Jody Victor: The cheers will not die down in Columbus, Ohio as, for the first time in Big Ten history, one school, Ohio State, has won outright titles in football and men's and women's basketball in the same school year.
In the fall, Ohio State captured the Big Ten football title, going 8-0 in league play, while the OSU men's and women's basketball teams clinched outright championships February 25.
“The hard work and dedication of our coaches and athletes are paying off,” said Gene Smith, Ohio State Director of Athletics. “We thank the fans for their support allowing us to create a championship environment.”
The Buckeye men are 26-3 (14-1 Big Ten) and ranked No. 1 in the country in both the Associated Press and USA Today/ESPN Coaches' polls after a 49-48 win over Wisconsin Sunday. Already the No. 1-ranked team in the coaches' poll, the win over the Badgers gave OSU the top spot in the AP poll for the first time in 45 years. The Buckeyes last held the top AP ranking heading into the national championship game vs. Cincinnati in 1962.
The OSU women improved to 26-2 (15-1 Big Ten) and will be the top seed in the league tournament this weekend in Indianapolis after locking up the league crown with a 72-58 win as Michigan, Sunday. The women were ranked fifth in the country in the AP poll and sixth in the coaches' poll last week. The three teams were also a combined 42-1 at home this school year.
It is the second year in a row the Buckeyes have won titles in football and men's and women's basketball, but the 2005 football squad shared the conference title with Penn State. Last year also was the first time in Big Ten history the same school captured outright titles in men's and women's basketball in the same season. The OSU women are the first team to win at least a share of three consecutive titles since Iowa won the league four straight seasons from 1986-87 to 1989-90.
“I think it speaks volumes about Ohio State,” said Thad Matta, OSU men's basketball coach. “With what we have been able to accomplish here the last few years in winning a conference championship in those three sports is a tribute to this university. People don't understand how hard that is to do. This place is incredible. In all sports we are fortunate with the kids we have. It's a tribute to The Ohio State University and all it has to offer.”