COLUMBUS, Ohio -- A decade after Cie Grant's rendition of 'Carmen, Ohio' tied a bow on the memories of Ohio State's undefeated 2002 national championship season, the next Buckeyes football team to post a perfect record capped off its year with a celebration inside of St. John Arena.
A crowd of approximately 7,500 fans filled into the historic Columbus venue to honor this season's Ohio State team, which posted a 12-0 record under first-year head coach Urban Meyer, despite facing a postseason ban that was the result of NCAA infractions committed by members of the Buckeyes' 2010 team and former head coach Jim Tressel. Greeted by a standing ovation, Meyer addressed the sold out crowd, which enjoyed a mini 'Skull Session' performance by the OSU marching band, prior to the team's arrival.
"This great football team, it's not just a bunch of numbers and helmets and faces behind the helmet," Meyer said. "It was really a blind leap of faith for them to follow a brand new coaching staff that was maybe doing it a little different than how it's been done in the past."
As he has in his multiple public appearances since the Buckeyes' final win of the season- a 26-21 victory over Michigan- Meyer thanked his 21 seniors, who each declined the opportunity to transfer away from Ohio State without penalty, after the Buckeyes' sanctions were handed down.
"They could have left," Meyer said. "This will go down as one of the great senior classes in Ohio State University history."
With fans, family, and recruits in attendance, Meyer revved up the celebration by recalling some of his favorite moments from the Buckeyes' 2012 campaign, which marked just the sixth unbeaten, untied season in Ohio State history. One of those memories included the Buckeyes defense rallying together prior to the start of the Michigan game, after it found out that arguably its best player, John Simon would not be able to play due to injury.
"That put a lot of pressure on our players, a lot of pressure on our coaches," Meyer said "We played with a purpose to get John Simon that game ball."
Also taking part in Friday night's festivities was Columbus Mayor Michael Coleman. The self-proclaimed No. 1 Buckeye fan said that a Columbus street to be determined will be named "12-0 Row" in honor of this year's OSU squad.
"Special people who do special things deserve extraordinary accomplishments," Coleman said. "To go undefeated, to go 12-0, it is almost impossible to accomplish. But it was accomplished this year. So these special men deserve special recognition."
OSU president E. Gordon Gee said that he was proud of the Buckeyes and the way that they represented his university in their first year under Meyer.
"I believe that this team represents the greatest challenge that we can possibly imagine," Gee said. "They deserve every accolade we give them tonight."
Former OSU quarterback and Heisman Trophy winner Troy Smith presented the Buckeyes with their Big Ten Leaders Division Championship trophy, which preceded a rendition of 'Carmen, Ohio' to bring the evenings' festivities to an end.