Tuesday, January 8, 2008

OSU/LSU Link-fest

A Familiar Bitter Taste - Bill Livingston, Cleveland Plain Dealer

Frankly, the Buckeyes lost their poise. What was left of their resume as legitimate contenders got chewed away (Chomp!) during a 31-point LSU blitz in which big plays on misdirection made it seem as though the opponents were the Florida Gators (Chomp! Chomp!) in all their reptilian rapacity. Ohio State's undoing was not pretty, but the end of a dream never is.

Title Loss: Part Two - Sheldon Ocker, Akron Beacon-Journal

More than likely, Tiger partisans will chalk the win up to the vast superiority of the Southeastern Conference relative to the Big Ten

Truth be told, LSU surely wouldn't be national champion today without the Buckeyes' gracious philanthropy. Does that mean that Ohio State was robbed or somehow unfairly deprived of victory? Hardly.

Football is an activity that has little in common with the goals of the American Red Cross or the United Way. Teams are taught to give no quarter, let alone hang the Christmas stocking on their opponent's mantel after filling it with goodies.

Let's not cut the Buckeyes any slack on this one. Just the other day, Tressel was telling the media how coaches and players should self-evaluate their performance, win or lose. If everyone gives his best, regrets will be brief, even in defeat. Given that standard, this OSU team will have nightmares about this game for decades.

Boeckmann Shouldn't Take This Rap For This one All by Himself - Bob Hunter, Columbus Dispatch

So here were the Buckeyes with Boeckman at quarterback, facing LSU in the same national title game where Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback Troy Smith failed so visibly for Ohio State last year. Could the third-year junior, whose previous two games hinted at the inexperience noted at the beginning of the season, do what a Heisman winner couldn't?

The answer was a loud "no." This Boeckman was closer to the one who struggled against Illinois and Michigan than the one who was so good earlier. He threw two TD passes but also two interceptions, lost one of his three fumbles and looked indecisive in absorbing five sacks.

But it pays to remember that this is the main reason the Buckeyes weren't supposed to be here. Boeckman's story was a remarkable one before last night's sour ending, and this shouldn't change that. The fact that a third-year junior who had thrown a total of 10 collegiate passes before this season got the Buckeyes to the title game should still be remembered at least as much at the 38-24 loss to LSU.

SEC-ond Again - Ken Gordon, Columbus Dispatch

With less than two minutes left, a chant went up from the purple- and gold-clad fans -- "SEC, SEC." It branded deep into the soul of Ohio State players.

"That hurts, because the media really builds it up as we were slow and all that stuff," linebacker James Laurinaitis said.

There was no surrender last night. The Buckeyes were game into the fourth quarter. Still, in the end, the scene looked much the same as it did a year ago in Arizona:

An SEC team with quicksilver backs and receivers outraced OSU defenders, and athletic defensive playmakers hounded and pounded the Buckeyes' quarterback.

Win Over Ohio State Makes it Miles' Team - Peter Finney, New Orleans Times-Picayune

But let's make one thing clear: Four years later, Les Miles is his own man. He's earned it.

He's paid his dues.

He's lived through a high-pressure, roller-coaster year that saw his Tigers begin the season No. 2 and finish No. 1.

He saw them counted out, once, twice, three times, but there they were Monday night, defeating the Big Ten champion 38-24 in front of 79,651, the largest crowd to see a football game in the history of the Superdome.

Buckeyes and the BCS: Third Time's a Harm - Pat Forde, ESPN.com

If you've ever seen lions maul a water buffalo, you've seen the last two title games. You've seen a fierce pair of SEC teams -- Florida last year, LSU this year -- blow the vulnerable Buckeyes back to the Bratwurst Belt by a combined 41 points. You've seen the best of one league flex, and the best of an inferior league collapse.

Nobody wants to see it a third time. Give Ohio State credit for consistently being very good -- but until Jim Tressel's team proves it can step up to the highest level of competition and actually stay on the field with an SEC opponent, stay away.

When the program's bowl record is 0-9 against the SEC, the evidence is overwhelming.

Buckeyes fans are fond of breaking into impromptu group spelling bees, shouting out "O-H-I-O." When an SEC team shows up on the other sideline it should be "O-H-N-O."

They're also fond of calling their school The Ohio State University. It might also now be called The Overmatched State University of the BCS.

Miles, Tigers can "Let it out" After Winning National Title - Gene Wojciechowski, ESPN.com

LSU earned respect and a national championship. USC and Georgia can make their arguments for No. 1, but LSU, even with those two losses, played like the best team in the nation.

Of course, it helped to have Ohio State on the other side of the field. The Buckeyes are now 0-9 in bowl games against SEC teams, including the 41-14 loss to Florida in the BCS Championship Game a year ago, and now this mauling. That's 79 points allowed in two title games. So much for the power of The Sweater Vest.

Just think if Miles hadn't been here for this. Just think if the Michigan Man, and not West Virginia import Rich Rodriguez, had been offered the Wolverines' coaching job.

National Title Proves Les is More at LSU, not Michigan - Dennis Dodd, CBS Sportsline

LSU's third-year coach got his crown on his first try. Poor Jim Tressel is a questionable flag in the 2003 Fiesta Bowl away from being zero for three in BCS title games. Marv Levy can sympathize.

We'll leave the Buck-bashing to the other columnists. It's too easy. That little ditty ought to be set to music by now, which leaves us room for one more shot. Two years in a row now and Ohio State has spent more on flying its band to the BCS title game than Sun Belt schools have in the football budget. The Buckeyes are getting black eyes.

It is now two years in a row being SEC punching bags, losing by a combined 41 points.

Plugging Plus One - Dan Wetzel, Yahoo Sports

All of this after a 50-plus day wait, including a long weekend after the other BCS bowls that again allowed the NFL to seize the spotlight and casual fan momentum away from the college game.

This simply is no way to run a sport, no matter how many excuses are made for a system good only to the suits counting the money.

So it was with renewed hope that two of just such power brokers, two of the sport's most progressive commissioners – Mike Slive of the SEC and John Swofford of the ACC – spoke Monday in fairly bold terms about seriously exploring a "Football Final Four" in the coming months.

Both said there was increased interest and open-mindedness within their conferences, including university presidents, about moving toward a "Plus One" system, essentially a mini-playoff with four seeded teams that could be implemented as soon as 2010.

Another Buckeye Bust - Jason King, Yahoo Sports

As many barbs as will thrown toward Ohio State for getting blown out for the second straight year, plenty of criticism will be surely be levied once again at the BCS system that allowed them to play in the game in the first place.

Even though they finished the season with just one loss, the Buckeyes' schedule was hardly as strong as the one played by two-loss schools such as USC, Georgia and West Virginia – all of whom felt they should've been in Monday's championship instead of Ohio State.

"I don't worry too much about criticism," coach Jim Tressel said. "If you're not tough enough to handle criticism, then you better get out of this game, because there's a whole lot of people that have interest in this game.

"And there are a whole lot of people that don't really have an understanding of what it takes to be good at this game, but yet love to have opinions."

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