Shock, disbelief and embarrassment were words easily heard around the Ohio State Buckeyes locker room following a surprising blowout loss to the Iowa Hawkeyes.
Answers as to how this happened will only come after watching the film and figuring out the issues Iowa exposed on Saturday afternoon. Some believe it was the “Kinnick Curse,” including veteran offensive lineman Billy Price.
“Coming off an emotional win last week, walking into a hostile environment here, it’s got the Kinnick curse or whatever you want to call it, we just didn’t come prepared today,” Price said.
Ultimately, the answers as to why don’t matter nearly as much as what this team does next.
As tempting as it will be to dwell on a deflating 55-24 loss to the Hawkeyes, there is still plenty to play for. There are three games left in the regular season and thanks to a loss by Penn State, OSU continues to control its own Big Ten destiny.
Of course, the ultimate goal of a national championship seems to be a far-fetched hope with two big losses on the board. But, winning the toughest division in college football and one of the toughest conferences in the country are still right there.
Is that such a bad season? Perhaps it seems that way given OSU’s annual national championship aspirations under Urban Meyer, but winning said title is a rare feat for everyone except Alabama over the past decade or so.
A berth in a New Year’s Six bowl game may seem like a bad consolation prize, but it would show that a season wasn’t lost and the Buckeyes had fight in them. It would also mean that two of three goals the Buckeyes and every team in the Big Ten set when the season begins would be accomplished.
Ohio State’s season will likely be defined by the two losses, but they have a chance to place a footnote of big success instead of defeat at the end of the year.
Will the Buckeyes rebound from the loss or will they let it define them? The answers lie next week with East division-leading Michigan State up next on the schedule.
Winning that game puts the Buckeyes right back in the driver’s seat of the East division and a potential Big Ten title.
By my count, that’s two of three, and as the saying goes, two out of three ain’t bad.