Football and Men's Basketball
OSU Athletics Producing Excellence in More Than One Sport
By Patrick Murphy
After Ohio State’s 34-24 loss to Michigan State in the Big Ten Title Game, a friend said to me, “I guess it’s basketball season now.”
At the time, I thought how this football season really became National Title Game or bust after Auburn’s Chris Davis returned a missed field goal 109 yards and propelled the Buckeyes to number two in the BCS rankings.
Ohio State fans were devastated by the MSU loss. Not only were they not going to play for a national championship, but they couldn’t even call themselves Big Ten champions.
As I watched the two more convincing OSU basketball wins since December 7, I thought back to my friend’s statement. Yes, he was disappointed with the football result, but he could also look forward to OSU basketball.
That simply doesn’t happen everywhere and should be appreciated, because it really is rare.
The conference championship week saw the football Buckeyes ranked number two in the BCS and their basketball counterparts ranked fifth in the AP and third in the Coaches Poll.
The next week saw Aaron Craft and company move up to three and two respectively, while Urban Meyer’s team dropped to seven after their first loss.
The rankings remained the same this week, making Ohio State one of only two schools – the other being Michigan State – in the top-25 in both sports.
This is nothing new at Ohio State.
In football, the loss to the Spartans ended a streak of 19-straight weeks ranked in the top five in the AP Poll.
The basketball team had been ranked in the top five of the AP and Coaches Poll seven times since the beginning of the 2012-13 season and in the top 10 of the AP Poll 18 times and the Coaches Poll 19 times over that span.
Of the top-10 college programs based on 2012’s revenue, only Ohio State and Michigan were ranked in the final college basketball AP Poll last season. The rest of the schools were all “football schools.”
This year the Wolverines have been ranked in both polls, but currently are not ranked in the top-25 in either sport.
Texas, the highest grossing college program, was once thought of as a school for both football and men’s basketball, but has fallen out of consistent appearance in either sports’ polls.
Florida was college football’s champion in 2006 and defended their 2005-06 basketball title in 2007. Both wins came over the Buckeyes, making them the top-two programs in both sports. The Gators have not lived up to the level of expectations since Meyer left and have not returned to the elite level in basketball.
Ohio State has not won a national championship in football since 2002 and basketball since 1960, but they have been a force in both sports for years now.
OSU football fans may wish the Buckeyes had been as dominate as Alabama the last few years and basketball fans might desire the recruiting classes of Kentucky, but only at Ohio State is there such consistent excitement in both sports.