COLUMBUS – Ohio State coach Urban Meyer, after his team completed its 12-0 campaign with a 26-21 win over Michigan (just the 12th undefeated season for an FBS school in the last 10 years), said he felt his Buckeyes "could play and compete with any team in the United States of America as of now."
He has reinforced his feelings publicly a number of times in the past month, even while admitting that his team had some holes during the year.
"But we filled those holes, especially on defense," Meyer has said. "We became a really good team and, I felt, at the end of the season we could play with any team in the country."
Statistics, particularly defensive, support Meyer's belief.
Ohio State's defense, led by Big Ten defensive player of the year John Simon, tackle Johnathan Hankins, selfless FB-turned-LB Zach Boren and super talented sophomores Ryan Shazier and Bradley Roby, improved dramatically the final third of the season and, in particular, the last month of the season. In November (stats derived at www.cfbstats.com)...
While the team also had impressive seasonal stats of 116.1 rushing yards per game allowed (14th nationally) and a nation's-best 88 passes defended (7.33 per game), the November numbers came against some quality opponents:
Offense was rarely a concern for the 2012 Buckeyes, who led the Big Ten in scoring at 37.1 ppg and ranked 10th nationally in rushing at 242.2 ypg. The unit was led by Big Ten Offensive Player of the Year Braxton Miller, who was fifth in the Heisman Trophy voting, 970-yard rusher (with 16 rushing touchdowns in only 10 games) Carlos Hyde, 60-reception WR Corey Brown and a junior-dominated offensive line that improved each week.