By Ramzy Nasrallah on September 13, 2023 at 1:15 pm
Sept. 9, 2023; Columbus, Oh., USA; Ohio State Buckeyes running back TreVeyon Henderson (32) celebrates a touchdown during the second half of Saturday's NCAA Division I football game agaisnt the Youngstown State Penguins at Ohio Stadium.
© Barbara J. Perenic/The Columbus Dispatch / USA TODAY NETWORK

The expression you're looking for is "piss and vinegar."

It's a metaphor, sports fan - there's nothing wet or pungent about the conspicuous vitality, exuberance, energy or healthy essence of hyperactive, degenerate passion required for not just defeating but humiliating inferior September opponents.

The Buckeyes have lacked both thus far in dispatching their two weakest opponents.

Envy for other piss and vinegar programs 1/6th of the way through the season is misplaced. Most teams don't obsess over Michigan or the College Football playoff during the 350 days of the year when they aren't suited up. They get amped for Louisiana-Monroes of the world.

No player on this roster came to Columbus to play Youngstown State or Indiana. That piss and vinegar you want is due, not overdue. This column isn't called Golden Shower.

Ohio State will face Western Kentucky as the sun sets Saturday on both the Horseshoe and Hilltoppers. It's the third of three games you won't be able to describe in any detail come November.

Relax. You cannot name the sacrificial lambs after Notre Dame or Oregon the past two seasons without looking them up. They're not memorable by design. Save your own piss and vinegar for things that deserve it. No, not the new clock rule.

The Penguins brought the play clock down to a couple of seconds all afternoon on Saturday before snapping the ball in an effort to shorten the game. Ohio State's defense simply failed to make plays that got them the ball back. It's Youngstown State's fault the Buckeye offense only got three 2nd half possessions.

Milking the play clock has consequences - The snap count loses its mystery. And yet the Buckeyes have a 5-star defensive end who is consistently the last guy on the field to get out of his stance after the ball is snapped.

No one in scarlet seemed aware of what that kind of consistent, predictable play clock behavior meant. When two seconds separate an offense from a delay of game penalty, danger comes quickly. Milking the play clock has consequences.

The snap count loses its mystery - and yet the Buckeyes still have a 5-star defensive end who is consistently the last guy on the field to get out of his stance after the ball is snapped.

It's fine, that guy gets himself blocked out of the play once he finally starts moving anyway. Not being cryptic - this is a plug for Kyle's Film Study tomorrow morning.

Whenever offenses run down the play clock like IU and Youngstown State did to shorten their punishments, the defense deals with a completely different kind of tempo. For a scheme consistently described as sophisticated, extra time to prepare for a snap is a gift. No excuse not to be ready for it.

That unit can't get off the field on 3rd down, and it has nothing to do with clock rules. College football has completed its transition from sport to television show. This sport you love is purely a vehicle for advertisers to reach you.

That means the goal for teams is to be more interesting than the commercials. Interesting would be defensive ends meeting at the quarterback, or forcing a fumble. Interesting is a corner picking off a pass more than once every 19 games.

And interesting is also having great receivers who can put on an air show. You don't need piss or vinegar for that - Marvin Harrison Jr. is one of the most chill Buckeyes to ever wear the helmet.

He gets these guys (you have to scroll down) next. Stop drooling, Marv. Let's get Situational!


just casually taking three touchdowns off the board
Saturday's officiating crew took Ohio State touchdowns off the board by both ignoring and manufacturing penalties.

Wise women and men know that you don't gripe about officiating when your team loses.

That's sour grapes. Huge loser aromas. You whine about the refs only after your team wins by four touchdowns. You invoke suspicious officiating theories following a game which was never intended to be competitive, except for the fans competing against wagering outcomes like point spread or over-under.

And that's what makes officials taking t h r e e OSU touchdowns off the board on Saturday with egregiously bad calls on worth discussing. Tinfoil hats off, let's get to the evidence.

The first instance came when Marvin Harrison Jr. was tackled on what would have been Devon Brown's first career touchdown pass. On the second, TreVeyon Henderson clearly crossed the plane with three officials in perfect position to signal touchdown.

Replay review prevailed. Grateful, as we've seen the booth get sideways before. Don't click on that.

And the third canceled touchdown came after Miyan Williams scored in the 4th quarter, but Chip Trayanum was flagged for holding while engaged in a straight-line conventional lead blocking technique. That's not holding. That's never holding. Newsflash - it wasn't holding.

If we didn't live in a sports ecosystem dominated by gambling, maybe you could chalk up what happened on Saturday to garden variety incompetence.

This crew wants us to believe Trayanum was holding but Harrison wasn't tackled. Same end zone for all three plays, which means the same three referees manufactured one penalty, ignored another and allowed a third touchdown to come off the board.

If we didn't live in a sports ecosystem dominated by gambling, maybe you could chalk up what happened on Saturday to garden variety incompetence. I've watched a few football games in my life. Never seen a team have three touchdowns canceled one crew on objectively wrong calls.

Yes, but Ohio State ended up scoring anyway after two of those bad calls buddy that's not the point, nor were those outcomes guaranteed. And these were just the ref-assisted foiled touchdown plays.

Ohio State's first 3-and-out happened after Emeka Egbuka was unable to corral a pass while wearing a YSU linebacker like a cape. Losing a bet is the minor point; the major one is we've seen the Buckeyes play at a championship level in two CFP games recently and still lose both of them - and not exclusively because of the officials, but because officiating and squandered chances combined left no margin for error.

They had plenty of margin on Saturday and expended some of it on bad calls of their own. The Buckeyes can't keep doing that - not with this schedule. But if officials take three Ohio State touchdowns off the board again in a game of consequence well, we'll all have to shelter in place until the earth cools again.


The Solo

CONTENT NOTE: This season Situational enthusiasts are controlling the Intermission jukebox, and as is the case in your local tavern - nobody knows who's choosing the songs. You have the right to get mad. If this goes off the rails, good.

The Oracle of Bacon is amazing - use it to connect any actor from any era to Kevin Bacon in fewer than six movies. Lucille Ball (born in 1911) and Timothée Chalamet (1995) both have a Bacon Number of Two. Science can't explain this, therefore an Oracle is required.

We need an Oracle for Ray Charles, because we can connect timeless church hymns like Amazing Grace to Gold Digger in like two and a half songs. You can get to a Ray Charles tune from just about any sound you've ever heard.

If you cannot grasp or appreciate why Charles was referred to as The Genius, play the video above and watch him queue up a pastiche of an American gospel hymn called It Must Be Jesus with a riff from 19th century Russian composer Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky. A deejay can't even do that with two turntables. Ray did it with one piano.

That pastiche is I Got a Woman, which contains a sax solo. Let's answer our two questions.

Is the sax player in this video actually playing the saxophone?

The unconquerable Fathead Newman on tenor saxophone. Bokeem Woodbine, whom you may recognize from a whole bunch of stuff played Fathead in the uneven Ray biopic which I've still watched at least a dozen times. If you'd like to try and bang out that solo yourself, it's on Youtube with sheet music training wheels.

But it's still really hard, and what brings it all together is equal parts composition with piss and vinegar. The latter is harder to pull off, but that's what made Fathead so good. Trying and failing to play a sax solo is still technically winning. VERDICT: Absolutely, yes.

Does this sax solo slap?

We need Oracle of Bacon programmers to build a Six Degrees of Ray Charles app and partner with 23 & Me to prove my hottest anthropological theory, which is that his 13 albums released between 1957 and 1963 were more responsible for the Baby Boom than World War II.

He fathered a dozen kids, but his records directly led to millions of pregnancies on every continent, and possibly a few distant planets. Don't prove me wrong, prove me right. Shout out to fertility wingman Fathead and his tenor sax. VERDICT: Slaps

hey kids looks what's back in stock in all sizes

The Bourbon

There is a bourbon for every situation. Sometimes the spirits and the events overlap, which means that where bourbon is concerned there can be more than one worthy choice.

Panty melter. You're welcome.
Texas Gold, from Whiskey Hollow: Rolled Tide.

Hold on, the Buckeyes are playing a program from Kentucky and yet there's GIF of a bourbon distilled in Texas here, like what the hell is going on?

What's going on is Texas...might be back.

And there's a relevant tie to your beloved team, as over the weekend former Ohio State backup Quinn Ewers became the first quarterback to beat Alabama in Tuscaloosa since former Ohio State backup Joe Burrow pulled it off on the same field.

That's a double-thumper. There's a bourbon for that.

The authentic "double thumper-distilled" handmade small batch Texas Gold from the Whiskey Hollow Distillery has a rum barrel finish which produces a brown butter bundt cake front end with a finish that reminded me of overly-ripe sugarplums.

Okay, I'll admit I haven't actually seen a sugarplum outside of The Night Before Christmas but I'm comfortable telling you what they taste like. I've seen Texas Gold retail for $150 so if you're prone to sticker shock, tread carefully.

That said, beating Bama in the South deserves a celebration, however predictable it might be. A backup Ohio State quarterback has done this every four years since 2015. Probably should have seen it coming.


WKU's Malachi Corley turns up field after making a catch at Auburn last season. © Jake Crandall / USA TODAY NETWORK

Ohio State's defense has been a keep everything in front of us unit, boring us to death en route to five points per game through two glorified scrimmages. That empty statistic is in jeopardy on Saturday.

Western Kentucky is going to whip the ball around the field, basically orchestrating something 180-degrees from whatever Indiana thought was a winning strategy on the opening Saturday. The Hilltoppers' talent resides somewhere between YSU's and IU's, with a couple of notable exceptions.

If the Silver Bullets are successful, this guy will be no better than the fourth-best receiver in the stadium.

The danger looming this weekend is something neither of the first two opponents imposed, and that is the optics of a visiting offense which overshadows Ohio State's on national television. This happened back in November courtesy of a Big Play Disease that we cannot comfortably say has been cured. We don't know that yet.

Another variable which needs to be addressed is the Buckeyes have not cleared 40 points yet through two games. If they go a third without doing so, it will be the first time that's happened since the middle of the 2018 season.

Which means three-in-a-row-under-40 has never happened under Ryan Day.

Before anyone panics, there's something to be said about not peaking in early September. The 1996 Buckeyes scored 70 and 72 points respectively in their first two games, paired with a defense far nastier than the current one.

And it lost to Michigan because it couldn't score a single touchdown. Ran out of piss and vinegar, among other November necessities. The Buckeyes scored nine points in that game.

Kyle McCord has an arm cannon, more than one NFL-caliber target at his disposal and no more anxiety about who his team's starting quarterback is. If both units just execute anywhere close to their potential, the Buckeyes should be cruising to South Bend with performance tailwinds, clearly ascending into form over their first three games.

Thanks for getting Situational today. Go Bucks. Beat Western Kentucky.

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