COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) -Spring is the time for college football teams to be optimistic.
That is, unless you've lost the past two national championship games. Then all those hopes and all that promise can be shadowed by doubts.
Ohio State is loaded with talent and knows it. At the same time, the Buckeyes have yet to erase from their memories those lopsided losses to Florida (41-14) and LSU (38-24) in the past two Bowl Championship Series title games.
``It's very hard to put it behind us,'' tailback Chris Wells said. ``It happened two years in a row. But that's something that a lot of us are using for motivation to get back there next year and just become a better and more united football team.''
The Buckeyes, who play their annual spring intrasquad scrimmage on Saturday, are missing just two starters on either side of the ball who started against LSU in the Superdome in January.
Despite all that talent, there are naysayers everywhere. The Buckeyes are well aware that much of the nation has grown tired of seeing Ohio State teams reach the ultimate game before falling fast and hard.
After the latest prime-time defeat, many national columnists and writers vilified Ohio State for playing a weak schedule and coming from a weak conference. The 2008 schedule (which includes a ballyhooed game at Southern California on Sept. 13) is much more difficult, despite other non-conference games against Youngstown State, Ohio and Troy. The Big Ten also appears to be a bit stronger.
But that doesn't mean poll voters will easily forget those two black eyes in the championship games when the Buckeyes looked slow, predictable and passive.
``People are going to have an opinion and some people might think, 'They've got a lot of people back, they're going to be good.' Some people might think, 'They run in the mud and they're slow,''' All-American linebacker James Laurinaitis said. ``It doesn't matter. Either way you have to only focus on what you can do to better your team.''
What's most troubling for most of the Buckeyes is that they're not sure what went wrong against LSU.
celebrating individual honors and not enough preparing for the Gators.
The result was a shockingly one-sided loss.
So after finishing the 2007 regular season 11-1 and winning an outright Big Ten title for the second year in a row, the Buckeyes changed their practice schedule and spent less time at the bowl site. With many first-year starters, they had a fresh approach to the showdown with LSU. They came into the game confident and ready.
Then they went out and laid another egg - taking a 10-0 lead before watching LSU run off 31 points.
Linebacker Marcus Freeman struggled to try to explain the LSU loss. He said that defeat, like the one the year earlier to the Gators, still lingers.
``Those two games are something you'll never forget,'' he said. ``Even when we're 50 and older, that's something we'll always talk about, 'Hey, you remember those two losses?' I think that helps us grow in maturity and as a team. But it's something we'll have to try to move on from.''
Coach Jim Tressel rarely mentions either loss, even when asked a direct question about them. But clearly both are still on his mind.
``At every step there are different things that motivate you and inspire you,'' he said before spring practices began. ``You have a whole 13 games of experiences whether it's the thrill of this win or the disappointment of that loss, the championship loss or whatever.''
Teams try to turn negatives into positives. Maybe those losses can be instructive.
``We always have to remember what happened in the past, but this is a new year,'' defensive end Lawrence Wilson said. ``We know what happened. That's our main focus this year, to finish, to never be satisfied.''

Recent NCAAF Discussions

2017 Heisman Odds on Wed, Mar 2017 by Blade
College / NBA today on Sun, Mar 2017 by TtomBoBadly
SNOW on Tue, Mar 2017 by Michael Cash
EARLY COLL PLAYS FOR WED. on Wed, Mar 2017 by Timmy1961

NCAAF Headlines

  • (STATS) - Coming off its best record, Houston Baptist's young FCS program will kick off the 2017 season at Texas State and play four times at home as part of an 11-game schedule.
    The Huskies f...
  • JEFFERSON CITY, Tenn. (AP) Ken Sparks, a football coach who won 338 games for Division II Carson-Newman to rank fifth on the NCAA's all-time list, has died. He was 73.
    Carson-Newman athletic ...
  • (STATS) - McNeese will play five home games and open the season with a conference matchup for the first time since 1975 as part of an 11-game 2017 schedule which was announced Wednesday.
    The C...
  • (STATS) - The rivalry matchup between Maine and New Hampshire has been moved up two days to Aug. 31 at Wildcat Stadium in Durham, New Hampshire.
    Traditionally the season-ending matchup between...
  • LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) An Arkansas House committee advanced a measure Tuesday to exempt college sporting events from a state law allowing guns after the Southeastern Conference appealed for guns t...

NCAAF Top Stories

Thumbnail Michigan vs. Florida Week 1 Odds One of the featured games in Week 1 of the College Football Season has two historic programs colliding when Michigan faces...
Thumbnail Updated National Championship Odds With over five months before kickoff of the new season, is Alabama still favored to win it all in 2018?
Thumbnail VA Tech opens as favorites vs WVU Some of the Week 1 lines have been released for college football and Virginia Tech has opened as a small favorite versus West Virginia.
Thumbnail Stanford QB on track for camp Stanford head coach David Shaw said that quarterback Keller Chryst is "right on schedule" for training camp.
Thumbnail Clemson has big challenge this spring The biggest question the defending national champion Clemson Tigers face this spring is who will replace leader Deshaun Watson at...

NCAAF Team Pages