In 1968 it almost happened. We were so close.
That's a year that will always shine in Ohio State fans' minds whether they're 50 or 14: The Buckeyes won the national title, running the table, destroying Michigan and taking down OJ Simpson's USC Trojans in the Rose Bowl.
Five months prior to the start of that wondrous season, Fred Taylor's Buckeyes won the Midwest Region in the NCAA Tournament, beating Kentucky in an 82-81 thriller and advancing to the Final Four in Los Angeles.
Los Angeles. In the late 1960s, no less. Right in the middle of the John Wooden's UCLA dynasty. If it doesn't seem fair, it's because it wasn't - however, Ohio State never got a shot at the Bruins, losing 80-66 to North Carolina and passing the Tarheels to the eventual champs for slaughter - but still winning the third-place consolation game (there used to be such a thing) against Houston!
Ohio State came within a Final Four of sweeping the holy collegiate duo of national titles. It's won just one of those in the 45 years since. The Big Ten has won only seven. Ed: What Penn State and Nebraska did prior to learning our secret handshake doesn't count - this is 11W, not BTN.
Two football titles and five basketball, which means Bob Knight still owns nearly half of the Big Ten's revenue sports championships and Indiana fired him 14 years ago. The SEC has taken 11 in just the time since Ohio State won the Big Ten's most recent one in 2002. You can debate all of the reasons why; you just cannot argue the outcomes.
Granted, you shouldn't give a single laborious pebble of constipated excrement about titles won by other Big Ten teams - and shame on all of you who actually got sad when Wisconsin lost Saturday night. Validation for the conference? Ask yourself how validated you were when Sparty won the tournament in 2000. Or when Michigan won the 1998 Rose Bowl. Yes, what an invigorating feeling. Conference pride is the opiate of the insecure.
We need an Ohio State national title - in football, basketball or preferably both - and in 1968 (and 2007...ugh) that almost happened. Enough moping - IT'S TIME TO GET SITUATIONAL.
THE DESTINATION: BALTIMORE
The next time you see the Buckeyes play a team other than themselves this Saturday it will be in the stadium pictured here, where Joe Flacco - who once upon a time couldn't beat out Tyler Palko for playing time and had to transfer - now earns $20.1MM per NFL season.
The United States Naval Academy will host Ohio State in Baltimore, and plenty of tickets are still available, almost exclusively on the Ohio State side of the field. It's a holiday weekend, you'll need an excuse to close out the summer in style and the Buckeyes are playing sweet, sweet football in a town where delicious blue crabs will be in peak season.
The Orioles are even home that weekend, and Inner Harbor has dozens of hotels where you can walk to both games, the National Aquarium or all three if you choose. It's almost too obvious: The season opening roadie is begging for your presence. Did I mention Camden Yards has an all-you-can-eat section? It does.
But maybe you're jaded by the idea of traveling to Baltimore because you've seen The Wire and are absolutely terrified of the city. Or perhaps you've seen too many Navy games and are fearful of being cut-blocked while innocently walking around town. The bad news is both of those fears are justified: Baltimore's underbelly is definitely scary, and Navy's always gonna cut-block without warning or prejudice.
The Buckeyes are playing sweet, sweet football in a town where delicious blue crabs will be in season.
The good news is there are simple solutions to both problems: First, stay away from vacant properties - which is generally where Baltimore homicides go down - and you're fine. It's okay to just be a tourist; there's no shame in declining to explore a city you're visiting explicitly to watch sports and eat shellfish. It's a weekend that doesn't have to turn into The Blair Witch Project either - go hunting for Legal Seafood and a bartender who's good with out-of-towners. Eat, declare victory and then leave.
As an aside, all cities have lousy areas. I lived in downtown Chicago for over a decade without hearing a single gunshot, and attended Ohio State when the now-gentrified South Campus was affectionately called South Compton. Trouble doesn't find you in either of those places - you have to go looking for it. It's fairly easy to avoid.
Perhaps I'm violent crime repellent, in which case you should be just fine in Baltimore the weekend of Ohio State/Navy since I'm planning on being there too. Hurry up, get here and leave, summer.
THE CLAIRVOYANT: CHRISTOPHER WALLACE
Bin Laden Determined to Strike in US read the memo, now declassified. Seems like an ominous warning of the 9/11 attacks, though there might have been an even stronger and more specific warning nearly seven years earlier - almost to the day - of that security briefing.
On August 8, 1994 the Notorious B.I.G (née Christopher George Latore Wallace, aka Biggie Smalls, aka Biggie) released a security briefing of his own set to an instrumental sample of Mtume's Juicy Fruit. It's widely referred to as one of the greatest hip-hop songs of all time; a rags-to-riches tale of growing up poor and ultimately acquiring every video game console on the market, among other treasured consumer products.
Embedded within the lyrics is the following line:
Time to get paid; blow up like the World Trade
song prophesy was known as Juicy, from his debut album titled - ahem - Ready to Die.
The September 11 attacks were still seven years away, four full years after Wallace himself died violently. Osama bin Laden was still living in Sudan at a known address, scraping by on a $7MM/year stipend provided to him through his family's construction empire.
How did Biggie know? Every day amateur historians stumble upon the Biggie Prophesy anew, incredulously wondering to the world how he could have known about 9/11 and why we didn't listen...though Juicy went Gold rather quickly, suggesting we were listening; we just weren't hearing.
My friend Stefanie Turner dedicates a portion of her week to chronicling these intrepid detectives and showcasing their discoveries for the rest of us to see. Here is a very small sampling of the eureka moments she unearths weekly:
So I'm listening to Biggie Smalls and his lyrics say "Blow up like the world trade" which happened in 2001, but Biggie died in 1997 ??— Mr. OVOXO (@Jose_Cisneros25) March 28, 2014
This is true.
Any one realise that I biggie smalls song 'jucy' he says 'blowing up like the world trade' no offence to Americans, but he died in 1997??— Sam Wilson (@wilsonboiii98) March 29, 2014
Even non-Americans are slowly waking up to the prophesy.
Does anybody think when biggie says "Blow up like the world trade." in his song is a conspiracy? Or am I just tripping.— needa-nee. (@Neenee_BOOM) March 30, 2014
It could be a conspiracy. Or it could be tripping. It could be both.
Has anyone ever thought about in "Juicy" by Biggie Smalls he says "Blowing up like the world trade" but Biggie died in 97. The WTC was in 01— Ryan Astrom (@RyanAstrom) March 30, 2014
You can't lay out the facts any more straightforward than that. Why isn't this being discussed more?
Woah woah woah so I'm noticing in Juicy biggie says "blow up like the world trade" but that happened in 2001...— zєnα (@zenaburro_) April 4, 2014
Welcome to enlightenment, zєnα. Population: Us.
How Biggie Know The World Trade Center Was Going To Blow Up?— Sabrina Renee' (@SoSaBrina_) March 21, 2014
We must go deeper. He knew. We just don't know why or how.
anyone ever noticed biggie says "time to get paid, blow up like the world trade" , before the twin towers blew up...— c rawww (@cole_rawson757) March 20, 2014
If you forget about the 1993 WTC bombing ever happening - because all of these people obviously have - it is a fascinating question: How did Biggie know? How?
Maybe someday we'll know. Perhaps once we solve for Abraham Lincoln's efficacy in eradicating vampires we'll be better equipped to uncover even more of America's best-kept secrets.
THE BOURBON: HUDSON BABY
There is a bourbon for every situation. Sometimes the spirits and the events overlap, which means that where bourbon is concerned there can be more than one worthy choice.
Hudson Baby Bourbon is made entirely in New York, from New York corn and by New Yorkers. Baby is born at the quaint little Tuthilltown Distillery in equally-charming Gardiner, getting its name from being the favored whiskey of infants who find relief from teething in its unique, comforting vanilla flavor.
That may not actually be true. See, there's a rule that comes with drinking bourbons deemed young or old - whether through aging (the ghost bourbon Pappy vintages, Elijah Craig, Black Maple Hill et al) or through name (Old Grand Dad, Hudson Baby, Ancient Age) and it's that they're storytelling whiskeys. Use them to liven up your boring stories.
Babies preferring Baby Bourbon would be a hell of a story. Whiskey used to be commonly rubbed on babies' gums for teething relief, but now pediatricians recommend more natural analgesics like, um, acetaminophen or teething tablets, the latter of which - in some cases - have been found to contain nightshade. I can't speak for baby me, but adult me chooses whiskey. Nightshade is deadly and trace amounts of bourbon are easier on the liver than Tylenol.
Baby bourbon gets its name from its manufacturing process: It's aged in relatively tiny three-gallon barrels instead of the usual 53-gallon ones, which gives it more surface area contact with the charred oak that makes bourbon so bourbony. It turns over rather quickly; Baby doesn't take a lot of time to get good and woody. It's transferred into adorable little bottles like the one pictured here.
The result of this process - as well as its 100% corn recipe (you only need 51% to be bourbon-official) is, well, this:
a mildly sweet, smooth spirit with hints of vanilla and caramel.
...or if you're teething:
ahhhh, goo goo [8-second fart] mama yayayabahhhhh bahhhhhhhhhhh
Baby is differentiated, legit and worth your precious money. You just need to have a full appreciation that handmade bourbon in small barrels has to cost more than the mass-produced swill you're currently drinking. Of course you can grasp that: You're not a baby.
Your library requires it. Baby makes a hell of an Old Fashioned or is perfect all by itself. Just like you, baby. Just like you.
THE PLAY-OFF: BUCKEYE BABES
The Internet never forgets. This isn't always a bad thing.
You may have rediscovered this campus classic when Youtube first dug it out from oblivion around the time Troy Smith was flinging the ball all over Ohio Stadium. You may have even lived it 25 years ago when it all seemed...so absolutely normal.
Either way, those who refuse to learn history are doomed to repeat it, which is why we cannot be allowed to forget that Buckeye Babes written and performed by Cool Breeze (featuring Dale Van Halen - no relation - on guitar) once happened in broad daylight:
There's a lot we can learn about previous societies from a simple, late-1980s amateur video production: One, there isn't a single person in a locked gaze with a cell phone. Everyone is living in the moment, not giving a single laborious pebble of constipated excrement about what's happening on Facebook or Twitter. Ugh, let's never live like that again. Progress is a good thing.
Two, the mere sight of someone carrying video camera equipment elicits waves and excitement. At the time, this portable technology from the future had recently captured Marty McFly embarking on future time travel; now it allows us to venture back in time to when this primitive device was relatively sophisticated.
And if you're one of those curmudgeons who think teenagers of today taking selfies are indulgent, you've conveniently forgotten how teenagers back then used to react to the sight of absolutely any dipshit carrying a camcorder. Or you never knew. Now you do. We've always been vain and shallow. It's normal.
Three, the hair. The goddamn hair. Styles from as far back as the 1950s on have come back and regained their place in fashion, but the hair of the 1980s is still protectively locked in a Chernobyl-style sarcophagus to prevent it from ever radioactively polluting popular culture again. It occasionally seeps into small towns and bad decisions, but we're otherwise safe from the perms and sprays of that era. I would tell you that I didn't go to high school with several of actual the coeds in this video, but that would make me a liar.
There's your Situational. Please enjoy the Ohio State spring game responsibly.