Ohio State head coach Ryan Day speaks frequently about the program's annual three goals: Beat Michigan, win the Big Ten and bring home the national title. While checking off all three boxes in the same year would certainly make any Buckeye fan happy, Ohio State athletic director Gene Smith recently made it clear the third goal on that list should always take top priority.
"It's so funny, everybody's so focused on just one game," Smith said during an appearance on Eleven Warriors' Real Pod Wednesdays podcast of the back-to-back Michigan losses. "We were basically one point away from being in the national championship game, and I think had we got that two points we needed to convert and ultimately played TCU – I feel confident we would have performed well and won a national championship – I'm not so sure about all this chatter."
This past December, the Buckeyes led Georgia by as many as 14 points in the College Football Playoff semifinal before the Marvin Harrison Jr. suffered a concussion on a play that featured an overturned targeting call.to take the lead with less than two minutes to play. Ohio State was without one of its top playmakers in the second half after All-American wide receiver
Georgia would go on to defeat TCU with ease in the CFP National Championship in January, blowing out the Horned Frogs to the tune of 65-7 for a second straight title.
Ohio State last won the national title in the inaugural year of the CFP in 2014, defeating Oregon. Their last appearance in the CFP National Championship came during the COVID-19-shortened 2020 season, when they fell to Alabama.
As for the Ohio State-Michigan rivalry, the scenery for "The Game" shifts back to Ann Arbor this November as the Buckeyes seek their first win in the series since 2019, Day's first as the Buckeyes coach. The game was not played in 2020 after COVID-19 issues forced its cancelation.
With Ohio State once again expected to be in the national title conversation in 2023, Smith said the time to talk about Michigan will come after the Buckeyes complete the prior 11 games scheduled before their showdown with the Wolverines.
"I haven't really talked specifically about Michigan," Smith said. "We have a lot of other games before we get to them. So right now, you're focused more on developing your roster and developing your team ... The 'team up north' game won't matter a whole lot if we go over and not do what we're supposed to do [against Indiana in Week 1]. So we got to take care of business there."