Tom Dienhart, BTN.com Senior Writer, December 18, 2017
For the first time since winning the national championship in 2014, Ohio State can call itself ?Big Ten champs.? But unlike that magical season, the Buckeyes won?t be going to the playoff.
Despite a strong resume that includes the aforementioned title along with big wins vs. No. 2 Penn State, No. 12 Michigan State and No. 4 Wisconsin, Ohio State was left out of the College Football Playoff. A 31-16 home loss in September to then-No. 5 Oklahoma hurt OSU. But the fact the Buckeyes got nuked, 55-24, by an unranked Iowa team in November proved most costly to Urban Meyer?s club.
Still, there is a lot to like about the 2017 Buckeyes. This team was dominant on offense under new coordinator Kevin Wilson. The Buckeyes are No. 1 in the Big Ten in scoring (42.5 ppg) and No. 1 in total offense (523.6 ypg). J.T. Barrett is the consensus first-team All-Big Ten quarterback, ranking No. 1 in the Big Ten in pass efficiency by hitting 64 percent of his attempts for 2,939 yards with 35 touchdowns and 732 yards rushing. His favorite target is K.J. Hill, who has 55 catches for 546 yards. Freshman running back J.K. Dobbins ranks second in the Big Ten in rushing with 1,364 yards. Billy Price won the Rimington Award as the nation?s top center. Tackle Jamarco Jones was consensus first-team all-league, while guard Michael Jordan was first-team by the coaches.
The defense also did its part, ranking No. 6 in the Big Ten in scoring (19.9 ppg) and No. 3 in total defense (292.3 ypg). Ends Nick Bosa and Tyquan Lewis were consensus first-team All-Big Ten picks; cornerback Denzel Ward was first-team All-Big Ten by the media. End Sam Hubbard was a consensus second-team selection.
Record: 11-2 overall; 8-1 Big Ten/1st East
Bowl: Cotton vs. USC
High point: Beating rival Michigan – again. There were several candidates on the back-end of the schedule, including the 48-3 throttling of Michigan State and the Big Ten title game victory vs. then-undefeated Wisconsin. But nothing tops winning The Game at Michigan Stadium. The Buckeyes' 31-20 victory marked their sixth win in a row vs. the Wolverines and 13th in 14 years.
Low point: Loss at Iowa. On the heels of a heart-stopping 39-38 win vs. No. 2 Penn State, Ohio State traveled to Iowa looking to build mojo. Instead, the Buckeyes got pummeled, 55-24, by an unranked team. It was an embarrassment. J.T. Barrett tossed four interceptions, and OSU allowed 487 yards. The loss stained the Buckeye resume so horribly that it likely cost Ohio State a playoff spot. This was the second time in 2017 that the Buckeyes had gotten whipped, falling 31-16 at home to Oklahoma in September.
Offensive MVP: QB J.T. Barrett. The 6-2, 230-pound senior is a three-time team captain who will leave as an all-time Big Ten great with a raft of school and conference records. He capped his final regular season with a Big Ten title, earning conference quarterback of the year honors for a third season in a row.
Defensive MVP: DE Nick Bosa. The 6-4, 270-pound sophomore dominated in 2017, earning Big Ten Defensive Lineman of the Year accolades. Bosa led the team in sacks with seven and in TFLs with 14.5. At times, he was unblockable.