Sugar Bowl 2011: An Open Letter to Eleven Warriors and Its Readers

The_Lurker's picture
January 4, 2011 at 11:32a
8 Comments

I cannot do this alone. I need all of you to be my support group today, because although I've been doing ok for five weeks, today I'm a nervous wreck.

Today is the day our beloved Buckeyes are taking on an SEC team in a bowl game for the 10th time. You would think the law of averages would have already provided us ONE stinkin' win in the first nine tries. True, some of those Buckeye teams weren't very good. Four of those teams had at least four losses, while only the 2000 Gamecocks had as many as four. None of those nine came against a team with more losses than Ohio State at the end of the season and the Buckeyes had more losses in each instance except three times, when the teams had the same number of losses (not that anyone ever talks about that).  All but one of those nine losses came in the SEC's back yard, with the other coming in the desert on a night when I'd rather pretend everything that happened after the opening kickoff didn't happen at all. But the law of averages has treated us like The Sisters treated Andy Dufresne in The Shawshank Redemption. But I digress.

It's not that I'm not optimistic about tonight's game. I think this is the best matchup we've had against the SEC in awhile. I think we have a pretty talented offensive group that has proven it can win games in a variety of ways - power running, big plays, dink-and-dunk, TP scrambling every other down, you name it. I like our defense, even though they occasionally make my aorta want to explode with their lack of a killer finish by the D line on third down (the last Iowa series is the first time I can remember a clutch sack all year).  Devon Torrence made me throw up in my mouth a little in the first half against Penn State, but aside from that they've been pretty good. If I had to put a percentage on it, I'd say tonight's game is pretty close to 50/50, with the team committing the fewest turnovers being the likely winner.

So what exactly has me wanting to chug Maalox? It's this damn national perception thing, I think. It's just the intense NEED to have ESPN and the rest of the media sheep SHUT THE HELL UP about Ohio State's SEC bowl record, the Big Ten's struggles and above all, the entire stupid lack-of-speed argument. Just once, I want to watch Mark May choke on his tongue, talking about how Ohio State came out and took care of business and that our opponents couldn't match up against US. I guess I'm just craving an end to the complete lack of respect that we and our conference have sustained for the last...I don't know, 8-10 years or so. Some of it is no doubt deserved (Leaders and Legends, anyone?), but a lot of it is unjust and I'm filled with butterflies just thinking about how tonight could be the night we turn it around. But we said that back in 2007 before the LSU game, too.

There's another thing, too. Remember Neutron Man, the dancing fat guy who would shake it when the OSU Marching Band played "Neutron Dance" in the Horseshoe? He's no longer with us. Neutron Man died without having seen his beloved Buckeyes defeat an SEC team in a bowl game. I'm 44 years old and I do not want to be like Neutron Man.

I know that these are my own personal neuroses and that it's only a f#$%ing football game. I know I shouldn't allow it to affect me like this and that I shouldn't care what ESPN or anyone else thinks. I don't know if any of my fellow Buckeye fans out there are feeling quite as nuts or as nervous about the whole thing as I am. But, if you're out there, I need your support. We're all in this together. Aren't we? Or am I alone in this anxiety-filled purgatory?

What say you?

Thanks for listening.

Comments

O-H Kee Pa's picture

I feel like I'm going to puke. I'm with you, man.

rider1's picture

The Big Ten's reputation is trashed already. It's a bowl game that is NOT the National Championship. What have we got to be nervous about? If we win, great..the B10 still sucks and is overrated. If we lose, the hater's will still be haters. Let's enjoy tonight's game. Arkansas does not have the defense that Fl, LSU, or TX had when we played them. Let's not settle for field goals and let's play aggressively on both sides of the ball! Go Bucks!!! 

Estrada's picture

I'm with you brother, you've voiced so much of what has been spinning through my mind about this game.  I've worried myself into a goddamned headache. 

tampa buckeye's picture

Didn't bother reading that book you wrote.  Grow some balls though.  Go Bucks

Colin's picture

Grow some balls I'm f*ckin Kenny Powers!

NW Buckeye's picture

Mark May will continue to dis the Buckeyes at every opportunity.  After last year's Rose Bowl he made no apologies for his stance on the Buckeyes.  He just believed that they got lucky in the game.  As for the match up with the SEC, the real story is about individual game match ups.  Some are more favorable than others, some are even.  The bottom line is that when we have played the SEC in bowl games it is always a home game for the SEC and an away game for us - one advantage for the SEC teams.  Another is that usually (not always) bowl match ups against the SEC usually match a higher ranked SEC team against the Big 10 opponent.  The Big 10 puts lots of value on getting the best payday for bowl games, not the best match ups.  Another advantage for the SEC. 

Last year's success against the SEC by the Big 10 had more to do with weather than anything else.  It was probably the closest we will ever see to an even playing field for SEC bowl games (the weather canceling out the home field advantage).  But, there still have been other times when selected Big 10 teams have fared well against the SEC in bowl games, it's just that OSU has not been one of them.

The current bowl losing streak against the SEC is indeed frustrating, but it is not as bad as the ESPN jockeys make it out to be, and not as frivolous as some posters make it out to be.  I just keep going back to the domination by Michigan over OSU in the 90's.  We all thought that monkey would never get off our back.  Now the UM faithful feel the same way.  Your statement about the law of averages is amusing, but again, it is all about match ups. 

That said, I don't really have a feel for this match up.  I know a lot about the Buckeyes, but must profess not knowing that much about Ark.  The match up looks good, but you really never know until you step on the field.  Not trying to be wishy washy here, just the way it is.  I am confident that the Buckeyes should play to their capabilities, and if they play beyond, they will come out on top.  Will be interesting to say the least.  And, yes, I really want this f'ing monkey to disappear from all of our backs. 

Go Bucks, Beat the Hogs!

NW Buckeye's picture

Looks like it was an OK match up for the Buckeyes.  Definately home field advantage for the Hogs, but some how Tressel ball found a way to prevail.  Will make the off season a little easier. 

The_Lurker's picture

You know, I was really ok once the game finally started. And of course that first half helped me to relax, before Tress put away his toys and tried to clock the game with 30 minutes to go. Very tired today, but feeling great.