An estimated crowd of 7,500 showed up at St. John Arena on Friday night to honor the exploits of the sixth undefeated, untied football team in Ohio State history.
After a half hour of entertainment by the OSU Marching Band – which played a mix of Buckeye favorites and selections from its shows this season – head coach Urban Meyer led the team into the arena around 7 p.m.
Columbus mayor Michael Coleman lauded the team's 12-0 season and announced that the city planned to ceremonially rename a street "12-0 Row", although a specific street has not been identified yet.
Then Ohio State University President Dr. E. Gordon Gee took the stage. He praised the team for upholding "the pride of 11.6 million Ohioans," and called the coaching staff the best in college football. Gee also asked rhetorically, "We have the best football team in America, right?" although the Buckeyes' chances to prove that against fellow unbeaten Notre Dame were eliminated by a postseason ban stemming from NCAA violations committed over the previous couple of years.
Not surprisingly, Meyer got the loudest cheer of the night to that point when he was introduced.
The first-year coach of the Buckeyes expressed again his appreciation for the senior class, something he has done repeatedly in the past few weeks both before and after they closed out the regular season with a 26-21 win over Michigan on Nov. 24.
Meyer said he was concerned after an "average" round of spring practice what the Buckeyes would be playing for this season, but he quickly realized at the start of fall camp that sending the seniors out on top would be their purpose.
That became an even more acute effort prior to facing the Wolverines as senior captain John Simon was unable to play because of a knee injury.
"We had to overcome the loss of John Simon," Meyer said. "The whole defense played with the purpose of getting him that game ball. John Simon is who this team is."
Meyer then called each of the team's seniors – though defensive end Nathan Williams was absent for an unexplained reason – up to the stage individually to recognize them.
Simon and Zach Boren, the fullback-turned-linebacker, drew some of the loudest applause as Meyer called Simon one of the greatest ever to wear an Ohio State uniform and said Boren's story is one of the best in school history.
To close things out, the team and fans sang the school alma mater, "Carmen Ohio", after 2006 Heisman Trophy winner Troy Smith presented Meyer and the seniors with the trophy for winning the Big Ten Leaders division.