By: The OH Cast/ Sidelines- THE Ohio State
Ryan Day is currently 56-8 as the head coach at Ohio State and 39-3 in conference play, with all losses being to Michigan. Some people may say, "Wow, that’s an incredible record." Most Buckeye fans would hate to disagree. Ryan Day is 0-3 vs. the second, including the Cotton Bowl loss to Missouri 14-3. He is 1-3 vs. Michigan, losing the last 3. He also has a playoff record of 1-3 in the college football playoffs. So yes, Ryan Day has an all-time great record and has produced some unreal NFL talent. We can all agree on that, but why does he continue to fall short?
Some Buckeyes fans lean towards play-calling and some lean toward saying they’re just not good enough. I believe it’s the lack of running games with Ryan Day as the head coach and the lack of letting your QB run the show. Until we saw C.J. Stroud vs. Georgia, I don’t believe we’ve ever seen Ryan Day just throw everything he had out there. As most Buckeye fans said, we’ve never seen Ryan Day so energized on the sidelines as in that Georgia game.
Ryan Day has tended to play more passively and more cautiously in his career. An example is the 2023 Michigan game, where he decided multiple times on fourth and short to either punt or kick a field goal, which didn’t result in points. I believe Ryan Day has too much talent to not be throwing it all out there in the biggest game of the season.
In big games, Ryan Day did put the game in his quarterbacks hands and really use the dynamic part of the playbook: Ohio State vs. Michigan State 2022, Ohio State vs. Clemson 2020, and Ohio State vs. Georgia 2023. Resulting in a 2-1 record in those games, losing by a missed field goal against Georgia. In those games, we saw the talent difference between Ohio State and other powerhouse teams. Ohio State has arguably had the most athletic roster in college football since he got there. In those games, you saw the difference in talent on the outside, especially against Georgia. Ohio State will, in all of their games, be better on the outside than any team they play.
Which brings me to my last point: Why is Ohio State better on the outside than teams? Ohio State has lost respect in the “trenches' '. Especially on the offensive side of the ball. The dominant run game we loved to watch under Urban Meyer has depleted quite a bit. In 2023, Ohio State averaged 138 rushing yards per game, which ranks 160th in the country. In the 2016 season under Urban Meyer, the Buckeyes ran for 245 yards per game. Yes, there are some factors that lead toward Urban Meyer's team, but it’s still a shocking statistic.
Ohio State lost the respect of bullying teams in the trenches. Which, in most Buckeyes fans eyes, is the biggest issue with this team. Ryan Day has a lot of positives to his resume, like a national championship appearance and his all-time great record, but at Ohio State, the standard is just extremely high. So this leads me to my question: Is this Ryan Day's last chance? In my opinion, yes. If Ryan Day loses at home again to Michigan and then loses in the playoffs in 2024, I believe he is gone. Four losses in a row against your rival Michigan is something that can’t happen at Ohio State, no matter how good your record is.