No matter how great the Fiesta Bowl win made Ohio State football fans feel on New Year’s Day, the 2015 campaign will always be remembered as a season of unrealized potential, a season where fans, coaches, and players will always wonder, “what if?”
What if a quarterback had settled early enough in the year? What if Ed Wariner had moved to the booth for the Michigan State game? What if the hype and expectations hadn’t weight so heavily? There are plenty of questions as we look back at the 2015 season, but we’ll cover far more than what wasn’t, but what was still a great season for the Buckeyes.
Defining Moment: The Loss to Michigan State
There is no other moment in this season that will draw as much debate as the loss at home to the Spartans. Throw out the rain and wind. Throw out the stumbling offense over the course of the season. None of that mattered. Not one bit of it. This game was the final moment of Ed Wariner’s old way of coaching. It was his last game on the sidelines and the last game where a more deliberate style of offense was forced on the field.
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The Buckeye offense was putrid against Sparty and that was mostly due to a game plan that played right into the hands of perhaps the best front seven in the conference. Mark D’Antonio might have been smiling when he saw how often and how determined Ohio State was to keep the game in the box, ignoring the fact that the Spartan secondary had given up the most 20-yard passing plays in the Big Ten. The image of the Michigan State kicker running across the field playing the air guitar in celebration should burn in the memories of this coaching staff for some time.
But without this loss, we would not have seen the thumping of Michigan in The Game. We would not have seen the up-tempo attack fueled by Wariner’s move to the box and a renewed desire to take full advantage of the speed and playmaking abilities all over the field on offense. Sure, the loss pushed Ohio State out of the playoffs, but it will serve as a defining moment for future seasons as Urban Meyer and company will have learned to be the offense they can be, not the offense they settle on.
Next: Most Satisfying Moment