A Nerd's Guide to the 2012 OSU Football Team

By Johnny Ginter on July 11, 2012 at 3:00p

Oh, hello there, fellow nerd and Buckeye fan. I see that you're looking a little wary these days, a little more haggard. And frankly, that's understandable. You see all of these changes in the Ohio State football program, changes that most people are celebrating with chest bumps and fist bumps and talking with their "bros" about "chicks" and how their new OSU "swag" is going to blow their minds.

Foreign concepts, all. Think about it: it was just a few years ago that Ohio State football was gloriously hip deep in a golden age of nerd football, with noted nerds such as Jim Heacock and Nick Siciliano roaming the sidelines as Lord Nerd Tressel, son of Lee, also known as Senator commanded all from his throne made up of empty Diet Coke cans and discarded bifocal cases.

And by gum it worked. Nerd football under Jim Tressel and company resembled a high school junior alone in a parking lot on prom night, feverishly trying to finish a Sudoku puzzle he found under his grandma's couch. Embarrassing? Yes, sometimes. A little sad? Okay, maybe. But the key words here are RISK AVOIDANCE.

See, while others were making a scene and being flashy with their "basketball on grasses" and "tight end screens" and "more than two different running plays," lil' four-eyed Tressel showed all those big bullies what for by staying true to his roots, not experimenting in questionable activities/passing on anything but 3rd down, and by sticking to the glorified RPG level grind that was Tresselball. His patient and cautious approach won him a lot of games, tons of Big Ten championships, one glorious national title, and pretty much zero street cred.

But that's over. The Reign of the Nerd ends, and in its place comes a new era, one of Bros, Brahs, Bruhs and going for it on 4th down. Which is why today I'm giving you a crash course in the new Bro culture (broture?) of Urban Meyer's football team, so that in time you can grow to understand, appreciate, and even... love... this great new age of Ohio State football.

Tao of BRO

To truly understand the philosophy of the Bro, you first need to learn what makes a football bro tick. Under Tressel, Ohio State was more often than not content to simply "win" football games by scoring more points than the other team. And that's great... if you're a giant nerd. You see, a bro doesn't want to "win" football games. A bro wants to "dominate" football games much like Gabe Newell dominates a large Donatos pizza. Urban Meyer is on record as saying that he wants to score "100 points a game" and you better believe that he's going to try and do it (and not just against Northwestern, JIM).

Okay, so yes, a win is a win is a win. You get just as much XP from cheesing Ozma as you do from fighting him straight up, but which is cooler, casting summons over and over, or using limit breaks with perfect timing? And let's be clear about this: being a bro is about being awesome and looking awesome while being awesome.

Know Your Bro

One mistake that a lot of people make is lumping all bros together in one big bro bowl and calling it a day. Which really isn't fair to the many, many types of bros that are out there on the OSU football team; "bro" is a complex taxonomy, and each individual bro deserves to be recognized and understood. Here are a few OSU bros:

  • Head coach Urban Meyer is, of course, Alpha Bro. Yelly, hyper competitive and intense, with a low simmering boil just underneath the surface that could erupt at any time. Nervous? Well you should be, but the key difference between an Alpha Bro and a huge jackass is that Alpha Bros are also competent and have direction. Let me put it this way: a guy screaming at you because he's full of impotent rage during Call of Duty multiplayer is a douche, but a guy screaming at you because we wants you to be a better person and a winner is an Alpha Bro.
  • John Simon is a Flannel Bro. Some guys wear flannel because it's fashionable now, kind of like a dude who gets an anchor tattoo despite never having been on a boat. Flannel Bros are not these people. No, Flannel Bros wear flannel because chopping down trees and fighting off wolves with an axe is their natural state of being. They are not to be screwed with. For those of you familiar with The Hobbit, John Simon is essentially a less hairy Beorn.
  • Kerry Coombs is a Hyper Bro. A personal favorite of mine, this is a bro going forever at lightspeed, bouncing from wall to wall in an eternal state of positivity and butt slapping. "HEY BRO, AWESOME JOB! YEAH! PUSH IT TO THE LIMIT! ATTACK ATTACK ATTACK! LOOKS LIKE SOMEONE ATE THEIR WHEATIES TODAY WOOOOOOOOOOOO"
  • Luke Fickell and Mike Vrabel are Bro Bros. Their bro-ness has been covered extensively elsewhere, but suffice to say that the longer these two bros are allowed to exist in close proximity to each other, the greater the risk of a universal bro singularity enveloping us all.


Bro terminology can take a while to learn for the layman, and even longer for nerds who have been immersed in cat macros and l33t-speak for the better part of a decade (which, by the way, emerged right around the time Jim Tressel was hired as OSU head coach... coincidence?). One simple rule to keep in mind is that "bro" is a universal descriptor that can be applied to any and all situations as long as the person saying the word "bro" is in fact a bro themselves.

Tressel bro fist?!? I don't know what to think

"Gotta show some swag on that squat, bro" may sound like utter nonsense, but it's a perfect example of brominology in action. Monosyllabic, excellent use of "swag" and "bro," and of course, referencing lifting weights. Using that as a template, you should be able to easily decipher any conversations that might occur between members of the 2012 OSU football team. "Swag" meaning "to put forth effort" or "look good," the prerequisite reference to either working out or playing a sport, and of course "bro," the aforementioned universal descriptor for any person, place, or thing.

Additionally any words that refer to being big, such as "large," "huge," or "massive" should be sprinkled liberally throughout conversation.


Finally, it's important to understand how the new OSU football bros interact with the wider world around them.

We're all familiar here at 11W with director of player development Mark Pantoni's coining of #swaggernaut on Twitter, and in a neat little way that alone sums what it means to be a bro and be associated with the 2012 OSU football team. See, nerds, Pantoni declaring his relative wealth of swag to your bros doesn't have to be some insular, exclusionary thing to make you feel bad about your relative lack of it.

In fact, it's the opposite! Bros like Pantoni and Zach Smith want to bro out with everybody. As members of a team, they want every OSU fan, bros and non-bros, to be able to bro in harmony with maximum swag. Don't be afraid or wary of their bro overtures, my friends. It's simply a friendly bro hello via social media.


So, my fellow nerds, hopefully now you have a little bit of a greater understanding of what makes these guys tick. Some of you may find it difficult to make the transition from rooting for a team of Milhouses to rooting for a team of Zach Morrises, but believe me when I say that ultimately, it's just another flavor of Buckeye fun.

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