July 31, 2007

Bucks look to bounce back from title loss in '07

CHICAGO, Ill. - A year ago Ohio State opened the season as the favorites to win the Big Ten conference as the consensus No. 1 team in the country.

For 12 games, they more than lived to their pre-season billing as the nation's top team, outscoring opponents 436-125 while piling up an undefeated 12-0 record.

As a result, the Buckeyes remained the No. 1 team in the land from wire-to-wire during the regular season, concluding with a 42-39 win over Michigan and an outright Big Ten title. Quarterback Troy Smith captured the school's seventh Heisman Trophy and sophomore linebacker James Laurinaitis was one of three finalists for the coveted Butkus Award.

Then came a 51-day layoff followed by an embarrassing 41-14 loss to SEC champ Florida in the BCS National Championship game.

"It's a good feeling to get back at it, especially when your last game wasn't as good as you'd like it to have been," OSU coach Jim Tressel said at today's Big Ten Kickoff Luncheon. "It makes you very, very anxious to get back out on the field. They've been working extremely hard and I thought they did a great job in the off-season and did an excellent job in the spring practice. There are a lot of holes to fill and a lot of opportunities for young guys to see if they can step up and emerge and take the place of some very, very good players."

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