Ohio State Football: Cotton Bowl caps Barrett era

INDIANAPOLIS, IN - DECEMBER 02: J.T. Barrett
INDIANAPOLIS, IN - DECEMBER 02: J.T. Barrett /
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One of the most successful four-year runs in the history of the Ohio State football program comes to a close.

The last time Ohio State played in a bowl game this early I was bummed because I was going to miss it.

I was on my honeymoon which is probably the best reason to miss a game outside of a child being born.

We had just avoided disaster by escaping the tsunami in Ko Phi Phi, Thailand on December 26. Luck was on our side that day and we were fortunate to make it back to Bangkok.

A few days later, while sitting in Tokyo’s Narita Airport waiting for our flight back to San Francisco, a little more luck came my way.

A flight delay.

Normally no one celebrates a delay, but for some reason in United’s Lounge in Tokyo, the Alamo Bowl was playing.

The delay was long enough that I was able to watch the Buckeyes roll to a 23-0 halftime lead behind Justin Zwick who was filling in for a suspended Troy Smith.

That team was locked in on winning a game where only pride was on the line.

My hope is this Buckeyes’ team is equally invested in winning the Cotton Bowl.

I suspect the team is locked in given this is J.T. Barrett’s last game.  His impact on the program is insurmountable.

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Barrett has given everything to this program.  Buckeye Nation needs to sit back and enjoy his last game.

Unlike 2004, this game is not a preview into the next season.

The 2018 Buckeyes will be a team with new leadership.  Billy Price, Barrett and handful of other key players will be off to the NFL.

The system will be the same, but the identity will change. Barrett will no longer be the leader.

Some may cheer that he is done, but no one can deny that he leaves as the program as one the best to wear Scarlet and Gray.

Despite not making the playoff, this team won the Big Ten and beat Michigan.  That was the standard for decades.

Next: Denzel Ward vs. Sam Darnold key match-up

If they end the season with a win over USC, that is worthy of celebration.