Drew Thurman (8:21 am) @osusilverbullet

12-0.

On the last weekend in November, under snow flurries and gray skies, the Buckeyes completed the sixth perfect season in the school's history (previous: 1916, 1944, 1954, 1968, 2002). While the result meant a spotless record for the 2012 season, the game definitely was marred with blemishes.

If you were like me, you cringed a lot throughout the game. Penalties, turnovers and poor execution plagued the Buckeyes in Urban Meyer's first Michigan-Ohio State game, and one had to wonder if it some point the culmination of so many missed opportunities would come back to spoil the afternoon.

I mean let's be honest, there seemed to be plenty of frustrating moments. There was Philly Brown's muffed punt. There was the roughing the kicker penalty. There was Denard Robinson's 67 yard touchdown scamper. There was the sack and missed field goal after getting to Michigan's 4 yard line. There was Braxton's fumble deep inside Michigan's territory. That's just the tip of the iceberg too. It was a would have, could have kind of game, and teams just don't win those. At some point all those shortcomings are supposed to come back to haunt you.

Unbelievably they didn't.
You see despite not executing the game plan to perfection, this team gutted out another win 26-21. It may not have been as pretty as we would have hoped for, but somehow, someway Urban Meyer and company added another "W" in the win column.

Ironically, it fit this team perfectly. This 2012 squad has been flawed all season. Not in just one area of the game either, as at some point each facet of the game has let the Buckeyes down. There have been moments were the offense has stalled. The defense has given up an unbelievable amount of yards and has looked down right horrendous at times. And well, the special teams has made mistakes in about every way possible this season. Throw in the injuries, the penalty yards, the sacks,  and the big plays, and you've got a very questionable product.

Yet, despite all the flaws, they stand perfect. 

They've won six games by seven points or less, been in two overtimes and even fought back with the back-up quarterback in the game. There have been multiple games where it wasn't clear exactly how they got the win, including the last two, but when the dust settled this team was singing Carmen Ohio with smiles on their faces.

So how have they done it? Well, it been about one thing - heart.

Years from now when fans walk by the display commemorating the 2012 team's perfect season in the WHAC, I can almost guarantee that no one will talk about them as an offensive juggernaut or a defensive powerhouse. Actually, I can 100% guarantee no one will be talking about the latter. Instead, what they will be remembered for is their resiliency and heart. In the face of NCAA sanctions and coming off a 6-7 season, this year's squad gritted their teeth and won 12 straight times behind the resolve of a senior class and a head coach who refused to quit. It wasn't pretty, it wasn't flashy, but it was full of heart.

Saturday was the one more showing of that heart. In an ugly game that will greatly underwhelm the national media, the Buckeyes completed a feat that has become a rarity in the modern age of football - perfection. They are flawed and yet so perfect at the same time.

While now many will play the "what if" game and talk about Gene Smith's mistakes or how this team could fare in the national championship, I am just fine with this being the last performances for this team. In another perfectly flawed outing, the seniors, who have seen so many highs and lows, go out as winners knowing they brought back pride to the program. Urban Meyer ends the season claiming his first victory in the rivalry, and can smile knowing he fulfilled his promise "to make the great state of Ohio proud." Also, and most importantly, Buckeye Nation knows this team did things the right way, thanks to a great group of kids.

In the end, while there may not be a crystal football or even a B1G Championship to add to the accomplishments of this year's team, perfection has been achieved. Blemishes, weaknesses and all, it was a beautiful sight.
 


Comments

Ken
11/26/2012 12:36

Nice perspective, Drew, thanks.

In some ways, this team reminded me of the 2002 undefeated team. A bit flawed, not quite hitting on all cylinders, yet, somehow, finding a way to win. To me, this reflected the teaching and motivating capabilities of the coaching/support staff, and the character of the players. This was truly a season to be proud to be a Buckeye.

At the beginning of the season, I figured a cap of maybe 9-3, with some improvement (however you want to measure that) would be one helluva season. To finish the season at 12-0 with demonstative, athough uneven, improvement, is beyond what I could have hoped for this year.

Not to get too maudlin, nor metaphysical, but this Ohio State squad epitomized the 'human condition'; flawed, yet determined, they achieved something really good. They can hold their heads high, because we as fans are. To the 2012 edition of the OSU football Buckeyes, thank you. Well done, lads.

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Ken
11/26/2012 12:40

Almost forgot; I had a conversation over lunch about a month ago with a friend (for now) and avid Nebraska fan. His opinion was that if OSU finished 12-0, they would be the 'worst ever undefeated sqaud in NCAA history'. I responded that I really didn't give a shit what he thought, 12-0 is 12-0, and I thanked him for Nebraska's contribution to the season.

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Phreddyfred
11/26/2012 19:52

...they sure didn't look like the worst ever undefeated squad in NCAA history when they were kicking the huskers up and down the field.

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Ken
11/27/2012 03:03

It seems that my friend has no sense of irony. The way we showed them how to play football obviously didn't register with him. One of life's better moments.

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03/23/2013 23:21

lunch about a month ago with a friend (for now) and avid Nebraska fan. His opinion was that if OSU finished 12-0, they would be the 'worst ever undefeated sqaud in NCAA history'. I responded that I really didn't give a shit

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