Welcome to the Present

By Jon Thoma on October 6, 2011 at 2:00p
LET'S DO THISUpsets now happen here.

So… what now?

We’re not going to win a National Championship. It would take a minor miracle to win a Big Ten Championship.

At this point, a .500 season and a potential bowl berth are more than up in the air. Our players get in trouble more than Dennis the Menace and the Problem Child combined. We can hardly turn the television on without seeing something new or old that makes us cringe.

Seriously, how embarrassing is it to continually defend your beliefs and continually be proven wrong? I know I don’t need to tell you. If you are reading this, you already know. We kinda stink.

Now, first off, I want everyone to know that receiving illegal benefits is most definitely not a team-wide epidemic. I know for a fact that I can speak for most of the team when I say this.

I had never heard the names Edward Rife, Dennis Talbot, or Bobby DeGeronimo before all of this funny business. I hear you, people saying that little known walk-on punters get less perks than the stars showing up on ESPN every week, but I think that this helps prove my point.

Not once did any of this come up in locker room banter, nor did I ever hear anything about it in any casual conversation. With all the down time we spent together, believe me when I say there was a lot of casual conversation.

I don’t want you to confuse my lack of knowledge about the illicit activities of my former teammates with naiveté. I know things happen. I know guys who didn’t have jobs came in with shiny things that I could not afford, but forgive me for giving my friends the benefit of the doubt.

With all do respect to the Blue Jackets, Crew, and Clippers, the Ohio State Buckeyes are Columbus’ most popular professional team. I would bet my meager life’s savings that far more Columbus residents would choose a dinner with their favorite Buckeye over anything with Rick Nash. Some of you reading this just had to Google Rick Nash. Point proven.

Except that taking your favorite Buckeye to dinner is against the rules and the Buckeyes are not a professional team. The players know it, and the boosters know it too. However, it has been overlooked for so long in major college cultures that knowing the rules and following the rules are two completely separate entities.

So again, I pose the question: What now?

It is hard to say. Many of you have been through the good times and the bad. Many of you were there when Woody threw the punch and transition suddenly became a very real proposition.

But for a generation of Buckeye fans, this is unchartered territory. As was pointed out to me on Twitter, there are 2nd graders out there who have never seen an Ohio State loss to Michigan. This is culture shock to them. This is culture shock to me.

My suggestion is a change of mindset. What if for one year, we weren’t the big kid on the block? What if, for one year, we were the talented young team who was a year away? What if, for one year, we were the ones who ruined other teams’ run to the Rose Bowl and/or National Championship?

We are not going to get this chance very often. Like it or not, The Ohio State Buckeyes are a perennial powerhouse, and the word “rebuilding” is considered blasphemy in these parts.

So, to all those out there who like to root for the upset, enjoy it. This is a part-time gig. We will be back on top soon, but we simply are not right now. Whine, bitch, moan all you want. It’s going to take a second to get back to where we want to be, so let’s try to have as much fun with this dose of humility as much as we can.

Cheer your butts off for these boys. Celebrate each win rather than taking them for granted. Be the 12th man this team desperately needs. I mean, what other choice do we have?


Comments Show All Comments

Hoody Wayes's picture

Troy Smith's talkin':

"I've been suspended by the university and by the NCAA, so I'm kind of cold and coarse when it comes to showing feelings for anybody else," Smith said. "Because I've been the scapegoat. I've been put on the pedestal, with no control over that, and then been the guy you're not supposed to learn from."
In December 2004, it was reported that Smith was suspended for the Alamo Bowl and the first game of the 2005 season for accepting cash and the promise of a job from an OSU booster. But Smith said that wasn't the case.
"To tell you the truth, it had nothing to do with a $500 thing between myself and a booster," Smith said. "I took the rap for a lot of people so a lot of people wouldn't get in trouble. But that story can't be told unless I want to get back at a lot of people. I'm not that type of guy. Never will."



Northbrook's picture

Oh yeah that is just what we need now. STFU Smith.

BucksfanXC's picture

Read the whole article in the Buckshots. It's not that bad. I read this and was upset at him too, then I read the rest of what he said and I think I get what he means. He's still bitter he got caught and no one else did. He has no one to blame but himself, and he should know in the public eye like he is and was, you'll never have your whole story out there, unbiasedly judged.

“Any time you give a man something he doesn't earn, you cheapen him. Our kids earn what they get, and that includes respect.”  - Woody

Northbrook's picture

With an NCAA decision pending/looming he should STFU.

Ethan's picture

The impending announcement has nothing to do with any violations. Those are more than 4 years ago, and thus outside of the punishable offenses. 

DJ Byrnes's picture

Troy Smith, along with about any big player at any big university, could burn their schools to the ground if they chose to talk.

Californian by birth, Marionaire by the Grace of President Warren G. Harding.

Northbrook's picture

The impending sanctions have everything to do with violations. Maybe not what Smith is alluding to but none the less he should STFU. Maybe the people who make the decision on sanctions will go solely on what was on the letter of allegations and the evidence OSU presented to make their decision. Or maybe they will listen to all the other stuff not covered in that letter and say, 'You know what, these guys have been getting away with shit for years. Lets shove a red hot poker up their ass!' Better to not give them more reason to widen the scope.

joel121270's picture

Agreed, read the whole article!

Northbrook's picture

Jon, nice work. I agree, we need to moderate our expectations for this year. We can still enjoy the season and cheer on our guys.

miggitymack's picture

Good read Thoma.  Perspective.  I guess that's key.

Sorry, that's the best you get :/

Matt's picture

Really like your writing style, Jon.  And after sitting through the entire 10-7 debacle against MSU, including an extremely depressing Carmen Ohio, I am done being a pissy fan.  I'm just going to enjoy the rest of the season as best as I can manage.

SLVRBLLTS's picture

Unconditional love. For every Pryor, there is a Spielman. It's important to remember that.

"Because we couldn't go for three"

Ethan's picture

Thanks for the perspective Jon. 

GoBlu's picture

This isnt a OSU problem or USC problem or UM or (insert your premier school name here) problem.... This is a system wide problem with the NCAA rules and the perpetuating cycle of poor kids going to big schools with ZERO money while fame, money, girls being dished to them and the schools rake in millions off of these kids. 

What are you going to do if you are an 18 yr old kid, away from home, starting for a big football school when you come from a dirt poor family that has no money to give you?  These are just kids and they do bear some responsiblity as does idiot boosters that over pay salaries, promise cars, etc etc.  But something has to change because while the premier schools that actually have standards to get into college are being monitored with spy satellites from the NCAA, these smaller, po-dunk schools get away with plenty and relaxing admission standards to get the best athletes.

I could go on and on about this but Steve Jobs died and my macbook is protesting.

cronimi's picture

What if for one year, we weren’t the big kid on the block? What if, for one year, we were the talented young team who was a year away? What if, for one year, we were the ones who ruined other teams’ run to the Rose Bowl and/or National Championship?

So basically a regression to the teams of my college years in the Cooper era.  As long as it's only for one year, I guess I can live with it.... 

Seriously, we were extremely fortunate in the Tressel era to win so much.  While we didn't win the MNC every year, we were in the hunt and finished highly ranked nearly every year, which is more than can be said for most other high-profile teams (Fla, Bama, Texas, Auburn, etc.).  It is tough to deal with multiple losses before the mid-way point of the season, but we'll regroup/rebuild/restaff and be back on top soon.

Kalamazoo Steve's picture

As I tell the folks up here, we can't win the BIG every year.  We can't go to a BCS game every year.  We can't finish in the top 5 every year.  Things just don't work like that.  We are playing for one game now on 11/26.  Win that, I'm happy and people up here are not.  The world will be right again.  I want Luke to get carried off that stinking field like Earl. 

Menexenus's picture

I second that!

Real fans stay for Carmen.

NYC Buckeye's picture

"Cheer your butts off for these boys. Celebrate each win rather than taking them for granted.

Couldn't agree more...  all the winning has spoiled us...  

jfrank373's picture

I don't think I can agree with this. John Thoma - you rock and were an awesome Buckeye. And you ran Tressel's most important play, the punt. And you were really good at it. But, I want the team to win every game, the team wants to win every game, so let's not make excuses when we don't win.  It burns my eyes to read things about being mediocre like some of the Bama, Texas, Oklahoma, Florida teams of the past BUT THIS IS OSU. THE OSU. While it's fun to play spoiler and still be good friends and have the "at least we had fun" attitude, ITS CRAP!!! Stop making excuses, we have top recruits at every position, play the F&*#ing game like it's supposed to be played. I remember when Urban Meyer came to BGSU and won in his first year. He took a Gary Blackney coached team that sucked and won with 3/4 of the remaining players. What does that tell you? Come on people!!! The team is okay with not winning because nobody expects them to. And when everyone around you doesn't really care one way or the other, you become okay with just being okay.

Colin's picture

Eh Rick Nash is a pretty big name, so I wouldn't be so certain of that one. Besides, since he's already a professional you can let him pay instead of the other way around.

doodah_man's picture

Here is a way to keep it all in perspective this Saturday, from one of my favorite movies (The Freshman): 

"There's a kind of freedom in being completely screwed... because you know things can't get any worse".

Sit back, have a beer, watch the carnage...

Jim "DooDah" Day

"If I were giving a young man advice as to how he might succeed in life, I would say to him, pick out a good father and mother, and begin life in Ohio.” --Wilbur Wright, 1910