated top-four team in the nation and holding their star running back to 40 yards….yep, you have to move on.

The MVP:

Doing what no freshman since Maurice Clarett has done has been the embodiment of J.K. Dobbins this season. The freshman running back was named the MVP of the game while rushing for 174 yards on 17 carries (Gentle reminder that Wisconsin’s defense allowed 80 yards rushing per game leading up to this).

Dobbins also broke the freshman single-season rushing record at Ohio State, previously held by Clarett, with 1,364 yards on the year. The most surprising breakout player for the Buckeyes this season has fans hopes high for the future while losing someone like J.T.

The Surprise Performance:

You know what, I’m just gonna say it. The turf guy, or #TurfGuy, as the social media world is reclaiming him as.

Better known as Erik Harlow, the stadium field manager at Lucas Oil, had to fix some cut-up turf on the Wisconsin goal line mid-way through the fourth quarter after a Badger touchdown.

After about ten minutes of his solo act that included plenty of memes, he jogged off the field to a standing ovation with a smirk across his face. The hero we didn’t deserve, and definitely the one we needed right then.

The Turning Point:

Two long touchdowns to Terry McLaurin and Perris Campbell from J.T. Barrett in the first quarter showed that Barrett wasn’t going to be as impaired as most thought, and that the Bucks weren’t messing around.

Ironically, they did seem to stumble through the rest of the game, and if not for these plays, not sure how that ending would have turned out.

The Next Victim (Knock-on-Wood)

The Buckeyes will face off with the 11-2 USC Trojans on, Dec. 29 at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas in the game known as the Cotton Bowl.

So listen up. We shouldn’t have made the playoff. But neither should have Alabama, in my opinion. I think the playoff should be for teams that are the most deserving, not just subjectively claimed “the best” (which is why Bama trumped us, by the way).

In that case, it should be UCF. What else were they supposed to do?! Undefeated is insane, regardless of who you play. You have to win your games. We can’t sweep the Iowa loss away. It happened. Stop. We don’t deserve to be in, and neither does Bama. It’s okay.

So, let’s do what we did in 2015 when we got “snubbed” and kick the snot out of a preppy school in a top-tier bowl game. Go Bucks.

Chris Pennington

Chris Pennington


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