Column: Remember good ol’ days when Ohio State ran a tight ship and Alabama was done? Like it was yesterday

Urban Meyer, Cardale Jones

It had been all fun and games for Coach Urban Meyer and quarterback Cardale Jones until defending champion Ohio State lost on Saturday.

(Jay LaPrete / Associated Press)

Things move so quickly during the season you sometimes lose track of the way things used to be.

•Remember when Ohio State had that 23-game winning streak and Coach Urban Meyer wrote that book on leadership?

Remember Fox News host Bill O’Reilly asking Meyer on cable TV how he would have handled differently the problems football folks were having at Florida State? (Even though Meyer had nearly 40 players arrested when he was coaching at Florida?)

O’Reilly: “Look at Jameis Winston down at Florida State. He steals some crab legs or something. But the guy’s a brilliant quarterback so they let it go down there. I don’t think you would have let it go, right?”


Meyer: “It would have been hard to let that go.”

And remember, just after Meyer’s book tour on leadership, how one of his Ohio State quarterbacks got cited for driving under the influence?

And how another quarterback, Cardale Jones, after a tough home loss to Michigan State on Saturday, said he was entering the NFL draft shortly after he toweled off from his postgame shower?

And how he was joined by tailback Ezekiel Elliott, who also announced he was leaving after getting only 12 carries in the game?


“I deserved more,” Elliott said.

Remember a time when Ohio State players never would have fathomed doing that under Woody Hayes, especially the week before the Michigan game?

Meyer told O’Reilly his book on leadership was dedicated to last year’s national-championship team, which he said was a joy to be around, the one led by Jones and Elliott.

•Remember when Alabama lost at home to Mississippi and people suggested Nick Saban’s great run was over?

There was that one website headline: “Why Alabama’s loss to Ole Miss could be the beginning of the end of the Tide Dynasty.”

And that other one: “Alabama’s loss to Ole Miss feels like the end of an era.”

•Remember that word people used to describe Clemson (11-0) after the Tigers lost games they were supposed to win?

•Remember when Louisiana State was the team you didn’t want to play in September and Oregon was the team you would have picked up at the airport?


•Remember that day, a couple weeks back, when Oregon didn’t receive a single point in the Associated Press poll?

•Remember, before players like quarterbacks like Russell Wilson and Vernon Adams Jr. came along, how schools never even considered a final-game ceremony titled “Fifth-Year Graduate Transfer Senior Day”?

•Remember, before South Carolina’s loss to The Citadel, how former coach Steve Spurrier used “paycheck” games like that to punish players suspended for missing curfew?

•Remember when everyone said Iowa was a caucus, not a legitimate title contender, and would recede back into the corn fields after Halloween?

•Remember when Washington State lost to Portland State, and Oklahoma lost to Texas? And that time SEC East champion Florida was locked in a scoreless halftime tie against 2-8 Florida Atlantic? And yet fell only one spot, to No. 9, in the next day’s USA Today coaches’ poll?

•Remember the year Temple got kicked out of the Big East for running a lousy, losing program, yet they let Rutgers stay?

•Remember when the only thing anyone said before Toledo was “holy?”

•Remember when it was blasphemy in Baton Rouge to suggest you should let the season play out before handing Leonard Fournette the Heisman Trophy?


That, from a safe distance, under the cover of darkness, through a periscope, LSU appeared to be a one-dimensional team that could be stopped if you just loaded up to stop the run?

•Remember that outgoing national football columnist from Los Angeles who failed to include LSU in his preseason top 25, felt awful about it when the Tigers raced to 7-0, but now feels great about it?

•Remember that time, a couple years ago, when Frank Beamer led Virginia Tech to the national title game, in the Sugar Bowl, with Michael Vick at quarterback?

Wait, what? That was the 1999 season?

•Remember last year when Texas A&M Coach Kevin Sumlin, the man many USC fans wanted to replace Lane Kiffin after 2013, started 5-0 before fading to 8-5?

Remember this year when Sumlin, the coach some Trojans fans may still want hired to replace Steve Sarkisian, started 5-0 at A&M before losing three of his next four?

•Remember when UCLA announced it was starting true freshman Josh Rosen at quarterback? And smart people said you might compete for the Pac-12 South Division title doing that, but never the national title?

•Remember when USC’s defense had never allowed an opponent to throw six touchdown passes in a game?

•Remember when it would have been inconceivable to think Boise State could lose, on its blue field, in consecutive games, to New Mexico and Air Force?

•Remember when the Rose Bowl was not played the day after two infinitely more important national semifinal games the night before? Remember when “Granddaddy” got to host the national title game every four years in the BCS?

Remember last spring when the Rose Bowl announced it would not bid for a national title game in the College Football Playoff?

•Remember when people from the South thought Christian McCaffrey was an elite preparatory school in Palo Alto?

•Remember when a football columnist from L.A. started the season without Stanford in his top 25, yet recently started defending the two-loss Cardinal in farfetched playoff scenarios?

•Remember when journalists were held accountable for the ridiculous stuff they wrote?

•Remember when Ricky Nelson wrote that song about going to a garden party, with the line, “If memories are all I have, I’d rather drive a truck?”

Go beyond the scoreboard

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