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Inside the Gameplan: Tom Herman versus Dave Aranda

Tom Herman (Will Gallagher/IT)
Tom Herman (Will Gallagher/IT)

As you will no doubt hear countless times during the lead-up and broadcast of the big showdown between Texas and LSU next fall, Tom Herman and Dave Aranda have some history together. They were college roommates at California Lutheran and then coordinated their own units across from each other in the Big 10 in 2013 and 2014. Aranda followed his mentor Gary Andersen to Wisconsin from Utah State while Herman was snatched up by Urban Meyer from Iowa State to coordinate Ohio State from 2012-2014

In round one, a regular season 2013 game, Herman’s Buckeyes won 31-24 behind a gritty performance by Braxton Miller throwing for 198 yards and four TDs while rushing 22 times for 83 yards. The passing undid the Badgers, and the Buckeyes landed blows on multiple early drives before Wisconsin was able to batten down the hatches. Round two was a fascinating contest that many will remember since it took place during the 2014 Big 10 championship game.

It was year two for the Aranda defense at Wisconsin and they were running some schemes and personnel groupings fairly familiar to his current team at LSU. Meanwhile Ohio State was 10-1 and coming off a big win over Michigan that had cost them star freshman (redshirt) QB J.T. Barrett. They’d already lost Braxton Miller to a shoulder injury in the previous season’s bowl game and with Barrett out were down to Cardale Jones as the starter. As we now know, what followed was an historic three game stretch. First the Buckeyes would sneak into the college football playoff over loud protests, especially in Big 12 country where the 10-1 co-champion Baylor Bears and TCU Horned Frogs were jumped over, before justifying the selection committee with resounding wins over Alabama and then the Marcus Mariota Oregon team that had just beaten down Jameis Winston’s Florida State.

That all got started here, with the Buckeyes laying a 59-0 savage beating on Aranda’s Badgers that made the choice easier for the selection committee and foretold what was coming.

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History major, football theorist.