So… what now?
We’re not going to win a National Championship. It would take a minor miracle to win a Big Ten Championship.
At this point, a .500 season and a potential bowl berth are more than up in the air. Our players get in trouble more than Dennis the Menace and the Problem Child combined. We can hardly turn the television on without seeing something new or old that makes us cringe.
Seriously, how embarrassing is it to continually defend your beliefs and continually be proven wrong? I know I don’t need to tell you. If you are reading this, you already know. We kinda stink.
Now, first off, I want everyone to know that receiving illegal benefits is most definitely not a team-wide epidemic. I know for a fact that I can speak for most of the team when I say this.
I had never heard the names Edward Rife, Dennis Talbot, or Bobby DeGeronimo before all of this funny business. I hear you, people saying that little known walk-on punters get less perks than the stars showing up on ESPN every week, but I think that this helps prove my point.
Not once did any of this come up in locker room banter, nor did I ever hear anything about it in any casual conversation. With all the down time we spent together, believe me when I say there was a lot of casual conversation.
I don’t want you to confuse my lack of knowledge about the illicit activities of my former teammates with naiveté. I know things happen. I know guys who didn’t have jobs came in with shiny things that I could not afford, but forgive me for giving my friends the benefit of the doubt.
With all do respect to the Blue Jackets, Crew, and Clippers, the Ohio State Buckeyes are Columbus’ most popular professional team. I would bet my meager life’s savings that far more Columbus residents would choose a dinner with their favorite Buckeye over anything with Rick Nash. Some of you reading this just had to Google Rick Nash. Point proven.
Except that taking your favorite Buckeye to dinner is against the rules and the Buckeyes are not a professional team. The players know it, and the boosters know it too. However, it has been overlooked for so long in major college cultures that knowing the rules and following the rules are two completely separate entities.
So again, I pose the question: What now?
It is hard to say. Many of you have been through the good times and the bad. Many of you were there when Woody threw the punch and transition suddenly became a very real proposition.
But for a generation of Buckeye fans, this is unchartered territory. As was pointed out to me on Twitter, there are 2nd graders out there who have never seen an Ohio State loss to Michigan. This is culture shock to them. This is culture shock to me.
My suggestion is a change of mindset. What if for one year, we weren’t the big kid on the block? What if, for one year, we were the talented young team who was a year away? What if, for one year, we were the ones who ruined other teams’ run to the Rose Bowl and/or National Championship?
We are not going to get this chance very often. Like it or not, The Ohio State Buckeyes are a perennial powerhouse, and the word “rebuilding” is considered blasphemy in these parts.
So, to all those out there who like to root for the upset, enjoy it. This is a part-time gig. We will be back on top soon, but we simply are not right now. Whine, bitch, moan all you want. It’s going to take a second to get back to where we want to be, so let’s try to have as much fun with this dose of humility as much as we can.
Cheer your butts off for these boys. Celebrate each win rather than taking them for granted. Be the 12th man this team desperately needs. I mean, what other choice do we have?