By ScriptOhio (Texas Ex) on 16:36:41 08/09/18
One, Ohio State didn't seem to get any better under Cooper until the 1993 season, his SIXTH. I don't really think the talent was upgraded significantly under Cooper at first, certainly not in the way you'd expect based on how people characterize the recruiting of the two coaches; I think college football was paying a lot more attention to recruiting rankings and such and we as fans could quantify how many studs Ohio State was recruiting.
The one area Cooper was better at recruiting than Bruce was quarterback. That ended up making the difference in how their tenures played out: Bruce's 1983, 1984, 1985, and 1986 teams were all national championship caliber and never came close because their mediocre QB play plus a B+ offensive strategy hamstrung them.
Two, the 1987 season ending at 6-4-1 was a fluke. First you had Cris Carter (agent) and Nate Harris (grades) get kicked off the team after Jamie Holland graduated; that pretty much decimated the receiving corps, Carter most especially. Even with that key deficiency, here is how close that team came to going 9-2:
* Tied LSU in Baton Rouge when a long FG was blocked as time expired
That team should at a minimum have been 8-2-1 if it played to form against Wisconsin and Iowa. The field goal against LSU was blocked-- FG blocks are flukes, that could easily have been made, making it a 9-2 team.
I feel like Bruce gets blamed for COoper's 4-6-1 record in 1988. Sorry, that's on Cooper. Ohio State was good enough to beat SEC champ LSU and Syracuse and come within 1:41 of beating Michigan; it was certainly good enough not to lose at home to Purdue or get stomped by Pitt and Illinois teams that only won six games apiece.