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The Big One

Throw it all out.

Throw out the superstitions. Throw out the records. Throw out the expert predictions.

This is Ohio State vs. TTUN.

This is the greatest rivalry in all of sports.

This is the biggest game of any season. This is the game that everyone circles on every single schedule that has ever been released by The Ohio State Athletic Department. This is the game that has me up at 1AM writing this post because I couldn’t sleep. Fevered anticipation only begins to describe how I feel about this game.

About the only thing we can keep is the deeply rooted tradition of this game. This game predates the first playing of the World Series by 6 years and the creation of the NFL by a quarter century. It has been played on the last week of the regular season since 1935. It determines bragging rights for the next 364 days no matter what had happened earlier in the season. The Winter doesn’t feel so cold when the Buckeyes win this one.

Legends are born in this rivalry. Legends. Guys that will be remembered forever in school history because of what this game means. Our Buckeyes have a chance to do something very special in about 5 hours. 4-0 against TTUN would be one hell of an accomplishment for the senior class. 4 pairs of gold pants. For those of you that think our Buckeyes might be a little down because of the debacle from last week, think again. When that kickoff happens at high noon, the Buckeyes will be ready.

Every single year this game is a battle. No matter the records, the goal is beat TTUN every single year. There is a reason that the Woody Hayes Athletic Center has a countdown clock to this game running constantly. There is a reason the victory bell rings for a full 30 minutes after wins over TTUN. Below are three of my favorite battles between the Buckeyes and TTUN.

 

  1. Let’s Party Columbus(2002): This game featured the greatest running back I have ever seen play for the Scarlet and Gray. Maurice  Clarett is easily the most talented RB I have seen in my short time alive. Clarett bouncing the first TD to the outside, catching that wheel route to setup the game winner, all with this huge pad on his left shoulder. It was amazing. It also featured the most gutsy player I have ever seen play at Ohio State in Craig Krenzel. This game sent Ohio State to the BCS National Championship where they played the greatest game I have ever seen, but first Columbus had to party.

 

     2. The Game of the Century(2006): #1 vs. #2. This one determined who was going to the National Championship. It was a knock down, drag out, heavyweight battle for the ages. 10 Rounds of rub routes, play action TD’s, and precision passing by my favorite Buckeye of all time, Troy Smith. This one took some years off my life but in the end if was a 42-39 victory for the Buckeyes. The video below shows not only how epic this matchup was, but also how intense this rivalry is as well.

       3. TYVIIIIISSSSS(2013): This one featured it all. From an almost pregame fight in the tunnel, to an actual brawl at the start of the second quarter that led to double freedom rockets flying, to a game winning interception…Urban Meyer described this one as “an instant classic.” It left TTUN’s quarterback Devin lying on the turf and after the game “looking and sounding as saddened as any athlete after a setback.” It had me screaming “TYVIIIISSSSS” to anyone that would listen to me at the back bar at Eddie George’s Grille. This one led to a text from my mom asking if I was still alive afterwards. One of the greatest Buckeyes to ever play at our great University had a career game in 2013. Braxton Miller accounted for 5 TD’s that day and helped lead us to victory over TTUN, oh and he gets an encore today. Carlos Hyde ran for over 220 yards. This was one for the ages.

 

This isn’t just another game. It never is. The hits are harder, the emotions run higher. This one means more. Let’s make the Great State of Ohio Proud today.

GO BUCKEYES, BEAT TTUN!!!!!

 

 

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Translating Vision to Reality

Fellow Buckeyes….We finally made it.
We made it to week 11.

OSU vs. MSU
The first of the gauntlet.
We got through 10 victories and are about to embark on what will define the rest of the season. We have seen the spin moves, witnessed the all-time greatness of Zeeeeeke, marveled at the power and authority of Bosa.

Now we come to a crossroads.
This season has brought us some renewed youth, plenty of fun, and may have even brought tears to our eyes at some point.
(Yes, that was shameless plug for my other posts…read them!)
What will this season bring us? Will it be a 10-2 frustrating finish? WIll it be an 11-1 regular season with a solid bowl game? Will we do what we didn’t even do last year and make it to the post season with an unblemished record of 12-0 heading to Indianapolis?
I think the only way to figure out where we will go from here will be to look back and see how we got here. I don’t mean how we got to 10-0. I’m not referenceing the improbable run to the National Championship last year either. If you want to read that story I highly recommend reading “The Chase” by Bill Rabinowitz which is an absolutely incredible story…and to think we as fans got to witness it firsthand!
No, I want to look back at how the greatest leader in all of college football forever changed the storied program that is Ohio State University Football.
Now I haven’t written a blog post in a while and I have been meaning to write another one for some time but couldn’t really think of a topic or find the motivation. I started thinking one day, which isn’t as rare as you think, and realized that for all the (well deserved) accolades and constant attention that the players get, the coaches don’t get near the credit for the success of the team.
Sure Urban Meyer gets asked ALL the questions about the team seemingly every day between the radio show, Big Ten teleconference, etc. But I don’t think too many people get to see how Ohio State went from a 6-7 awful miserable season that culminated in us losing to Florida in the Gator Bowl to AN UNDEFEATED SEASON! 12-0! Are you kidding me? The breath that all the other Big Ten teams thought they would be able to take while OSU was rebuilding was gut punched right out. We were back baby!
But how did that happen? Was it Urban Meyer magic? We had witnessed the voodoo powers of that guy on that fateful night in January when one of my favorite Buckeyes ever was rendered useless by the machine like destruction of the Gators. If you know me, you know how vocal I am….ask my Dad about that night and I think maybe 15 words were spoken the entire game between the two of us. Up until Urban was announced as our head coach; I didn’t particularly like the guy because of how he made me feel that night. I thought that was going to be the greatest OSU team I would ever see play…then Urban arrived to Columbus.
I was intrigued…I had always heard Urban talk about the culture of the progra, and how the team needed leaders to be successful. I never knew how these guys actually became true leaders of the team. The year the Buckeyes went 12-0, you heard a lot about guys like John Simon and Zach Boren, and for good reason! Not only did Zach give all Ohio State fans one of the all time greatest pictures from the game vs. TTUN, but he also switched positions halfway through the year!
I was finally able to begin to answer these questions not long after I began thinking about them when the book titled “Above the Line” By Urban Meyer and Wayne Coffey came out. As soon as I read what the book was about, “Lessons in Leadership and Life from a Championship season”, I knew I had to get that book. I wanted to know everything about how a 6-7 team can come to have an undefeated season and a National Championship in the span of three years.
Urban Meyer has always struck me as an extrememly motivating guy. When you hear his voice in the hype videos, or hear him in the post game comments, you can tell that he has an intensity in his voice that can get the most down person fired up beyond imagine. I once tweeted that “Urban Meyer could lead me into a fight against a Black Hole and I would think we would win.” When I was watching the feature on the Buckeyes during this past summer’s airing of “Scarlet and Gray Days” which was on The Big Ten Network, there was once scene where Urban is getting after his guys during a meeting. He yells that this is the “Number one team in America, coming together, having dinner and getting ready to go to work!”
That was the most fired up I have ever been to go make dinner.
It is that type of intensity and passion that we see on a week to week basis when Urban Meyer roams the sideline, tosses headsets, or gets after it pumping up the crowd right before Carmen Ohio.
We all see the end results, we see the game scores, we see the highlights and we think that’s because the only thing that these guys know how to do is train football players, scheme football plays, and call football plays. That is all very well and important to win football games but what this book has taught me through only about 150 pages of it is that all the football acumen that the coaches have is nothing without the leadership.
Being a young professional, I have always been interested in doing the best job possible in the role that I have, but I have also always been interested in what makes people tick and how to motivate them to give 100% everyday. I haven’t had the range of experience that some of my other coworkers have, but there has been one huge thing I have noticed in my positions so far that directly correlates to how Urban Meyer leads the Ohio State Program. The leaders of the company will determine how the company functions. We have all seen it, one way or another. Whether it be on a sports team, or in a professional environment. It is easy to bust your ass and get the job done the right way everyday when:

1. You love what you do

2. You have a motivating boss that you want to do a good job for. This has to be imbedded in the culture of the workplace and that culture is determined by the leaders.
The Performance Pathway, introduced by Focus3, a Leadership Consulting firm in Columbus reads this:
“Leaders create culture, culture drives behavior, behavior produces results.”
Urban Meyer is one of the greatest leaders that the college football world has and will ever see. I can unequivocally say that now after reading only 150 pages of his book on leadership because I have the results sitting in front of me. The results are in the form of a Sports Illustrated cover that shows Zeke running over two defenders, with a picture of Urban Meyer hoisting the trophy right above it. The results are directly related to the behavior that was instilled by the culture that was created by the leader. That leader being Urban Meyer.
Without giving away too much of the book, I want to give three reasons of why I think the Ohio State Football program is setup for continued success as long as Urban Meyer is head coach.

1. E+R=O. This is the leadership mantra setup by Focus3. Event + Response = Outcome. This can be applied daily to every single person. I received a wristband with this mantra on it and it is a great reminder to me that the outcome is not determined by anything other than my response to any event, whether planned or not planned. There are numerous occasions of how Urban Meyer and the Ohio State team responded to events that led directly to the outcomes we have all witnessed.
2. The Culture of Excellence. There is a phenomenal story about how Urban dealt with the team he inherited after the 6-7 season. All I can say is that the team didn’t go 12-0 because of Michael Jordan’s secret stuff water bottle. It took a lot of tough love and a lot of hard work. Urban has worked extremely hard to create this culture and it now permeates through the whole program. Another one of my favorite quotes from Urban is “It is so easy being average, TO HELL WITH THAT!” This goes right along with the culture of excellence.
3. Accountability. Urban Meyer has willingly admitted that he did not have his priorities straight near the end of his time with Florida. He readily admits that he was sacrificing his family time and his health for a football program. He took the time and got his mind right to straighten out his priorities and he has brought that accountability with him to the football program. After the loss to VT last year he was the first to accept the blame. “We lost this game because of me. Because we weren’t prepared. You want to bring the heat, bring it right here.”
If you are looking forward to these next couple of weeks of football and possibly forget to do some Christmas shopping, look no further than the book written by Urban Meyer. Just make sure to ask to read it as soon as whoever you get it for is done!
GO BUCKEYES. BEAT MSU!!