Lantern File Photo
ANN ARBOR, Mich. — Ohio State football is used to success. In Jim Tressel’s 10 years as coach, he led the Buckeyes to eight BCS bowl game appearances and six consecutive Big Ten Championships.
The 2011 season was different.
OSU won just half of its regular season games, finishing with a 6-6 record and its first loss to archrival Michigan since 2003. It also dropped its final three games of the year.
Senior wide receiver DeVier Posey, who was playing his second game of the year after serving two five-game suspensions, said the locker room felt “weird” after the loss.
“We’ve never lost to Michigan,” Posey said, “It’s just an eerie feeling. You have a weird feeling in your stomach.”
Despite the drop in success this season, the Buckeyes were reluctant to call the season a disappointment.
“I think it’s a disappointment in terms of what the fans think and everything,” senior linebacker Tyler Moeller said. “Obviously you want to go out there and win every game. We fought and battled out there. Every game that we have lost, we were in them. We fought them. Sometimes in life that happens.”
OSU has the minimum number of six wins to be eligible for a bowl game, but for the first time since 2004, OSU won’t be selected for a BCS bowl.
Senior center Mike Brewster said dealing with all the losses has been difficult after having so much success in the past.
“It’s hard,” Brewster said. “Just kind of shows you when you’re playing a team sport, decisions you make can affect your teammates.”
OSU is still awaiting the decision as to whether or not they’ll be selected to play in a bowl game. Although six wins grants a team eligibility to participate in a bowl, it does not guarantee a team will be selected.
Traditionally, OSU has had an advantage in the selection process because of the program’s reputation for traveling well to postseason games and drawing high TV ratings.
One report from the Orlando Sentinel said representatives from the Gator Bowl are interested in choosing the Buckeyes to participate in the Jan. 2, bowl in Jacksonville, Fla., and pitting them against the Florida Gators.
The hypothetical matchup would pit the team Urban Meyer coached from 2005-2010 (Florida) with the team Meyer will coach for the 2012 season (OSU).
According to athletic director Gene Smith, current coach Luke Fickell will coach the bowl game and Meyer will no role in the team’s preparation.
No matter what bowl game OSU is selected to or the coaching situation the team faces, junior defensive lineman John Simon said it won’t affect how his team will prepare.
“We’re motivated,” Simon said. “We get excited for every game. We’ll make the corrections about this game tomorrow when we watch the tape and get back to work.”
“Any game that we’re dealt, we’re going to work hard,” he said. “Just as hard as any other bowl game that we had. We’re going to try to win that.”