Surviving the College Football Offseason

By Michael Citro on May 3, 2013 at 11:30a
We all need off-season immunity idols.

The college offseason is interminably long. The calendar tells us that it lasts only a few months but that’s only because scientists refuse to admit that their evil experiments with time travel have created warps in the space-time continuum that slow the passing of days from spring football to fall kickoff.

How do you get through it? The NBA and NHL playoffs can only get you so far. You could watch baseball, but that just makes the time pass even slower. There must be a way to get from the spring game to opening day without losing your mind.

I’ve given it a great deal of thought, so you don’t have to. There are things you can do to make the time pass more quickly, or at least to occupy your mind while you’re waiting. This is important in helping you to retain your sanity and keep your blood pressure down.

Here is an A-Z primer on what to do to during the college football offseason:

Anticipation: You could simply spend the offseason waiting for the Buckeyes to return. This way madness lies. There’s no sense in just building your excitement because you are not Kerry Coombs and therefore you can’t handle the level of intensity you’d reach with at least two weeks to spare. Your head might literally explode. This is a dumb idea and I don't recommend it, but the offseason would eventually creep past.

Better Know Buckeyes: It’s never too early to get to know the incoming freshman class. Because you are already an 11W reader, which speaks to your impeccable taste, you don’t even have to go digging for information. Our very own Vico is already providing all the info you need in his award-winning* “Better Know a Buckeye” series. (*Jason gave him an “atta-boy” and there is no honor higher than that.)

Countdown: It’s what we do all summer long. Currently we’re at 119 days to go until Ohio State takes the field again. Unfortunately, it doesn’t really waste any time.

Drinking: Let’s face it: it’s fun and it passes the time.

Elope: If you’re planning on getting married, you should probably get that out of the way before the season starts, especially if your significant other is considering a fall wedding. But even if it’s a spring wedding, you’re risking the OSU spring game and the preparations will cost you a game or two in the fall anyway. Save yourself and your football-loving friends by telling your mate that you just can’t wait another day to start the rest of your life with them. Make it sound romantic and it’ll happen.

Flavortown: Food tourism is an increasingly popular pastime. Take your tongue to Flavortown with a tour of the B1G’s footprint, stopping at every eatery featured on Guy Fieri’s Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives. From Brewburger's in Omaha, to Psycho Suzie’s Motor Lounge in Minneapolis, to the Broadway Diner in Baltimore, one of the great things about our conference is that there are plenty of excellent dining establishments. But for God’s sake, don’t wear your sunglasses on the back of your neck. If you’re a true daredevil you could hit up Adam Richman’s haunts from Man vs. Food. There are a few places you may already be familiar with, including the Dagwood Challenge at the Ohio Deli.

Get in shape: Starting August 31, you’ll be spending a lot of time in front of the television. It may behoove you to shed some of those unwanted pounds now and give yourself a little leeway for the fall. Also, I just got to use “behoove” in a sentence.

It was the 80s. [shrug]It will take you the entire offseason to master the angry
Kevin Bacon dance from Footloose.

Harlem Shake: Just kidding. No one should ever do the Harlem Shake, watch videos of others doing it, or make their own video. This fad is dying but it is still stubbornly hanging on. Don’t be a part of it. You’re better than that. If you really feel you must bust a move, try to re-enact Kevin Bacon’s angry warehouse dance in the original Footloose. Bonus: the backing song is “Never” by Australian band Moving Pictures, a personal favorite from that era.

Invention: Not so very long ago, theater seats did not have cup holders. Someone invented those. Use your summer coming up with the next great idea. For example, spring and summer college football friendlies. (MUST CREDIT ME AND 11W.)

Jarts: Lawn darts are banned for sale in U.S. and Canada, because obviously they’re evil. Honestly, a few people don’t teach their kids properly and the entire continent is forced to go Jartless. If you’re willing to undertake the challenge, perhaps you can track down an existing set of Jarts and purchase them from their owner, so you can enjoy the rush of the world’s deadliest lawn game this summer. By the time you track down a set, convince the owner to sell, and acquire a few deep puncture wounds, the off-season will be over. Bonus: chicks dig scars.

Kick the habit: Whether it’s smoking, drinking, gambling, or some other addiction, now is the time to get rid of it. You’re certainly not going to stop during the season, especially if the Indiana game is close in the fourth quarter. Get help now.

Learn something: Use the offseason wisely by learning a new skill or just learning. Read a book on how to do something you’ve always wanted to learn how to do. Take a class. Or just look at random pages on Wikipedia. Take up Israeli folk dancing. What have you done today to better yourself?

Movies: The summer is a great time to catch up on those movies you didn’t see during football season because they’re all on Netflix by now. It’s also a great time to get back to the theater, with all the summer blockbusters coming out. Personally, I’m looking forward to Iron Man 3, which opened today, as well as the new Star Trek movie that hits theaters in two weeks (this, despite the fact that it seems like the Enterprise crashes way too often in movies).

Novel idea: Everybody’s got a story in them. Telling yours could easily eat up the time between now and the return of Buckeye football, because novels typically take a lot of time to write. It doesn’t even have to be anything very inventive. I mean, someone thought of Fifty Shades of Grey, and that’s just a bunch of sexual fantasies disguised as a story. I’m sure you could do better.

Open your heart: The offseason will give you a chance to do all those philanthropic, pay-it-forward-ish things you haven’t gotten around to. Run a charity 5K, build houses with Habitat for Humanity, volunteer at a homeless shelter, or find your own cause to champion. Jim Tressel would approve.

Pump up the jams: Many of us remember those carefree days when we would lie about and listen to music for hours on end. In our adult lives, we typically listen to music as a soundtrack to doing something else — working out, commuting, etc. We never really listen anymore. Now you have the free time to revisit some favorite old albums without distractions. Light a candle, turn out the lights and crank some tunes.

Quest: Go in search of something. It doesn’t really matter what you’re looking for — Bigfoot, the Loch Ness monster, your good Phillips-head screwdriver that’s been missing, one of the few remaining Rax restaurants — just go find it.

Recruiting: Without actual games, it’s a good idea to follow guys like Jeremy and Miles to find out who the potential future Buckeyes will be. Those guys know their stuff and do all the digging so you can stay informed on all the top players in Ohio and across the country.

Sleep: Remember all those Saturdays you stayed up until the wee hours watching the late West Coast and Hawaii games? Catch up on those Zs now. Sleeping more will make the off-season seem to pass by more quickly. If you can manage to sleep through the entire thing like a hibernating bear, you’re a hero and I must know how you did it.

Take a hike: The human soul needs to commune with nature. Regardless of where you live, there are trails nearby. Find one and walk. Enjoy the solitude or go with a friend (you do have friends, right?). Leave your iPod at home and get out to a quiet place with a whole lot of nature to look at. It’ll put your mind at ease until the season starts and you start stressing over whether the Buckeyes will go undefeated again. For a few blissful hours, you might even forget that Beth Mowins is a thing.

Un-digitize: Lay off the web for a while (except 11W of course). Get away from email, stop texting, put down your devices, and connect with the three-dimensional people. Did you know that there are real live, actual people in the world? Some of them are nice. True story.

Vacation: Whether you prefer amusement parks, beaches, camping or Rock and Roll Fantasy Camp, just get away from it all. If you have a family, and if you like them, be sure to take them along. You should spend time with the wife and kids anyway, since they’ll be basically living without you for three months' worth of regular season games and a month of bowl games. If you drive, put on the Go-Gos'Vacation album in the car. Be sure to play it on repeat and allow no other music so your family will gladly leave you alone come August 31.

Winter is coming: If you have yet to invest in the Game of Thrones phenomenon, now’s the time. The first two seasons are available on Netflix and iTunes if you’re the watching type, and your local library has all the books if you’re more of a reader. If you’re like me, do both. Find out what everyone is (correctly) raving about and why some are calling George R.R. Martin “the American Tolkien.”

Xenia: Visit the third largest city in Greene County, Ohio. There’s plenty to do and see there if you’d like to kill a few hours of offseason. Some suggestions: the Annual Fishing Derby is coming up on June 1 in Shawnee Park. Or you can hit the trails in the “Bicycle Capital of the Midwest.”

YouTube: You can always relive past OSU glory on the Internet. Vico’s Drive-Thru series is fantastic, and you can sometimes find full-length games on the site. And there’s always homemade player and team highlight packages. Pro Tip: If you have The Genie from DirecTV you can search for and play these on your television.

Zappa: Listen to some Frank Zappa music. His music is complex stuff, so by the time you’ve fully digested it, football season will be here. Also, the humor in the lyrics will entertain you.

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