Unfortunately, Ohio State fans probably won't soon forget what happened against Alabama in the National Championship Game in Miami a couple weeks ago. The Crimson Tide beat the Buckeyes pretty thoroughly on the sport's biggest stage and the scoreboard wasn't close by the middle of the second quarter.
It was a bad loss, no doubt. But the chasm between the two national powerhouse programs might not be as wide as that lopsided scoreboard indicated two weeks ago.
The Buckeyes did win the Big Ten Championship and they dominated Clemson in the Sugar Bowl before losing to 'Bama. On top of that, this past season's Alabama offense will long be measured in historic circles for the way they routinely pulverized defenses.
Ryan Day was asked on Friday morning to evaluate how far away he thinks the Buckeyes are from playing at the level in which Alabama played on Jan. 11.
I think you'll find his answer to be quite thoughtful.
"The gap is a lot closer now than if we had not played a season. If Alabama had gone through this season and we had not played a season, the gap would have been really hard to catch. I don't think it's that far off, but like you said, that night, they were the better team. And they beat us soundly. And so I think there's a lot of areas, a lot of things that led to that, that we need to get addressed and get fixed ... with a great offseason and a great spring ball, great preseason, 12-game regular season and a postseason leading into that game, I feel great and I think that's always going to be our goal."
Day also referenced earlier in that press conference that the Buckeyes were only able to have one padded-practice in the time leading up to the national title game because of the CoVID-related issues they were dealing with at the time. That certainly would have contributed to the team's subpar performance against the Crimson Tide.
At the end of the day, both teams are bringing in incredibly talented classes with the incoming freshmen. Alabama lost more of its top-end talent from this year's team than the Buckeyes did, but both teams will have a new identity next year. We'll see if the Buckeyes can get back on the big stage and have a better showing next time around.
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