The confessional is open.
Every year, we like to give you the chance to confess your sins against our beloved Buckeyes while we do the same, providing a safe, healthy way to get these things off of our chests. Today is that day.
As always, we'll kick things off by confessing our own sins before turning it over to you all in the comments. Feel free to speak freely, regardless of your level of depravity. This is a safe space.
I'll start us off.
1. It's absolutely psychotic that people refuse to say the word "Michigan" and it's even more psychotic that it's been a tradition for like a 50 years. I used to think it was extreme passion that should be admired by all other fan bases, but the more I think about it, the more it feels tin-foil-hatty. The same goes for refusing to use the letter "M" during Michigan week, refusing to wear blue, etc. It's all crazy.
2. I haven't missed a home game in the past five years, but now that I'm graduated, I'm very excited to watch more games on television, and it's primarily because the gameday experience at Ohio Stadium is extremely bad. I don't know how to explain it other than that the atmosphere feels canned, forced and unnatural, as if Ohio State fan experience doesn't want to give control of the gameday experience over to the fans or just let people watch and enjoy the game. There are too many things designed for entertainment, too many advertisements, too much telling people when to cheer, too many obnoxious giveaways, too many on-the-field fan contests and too much piped in music when there's the Best Damn Band in the Land right there. It's as if they're trying too hard to sell a product (Ohio State football) that sells itself at this point. Just let me watch the damn game and don't try to control everything.
3. Sometimes, I kind of hate that Ohio State is so good at football. There's something so fun about being the underdog taking down Goliath, and as long as Urban Meyer is here, Ohio State will never be an underdog. The Buckeyes are Goliath. They're the perennial powerhouse everyone hates. Now, if this year's team blasts everyone on the schedule by 30 points, goes 15-0 and wins a national title, I'm certainly not going to complain. But I still don't think that would be anywhere near as enjoyable as what happened in 2002 or 2014.
1. Michigan 1991, Michigan 1993, Penn State 1994, Michigan 1995, Michigan 1996, Michigan 1997, MSU 1998, UCLA 2001, Wisconsin 2003, Northwestern 2004, Florida 2007, Wisconsin 2010, MSU 2013, MSU 2015. Those are the losses that took me weeks to get over. The others didn’t leave a scratch. I was over the Iowa loss last season while Antonio Williams was getting garbage time carries in it. The Clemson shutout, like halfway through the 3rd quarter. The entire 2011 season during the game at Miami, which made what happened in Lincoln that year almost entertaining. The giveaway in State College 2016 before Penn State finished returning the blocked field goal for a touchdown. For some reason, I’m either shattered or unaffected by losses and it’s hard to tell what it’s going to be until it happens.
But that list that begins with Desmond Howard throwing up the Heisman pose in the end zone? I was broken.
2. The NCAA chickened out with its handling of Ohio State’s second notice of allegations in 2011, the Bobby DiGeronimo stuff. It saw what it stepped in, quickly shut the book and slowly walked away whistling (after distracting everyone with a postseason ban) to end it, because had it followed that properly the wormhole would have led it to Madison, Ann Arbor and literally everywhere else - which would have been a problem for everyone else. The NCAA chose to keep it an Ohio State problem. It was cleaner that way. What’s going to be interesting is watching how it handles what’s starting to surface with college basketball recruiting.
3. One Ohio State football wish? Let Kevin Wilson and Ryan Day cook. Urban, enjoy the game more. Take your hand off the remote for a few drives. Those guys rule at what they do.
4. Next coach? Greg Schiano. No hesitation, no anxiety. Tennessee is so stupid it burns.
5. Dream writing assignment: Thad Matta’s tell-all.
1. I will bring this up every year we do this: The OH–IO greeting is still cringe-inducing. I love the passion of Ohio State fans, but you just know a fan somewhere has belted out an “OH!” at a funeral. The O–H–I–O stadium chant, however, is amazing. Hearing it in another team’s stadium is nothing short of incredible.
2. I’d rather go to a Blue Jackets game than an Ohio State football game at the Shoe. Buckeye football is an all-day affair, with random weather, narrow seats, and let’s be honest, too many commercial breaks. For Blue Jackets games, you can catch dinner in the Short North before the puck drops, you’re in and out in three hours, you sit in cushioned seats, in a beautiful, climate-controlled arena and you have a cupholder! I am getting old, but still!
3. Is it possible for Urban Meyer to have things going too well? I’m not asking for Cleveland Browns chaos, but Meyer has locked down the WHAC to the point that good, hard news and leaks are rare. This is great for Meyer and his operation is certainly rolling, but it almost feels too … sterile right now.
4. I love J.T. Barret and what he stood for. He’s an Ohio State legend. But at the same time, I’m excited to see Dwayne Haskins at quarterback this season. In other words, I think the passing game will be better.
5. A good 10% of Ohio State fans on Twitter should not have Twitter. Every fan base has its lunatics, but Ohio State’s is just so large—it makes Twitter awful sometimes.
1. I fell asleep during Ohio State games like three times last season, and to be honest: I don't feel bad about it. I only missed about a quarter or so, but I'm sorry, there's nothing that anyone can say or do to convince me that watching the Buckeyes beat Bowling Green by 67 freaking points over the course of three and a half unbelievably tedious hours is me living my best life. As much as I love football and Ohio State, most blowouts are grim as hell.
2. I've been through most of the Woody Hayes Athletic Center and honestly I'd give the whole thing a big ol' "meh." It's a great facility for its purposes, but there's nothing particularly amazing about it, especially when compared to Northwestern's waterfront practice field and whatever insanity they've got going on at Oregon. I'd like to see Ohio State do some creative things architecturally, and the WHAC could certainly benefit from some of that.
3. Finally, really high numbers on players is cool and good and funny and if I were a starting running back or quarterback or receiver, I'd go for like a 77 or 92 or 63 or whatever. Or, the ultimate cool number, double zeroes.
1. This may the film geek in me, but Ohio State is one of the more boring teams to watch. Other elite programs have at least one unit that pushes the envelope (I.e. Alabama’s defense, Oklahoma’s offense, everything Clemson does, etc...), yet OSU seems to be relying heavily on grinding opponents down with superior talent instead of scheming their way to wins. Is hiring an up and coming schemer over a recruiter too much to ask, Urban
2. The Ohio Stadium staff can do a heck of a lot more to make the game day experience more unique. While it’s great to honor other athletes during the multitude of TV timeouts, the atmosphere evaporates during those few minutes and are far more responsible for the underwhelming crowd than any noon kickoff time.
1. I hate myself for it but I kinda want Joe Burrow to have a mediocre season because of the fan segment that still hasn’t realized his last name doesn’t have an “s” on the end of it and are absolutely convinced he’s better than Haskins despite there being really no evidence to support the certainty. Bonus hate goes to the fans that thought Urban should’ve strung him along all summer.
1. I get that Tim Beck was a mediocre offensive coordinator, but I think we're at the point where any offensive inefficiency we see for the Buckeyes should fall on Urban Meyer. We, as fans, should acknowledge that and be critical of Meyer for it. We know the respective approaches for Ryan Day and Kevin Wilson and we know Urban Meyer's familiar crutches on offense. J.T. Barrett's graduation should, I hope, lead to more separation between the offense Ohio State should be running and the offense Ohio State runs when Urban Meyer gets fidgety.
2. I'm still of the mentality that Urban Meyer owes us at least two national championships for what happened in 2006. I'm getting impatient.
3. For the first time in my life since I enrolled at Ohio State in 2002, I didn't watch an Ohio State football game. That was last year's Michigan State game. That shouldn't be interpreted as me "giving up" on the team in the week after the Iowa loss. I had a set of errands to run that I promised my fiancée I'd do. That said, the Iowa loss may have made it easier for me to do it. And honestly? It felt nice. Liberating, even.
4. J.T. Barrett is the greatest quarterback in Ohio State football history and a failure to acknowledge that 1) is motivated reasoning about Barrett's overall career and 2) gives waaay too much credit to Ohio State's quarterback tradition before him. We have a lousy quarterback tradition at Ohio State.
5. I keep offering this confession every year, but the facade of amateurism is an impossibly bullshit way of skirting labor laws. There'll be a breaking point in my life time where college athletes balk at this exploitative practice. I would welcome that too. I wouldn't mind burning down the NCAA and college football as we know it in exchange for a more honest compensation for the labor the student athletes contribute to their respective universities.
6. I feel now is the right time to say it, but, were I Urban Meyer, I'd tell Zach Smith to start looking for jobs or get comfortable with a desk job that focuses on only the recruiting aspects of running a football program. Smith's continued presence as a wide receiver coach belies much of Meyer's claims to meritocracy for his assistants.
1. I almost walked out of Ohio Stadium when it looked like Purdue had the Buckeyes beat dead to rights in 2012. From our seats in B-Deck on the East side of the Shoe, it looked like Braxton Miller was decapitated, and backup Kenny Guiton hit the field with two sub-optimal drives, the second of which ended up with an illegal block in the endzone that spotted the Boilermakers two more points.
With 47 seconds left and trailing by 8 points, I had seen enough, and stood to leave. The Stunning Mrs. Vance, a West Virginia Mountaineer from birth, stopped me cold: “You’re not going to be one of those people, are you?” alluding not so subtly to the hordes of rats escaping the sinking ship. Cowed by my better half’s fan-shaming, I sat back down with a grumble.
And then… magic happened. Kenny Guiton became The Legend of Kenny G that day, orchestrating a 61-yard drive for the touchdown and the seemingly impossible two-point conversion to force overtime. The Buckeyes went on to win, 29-22, Guiton became the most-popular backup quarterback in recent memory, and I witnessed one of my Top 5 favorite sports experiences ever… and I almost missed the whole. damn. thing.
2. I silently judge people who make stupid puns like Meatchicken or Hairball about our rivals to the North and their quirky head coach, but I unabashedly use the phrase “That Team Up North” and its derivatives. To the point that once when writing a story for an ag trade journal that referenced the 26th state, I used the phrase “That State Up North,” and received a nasty email from the editor in response.
3. I’d go to more football games in person if sitting in C-Deck wasn’t such a pain in the ass. Literally and figuratively. My couch and high-def television are pretty great by comparison.
4. Seven Nation Army is good, actually.
5. I cringe every time the student section (or drunk alumni) append “rip his #*$&ing head off” after the kickoff O-H-I-O.
6. I have never been to an away game, football or basketball.
7. I don’t think I went to more than three home football games as an undergraduate.
8. I almost always get choked up singing Carmen Ohio in the stadium on game day. That and watching TBDBITL’s Ramp Entrance and Buckeye Battle Cry are half the reason I go to games at all (the joy of taking my daughter and my dad are the other half).
1. I hated J.T. Barrett from the first time I watched him. The read option- while effective- is one of the most boring plays in football, and frankly, Ohio State has run a boring, stagnant, annoying offense to watch ever since Barrett took over. I don't care how many awards he has won, I don't care if he's a "leader," I don't care that he never lost to Michigan. That's all well and good, but frankly, Ohio State won absolutely noting notable in the postseason with Barrett. The one important win, the Big Ten Championship against Wisconsin this past season, Barrett was terrible. He got a pass this year because of his incredible fourth quarter against Penn State. But he wasn't good enough to win a championship at Ohio State. Oh, and he got a DUI.
2. Morrill and Lincoln Towers are fantastic structures and should never ever be torn down for any reason. They are iconic at Ohio State and need to stay standing forever.
3. I wrote a 15-page research paper on why college athletes deserved to be paid and it was only after I wrote it (got an A!) that I realized I was completely wrong. If you don't want the time, don't do the crime. You don't have to play Division-I football while getting a free education and the many other perks that come with being a student-athlete, especially at Ohio State.
4. If I didn't get in to Ohio State, I was all set to go to Alabama. Oof.
5. The hate that some students have for the Ohio State administration is utterly ridiculous. At a school as large as Ohio State, some decisions aren't going to go your way. That's life. You all may bluff and say "I wouldn't have came here if they were tearing down 15th and High before I got here." That's bologna, and you know it. Sorry you lost your beloved bar. I PROMISE there are plenty more.