Like an incredible restaurant meal you once had that's never quite as good or the first kiss that never again carries that same kind of magic, Ohio State's national TV rout of Duke in late November remains the Buckeyes' unrepeatable ideal. The offense was devastating and exquisitely balanced, the defense comprehensively smothering, the lasting impression one of title-contending validation.
Of course, fleeting feelings of bliss come with significant context. It turns out Duke was more flawed than anyone thought, and as with a chef or a mate, ingredients and chemistry can change as familiarity grows and you revisit the experience. Things are not quite as intense, but if you find something or someone special enough, they still can be pretty damn good.