Defending the Indefensible: Snow is Good for Ohio State's Recruiting

By Nicholas Jervey on February 22, 2015 at 7:15 am
Snow is a quality brand.

This is not a comfortable time to live in the Midwest. Ohio, like much of the Eastern United States, is supposed to get 6-10 inches of snow over this weekend alone. Unless we can build an enormous space heater to raise the temperature above freezing and melt all the snow in the city, we're going to be stuck with sludge for the next couple of months.

If you listen to recruiters at some SEC schools, you might believe this is not a fun time to be in Columbus. Unlike those quitters in Ithaca, New York, though, we Columbusites won't concede defeat to winter so easily. Anything can be spun into a positive; even this stupid, awful snowfall can be spun as a positive for Ohio State's recruiting.


The best atmosphere for college football is in cool weather, and it's hard to get much colder than a heavy blanket of snow.

One of Ohio State's most memorable games, the 1950 game against Michigan, is so well-known that it has its own name (the Snow Bowl) and Wikipedia article. You won't just play in frigid conditions in Columbus; the Ohio State-Minnesota game in Minneapolis last November had the coldest temperatures for a Buckeye game in 50 years. It wasn't a half-bad game, either.

At this point, you may be wondering if playing in the snow is fun at all. The answer is a resounding YES. The visuals of college football games are grand as is, but add some falling snow and the games are even prettier. No wonder Nike made Ohio Stadium the focus of a winter-themed ad a couple years ago.


It's not just the aesthetics that make snowy games worthwhile. It's how the weather conditions make a team tougher.

In the Midwest, we like to complain about bowl games being in the south because of things like "homefield advantage" and "regional bias" and "halfway-decent playing conditions". We ache for postseason games at home, because then we could show those teams down south what we not-so-secretly wish were true: they won't come North because they're afraid of the cold.

That regional chauvinism can lead to some funny results. Kerry Coombs will make you suffer in practice all season, but on snowy gamedays, you will get to watch him pretend nothing is wrong as he suffers in short sleeves. Ditto for offensive linemen, who go bare-armed for solidarity.

The ability of men to tell themselves they're not really cold is incredible. Experience a winter up here, and you'll start to believe it too.


If you choose to play ball in Columbus, you'll get to experience a joy that only comes once a few dozen times each winter: shoveling snow. Snow gets on everything, you see: sidewalks, driveways, cars, clothing, shoes, and so on.

But worry not! When you have to shovel snow (and believe me, you will), you'll get to spend a minimum of 15-30 minutes moving lots of white stuff a short distance away. Your shoulder muscles will get a full workout, and if you have to scrape your car then so will your triceps. Did you strain your back tossing snow, like most careless shovelers do? Are your knees sore from lifting and pivoting? That's called "feeling the burn".

After 45 minutes of hard work digging out your car to go to the Woody Hayes Athletic Center to work out, you'll be all warmed up. In fact, you'll realize that all the effort to get ready to leave was your real workout. Now you can skip that voluntary workout! Just don't let strength coach Anthony Schlegel find out, or he will hunt you down and give you a Rock Bottom.


Here's one of the worst-kept secrets about Ohioans: we are awful drivers. Even in good road conditions, we love to speed, tailgate and change lanes without signalling. Route 315 is a war zone during rush hour, and let's not even get started on how we handle the intersections of I-71/I-70/the 270 Outerbelt.

Well, guess what? Being blindsided by some idiot without doing anything wrong is great training for the football field. When you're surprised by a running back screen or a sudden turnover or a blocked kick and you get earholed, you won't know who just hit you or from where. Better to learn to keep your head on a swivel sooner than later.

Ezekiel Elliott and Darron Lee may bring the boom in practice, but I guarantee they can't generate as much force as a a Ford Explorer or a Lincoln Navigator. Once you take a hit from an Audi Q5, that Penn State linebacker won't seem so tough.


If none of the above arguments convinced you to come to Columbus, then it's time to break out the big gun: Calvin's Dad.

Calvin and Hobbes, written by Ohioan Bill Watterson, is one of the greatest comic strips of all time. Some critics may argue it's because of the sublime philosophical themes and the intricate blending of everyday life and the absurd, but I think it's mostly because of Calvin's Dad.

Calvin's Dad is no-nonsense with his son (except when he's purveying fantastic Dad Lies like the world being in black and white until the 1930s or wind being caused by trees sneezing). Whenever Calvin would complain about doing something unpleasant like shoveling the driveway, Calvin's Dad would have the same response: work through it and become a better person for it.

Calvin would rebel by building armies of snowmen or swiping his dad's glasses and imitating him: "Calvin, go do something you hate! Being miserable builds character!" Well, sarcastic or not, Calvin's Dad was right.

We're sorry about all the snow, southern recruits. Odds are you South Beach guys haven't so much as caught a snowflake on your tongue, and now you're looking at a future with months of white stuff at a time. But dangit, misery builds character. Suffer through snow now, become a national champion later.

That is, if you don't freeze to death first. We're still working on that space heater.

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