All-Time Ohio State: 2002 Buckeyes

Just a test.

Updated: November 17, 2006, 11:49 AM ET
SportsNation

Michigan vs. Ohio State: As No. 1 Ohio State and No. 2 Michigan prepare to square off in a battle of unbeatens, we started wondering which school has the best team in the history of a rivalry that SportsNation voters ranked as the best in college football. ESPN.com senior college football writer Ivan Maisel narrowed the field to four teams from each school, but the rest is up to you. All this week, leading up to Saturday's game, your votes will determine which team is the best from each school, and ultimately, which team is the best in the history of the rivalry.

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No. 3 Seed: 2002 Ohio State Buckeyes
The only Ohio State team not coached by Woody Hayes to make the list, the 2002 Buckeyes captured the program's first national championship since the legendary coach left the sideline. Along the way, Jim Tressel's second team won a school record 14 games without suffering a loss.

Taking over for John Cooper, who produced numerous NFL stars, lots of wins but no championships, Tressel went just 7-5 in his debut in 2001. But with a talented freshman running back in Maurice Clarett, a surprising effort from first-year starter Craig Krenzel at quarterback and a defense led by team captain Mike Doss, he had all the pieces in place for something special in his second season.

While the offense had plenty of talent in piling up 410 points (Michael Jenkins became just the fourth Ohio State receiver to top 1,000 yards in a season, joining Cris Carter, Terry Glenn and David Boston), it was the defense that carried the team at times. In addition to Doss, linebacker Matt Wilhelm was an All-American and the unit as a whole allowed the second-fewest points per game of any team in the country. The defense even had a young A.J. Hawk in reserve at linebacker.

After beating No. 12 Michigan 14-9 to close the regular season, Ohio State entered the Fiesta Bowl as underdogs against No. 1 Miami. But after persevering to beat the Hurricanes 31-24 in a thrilling double-overtime game, there was no doubt about which was the best team in the land.

2002 Ohio State Schedule/Results
Date Vs. Result
Aug. 24 Texas Tech 45-21 W
Sep. 7 Kent State 51-17 W
Sep. 14 No. 10 Washington St. 26-7 W
Sep. 21 vs. Cincinnati 23-19 W
Sep. 28 Indiana 45-17 W
Oct. 5 at Northwestern 27-16 W
Oct. 12 San Jose St. 50-7 W
Oct. 19 at Wisconsin 19-14 W
Oct. 26 No. 18 Penn St. 13-7 W
Nov. 2 No. 23 Minnesota 34-3 W
Nov. 9 at Purdue 10-6 W
Nov. 16 at Illinois 23-16 W
Nov. 23 No. 12 Michigan 14-9 W
Jan. 3 No. 1 Miami 31-24 (2OT) W