The Dueling OSU Narratives on the Board

Submitted by Hard-Baughlls on December 21st, 2017 at 1:55 PM

So I see a bunch of griping / trolling on the board about how we can't and won't beat OSU or compete for championships because

1) They get all these 4 and 5 star recruits and simply out-talent us and

2) Urban Meyer is a genius college coach and his system is amazing and he is more accomplished than Harbaugh, etc, etc

The echo chamber on the recruiting front has gotten even louder this year, due to what appears to be an underwhelming incoming class (based on the sites/starz) and another apparently top 3 incoming class for OSU.  IE, I think the recency bias of this particular class is blinding people a bit regarding actual talent levels on the respective teams.

So my question for the board is, which narrative is true - because Meyer is either underachieving at OSU (I know- heresy to have such a thought), or the "talent gap" is simply not what the recruitniks would like to believe.

Nobody here is in to moral victories, but the facts, since Harbaugh took over, are that 

While UM is a brutal 0-3 against OSU....

In year 1 they were clearly out-classed all over the field by a team many considered the best in college football, despite a fluke loss to MSU in the rain. There was a clear talent gap, but hard to put it all on Harbaugh, given he only had 12 months to develop those players.

Harbaugh year 2, it would be fair to say that UM outplayed OSU for most of the game despite having an injured QB and horrible officiating going against them.

Harbaugh year 3, UM has a chance to win the game on a final drive, starting their 3rd string QB and playing underclassmen all over the field after having 8 players drafted to the NFL from the prior year.

Don't shoot me for not doing all the advanced analytics, but since taking over, UM under Harbaugh has only been completely out classed in 2 games.  OSU 2015 and PSU 2017 (revenge game under the lights)

Meyer, with despite a 2 year head start at OSU, has been blown out by Oklahoma and Iowa this year, and the Clemson playoff debacle last year.  It would seem to me that if this "talent gap" is as wide as the recruitniks are preaching, we'd have to say Meyer is underachieving with all these top rated classes - given they have just 1 B1G title in the past 3 years.  They should be dominating at BAMA levels.... Or

The "talent gap" as evidenced by the games on the field (both head to head and vs. similar competition) just isn't what some here keep preaching.

This isn't meant to be a snarky post, just curious as to which narrative will continue to be pushed, because either 1) Meyer is underachieving despite absurd talent and resources at his disposal (a narrative I see a lot of Bucknuts pushing)  or 2) The "talent gap" just isn't there and we've had some bad breaks the past couple years in terms of officiating and injuries at the QB position.

For the record, I think OSU has underachieved a bit the past few years but Meyer is still clearly one of the top coaches in college football.  Regarding UM, we've been incredibly unlucky in a few big games (MSU 2015 and OSU 2016) come to mind first, and the "talent gap" just isn't what many on here keep claiming.  



December 21st, 2017 at 3:06 PM ^

First and foremost, F*CK OSU!!! As far as there being multiple narratives, there is unfortunately only one narrative. They have owned us for almost 15 years, had multiple undefeated seasons, won a National Championship, and are year end and year out in the thick of it for a playoff spot. There is no other narrative. But I believe Harbaugh is going to change Michigan's narrative in the next 2 years.


December 21st, 2017 at 3:10 PM ^

Also, and it PAINS me to say this, if Meyer is "underachieving", I'll take that underachieving all day long. Let's be better than looking at our rivals record the last 10 years and saying they "underachieved". What they hav accomplished is only bested by one other team in all of college football, and that's Alabama.


December 21st, 2017 at 3:29 PM ^

Your argument that Meyer and OSU are underachieving as a program Because they lost to MSU in 2015 is not very convincing.
How many teams go undefeated? Almost every team loses a game but maybe 2 in a year (before the championship game) and go undefeated. There is a MASSIVE difference between underachieving for on singular game, or underachieving for an entire season.


December 21st, 2017 at 5:38 PM ^

Nope, just somehow missed 1992. So, you could edit my original post to say "in the last 25 years."

My point is still very well-made. Undefeated seasons are extremely rare, except in the optimism of fans about the future, where hope springs eternal.

Without looking, would you have thought that Alabama has just one undefeated season since 1992?

Like my geometry teacher taught us, to ASS-U-ME is to make an ASS out of U in front of ME.


December 21st, 2017 at 2:38 PM ^

you need talent across the board and rock solid OL and DL play will always be a huge factor, but its also obvious clemson really took off and earned some big results with QBs like boyd and watson.

QB play can swing good teams to great (or average to good, etc) so its no surprise clemson was a tough out with like 6-7 fairly consistent years under boyd / watson.  they had solid squads with talent all over but QB play will always be vital.

meyer benefits from a mostly clear vision of how he wants his teams to play (and hes great recruiter and coach) and while they didnt have pro scouts drooling, miller and barrett took care of business at osu more often than not.

hopefully harbaugh will experience similar results now that hes got several talented QBs competing for the biggest gig in sports


December 21st, 2017 at 2:52 PM ^

Barrett was more than a capable QB to run Meyer's offense. He wasn't an elite passer but in a run-heavy, read option offense there are few QBs that could take the physical pounding that Barrett did, and continue to run effectively deep into the game. They relied on him heavily and I think he'll be sorely missed, especially in the 3rd and 2 or 4th and 1 scenarios.


December 21st, 2017 at 3:14 PM ^

as a QB you have to throw the ball at some point...and he proved that he wasn't able to do it when it mattered.  What's the best win of his career? Penn State this year?  After that...Michigan last year? in 4 years...he was hurt during their title run, he was shut out vs Clemson last year, and he lost a CCG to MSU...smoked by Iowa this year...missed multiple games due to injury (to your durability point) 


And I think it's fair to ask...was it the WR's for OSU who were bad...or was it Barrett? Is it more likely the Qb who has never thrown the ball well is the culprit of a poor passing game...or every 4 and 5 star receiver they've gotten over the last 4 years?


December 21st, 2017 at 4:16 PM ^

Penn State this year. 12-0 Wisconsin this year. Oklahoma last year. Wisconsin last year. Michigan last year. Notre Dame 2015. Michigan 2015. MSU 2014. 

Braxton Miller was the QB in the 2013 B1G title game OSU lost to MSU. The only games JT has ever missed due to injury were the 2014 CFP. He literally just played in the B1G title game 6 days after knee surgery. Dude is a tank.

"Never thrown the ball well" is a stretch considering JT's been B1G QB of the Year three different times and is in the top 10 for basically every stat in B1G passing history. 


December 21st, 2017 at 4:36 PM ^

Pretty sure he only missed 2 games from his freshman year after injuring his foot in the Michigan game, other games were when Meyer was using Cardale. (So to my durability point) Yes, quite durable considering given he ran the ball 15-20 times a game.

He also had QB ratings of 169.8, 139.2, 135.3, and 162.0 in his 4 seasons. I'm not arguing he's elite, but he was well above average and consistently a top QB in the Big Ten.


December 21st, 2017 at 6:28 PM ^

JT started for four years; Brees for three; Brady for two.  JT has more total TDs than the two of them COMBINED, and a higher career y/a and comp% than either.

JT is never going to start a game in the NFL, but he was a hell of a college QB.


Tot. TD 145 (104 passing)

Y/A: 7.8

Comp% 63.5


Tot TD 106 (90 passing)

Y/A: 7.0

Comp% 61.1


Tot TD 33 (30 passing)

Y/A 7.5

Comp% 61.9



Perkis-Size Me

December 21st, 2017 at 2:50 PM ^

I was actually thinking about this the other day. It's not unreasonable to assume that Meyer is underacheiving with the talent that he has, relative to what the rest of the league has and how he's only won two Big Ten titles in the six years he's been in the conference. I think the expectation coming out of Columbus when he got hired was that if he was there for 10 years, they'd win the Big Ten 8 or 9 of those years, and probably win at least 3-4 national titles.

But the Big Ten was a LOT weaker back when he was first hired. Back then, the Big Ten was the butt of every college football joke. Too big, too slow, too out-dated in how it played the game. Fast forward to now, and I think the Big Ten has hands down the best assembly of coaches in the country. Swinney and Saban are elite to be sure, but no conference, from a coaching standpoint, is as deep as the Big Ten now. I think the rest of the conference looked at the Meyer hiring and decided it needed to up it's game or be left in the dust. 

So I'm also a bit surprised that Meyer doesn't have more hardware in his six seasons at OSU, but I also think a big part of that is because the conference has covered a LOT of ground in catching up to him. 


December 21st, 2017 at 4:21 PM ^

How does Meyer's narrative change if OSU gets to win the B1G and beat Notre Dame in his first year? Then he has two national titles and three B1G titles in six years. Through no fault of his own, OSU was banned from winning anything in Meyer's first year. 

Win the B1G half the time, make the playoff half the time, win a national championship, never miss the NY6, and go undefeated against Michigan, and man, how anyone can be underwhelmed with that is beyond me.

Perkis-Size Me

December 21st, 2017 at 5:22 PM ^

Well I think when you have a fanbase that is so conditioned to seeing a winning product year after year, any chink in that armor is going to be heavily criticized. How much fire did JT Barrett, one of the most productive QBs in OSU's history, come under after the Clemson loss last year? During the Iowa game this year? Any time he's had subpar days on the field? Sure he didn't play well in those games, but he wasn't responsible for the defense playing like shit, either. I remember hearing people calling for Herman's head after the Va Tech game. 

The same can be said for many fanbases, as we're all fickle SOBs. But when you have a team that's been so dominant for so long, a lot of people who support it will question what the fuck is going on when even the slightest thing goes wrong? I can't imagine how you all would react if you went through a sustained period of mediocrity like every other major program in the country has gone through at one point or another. I think Columbus would be engulfed in full-scale riots. 

All I can say is enjoy your golden age. If history has proven anything across the millenia, it's that everyone's success comes to an end at some point. 


December 21st, 2017 at 10:09 PM ^

It took until Urban's 6th season for OSU to have a season with more than 1 regular season loss. If that's is underacheiving, then what's "acheiving"?

He has a regular season record of 67-5. Would OSU have to be 69-3 to NOT be underacheiving?

What would it take to be considered overacheiving? 71-1?

6 seasons...6 division titles = "he's underachieving". True. He shoud have 8 division titles by now! Maybe 10.



December 21st, 2017 at 3:19 PM ^

What should be examined is the use of the word 'talent' which is thrown around too much without much consideration to what it really means.


It is based on the number of stars a bunch of "recruiting pundits" give to teenagers after watching limited film/game action. The variance on an 18/19 year old kid is insane. I would guess many more times than not, the difference between a 3-star and 5-star is a combination of guy who started school later and hit puberty a couple years earlier. By the time they hit 20/21 and get real playing time these differences even out. There are of course outliers - ie. the bell shape curve - but those are relatively rare.


This is why teams like Wisconsin - who never really rack it in on recruits - can be consistently good.


December 21st, 2017 at 3:30 PM ^

I don't know what else to say other than that if you think Urban Meyer is underachieving then you're dumb. He has OSU at a level higher than Michigan has been at in decades and arguably ever.

He has achieved things at Ohio State that Michigan fans can only dream of someday seeing happen at this program. I doubt to ever see Michigan do as well as Ohio State is doing now. If this is underachieving then Michigan isn't a program of comparable caliber to Ohio State, because there is no chance that any of you would be saying that Harbaugh was underachieving if he was winning 11+ games every year, winning conference and national titles, and bringing in the best recruiting classes in program history.

CRISPed in the DIAG

December 21st, 2017 at 4:08 PM ^

I think it's fair to question whether Urban Meyer gets a pass from the media and many fans (including this board) despite his apparent overall success. The OP correctly points out that OSU's recuiting success, which is consistently at or above Bama, hasn't translated into NC's. 

And I disagree on the Harbaugh analogy. This is actually the logic used by many Michigan and non-Michigan fans in 2017 - that Harbaugh is actually underachieving despite his reputation, recuiting classes and relative success of other benchmark programs.  


December 21st, 2017 at 4:11 PM ^

I think the point of saying Urbz may be "underachieving" is that if you go by starz alone, Saban is far out-performing him in results as a factor of class rating. Hasn't osu lost at least twice to psu (in the midst of massive schollie reductions) & msu, who's classes never rate high. And then there's Iowa 2017!

Compare him to Dabo, who's cumulative class rating the past 6 years is far lower, and Urbz is a downright piker!

Obviously we'd LOVE to underachieve to that level!!!

We play them close, but we're gonna need improved QB play to ever beat osu even half the time, which was a baseline during Bo's era, and far surpassed during their Cooper years.


December 21st, 2017 at 4:51 PM ^

You could also spin this the opposite way and say that Urban recruits even better than the on-field results warrant. Also keep in mind that you're using Saban's time at Bama as the benchmark for success, which is insane in its own right. Bama is beyond a powerhouse. They are the biggest dynasty college football has had in a long time.


December 22nd, 2017 at 8:02 AM ^

This is an important point that seems to be glossed over in this debate.  Obviously, recruiting is a big part of success in college football.  OSU is doing that very well.  Urban is the one in charge.  So I'm not sure how you can say he's underacheiving "based on the talent level" when he's the one responsible for that talent level.  That's part of his job, and he's doing it really well. 

Also, fuck osu, of course. 


December 21st, 2017 at 2:03 PM ^

we did the last 2 years with 2 huge holes in the recuiting classes (14 & 15) and without top level QB play


people whining about not being competitive with OSU are idiots and should just leave the board