The Buckeyes’ 31-16 loss to Oklahoma was needed

COLUMBUS, OH - SEPTEMBER 09: Baker Mayfield
COLUMBUS, OH - SEPTEMBER 09: Baker Mayfield /

Saturday’s OSU-OU matchup lead to an overall frustrating outing from the Buckeyes who were was simply outplayed in every facet of the game. Falling 31-16 in your own, 100,000-plus stadium hurts, but it’s about the recovery from now until December that counts.

There was truly nothing to like from the Ohio State football team last Saturday night. In fact, there as just a smidgen of truly solid football in the Buckeyes’  49-21 win against the Indiana Hoosiers.

Emerging at times during the two pairings lies the clear talent that has yet to be recognized by, well, the players themselves. When you watch the Buckeyes, you know you’re watching a cluster of four and five-star recruits run around, wielding the weapons of their particular skill sets.

So far, those skill sets have yielded a bunch of missed chances, timid moments and fear of failure impending their ability to take reign on opponents; that narrative must flip.

Without everything to lose, this team isn’t special

Josh Homme of Queens of the Stone Age sings, “I need something good to die for to make it beautiful to live,” on the 2002 track “Go With the Flow”. That lyric runs true for a team facing a rocky course, which it must navigate to a tee in order to make the College Football Playoffs.

Prior to the season, many inked the Buckeyes as a lock for the Final Four. Now, with the requirement likely being a 11-game (10 regular season games left, then a Big 10 Championship) undefeated streak, Urban Meyer and his team have their backs against the wall. That’s just the way things are now.

Timid at best in their two games, that mindset is now essentially out the window. If the Buckeyes play timid, they could lose a few more games. However, if they play like they have NOTHING to lose, here comes a freight train.

Last season, after they fell to Penn State, a shift in their mindset led the Buckeyes to the playoffs. This time, an early season loss to the No. 2 Oklahoma Sooners doesn’t spell the same disaster and desperation feeling as the Penn State loss did last year.

More or less, the loss to Oklahoma proved what fans feared; JT Barrett’s Heisman candidacy has worn stale.

JT Barrett is STILL the key, but he can’t play like it

When Barrett stepped in as a freshman, he really had nothing to lose. He replaced the injured Braxton Miller, an incredibly popular quarterback and Heisman candidate. So, JT Barrett played like he had nothing to lose, so he didn’t.

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After a quiver against Virginia Tech, Barrett trucked the Bucks to a Big 10 Championship, but went down hurt. The rest is history.

In JT Barrett lies a leader, a hero and a legend, but after three-plus seasons of unavoidable questions of talent, the Scarlet and Grey fans have grown quite restless.

If he has learned anything during his time at OSU, it’s that he can prove us wrong; he did so in 2014 when he made his freshman run to the postseason. Then more recently when he lead the epic final drives against the Michigan Wolverines last November.

So, I challenge the Buckeyes:

  • Take shots; they’ll work out in the long run (the talent is clear)
  • Fourth down belongs to your senior quarterback
  • Play like you have nothing to lose, because the fan base is in playoffs-or-bust mode

Next game the Buckeyes play the Army Black Knights; I want the starters off the field by the third quarter.

Next: Big Ten Observations: Who's Hot, Who's Not in Week 2

Baker Mayfield owned the Shoe on Saturday; the flag he tried to plant in our “Block O” was pretty much perfection as far as symbolism goes. It’s time for the Buckeyes to get use that as motivation the rest of the season and make a statement of their own.