Whenever someone says a football game is going to be a revenge game it makes me think of 1999.
If there was ever a team you’d expect to be out for revenge, it would have been the 1999 Ohio State Buckeyes.
In 1998, Michigan State had spoiled Ohio State’s dream of playing for the national championship in the first BCS championship game.
The Buckeyes – who were ranked No. 1 in the BCS standings and both major polls – built a 15-point lead in the second half before Michigan State stunned them, 28-24, to crush the dream.
In 1999 when OSU went into East Lansing, there was a lot of talk about revenge.
But payback turned into embarrassment when Michigan State won that game 23-7 and held Ohio State to 79 yards total offense.
It was the fewest yards an OSU team had gained in 35 years. It was the farthest thing from revenge.
Maybe revenge works sometimes, but it didn’t that day.
Ohio State’s game at Virginia Tech on Monday night is being portrayed in similar terms by some people because the Hokies were the only team to beat OSU during its national championship season last year.
OSU’s players insist it’s not about revenge, though.
“I don’t really like using the word revenge because it’s so emotional. You can’t build a good game plan off that. You’re not going to play your best when you’re too overcome with emotion,” linebacker Joshua Perry said.
“It’s not a revenge game, it’s a really important game,” he said.
Coach Urban Meyer, Perry and several other players did make a distinction between rejecting revenge and using last year’s loss as extra incentive, though.
“There is a little nudge around here because they beat us and the way they beat us,” Meyer said.
Reach Jim Naveau at 567-242-0414 or on Twitter at @Lima_Naveau.