BCS Era All-Buckeye Team
By Patrick Murphy
The BCS era of college football has come and gone, leaving with it memories both good and bad for Ohio State fans.
From 1998-2013, the Buckeyes were one of the most dominant teams in college football, but only came away with the crystal ball once, despite three appearances in the title game.
What if the best OSU players from the BCS era came together to make an all-BCS era Ohio State lineup?
Here is how it would look.
Troy Smith (2002-2006)
Smith finished his career 26-4 as a starter, leading the Buckeyes to an undefeated regular season in 2006 and taking home the Heisman Trophy in a record-setting landslide.
For his career, Smith threw for 5,720 yards and 54 touchdowns while rushing for 1,168 yards and 14 touchdowns. He was 3-0 against Michigan including the 42-39 against the No. 2 Wolverines that propelled OSU into the National Championship game.
Photo by Jim Davidson
Carlos Hyde (2010-2013)
Hyde’s name may not yet come to mind for many when thinking of great Ohio State backs because he just finished his senior season, but he certainly should.
Hyde missed time each year except his sophomore season, yet racked up 3,198 rushing yards and 37 touchdowns, including 6.1 yards per carry. He became the first running back under Urban Meyer to rush for over 1,000 yards, ending his senior season with 1,521.
Hyde was second-team All-Big Ten his junior year and first-team All-Big Ten and third-team All-American as a senior, despite missing three games each season.
[Editor's Note: The Editor would have given strong consideration to Beanie Wells.]
David Boston (1996-1998)
Boston only played one season in the BCS era, but what a season it was. In 1998 Boston set the record for receiving yards in a year at Ohio State with 1,435 to go along with 13 touchdowns.
For his career, he had 2,855 receiving yards – second all time – and 34 touchdowns, good for most in school history.
The Texas native was a two-time first-team All-Big Ten selection in 1997 and 1998 and was a first-team All-American in his final season.
Michael Jenkins (2001-2003)
Jenkins led the Buckeyes in reception yards in each of his three seasons on campus and is OSU’s leader in career yards receiving with 2,898 yards.
Jenkins best year was also Ohio State’s best, as he finished with 1,076 yards on 61 receptions – the last Buckeye receiver to have 1,000 yards – on the way to a National Title.
He was selected to the All-Big Ten second team in 2002 and was an honorable mention his final season.
Santonio Holmes (2003-2005)
Holmes finished his three-year career with 2,295 yards and 25 touchdowns – third most in the nation over that period.
Holmes was consistent throughout his career, averaging better than 46 receptions per season. He came as close as anyone to breaking the 1,000 yard mark in his final year with 977.
He is currently fifth all-time on the Ohio State career reception list.
Ben Hartsock (2000-2003)
Hartsock started 31 of the 51 games he played and recorded 57 receptions for 515 yards and five touchdowns.
He was part of the 2002 National Championship team, grabbing 17 balls for and two touchdowns, including the eventual game-winner in a close game against Wisconsin.
In his senior season, Hartsock had 33 receptions, a number not approached by another player at the position during the BCS era. He was a three-time Academic All-Big Ten honoree.
Photo by Jim Davidson
Kirk Barton (2003-2007)
Barton only allowed three sacks in almost 700 snaps during his career. He was a captain and first-team All-American in 2007 to go along with two All-Big Ten selections and an all-conference honoree.
The lineman was the first OSU player to start and win four games against Michigan and appeared in two National Championship games, the Fiesta Bowl, and Alamo Bowl.
Alex Boone (2005-2008)
Boone was a four-year starter at Ohio State, filling in for Barton when he was injured in 2005.
Boone won four-consecutive Big Ten titles and appeared in four-straight BCS games, including two BCS title games.
In 2007, Boone was second-team All-Big Ten and was a part of the first team in 2008 along with second-team All-American honors.
LeCharles Bentley (1998-2001)
Bentley started his freshman year and held the spot throughout his career. He was All-Big Ten and earned a spot on the first team, was a consensus All-American, and won the Rimington Trophy for the nation’s best center in his senior year.
[Editor's Note: It would be really close, but The Editor would have given strong consideration to Nick Mangold as well.]
Adrien Clarke (2000-2003)
Clarke was a four-year letter winner at Ohio State. He played guard on the 2002 National Championship team, helping to keep the defense away from Krenzel and open holes for Maurice Clarett.
Rob Sims (2002-2005)
Sims was also a four-year letter winner at Ohio State, beginning his career at tackle. He switched to guard his senior season due to the need to fill the spot.
He made this transition seamlessly, allowing zero sacks that year on his way to earning All-Big Ten honors.
Will Smith (2000-2003)
Smith was a three-year starter at Ohio State, including the 2002 National Championship season.
In the championship season, Smith was named second-team All-Big Ten, recording 5.5 sacks and 12.5 tackles for a loss. The following season he added 10.5 sacks and 20 more tackles for a loss on his way to All-American and All-Big Ten honors, as well as being named the Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year.
Vernon Gholston (2005-2007)
2007 saw Gholston really explode as a defensive lineman. He set the record for sacks in the season – 14 – and tied the record for sacks in a game with four. He was a part of the first-team All-Big Ten team, as well as an All-American.
His 22.5 sacks puts him at fifth in the Buckeye record books, playing for just two seasons after redshirting his freshman year.
[Editor's Note: John Simon would also have to be a consideration.]
Quinn Pitcock (2002-2006)
In 2004 Pitcock – in his first year starting – earned All-Big Ten honorable mention and was a member of the second team in 2005.
As a senior, Pitcock was named a captain and earned consensus All-American honors. He was second on the team with eight sacks on one of the nation’s best defenses, winning the Bill Willis Trophy for the nation’s top defensive lineman.
Cameron Heyward (2007-2010)
Heyward lined up all over the defensive line during his career in order to maximize his talents, finishing with 162 tackles, 31 tackles for a loss, 15 sacks, and one interception.
In his first year, he was named a freshman All-American. As a senior, Heyward was constantly double and triple teamed, but still finished with 48 tackles and 3.5 sacks on the way to another BCS bowl game experience.
[Editor's Note: Johnathan Hankins would earn strong consideration from The Editor. Tim Anderson, David Patterson and Marcus Green are other names that come to mind.]
A.J. Hawk (2002-2005)
Hawk became a starter his sophomore year, recording 106 tackles and 13 tackles for a loss.
Hawk was an All-American his junior and senior year. He recorded a career-high 141 tackles as a junior, including a 20-tackle game against Wisconsin.
Hawk finished just six tackles shy of 400 and was the first player since Steve Tovar (1990-92) to lead Ohio State in tackles three-straight seasons.
James Laurinaitis (2005-2008)
As a sophomore, Laurinaitis won the Bronko Nagurski Award for the nation’s best defensive player, recording 115 tackles, 8.5 tackles for a loss, four sacks, and five interceptions.
In his final two years at Ohio State, Laurinaitis won the Butkus and Lambert Awards, the Lott Trophy, and was a three-time consensus All-American.
He finished his career with 375 tackles (seventh in Buckeye history), 24 tackles for a loss, 13 sacks, and nine interceptions.
Ryan Shazier (2011-2013)
Shazier stepped in at linebacker as a freshman and was the one constant on an inconsistent group during his career.
He was Ohio State’s leading tackler in 2012 and 2013, finishing his career with 314 tackles and named an All-American his senior season.
[Editor's Note: Hard to leave both Matt Wilhelm and Bobby Carpenter off this list.]
Chris Gamble (2001-2003)
Gamble began his career as a wide receiver, but adjusted well to playing the other side of the ball. He started 18 times on defense, five of those also starting on offense.
He ended his time in Columbus after his junior year with 65 tackles, three tackles for a loss, seven interceptions and 21 passes defended. He was named first-team All-Big Ten his final year.
Malcolm Jenkins (2005-2008)
Jenkins started three games as a freshman and then 39-straight games over the rest of his career. He was a three-time All-Big Ten selection and was a second-team All-American as a junior and a consensus first-team All-American as a senior.
For his career, Jenkins had 124 tackles and 11 interceptions, including two returned for touchdowns.
Mike Doss (1999-2002)
Doss led the Buckeyes in tackles his sophomore and junior year, finishing with 331 for his career. He also had eight interceptions, eight fumble recoveries, and six sacks.
Doss was a team captain, three-time first-team All-American, the co-Big Ten Player of the Year in 2002, and co-MVP of the 2002 Fiesta Bowl, helping OSU to the national title.
Donte Whitner (2003-2005)
Whitner played all three seasons in Columbus, becoming a starter his sophomore year. He was a hard-hitter, registering 164 tackles, 13 tackles for a loss, and five sacks in 35 games.
His senior season saw him register 74 tackles, four sacks, and two interceptions, earning All-American and First-Team All-Big Ten honors.
Mike Nugent (2001-2004)
Nugent is one of the best – if not the best – kickers in Ohio State history. He set or tied 22 Buckeye records in his four years and remains atop the points list for OSU.
Nugent made 72/88 field goals (81.8%) and 136/139 extra points (97.8%). He was first-team All-Big Ten and first-team All-American in 2002 and 2004 and won the 2004 Lou Groza Award for the nation’s best kicker.
B.J. Sanders (1999-2003)
Sanders only started one year at Ohio State, but he became the first and only player to win the Ray Guy Award for the best punter in the country.
He averaged 43.3 yards per punt that season and only allowed 31 of his 82 punts to be returned.
[Editor's Note: Andy Groom would have to be considered here.]
Ted Ginn Jr.
Ginn was one of the most electrifying players in OSU history and special teams was one place he made his mark.
On 64 punt return attempts, Ginn had 900 yards and six touchdowns and 1,012 kick return yards and two touchdowns on 38 attempts. He is second all-time in Buckeye history in punt return yards and first in punt return touchdowns in a season (four) and career scores (six).