No Postseason for OSU, But Goals Won't Change
By Tony Gerdeman
COLUMBUS, Ohio — A couple of weeks ago a select number of football Buckeyes were made available to the media, and every last one of them had to answer the exact same question.
"Since you can't go to a bowl game or win the Big Ten, what are your goals this season?"
The answer, as you would expect, was always the same. It basically went like this: "Um, our goal is to win."
Perhaps lost in this lost season is the fact that the games are still going to played, and the Buckeyes are still going to want to win them.
Sure, not going to be a bowl game will be difficult, but maybe the players can get together on their own and have a steak-eating contest, or maybe squeeze some oranges in a team-oriented fashion.
Then, if they want, they can have sort of a Secret Santa gift exchange to simulate the bowl swag that they've gotten for the last three or four years. After all, they can't really use three pairs of headphones, can they?
I'm not sure any Buckeye has ever lined up against Michigan with thoughts of "I can't wait to get my hands on that $100 Best Buy gift certificate from the Capital One Bowl."
Regardless of what the end of the season holds for a team, the motivation should always be the same.
Photo by Jim Davidson
"The motivation is to win," said linebacker Etienne Sabino. "I've never gone into a game [thinking], 'Well, let's lose this game'. I would never ever think like that. The motivation is to win every game. Everything else, we can't control that. So what we can control is going out there and trying to beat everybody. That's what the motivation is."
What a crazy notion. A team motivated by the desire to win. Gosh, that's just like every other team in every other sport in the world, except for the Pittsburgh Pirates, of course.
"The motivation is that we can win every game, and that's the goal for us," said Johnathan Hankins. "My goal is to win every game because I feel like we have the potential and the right players at the right positions to do that."
But the narrative says that if you have no chance at a postseason, and you can't win the Big Ten, then how can you possibly think you have anything to play for?
"We're playing for eachother," said John Simon. "When you come in here every day and work out with these guys, you really don't want to let them down. You go out there on game days and you're excited to be around them. We're going to go out there and play for eachother and play for Buckeye Nation and have a good time while we're doing it."
Oh. Well that actually sounds pretty legit when you put it that way.
Photo by Jim Davidson
But doesn't it bother you that you can't go to a bowl game? After all, in the sport with the single greatest regular season of them all, not going to a superfluous game at the end of the season has to be devastating.
"I feel like if we were to lose a game, that would be devastating," Hankins said.
Hmm. Good point. Losing sucks. In fact, losing a game is worse than simply not playing one.
But even in preparation for the proverbial "one game at a time", don't you find yourself thinking about what could have been? The extra practice. The bowl trip. The pocketed travel money.
"If I really sat down and thought about it, or sat down and pouted about it, 'I can't go to a bowl game'," Sabino mused. "But then again we can go 12-0, and [people will say] 'Yeah, they went 12-0, they were a good team.' You've just got to look at the bright side of things."
Look at the bright side of things? How in the world do you do that at a time like this?
"We haven’t really thought about what we can’t do, we’re focused on what we can do," said Jordan Hall.
Interesting. That sounds like it could work. Somebody's DVR must be filled with Dr. Phil. But still, without a postseason or a conference championship, how would you define a successful season?
"Win every game and beat Michigan," said Jake Stoneburner. "That’s a successful season for me."
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