On the eve of greatness.
Something has occurred to me that I have to believe has occurred to many other Buckeye fans throughout the year. There doesn't seem to be all that "conference arrogance" during the current basketball season, like has been seen so recently demonstrated in the SEC in football. Yes, the SEC has been the dominant conference of late in football, and everybody is plum wore out hearing about it. But every non-SEC fan still endured an endless barrage of "S-E-C, S-E-C" from fans whose personal "favorites" had had their crickets creamed that season. Endless chest pounding and claims of speed, dressing one week like a tiger, the next all crimson...then imagine your Kentucky fan and good friend in your face constantly crooning about Alabama. You would do him a favor by cascading him over the office desk into the fireplace. In an effort to bring him to his senses, of course. I don't condone wanton violence for no apparent reason. But to help a friend in need...
But I digress. And you get the picture. We've been bombarded with "the SEC is the best all this and that" for half a decade now...but here's the question:
Have you seen any instances of Big Ten fans doing this?
Simply because the Big Ten is the most dominant basketball dynasty in the history of the NCAA? (with only a little tongue in cheek there) Do you hear "Bee, One, Gee!, Bee One Geee!, BEEEE ONE GEEEEEEEEEE" slathered over the message and forum boards like this or from within the B1G media?
No, you don't. And the reason?
Nothing short of something called "class".
The B1G. It gets slashed for a lot of legitimate reasons. But the class of its fans and media should never again be called into question (I'm not saying there won't be classless individual fans, everybody has em, lookin your way, Mr. Couch). However, at the end of a brutal intra-conference season, and with the absolute agreement that the Big Ten was the true home of powerhouses this year...you didn't hear the conference smugness that has so poisoned the SEC fan base! I certainly didn't. We heard fierce loyalty to one's own team, and fans in mostly good natured hatred for one other...and certainly a sense of conference pride, that goes without saying...but you know, we didn't exploit our pride and go out and prance around before the world and say, "Look at me! Look at me! I'm the Bee One Gee!" [although Gordon would certainly appreciate that chant]
The Big Ten fans were admirable this year in that regard. I applaud you.
The Players. The talent level in the Big Ten is amazingly stacked, and is the envy of the collective collegiate world. Several are very likely to be facing off in the Final Four. Yet the athletes themselves have mostly recognized and respected the abilities of their opponents, and this has created good matchups, entertaining storylines, and unrivaled competition. This creates better players. It helps recruiting. The best players always want to come and compete with the best players. The Big Ten reputation of strength isn't going anywhere soon. And I'm proud to say my Buckeyes always seem to be in the thick of it nowadays. It's fairly difficult to actually be a two sport Division I School, given the tiny list of schools that actually are. Might be a good discussion question, but I do know this.
Ohio State is increasingly exactly that.
The Haters. It seems that the "haters" have narrowed their focus down to one guy, really. Aaron Craft. This is not a defense of Aaron Craft. Others have done that marvelously on here already. But Aaron Craft is simply the convenient target...and the funny thing is that he is just the opposite of what some of the bozos want to portray him as...the Overachiever. And I do actually have a question for the framer of that "dig" on Craft. Since when is overachieving a bad thing, sir? Then I remember that Aaron Craft is the guy who had just LOST to Michigan, and the first thing he did was to hug Trey Burke, his M*chigan opponent! Aaron Craft is a man among boys in one more area. Character. The few guys who dig on him do it against a veritable onslaught of praise from the "outside the conference world". Some of these so called pundits with personal team loyalty they can't separate from their analysis of players on rival teams...are only punching holes in their own credibility bit by agonizing bit. I want to reach out to some of these guys and slap them (but not in a wanton violent way), just as I would a good friend, to wake him up out of his pseudo-fame induced delusion. But certainly, and rightfully so, Ohio State is a popular hate target within its own conference simply because of the years of consistent success in football. Simple as that. Simply no simpler. Sorry, Aaron. You just happened to be in the...uh...right place at the right time. Just think about the Book of Esther, Aaron..."For such a time as this..." Welcome to what you already know is the world of the Big Ten. Oh, and while I'm at it...Big Ten, welcome to the world of Aaron Craft.
Oh, sorry, I see you already know that world.
The Coming Maelstrom. The college football sports world will soon see a fiery tempest tear across the landscape. This particular storm had started the SEC Reign of Terror itself, only as a smaller overconfident "shit storm". The Tempest though, will end it. The last winged beast of the SEC will fail against its onslaught. It will be relentless. The Storm will be accused of grinding its foe into a place of humility...even shame. "Play your backups!" the pundits will plead. And it won't matter. The backups will proceed to carry the same fire of those before. And why will that be? It is because they have been allowed into The Chase.
Welcome to the 2013 season! Although operating with unknowns and young talent in key positions, these Buckeyes have been learning something increasingly rare in college team sports. Team. This group of guys is not going to wait for Braxton Miller to fully mature and return as a senior on Holly Four Barrels. This group of players has the gel, and the attitude, to put a Crystal Football beside a Cut Down Net from an NCAA Champion. Buckeye Nation...this is where we are. We are the Caesars of our conference world. And our eyes are on the larger prizes. We are moving ahead with the plan of world domination, not as a conference, but as a TEAM. Unless a horrible misalignment of the northern hemisphere of the star system were to happen...this Buckeye football team is going to break a lot of records, and turn a lot of heads. Or even turn a lot of records and break a lot of heads...again with the wanton violence. Pain is going to be a staple that opponents will be fed at the Buckeye Buffet. Pain, misery, and loss. Possibly as the year goes on, a degree of conference pride will arise in some of our opponent fan bases, as they grudgingly urge the Buckeyes on in the national championship to reclaim what they accuse us of losing in the first place (I maintain we lost it for us). And restoring "pride" is totally ok with me, as long as the renewed conference pride comes because Ohio State made it so.
And for those that value the concept of "conference pride"...they will feel better and stop kicking the dog as it was never the dog's fault. But for me, well...it will simply be a reason to beam a great smile of...yes, PRIDE...in the Ohio State Bucekeyes.
And yes, Iona will be singing more softly tonight than they had anticipated. I have spoken.
The Time Traveler