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Crew fans get more on your favorite team
By Matt McCoy
**Click HERE Miller to hear Braxton Miller react to winning Big 10 offensive player of the year**
We'll start with the good news for Ohio State. For only the second time since 1990, when the Big 10 began handing out an offensive and defensive player of the year award, the Buckeyes nabbed them both.
After leading the Big 10 in sacks and playing the role of emotional leader for the Buckeyes John Simon was picked as the league's top defensive player. Braxton Miller, Ohio State's new record holder for total offense in a single season, won the award for offense.
"I appreciate everything that went down this year," Miller said. "It's one step closer to all the goals I want to reach playing football but there's a lot more things I still need to work at."
Simon is Ohio State's first defensive player of the year since James Laurinaitis in 2008. Miller is the first offensive winner since Troy Smith's Heisman year of 2006. The only other time the Buckeyes took both awards in the same year was 1996, when Orlando Pace won on offense and Shawn Springs shared defensive honors with Northwestern's Pat Fitzgerald.
It could have been a triple crown for the Buckeyes, but despite doubling Ohio State's win total and leading the Buckeyes to an undefeated season, Urban Meyer was not named coach of the year. Penn State's Bill O'Brien was the winner for guiding the Nittany Lions through their mess and finishing 8-4.
The turmoil O'Brien has had to deal with is unprecidented. In August, he had opposing coaches on his campus recruiting players. Some of those players, most noteably running back Silas Redd, left. But after a rough 0-2 start, O'Brien righted the ship and the Nittany Lions became a wonderful story. Having said that, the award is 'Coach of the Year' not 'Story of the Year' and Urban Meyer should have won.
Meyer inherited a team that was 6-7 last year and was filled with holes and all he did was win every game. The improvement was dramatic and it continued as the season progressed. He turned a young, talented but raw quarterback into a Heisman candidate and the Big 10 offensive player of the year.
Beyond the x's and o's of football, Meyer changed the culture, preaching competition and accountability. The team responded, coming together to win games that last year it would have lost. The Buckeyes are not close to 12-0 without Meyer.
Yes, Penn State lost some good players. Yes...the situation was ugly, but it is a team that won nine games last year and most of those players stayed. I don't want to undervalue the job O'Brien did...it was tremendous and it's not an egregious choice at all...but it's the wrong one.
The drought continues
Meyer is not alone. For whatever reason, Ohio State coaches have not been recognized in the coach of the year vote. Earle Bruce is the Buckeyes last winner in 1979. John Cooper never won it and Jim Tressel never won it. Yes, even in 2002 when the Buckeyes won the national championship. Kirk Ferentz of Iowa was the winner that year, guiding the Hawkeyes to an 8-0 league record and a co-Big 10 championship (the Buckeyes and Hawkeyes did not play.) While the Buckeyes went on to beat Miami in the title game, Iowa went to the Orange Bowl and lost to USC.
Meyer's 12-0 season is Ohio State's third unbeaten regular season since 2000 and all three times another coach has been recognized. Ferentz in 2002, Wisconsin's Bret Bielema in 2006 and now O'Brien.
But Ohio State is not the only school to be snubbed after perfection. In 1997, Michigan went undefeated and won the national championship but Lloyd Carr was not Big 10 coach of the year. Purdue's Joe Tiller won it after the Boilermakers improved from 3-8 to 9-3.
If Meyer didn't win it this year, when Ohio State went from six wins to 12, it seems doubtful he'll ever win it. Now the expectations for the Buckeyes are high. If they go undefeated again, it's expected. Just ask Jim Tressel.
In case you're wondering, here's the list of Big 10 coaches to win the award since Earle. Every Big Ten school, expect for second year Nebraska, has won it. In fact, every school has won it at least twice except for Minnesota.
1980: Bo Schembechler (MICH)
1981: Hayden Fry (IOWA)
1982: Dennis Green (NW) & Schembechler (MICH)
1983: Mike White (ILL)
1984: Leon Burtnett (PUR)
1985: Schembechler (MICH)
1986: Bill Mallory (IND)
1987: Bill Mallory (IND) & George Perles (MSU)
1988: John Mackovic (ILL)
1989: Mackovic (ILL) & Schembechler (MICH)
1990: Fry (IOWA)
1991: Gary Moeller (MICH) & Fry (IOWA)
1992: Moeller (MICH)
1993: Barry Alvarez (WISC)
1994: Joe Paterno (PSU)
1995: Gary Barnett (NW)
1996: Barnett (NW)
1997: Joe Tiller (PUR)
1998: Alvarez (WISC)
1999: Glen Mason (MINN)
2000: Randy Walker (NW)
2001: Ron Turner (ILL)
2002: Kirk Ferentz (IOWA)
2003: John L Smith (MSU)
2004: Ferentz (IOWA)
2005: Paterno (PSU)
2006: Bret Bielema (WISC)
2007: Ron Zook (ILL)
2008: Paterno (PSU)
2009: Ferentz (IOWA)
2010: Mark Dantonio (MSU)
2011: Brady Hoke (MICH)
2012: Bill O'Brien (PSU)