With three weeks left in the 2023 season, Ohio’s MAC Championship dreams were almost dead. Despite having played excellent football at different points in the season, including a 10-7 win over Iowa State and a 38-7 win over Bowling Green, Ohio was all but out of the MAC East division race.
The Bobcats, who had previously picked up an ugly road loss to NIU, had just fallen in a pivotal MAC East game against Miami 30-16. Not only did the loss mark the team’s first at Peden in nearly two years, but it put Ohio a game behind Miami, needing its rival to lose two of its last three games due to a head-to-head tiebreaker.
Because of Miami’s high level of play on the season and Ohio’s disadvantage in the standings, Ohio had to refocus its goals from the program’s first MAC Championship since 1968 to a potential 10-win season.
While it hasn’t been pretty at times throughout the last three weeks, the Bobcats have done just that and won three straight games to put themselves in a perfect position to win 10 games for two consecutive years for the first time in program history.
Although Ohio’s football history may not be the most prestigious, its recent success under the leadership of both current Head Coach Tim Albin and former Head Coach Frank Solich may leave some fans surprised the program has yet to accomplish the feat of back-to-back 10-win seasons.
This accomplishment would signal the progress that Ohio has made in the last 20 years. Ohio’s overtime bowl win over Wyoming last season was one of the most memorable in the program’s history, with tight end Tyler Foster making a spectacular catch in the corner of the end zone.
Ohio’s stron regular season gives the team another chance — in front of a national audience — to create a moment its fans won’t soon forget.
In addition to taking the program to uncharted territory, a bowl win would solidify Ohio as one of the premier MAC programs over the last two years, benefiting the program’s ability to recruit.
Perhaps more important than history or recruiting is the legacy of the 2023 team. Ending the season on a four-game winning streak, including three wins away from home after the most devastating loss, would be the epitome of what the 2023 team stands for — resiliency.