WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. – It happened again.
For the second year in a row, Ohio State was waxed on the road by an inferior opponent, at least on paper. The Buckeyes never led against the Hawkeyes in 2017 and never led against the Boilermakers on Saturday night, losing for the third time in their last four trips to Ross-Ade Stadium.
There was plenty to take away from the loss and Ohio State’s postgame comments. Warning: none of them are good.
1. Changes Must Be Made
When you have a roster full of four and five star players and you lose to a team full of two and three star prospects, it is often not surprising, especially if it happens in a close game. It happens every week in college football.
However, this is the second straight season the Buckeyes have been railed (Purdue pun intended) by an inferior opponent. That doesn’t all fall on the players. In fact, it falls more on the coaching.
Ohio State has been out of position all season on defense and again on Saturday night, the same problems occurred. On offense, the Buckeyes have regressed in the run game each week, yet no drastic attempts to jump start the run game have been made. Tate Martell has not been given a chance in red zone or short yardage situations. Defensively, the Buckeyes are missing tackles that they made in the past.
It has taken a drastic loss for Ohio State to fix whatever the problems were in the past. That shouldn’t be the case. Everyone knew what Ohio State’s flaws were since the first half of the TCU game. They have yet to be fixed. It shouldn’t take a loss every year for a coaching staff with three head coaches on it to make changes.
2. Ohio State Doesn’t Have The Talent Of Past Title Contenders
During Ohio State’s 2014 title winning season, the Buckeyes had arguably a first-round NFL draft pick in every position room. This season, that is simply not the case.
Outside of defensive line and quarterback, Ohio State doesn’t have a single potential first round draft pick on the roster and it showed against Purdue. The secondary was routinely gashed by freshman wide receiver Rondale Moore, and the interior defensive line was pushed around to the point where the Purdue offense rattled off touchdown runs of 42 and 40 yards in the fourth quarter. The linebackers were once again pedestrian and on the rare occasion they were in position to make plays, failed to do so.
Ohio State has the talent to win a Big Ten title, but to win a national title, it might not. It is simply not being developed enough to do so, which goes back to the first point made above.
3. Urban Meyer Needs to Look In The Mirror
Urban Meyer’s mantra after winning games has always been, “the best thing about X-and-0 is the chance to go X-and-0.” I joked in the post game that Meyer would say something to the tune of, “the best thing about 7-1 is the chance to go 8-1.”
Then, he actually said it.
Meyer has done a lot to put football in perspective in his time at Ohio State, making sure it doesn’t overtake his life like it did at Florida, but part of me believes Meyer is in denial about the problems his team has. He said in his postgame that he believes the Buckeyes will ultimately get this thing fixed, but the sense of urgency, or the magnitude of this loss and the Iowa loss in 2017, seem to be lost on him a bit.
Ohio State has shown no effort to fix its problems, and that ultimately – for better or worse – falls on the head coach.
4. The Big Ten Is Wide Open
Ohio State’s loss makes Michigan the easy favorite to win the conference. However, the Buckeyes still control their own destiny to get to Indianapolis if they win out, including beating Michigan at home Nov. 24.
In the West, four teams control their own destiny, including Purdue. It would be hard to bet against Jeff Brohm’s squad after that performance, but Iowa appears to still be the early favorite.
About six conference teams all have a realistic shot at Indianapolis right now and it is anyones guess who will end up there. But right now, Ohio State is no longer the favorite in the East.
5. Brohm Is A Star In The Making
I had my doubts about Jeff Brohm after Purdue’s 0-3 start to the season, but after watching what his Boilermakers did to Ohio State on Saturday night, I am right back on the Jeff Brohm train.
What he has done in two years in West Lafayette has been nothing short of impressive, but the bad news for Purdue is he might not be around long.
Louisville might be looking for a new coach by the end of this season and no offense to those native to West Lafayette, but Louisville, K.Y. is a much more scenic place to live. Not to mention it’s Brohm’s alma mater.
Brohm will be on the short list for many coaching vacancies in the next couple of years, so Purdue should enjoy him while they have him. Because they won’t have him for long.