THE SITUATIONAL: Everything is Figureoutable

By Ramzy Nasrallah on October 4, 2023 at 1:15 pm
treveyon henderson jumping over a hilltopper

Nickname culture was the cell phone’s quiet casualty.

Today if you want to reach someone, you hit them up directly. Back in the landline era you were forced to call a whole damn house without having any idea who would pick it up.

As a kid, a parent answering forced a quick personality pivot from casual savage to church voice. And if you were brave enough to be calling a girl, an adult male's voice was puberty anxiety at its peak. Social scientists called this condition pubexiety. Or was it anxpube? It was neither.

They still can't decide what they should call it, which is ironic considering the lasting impact landlines had on nickname culture. I have friends who call me rahhhmz today because of how my dad would shout for me to pick up the house phone decades ago when they'd call. My buddy Craig was *falsetto voice* telephoooone crayyyyg because of his mom's magnificent declaration.

We called him Telephone for short. I still can't meet a Craig without hearing her awesome voice. And Chris will always be kreeeee-isss for the same awesome reason, different mom. If you never experienced landline roulette, you just don't know. Cell phones killed more than just phone etiquette.

Another bygone era is the fall Saturday morning prior to ESPN College Gameday. I used to flip through every single page of the print newspaper on the off-chance some editor might have accidentally placed some sports in the Metro section. We were starving, man.

in an effort to offset staleness, ESPN COLLEGE Gameday became one of the most unbearably corny programs on TELEVISION.

Prior to ESPN's eponymous show you went to games to get a piece of culture or you were left out.

Ratings success and lucrative partnerships morphed Gameday into a powerful news-shaper as well as de facto state television for the Southeastern Conference. But in an effort to offset staleness, Gameday became one of the most unbearably corny programs on TV.

I tuned in for the first time this season with the Buckeyes on a bye, only to see how it has fully-embraced Pat McAfee's unrelenting douche couture energy, with literally every other comment as a prelude to some manufactured condescending smackdown on...whatever, anything.

It's still better than combing the 1988 Dispatch Metro section for crumbs. I watched long enough to make sure the show's infatigable subtext engine was still humming: Which Business Conflict of Interest Will ESPN Dry-Hump Next Haha Just Kidding it's Alabama. There's comfort in reliability.

All products have lifecycles, which is why you don't own any landlines today. Someday we'll completely divest that show out of our Saturday routines too. Those house phones had their moments. Gameday did too. Its lost greatness is a quiet casualty of today's click culture.

Bye week's over. Get in, grab a hoodie - we've got eight Saturdays left. Let's get Situational!


Sep 23, 2023: TreVeyon Henderson scores a touchdown against Notre Dame in the 3rd quarter at Notre Dame Stadium.© Kyle Robertson/Columbus Dispatch / USA TODAY NETWORK

Ohio State's escape from South Bend was marvelous for the following selected reasons, in descending order: Buckeyes Won, Notre Dame Lost, Defense Might Just Be Good Enough, Kyle McCord Led a Joe Germaine-ish Rose Bowl Drive, Marvin "Daniel LaRusso" Harrison Jr. Came Back to Fight. There's a another big one which we'll get to it shortly.

And it has nothing to do with the Lou Holtz circus. Lurking beneath the surface of that win was the not-so-distant memory of the 2022 Buckeyes making it all the way to Halloween weekend without any adversity w h a t s o e v e r. They were untouchable into their bye week.

This bred false confidence at 6-0, at least among some fans. I mean look at this cocky idiot:

A thin and underperforming secondary doesn't concern me as much in 2022 as it would in just about every other year. And let's not diminish the back seven too much; the Buckeyes have the SP+ No.7 pass defense and No.11 passing down success rate.

It's not in complete disrepair. They're losing 50/50 balls and allowing some big plays.

Yeah, whew glad that didn't become an issue.

Peaking early while peeking ahead produced the clunkiest six-game stretch since the 2015 Buckeyes couldn't quite figure out what they were supposed to be. Last year's offense waited too long to move on from Jaxon Smith-Njigba. The defense feasted on some truly horrible offenses.

Superior opponents took notes. The Buckeyes got by on Signing Day superiority at the expense of strategy. An oddly scaled-down version of what CJ Stroud has always been capable of was all that was offered up, right until the Atlanta trip.

Ohio State kept the car idling too long, forfeiting any real urgency to improve while being seduced by comfortable wins and the 21st century belief that Michigan winning two in a row wasn't possible.

And that's the biggest benefit, the South Bend dividend. The Buckeyes did not contend with gale force winds or a plague of soft tissue injuries that might have led them to believe the full-strength version of themselves were their true form. They were bailed out by J.T. Tuimoloau in the 4th quarter, but not like last time.

Ohio State is forced to reckon with the fact that it's not good enough to win any championship in its current form after Notre Dame, which - great, they don't give those out in September anyway. Add this benefit to the case for scheduling non-conference bangers, especially with the 12-team playoff era up next.

Surviving a QB competition, navigating an asymmetrical schedule heavy on white jersey games and that dark alley moment in South Bend are all benefits which escaped the 2022 Buckeyes. That's early-season seasoning. Last year's team peaked early. This one is just getting started.


The Solo (Taylor's Version)

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.

As the #fatherofdaughters I consider myself an armchair Taylor Swift academic. That's a fancy way of saying her empire transfers alarming sums out of my bank account and into hers via the Ticketmaster cartel every time she goes on tour.

Despite her music echoing throughout my house and car for years, I was not familiar with this song. And friends, I will show some vulnerability and admit I was at a loss for how to dissect the solo in All Too Well does not contain a solo.

This is trap. A situational gotcha. A reader woke up feeling clever. All Too Well is an impassioned 10 minute-speech without any breaks whatsoever. I would make Fidel Castro joke here but I've seen what Swifties are capable of and they terrify me. Let's answer our two questions:

Is the soloist in this video actually playing the saxophone?

Wait a second, what saxophone - oh right this saxophone. Paint me into a corner at your peril. Karsten Belt has been taking songs that don't feature sax solos for years and heroically shoehorning them in with precision and grace.

Every good song deserves an even better sax solo. You're welcome, Taylor. VERDICT: Yes

Does this saxophone solo slap?

Let's redirect. All to Well is a banger with or without brass upgrades, since four billion Swifties cannot be wrong. Rolling Stone deemed this the 69th greatest song of all time in its most updated top 500 list. Maybe that's why this got submitted. Nicely played, reader.

Great song (Taylor's Version). Excellent sax solo (Karsten's Version). If you expected me to be critical you're blissfully unaware of the lurking danger when speaking truth to power. Castro's not dead, he just dyed his roots. 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.

This month marks the 140-year anniversary of the featherbone being patented. Don't ask, I'll tell you - women used to wear corsets. They were made from whalebone, which sounds stiff and unforgiving because it's whalebone. Some words just make sense.

Panty melter. You're welcome.
Featherbone from the Journeyman Distillery.

A guy named Ed Warren noticed turkey wing bones were strong and pliable, so he patented the featherbone, disrupting the whalebone-dominated corset industry with something equally controlling of women but far more comfortable for them.

I want to call this women's suffrage but I know that's not what that word means. And that's dumb. Suffrage sounds absolutely miserable, but it's actually a good thing because ancient Romans said so and we're huge cowards for not changing it after all these years.

Anyway - he created the Warren Featherbone Company and led it until his death. In life, Ed was an industrialist, renown inventor - and passionate supporter of Prohibition. He almost singlehandedly got his town to go dry, largely through his own affluence acquired through his burgeoning featherbone corset business.

And you've never heard of him until now, probably. Today, the building he once paced through overseeing featherbone production and hating booze is home to Featherbone Bourbon Whiskey, which is the tastiest grave desecration I've had in recent memory.

It's wheated with just the slightest bit of bite to it, with a mashbill running 75/20/5 corn/wheat/rye. Melt a Mliky Way in the microwave and then use the resulting goo to frost Rice Krispie treats. Extremely comfortable.

And available online. Suffrage for your empty rocks glass. That doesn't make any sense.


Maryland head coach Mike Locksley is doused in mayonnaise after the 2022 Duke's Mayo Bowl. ©Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

Maryland has beaten every team it's played going back to last year's Ohio State game.

That's a seven-game win streak for the reigning Duke's Mayo Bowl Champions, who have the rare opportunity to lose two straight to the same opponent with nothing but Ws in-between.

Well, not too rare - Maryland isn't even the only U of M in the Eastern Division recentlly involved in a relationship like this with Ohio State. That other one was inverted and terrible.

That said, Maryland joined conference play way back in 2014 (Cardale Jones, famous only for a bad tweet jumped over a guy!) and the Terps have still never beaten a ranked B1G opponent.

Last year in College Park the Buckeyes had to take the shrink wrap off Dallan Hayden in order to line up someone from that position group next to CJ Stroud in the backfield. It was a little stressful but the Buckeyes still won.

Counting Master Teague III, Marcus Crowley, TreVeyon Henderson, Miyan Williams, Evan Pryor and TC Caffey - all of whom either could have or did get carries in 2022 - Hayden was the seventh guy in that room, and he ran for 146 yards and three touchdowns at Maryland.

Eight games later, the field is in Columbus, the running backs are all healthy, Ohio State's defense is significantly improved and the late-season puckering is a distant, terrible memory. Some people think the 21 points the Terps are getting are too many. I'm not some people.

Unfortunately I've not only seen too many Ohio State-Maryland games, I've seen all of them. And they're the Buckeyes' most common Homecoming opponent since accepting B1G paychecks for a reason.

Thanks for getting Situational today. Go Bucks. Beat Maryland.

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