Second chances are rare, which is why it is so important to do something with them when they arise.
Ohio State has a second chance at a national championship after seeing it nearly taken away from them with their loss to Michigan 10 days or so ago.
It was a devastating defeat that put OSU’s playoff hopes in tremendous jeopardy. The Buckeyes needed help over Championship Weekend, and they got it. When No. 4 USC lost in the Pac 12 Championship Game last Friday night, No. 5 Ohio State was effectively playoff bound.
Speaking on ESPN’s College GameDay this past Saturday without entirely knowing the Buckeyes’ fate, OSU head coach Ryan Day was definite about one thing. If his team got another crack, they weren’t going to worry about the pressure.
“I know moving forward, we’re going to play loose. We’re going to be aggressive, and we’re gonna go at people,” Day said. “There can’t be anybody in our program that presses at all or feels pressure. We’re just gonna roll, and I think we can be a dangerous team in the playoffs.”
Then when the announcement was official on Sunday and the Buckeyes made it as the 4-seed, the weight of the loss to Michigan was temporarily lifted. It will eventually be back, but the juice had returned to the building.
The realization that the ultimate goal was still alive was a fantastic feeling for everyone. But the greater realization was that they thought they had lost it. And now with this new life, why go about it any other way than with aggression?
“I just think that when it all gets taken away from you, it makes you just kind of sit there and realize that you’re gonna have one shot to go play Georgia. Whatever team you play, and that we just gotta let it all out and let it go. And there’ll be no fear of failure,” Day said on Sunday.
“‘I’m gonna go play as hard as we possibly can and be aggressive,’ but that’s the way that we’ve done it here. But when it almost all gets taken away from you, it’s a stark reminder that you’ve got to make sure that’s how you’re playing your game, and that’s the way that we’re going to attack this month.”
A new life brings new breath and a greater appreciation for what can still happen.
When the Buckeyes lost to the Wolverines last month, their season was derailed. But the train is now back on the tracks. What happens next is still up to Ohio State.
No pressure, just purpose.
“It’s an opportunity that you just weren’t you weren’t guaranteed,” Day said. “And now you have it, and so what are we going to do with it? That’s all I keep thinking about, is that this is an opportunity that wasn’t guaranteed and now we do have it, so let’s go do it.
“Certainly a lot of people counted us out and here we are. I kind of like being in this role, but now we’ve got to go do something with it. It doesn’t mean anything if we don’t do anything with it. Just being upset or having a second opportunity is not going to mean anything if we don’t do anything with it. But what an unbelievable chance to go do some real special.”