Take the entire history of the universe and render it down to just one year: If that single annum contains all of existence, then human beings resembling you and me only appeared on earth a minute ago. We just got here, man.
Those 364-plus days that preceded us walking upright, building McDonaldses and blowing stuff up were undoubtedly terrifying, but even scarier were the seconds within our brief time here that contained absolutely no college football.
You would happily choose to dodge dinosaurs and civilization-ending meteorites in lieu of life without it, because there is no life without college football. It is our biology.
And biologically speaking, college football is our Kingdom. The Football Bowl Subdivison is our Phylum, the B1G is our Class and the Leaders Division is our Order - which means Ohio State is your Family - and you want to represent your Family to the best of your ability.
The strong survive while the weak are relegated to natural selection. Your fate is not predetermined, though - you get to choose what kind of Buckeye fan you are. You probably want to be the best kind. Good for you and good for us.
Here are five Darwin-proof techniques you can use to elevate both our Family as well as yourself during this cherished football season:
DON'T GET MARRIED
Fifty-two weekends adorn our calendar. Only a precious 15 of them contain college football Saturdays.
The remaining 37 are the appropriate ones for you to exchange vows. Those 15 where college football happens are not. This should be simple - there is no gray area.
Oh, whatever you say. It's my wedding you say. But the church is available you say. She has me by the short-hairs you say. Our ceremony will end before the game starts you say. You do little more than expose your weakness when you admit these things aloud to people you like enough to invite to your wedding.
You're embarrassing yourself. But sure - go ahead, get married while the Buckeyes are playing.
When you look back on your special day, you'll remember half of the reception was constantly distracted trying to find a score. The other half was watching a TV they bribed the banquet hall staff to set up even though your bride told them not to - too late, they cashed your check months ago.
Every few minutes you heard shouting, but those screams weren't for the happy couple - they were for the game it was selfishly preempting. That's how you will remember your fall wedding day: When you were the distraction instead of the center of attention you and your lucky spouse deserve to be.
Autumn isn't about you, buddy. It's about the Family. Pick any other season to get married.
Avoid threatening others
This should be fairly self-explanatory: Don't incite violence on account of your beloved team.
Dignity is what separates our Kingdom from the heathens overseas who are passionate about inferior sports. We will touch more on dignity in #4 below.
Perhaps most importantly, though: Avoid threatening the athletes. Don't be the vehicle for NCAA violations, no matter how arcane you think NCAA rules are. When you take matters into your own hands, you threaten the Family - and far less importantly, yourself.
Also, leave Kirk Herbstreit alone. Yes, he routinely talks out of both sides of his mouth and has said things about his alma mater that you find unforgivable, but he's a public figure who is overwhelmingly well-regarded within the Kingdom.
And no, Herbie didn't move his family out of Columbus for Tennessee because of threatening Buckeye fans, but there's a good reason that narrative stuck: It's believable. Ask yourself why that is.
If you're a threatening type who can't quit scaring people cold turkey, consider trying to just be incredibly creepy instead: Tweet at recruits. Because high school boys are absolutely dying to hear from you.
If you insist on having a sign hustle, HUSTLE WELL
Homemade signs at games are generally frowned upon, largely because the general population is grossly uncreative.
Your inability to be clever transforms a homemade sign into a vehicle for showcasing your mediocrity. This is something your sloppy exterior, $8 haircut and inability to conjugate verbs at a fourth grade level already do quite well. Signs are redundant.
That being said, signs at football games can be like landscaping: They either raise the value of your property, or bring down the whole neighborhood.
Forgetting about the fact that Tressel's 100th win was vacated by the NCAA - you can see right through this sign. There's clearly another message scribbled on its opposite side. That's either a rough draft or a second message.
This is just plain poor execution. If it is a second message on the back then this gentleman has too much to say. Either shorten it up or run for office, chief.
This particular sign also alternates between handwriting fonts, which has been known to tweak some people's OCD. [points at self] [checks to make sure wallet is still in pants]
[washes hands for the 27th time today]
[checks for wallet again]
This gentleman is walking the proverbial tightrope without a net: He has bravely chosen to conjugate you are in front of a giant, captive audience.
He has done so successfully, which puts him among the 2% of Americans who can do this. Sadly, this still isn't all that impressive since 90% of that 2% do it by accident (and 50% of you would just have said "on accident" and 100% of them would be wrong).
Perhaps his intent was to act as a public service for fans who didn't have a schedule handy, but based on the amount of time he spent shading in the letters it seems clear that he's threatening Michigan, which is safely one week away from facing the Buckeyes.
That's almost too much bravery for just one man.
The most impressive thing about this sign is that its creator did not insert an unnecessary apostrophe into "days."
That's the measuring stick for success, sign artisans.
Here we have a bright pink color which has been deliberately chosen to attract television cameras. Unfortunately, this only draws more attention to what appears to be a rodeo clown holding it. Perhaps that was the intent all along, and that is also unfortunate.
It also appears to have been constructed in roughly 30 seconds and shows a general lack of commitment to the craft. If you're going to take the time and expense to dress up like a Dr. Seuss character, you should invest similar effort in your signmanship.
This one was made by an Oregon fan. It contains double-irony: Oregon is a program that has been single-handedly elevated into relevance by one man's checkbook. In addition, the Duck program has been known to write a few shady checks too.
Also, "Cam Newton's Dad?" Whatever, Cecil will try to cash it anyway.
The standard-bearer for all signage: It's a full section wide and was unfurled in Michigan Stadium. It also appears to be of high quality, is correctly spelled, void of creases and stings like the cold November sun on Tate Forcier's blushing face.
Imagine a Cooper-like sign in Ohio Stadium during one of those awful November Saturdays during the 1990s. This sign is weaponized to the point of potentially violating international non-proliferation treaties.
The level of commitment here is unparalleled, and the artist spared no expense while cutting no corners. It is perfect. You are incapable of making this sign, so don't even try it. You will fail.
When one of us sucks, all of us suck
We are all snowflakes. Ohio State's diverse and expansive fan base keeps the Family vibrant and strong, so this isn't a call to assimilate or act uniformly. It's merely a plea to isolate your shame and make it your own, not ours.
That means if you absolutely insist on openly masturbating to pornography at the public library, try to do so while not wearing Buckeye gear. Making arrangements to have your three-year old murdered? Fine, just stop popping your Ohio State jersey on camera.
And if you're going to get a tattoo promoting bestiality, please keep Brutus out of it.
The world contains wily perverts, ruthless murderers, despicable thugs and miserable low-lifes. We can't all be perfect. But if you're going to be horrible, please wear something else. Keep your fandom under wraps, even if you only accidentally stepped in shit.
You've already destroyed lives and made a mockery of your name. Keep Ohio State out of it, or at least wear something that matches your actions - like anything that says Florida on it.
Keep your humor
An odd thing happened three years ago in Ann Arbor. No, not the empty smugness, Greg Robinson's 3-3-5 defense or the mass-minting of General Studies degrees for athletes. That's the usual. This was odd.
Three years ago Michigan fans completely lost their humor. For five wondrous seasons, Buckeyes and Wolverines were united by one thing: Fat jokes at the head coach of Notre Dame's expense.
Charlie Weis' biggest victory of the previous decade was when he soundly defeated gastric bypass surgery and managed to stay morbidly obese in spite of medical innovation. He is a horrible person who is both literally and figuratively a giant target for ridicule.
From the buffet line to the sideline, Weis embarrassed the Irish, derailed the Ty Willingham blame train in magnificent fashion and brought joy to all of Notre Dame's enemies - all while being fat (and sloppy, unkempt and generally disgusting - but mostly fat).
Michigan fans reveled in it. Ohio State fans loved it. Everyone celebrated what was happening in South Bend. Weis was then fired and we were all united in grief.
And then a year later, Michigan hired a fat coach of its own. Suddenly fat jokes were deemed childish by the same people who spent five years working with us to create them. The jokes are still funny. Michigan fans just stopped enjoying them.
Similarly, there was a time when Penn State fans could celebrate the hilarity of other people pooping in their pants. Then in 2006 Joe Paterno spontaneously evacuated his bowels into his trousers in the South end zone of Ohio Stadium and all of a sudden shart became a
dirty dirtier word in State College.
Ha ha, very funny. YES, YES IT IS. HE SHIT HIMSELF ON NATIONAL TELEVISION. IT WILL BE HILARIOUS FOREVER.
Don't be like those fans. Don't lose your humor. Even though you will love Jim Tressel to your dying day, "Cheaty McSweatervest" is amusing. Urban Meyer being painted as Charles Manson operating by proxy through his former players is so silly you should try to laugh at it.
Even Maurice Clarett chuckles at his former, destructive self. Remember, mankind as you and I know it arrived on earth only a minute ago. We just got here, man. Try to laugh more often. It's always more fun than being outraged.
You'll like yourself a lot more - and most importantly - the Family will be better for it.