Block O: The Horseshoe is No Longer 'Intimidating'

October 26, 2013 at 11:07a    by DJ Byrnes    
65 Comments
No longer intimidating?

File this under "don't shoot the messenger," from Block O's official site [SIC]:

We sell out game after game, but Ohio Stadium is truly no longer intimidating. Gone are the days when the stadium shook and teams struggled to execute as a result. We’re big, we fill The Shoe, but the volume level does not match up with the attendance. A Big 10 anonymous player poll (conducted by ESPN) ranked us #4 in terms of intimidation behind Camp Randall, Beaver Stadium, and Kinnick Stadium (yes, we’re behind Iowa). With stadiums with lesser seating going for world records in noise levels, there’s absolutely no reason we shouldn’t be intimidating with our size.

... Over the last few years, all students have been spread throughout the south stands or the extreme north stands. There are no longer pockets of students spread throughout the general seating to force alumni and other fans to stand and cheer.

The alumni I’ve observed in the south stands often seem disinterested in the team’s play, some even refusing to cheer for the band. Maybe they’re too cool to cheer, maybe they want to stand out as “more mature” among the students sitting next to them- I really don’t know. Having moved from Block “O” South (two years) to general seating in 37A (this year), I’ve observed it every single game this year.

This could be the first "things used to be a lot better" rant from somebody under the age of 45. It's going to, however, take us a little more than an anonymous ESPN player poll and some observational anecdotes about "too cool" and "mature" alumni to write off the Horseshoe as "no longer intimidating." 


65 Comments

Comments

dja.ohio's picture

Things used to be a lot better when Lane Ave. would involuntarily close because of all of the pedestrian traffic spilling out into the street.
Age:  44
Have a great game day!
O-H

One Bad Buckeye's picture

I-O!!!!

"I'm One Bad Buckeye, and I approve this message."

ShowThemOhiosHere's picture

I agree with that.  Age:  26

Class of 2010.

GoBucks10's picture

Completely agree

"Because I couldn't go for three."  - Woody Hayes

Buckeyeneer's picture

Damn you, Karen "A"Hol-brooke! Damn you!

"Because the rules won't let you go for three." - Woody Hayes
THE Ohio State University

hit_the_couch's picture

I definitely miss walking down Lane Ave with an open container, freshly purchased from 7-11, during game days circa 2002.

And then I told her...i'm no weatherman, but tonight's forecast is calling for several inches!

Deadly Nuts's picture

UCF agrees...

LEBRON

Baroclinicity's picture

I wish I could say I disagreed.  We are not terrible, but we could do better.  Like others have stated on here, like 11W staffers, I've had trouble with being told to sit down.  This is on big third downs and scoring plays etc.  in my opinion, we have work to do with this spoiled fan base.

When you're holding a hammer, everything looks like a nail.

Ahh Saturday's picture

I think it's basically true that the environment in the Shoe is not what it ought to be. This is largely the result of almost always being a big favorite at home. When the Buckeyes come out and bury the opponent, it's hard for the crowd to sustain the energy level. When the underdog gives us a game, there just seems to be a sick feeling that spreads through the stands. Last time I remember the Shoe being raucous from beginning to end was the USC game, which still makes me angry to think about.

buckeye4life050233's picture

the nebraska game last year at home was pretty raucous.......was the best environment there since the '06 michigan game

OSU_ALUM_05's picture

I do think the Shoe is a great environment for big games but it's definitely a completely different thing for lesser opponents

D. Anthony's picture

true! They interviewed some of those USC players and Texas players after they came to town and they couldn't believe the noise level... one of the USC players was interviewed in the pro's last year and mentioned The Shoe as the craziest environment he's played in College or Pro.

D. Anthony

UrbzRenewal's picture

Texas/USC were definitely the last two games I've been to at Ohio Stadium that were truly "intimidating" (loud to the point of being very disruptive). Nebraska last year was close. 

OSU_ALUM_05's picture

I missed TX and USC (but did go to Neb 12 and Wisc 13). I still say the 2002 TTUN game was the most intense I've ever experienced at the 'Shoe. I wish I was there for TX/USC to have the full comparison.

BuckGnome's picture

4 games come to mind: '95 Notre Dame, '05 Texas, '06 scUM, and '09 USC.  During those games, the stadium was unbelievably loud, just a wall of acoustic distortion.
For most games, however, the 'Shoe crowds are nothing special.   There are even stretches where our crowd's level of enthusiasm seems more fit for a tennis match.
It's a shame because it could be so much better.

D. Anthony's picture

Of course we could do better but I think many BIG players are tired of us winning at everything. Best team, best band, best stadium... "anonymous player polls" are a way for to say "you're not getting a victory on this" even if maybe we should.
The writers who go stadium to stadium and actually sit in the stands say Beaver Stadium isn't loud...and the only stadium that generally is said to get louder in there polls of the BIG is Camp Randall. If we had that smaller stadium and allowed more students access I'm confident the Shoe would be as crazy. For tOSU, PSU, and UM, when you seat so many fans the ratio of young, loud, crazy students drops...still The Shoe is louder and more intimating than any of the other 8 BIG stadiums I've traveled to AND we're often their biggest game of the season, so there fans were likely as amped and as loud as they're going to get when we were in the stadiums for those games.

D. Anthony

locko48's picture

Maybe the writers sitting in the Beaver stands should talk to Lewan (or maybe he just has sensitive ears)
Before the game after texting cHoke about the crowd noise: 
"Sometimes we will be standing face-to-face, and I won't be able to hear myself think or hear you talk. So it's a great atmosphere. I am sure it will be a white-out night game. Penn State's awesome; it's a fun place to play."
During the game:
Taylor Lewan went to the locker room early as trainers were having trouble communicating with him due to noise.
Michigan Football (@umichfootball) October 12, 2013
yep.  not loud
My son (PSU '14) will be in 6C tonight, my daughter (OSU ' 17) in Block O south. The gauntlet is dropped let's hear you guys tonight!
 
Good luck Bucks!!
 

brandonbauer87's picture

Charging $125 per ticket gets you more stuffy lawyers than rowdy blue-collar fans. Also, restricting season ticket access does the same. I'm not trying to take shots at wealthy fans.  I know there are plenty wealthy fans that bleed S&G.  If you sell more tickets to young alumni and the public, you'll get a better environment. 
Age: 26

jeremytwoface's picture

This is exactly what I was thinking....
 
Drop tickets down to $50 face value and you will have less "stiffs" and more hardcore fans.
 

The first man gets the ((((Oyster)))), the second man gets the shell.

UrbzRenewal's picture

As the author of the blog (they've told me to emphasize that it's my opinion, not the org's) article, I can say that the last game that I saw a truly intimidating Ohio Stadium was against USC (Matt Barkley attested to this in his /r/cfb AMA). Texas a few years before that was similar. 
Nebraska last year was by far the closest thing to getting back, but there was not a persistent roar besides the south stands and student seating on the north end of the stadium.
The response to my opinions/observations have been an overwhelming agreeance (with some annoyance among alumni, etc). I love our alumni and fans but it'd be nice if we could get back to USC/Texas type noise. I probably won't check back due to tailgating, but feel free to comment on the article or tweet at me if you want to discuss!
 

brandonbauer87's picture

I agree with all of what you said. I also think Wisconsin in 2011 was a pretty good atmosphere. My section, at least, came unglued on the last minute bomb. 

cbusbuckeye's picture

IMO the Texas game was louder and in general much more rowdy than the USC game, the shoe had an edge that night. Both were great environments, the shoe needs to get back to that level.  I doubt we will ever see it again unless students are spread out again (not happening $$$). 

AndyVance's picture

Thanks for saying things that need to be said, Tim. There are a lot of reasons the average game isn't the insanity of old, most of which have been espoused by others in this thread. I don't think it's all bad - the traditions like singing Carmen after the game are a good example of things we didn't always used to do in the "good ol' days" that I truly love - but we definitely need to get better. The people $&*%@ing about fans standing during the game really grinds my grits.

njclebuckeye5's picture

The Nebraska game was real loud, but I was in the student section so my perspective might have been skewed. 

Lobs it to the endzone... Touchdown Devin Smith!!

Michael's picture

USC and Texas were both Top 5 ranked teams and both are easily two of the top football universities of all time. Plus, both games were back-and-forth from start to finish.
It's hard to generate that same excitement against Cal and Miami (in a down year). 
The decline of talent in the Big Ten (regardless of real or perceived) certainly hasn't helped. When was the last time we were the underdogs at home? It's no longer a great success to beat Wisconsin or Penn State, it's an expectation. Close games against lesser opponents (e.g. last week against Iowa) are viewed as disappointments rather than accomplishments.
The fan base is spoiled, but I don't think it's solely attributed to the relocation of the students to the south stands.

Jdadams01's picture

Higher ticket prices generally equals more people who are just there for the "event feel" than to be a force for the game. I remember how when Chicago Stadium was replaced by the United Center, Jordan always said that the crowd was less intimidating. Ticket prices had soared in the new arena and he said the crowd was less die-hard and more wealthy, making an appearance types. Ticket prices at The Shoe have done the same.
Average Joe would rather watch on his HD TV than spend a few hundred for him and his girl to go to the game. And More Money Joe seems to be more interested in telling people about how he was there.
I know this is a lot of generalizing and stereo-typing, but it's been my observation for 10 years now.

IBLEEDSCARLETANDGRAY's picture

^ I read a similar story on why the crowd at the Super Bowl is so subdued. There are hardly any true team fans in that game. It's mostly corporate and/or wealthy types who can afford the tickets.

"Sherman ran an option play right through the south" - Greatest Civil War analogy EVER.

Bubba 81's picture

If you can't be loud a cheer, you should stay home, or have your Buckeye Card revoked

The Rill Dill's picture

Give it a month, and we'll be having the same conversation about Value City Arena.

brandonbauer87's picture

The problem is much worse there. Tickets are cheaper and more available. There just isn't enough passion for the hoops squad. 

BuckGnome's picture

The Schott gets no where near as loud as St. Johns did.  With the Shoe, the problem is not the inherent acoustics of the structure as it is with the Schott.

Joeyfbank's picture

I went to the Wisc game and still old guy next to me said I was clapping TOO LOUD!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Joeyfbank

Ahh Saturday's picture

The correct response to that is, "I'm sorry, I can't hear you. You're speaking too old."

Fugelere's picture

Fat finger down vote. Sorry.

1stYrBuckIClub's picture

I've wondered what can be done to fix this problem... Trying to get people up for third down in the fourth quarter of the Iowa game last week was like pulling teeth. I've been wondering if a tiered pricing system for tickets would help ($200/ticket for AA for the event crowd, plus it's a small percentage of the stadium, $100/ticket for A, $80/ticket for B, $60/ticket for C and D). I have to think part of the problem was when the university offered season ticket opportunities for life w/ an alumni donation upon graduation (the last class w/ that is likely in their late 50s/early 60s right now). Perhaps seeing how tickets at some of the loudest college stadiums are decided would help (Oregon, Alabama, LSU...)

Goalscorer9's picture

We get up for big games, we are pretty quiet for small games.  I may get some down votes for this, but I think it's a reflection of how spoiled we are, in general, as a fan base right now.  We expect to win the little games, so the stadium isn't as pumped for those as they should be.  A lot of people like to use the cliche line "It doesn't matter if I look ahead, I'm not on the team"  but when it comes to stadium noise, I can easily sense when our fans aren't into the game.  A healthy bit of nervousness makes you cheer louder lol.

Go Buckeyes14's picture

^^^ This is the absolute truth. I didn't miss a game for my 4 years at OSU and during the noon games its a morgue, during the 3:30 or later games the place was deafening. The Wisconsin game in 2011 was the craziest atmosphere I've ever been a part of followed closely by Nebraska in 12'. If only we could recreate those atmospheres for every game.

Goalscorer9's picture

I was at both of those games, the wisoncin catch was probably the single loudest moment in the shoe, but the '09 USC game takes the cake for craziest atmosphere in my opinion.  A lot of people overlook the Penn State game later in '09, but that was also a crazy game.

I've been to 5 or 6 of the night games now.  I've kind of lost track.  But they are obviously a completely different animal.

opus's picture

I would agree with this. My wife and I went to the game last week-it was her first trip to the Shoe-and she remarked that it was not nearly as loud as she expected it to be, given the size. She's a Washington grad, and I've been to a couple of UW games with her here in Seattle, and it gets crazy loud, despite being 2/3rds of the size of the Shoe. 
Then the Roby ejection happened. She got plenty of the noise she was expecting.
 

Scarlet_Lutefisk's picture

She's a Washington grad, and I've been to a couple of UW games with her here in Seattle, and it gets crazy loud, despite being 2/3rds of the size of the Shoe.

That's primarily because of the roof over the main decks. It reflects the sound back in a manner most stadiums can't reproduce.

jkleva's picture

Just another attempt to discredit tOSU by Espin! 

TJ leva

4thandinches's picture

If you aren't a die-hard fan don't go to the game, plain and simple. If you aren't screaming after touchdowns and turnovers, stay home. There are too many people who go to the games that could care less if we actually win, that is the problem. 

I wasn't born a Buckeye but I became one as fast as I could. 

IBLEEDSCARLETANDGRAY's picture

Something could also be said of the demographic of the Horseshoe crowd. The loudest tend to be the students who are younger, but you still have more than half to three-quarters of that 105,000 who are older and even elderly alumni and fans. They're not the loudest bunch to begin with let alone being elderly. I was at the 2000 OSU-Penn State game when Adam Taliaferro got hurt and even I overheard fans complaining about other fans who wouldn't sit down or shut up.

"Sherman ran an option play right through the south" - Greatest Civil War analogy EVER.

Baroclinicity's picture

We need a Block 11W...or something like that.

When you're holding a hammer, everything looks like a nail.

GlueFingers Lavelli's picture

Wouldn't that be awesome?!?  Just have 11W own an entire section on A deck. I'd imagine we could set the tone. Upvote leaders and staff get closest seats to the field, followed by the loudest fans(decided through a screaming contest during tailgating).  I can see it now, 9route dressed up in a dinosaur eating an ice cream cone costume, Hodge sipping scotch from a flask, and Ramzy yelling at us like Lieutenant Dan when we are on offense to "get down.... and shut up!" All while wearing a kevlar helmet and smoking Pall Mall's...And yes he can smoke because no usher in the right frame of mind would mess with section 11W.  I'd pay to sit in that crowd, and leave my voice box in the shoe!

Dustin Fox was our leading tackler as a corner.... because his guy always caught the ball.

Colin's picture

From the opinion of someone who has pretty much only watched games from the student sections...I think a lot of the student "traditions" need a revamp. Most have become pretty lifeless. The first is 7 Nation Army which is obviously beating a dead horse but it was cool and really effective just a couple years ago, now I'd say only about 30% of students actually do it. The next example would be the kickoff chant (the one we aren't supposed to yell). It used to be funny and you could hear actual emotion but now it is has literally become part of the kickoff chant to the point people just say it because they think they are supposed to. The whole kickoff chant is rushed and students don't even yell it anymore they just say it. And then during the game there isn't much to get the fans riled up anymore. Even the 3rd down Hells Bells isn't working as well as it used to and that's why they now need to have Eddie George yell at us from the scoreboard. Then there's the new 3rd down thing where students are supposed to hold up 3 fingers, I don't even know how that started but I find it completely ineffective. Everyone knows what down it is we should be more focused on just screaming as loud as we can instead of holding up fingers. 
Believe it or not I now find the stadium most intimidating when everyone is the south stands start stomping their feet in addition to yelling. The rumble adds a pretty good effect and makes up for those who don't yell and its too bad that can only be done in one part of the stadium.

blazers34's picture

Guy who wrote that used to comment here pretty regularly, right? I don't think he's wrong

WOLFofOHIO's picture

Well... This should be bulletin to all fans coming in tonight. Watch.

there is no greater joy than watching Michigan get slammed. in anything

GlueFingers Lavelli's picture

Seriously put that on the jumbo screen before kickoff. See if our "older" fans will respond.

Dustin Fox was our leading tackler as a corner.... because his guy always caught the ball.

BSTP DeCon's picture

I didn't go to the game but Nebraska at Ohio State last year sounded incredibly loud and the fans appeared to be going nuts for the most part...

jamesrbrown322's picture

I think it's actually just OSU backlash. The rest of the conference is tired of OSU talk. Honestly, you think any of those players would rather play at The Shoe or The Big House with a conference title shot on the line in November, rather than Kinnick Stadium? Gimme a break.

"I can accept failure, but I cannot accept not trying." - W.W. Hayes

Buckidelphia's picture

Interesting, I can agree with that statement for a day game but not the night games..always seem to be more energy at night. 
Side note; The Schott is large but I wouldn't consider it intimidating either.  

Poe McKnoe's picture

Those players should try making the games more competitive first, then worry about noise level.

Buckeye Chuck's picture

I think there are a few factors at work here:
1. As has been pointed out by others, few "big games" at home in recent seasons. When you factor in 2011's disaster, no bowl at stake last season, and just Wisconsin at home this season, we haven't had a whole lot to go nuts about. 
2. Just one man's opinion, but I though the stadium was louder in the days when the band was in the closed end. I don't know if any of the other relative oldtimers would agree with me on this or not.
3. The expansion of the stadium didn't increase the number of students who attend games. Despite their overall numbers being large, the percentage of game attendees who are students is probably lower than it's ever been.

The most "loud mouth, disrespect" poster on 11W.

UrbanCulture's picture

I tend to agree. With the exception of a night game (Which only current players on Wisconsin and Nebraska have played us in so far), we rarely get all that loud. Sure, we make noise on third down, but unless they are backed up in the south endzone, how much of a burden is that to opposing teams?
During night games, people go nuts...making noise on EVERY play, and jumping up and down!
It got pretty loud on the plays following the roby ejection vs Iowa, but settled down the rest of the game. 
I think putting students in the lower bowl would be an excellent home field advantage. With as much money as we make, it wouldn't bring on too much of a financial hit.

pjtobin's picture

It doesn't help that our student section feels that using the f bomb in a chant is cool. It's hard to get the crowd into a game when most disagree with using foul language. It's like the crowd is divided. IMO. 

Bury me in my away jersey, with my buckeye blanket. A diehard who died young. Rip dad. 

brandonbauer87's picture

I think that's an exaggeration. They may be divided on Tuesday, but Saturday brings everyone together. 

Norwalk's picture

I stood to cheer during the Buffalo game but then I damn near fainted because of heat stroke. Amazingly, I found that I could still cheer loudly while seated in C-Deck.

WiliestBuckeye's picture

Of course current BIG players don't think were loud. Their teams suck, for the most part, so nobody gets loud. Maybe if you fielded better teams against us our fans would get more excited?

"Do not dwell in the past, do not dream of the future, concentrate the mind on the present moment."

TennesseeBuckeye's picture

Need noise, send some tickets my way, I'll make some noise!

I may not be able to outsmart too many people, but I can outwork 'em.
Woody Hayes

JLP36's picture

the defense is no longer intimidating either.  probably a direct proportion between volume and ass kicking.  hard to get excited when watching mediocre teams march up and down the field.  ticket policy also favors old folks.

JLP36

Jonnferrell's picture

Looks pretty intimidating in the shoe tonight--and the defense is kicking a$$ and taking names.

"I'm still hungry." --Brady Hoke

BuckeyeAtHeart22's picture

Noise level and intensity also seems to fluctuate season to season.  2002, 2005, 2006, 2009 and 2010 were "loud" years, while 12, 11, 08, 07, and 04 were less intense for whatever reason.  Notice that in the four louder years we had a home game against a top-5 team, though...

buckskin's picture

I could give a shit less about how intimidating it "supposedly" is or isn't.  Just know that every team that comes into our house is going out with a big, fat L! 

FitzBuck's picture

I'm amazed ESPN could do this poll.  
It didn't involve the SEC.  

Fitzbuck | Toledo - Ohio's right armpit | "A troll by any other name is still a troll".