Ohio State football: It’s time for Big Dog Saturday

Zach Harrison had perhaps the biggest play for the Ohio State Football team on Thursday night.Ceb Osu21min Kwr 37
Zach Harrison had perhaps the biggest play for the Ohio State Football team on Thursday night.Ceb Osu21min Kwr 37 /

The Ohio State football team now gets to play the biggest game of the season they will play all year in Ohio Stadium. Oregon comes to town after struggling with Fresno State.

The noise that came from the far northwest corner of the country and sounded an awful lot like flapping and quacking started just after their win over Wisconsin in the Rose Bowl on New Year’s Day 2020. That was months before the Oregon Ducks’ scheduled meeting with the Buckeyes.

Unfortunately, that game became a COVID casualty and was never played, but that didn’t stop the noise. It was incessant. Ducks’ fans wouldn’t shut up about what their beloved team would do to our beloved team. It got even louder when Oregon beat Iowa State in last season’s Fiesta Bowl and has continued up to today.

They’ll tell anyone who will listen just how good their Ducks are. They are convinced Oregon is one of the Big Dogs of college football. Well, folks, September 11th in Columbus is Big Dog Saturday for the Ducks. They’re going to show they can get off the porch and run with the Big Dogs or they can take a seat and be quiet.

Oregon fans pointing to those two New Year’s Six bowl wins as evidence of their rightful place among college football’s elites is a specious conclusion. While wins in those high-profile bowl games are great and give a real boost to your program when you take a deeper look at who those wins are over you see why they don’t add up to elite status for the Ducks.

Wisconsin entered their Rose Bowl matchup with Oregon with three losses. Two had come to  the Ohio State football team and one to Illinois. While the Badgers were the official Big Ten runner-up, I don’t think they were the conference’s second-best team.

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Penn State, who went 11-2 and won the Cotton Bowl, was a better team in my opinion. Iowa State was the Big XII runner-up last season and clearly that league’s number two team, but they were still only second best. Oregon has not beaten a Power Five conference champion. The argument made by Ducks’ fans that their team is one of the elites based on these two wins is a fallacy.

I’m sure Oregon fans are a bit salty towards Ohio State because of some things that occurred in recent years. We all know what happened in Dallas in January of 2015. The Ducks came into the first-ever College Football Playoff championship game ranked number two with an explosive offense and a Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback.

After they scored rather easily on their opening drive, the Buckeyes proceeded to physically pound them into submission on their way to a 42-20 win. Most recently, the two waged a recruiting war over a generational player. Ducks’ fans ran their beaks about why Oregon would be a far better choice for J.T. Tuimoloau than the Buckeyes and many were rather incredulous when he chose the Ohio State football program.

Another reason Ducks’ fans don’t like the Buckeyes is the overall history of the series. Oregon has never beaten Ohio State. Never. Not a solitary win in nine tries. It all began with Don Sutherin’s fourth-quarter field goal in the 1958 Rose Bowl and continued to the last meeting with Zeke Elliot leaving cleat marks all over them in 2015.

When Oregon dedicated Autzen Stadium in 1967, the Buckeyes shut them out. Ohio State’s Super Sophs beat them in the 1968 regular season. They entered the 1987 meeting ranked sixteenth, but were destroyed by the fifth-ranked Buckeyes who were led by Chris Spielman’s fifteen tackles.

Over twenty years later another Rose Bowl brought another loss. On New Year’s Day 2010 the Ducks, who were coached by Chip Kelly, came into their meeting with OSU averaging 36 points and 412 yards per game. The Buckeyes held them to 17 points and 260 yards on their way to a 26-17 win.

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There has been a lot of quacking coming from them over the last twenty months or so and they think they have all of their ducks in a row for Oregon to get their first win over OSU. But, make no mistake Buckeye fans, it is put up or shut up time for Oregon fans. Big Dog Saturday is just a few days away. Time for the Buckeyes to put them on the porch where they belong.