16. best week of the year.

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If you grew up in Columbus, you understand the title of this post. And even if you’re not a native, you probably won’t be surprised to hear that things in my hometown kind of come to a halt for the next few days.

It’s Michigan Week.

During the 1990s — when the guy who led Ohio State’s football program wasn’t really sure what to make of this phenomenon — we kind of dreaded Michigan Week. There were too many times when we should have won the game. And there were too many of those when we appeared to be a step or two away from a national title, but gagged away that opportunity because we couldn’t beat Michigan.

Things are different now.

The new guy — who just coached his 100th game as the leader of the Buckeyes — does understand this week. He knows the history. He knows how important it is to the program, to Columbus, and to the rest of the state.

He gets it.

Unlike his predecessor, he doesn’t shy away from the challenge. He doesn’t try to downplay the importance. He never says “Well, it’s just another game.”

I’m betting he even knows about the parallel between this year’s game and what might be the biggest upset in the series’ history. And if he knows, the team will hear about it too.

I’ll tell you about that later this week. For now? Let’s start to get ready. Start thinking about being in the parking lot — early. Start thinking about the walk to the stadium. Start thinking about the special roar for Ramp Entrance, and the Tunnel of Pride, and Senior Day.

Start thinking about those ugly winged helmets on our field. Maize and blue on OUR FIELD. And start thinking about sending them back north. After a loss. Again.

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9 thoughts on “16. best week of the year.”

  1. on saturday, as we watched the illibuck game with a bunch of young buckeye fans at rhinos in d.c., ethel and i reflected on this season. i let her know that i have gone through this season disconnected and in a daze.

    i think i was finally feeling the hangover of the last 2 seasons and their unfortunate endings. while i embraced the hatred of a nation, i think it zapped my soul a bit. and, at some point, you have to give your soul its due.

    so i came into this season needing a spark of energy from the outside. early season redemption could have done it, but, alas, we were trampled by a trojan horse. (ethel knows that i think the trojan cheerleaders have the best outfits in college football. i’m not sure how the women look in the outfits, but i think those sweaters are quite nice.) after the breaking my copy of fleetwood mac’s “tusk”, i set my sights PoopSU.

    growing up on the Mon and as a pitt fan, i have always hated joe poop. giving my heart to O-H-I-O only helped fertilize that hatred. a win in that game would keep me happily regular for a year. but, alas, again, the game left me feeling soiled.

    so on saturday in rhinos with a bunch of young bucks singing “We don’t give a damn for the whole state…” i began to feel energized. i’m still relatively new to this buckeye thing, compared to many of you, but, at certain moments, i see that there really are 2 buckeye seasons every year.

    the games that have come before do matter, but this is different. those games sort of become 2 dimensional, they begin to fade. in this year of elections and in democratic political parlance, the last 11 games are delegates, but this game is a super delegate. in a year of economic woes, this game is recession proof.

    i wanted to beat florida, i wanted to beat lsu, i wanted to beat usc, we will crush psu (next year), but this week, i remain in the moment, those loses shrink and i start to feel the excitement that is typically only felt in one’s youth.

    and that is what is great about michigan week: you are young again. we are reborn for one week every november. you are young, so there are no failures in your past. you are young, so there is only excitement. everything is before you and dreams can still come true.

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  2. CB: Shhh.

    Fred: It’s been an odd year, yes, not helped by the fact that we’ve had a four-week tailgating layoff. I’m looking at it as a preview — Pryor’s still learning, and I think there’s a decent chance that Beanie might come back for his senior year. Some of the stuff has been baffling — the offensive line especially — but I think the team is just now getting close to a peak. I wish that had come earlier, but that’s how it goes — we can’t play for the national championship every year, right?

    Right?

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  3. Can’t. Hardly. Wait.

    I have to be at my in-laws’ that day for Thanksgiving. (sigh….) ‘Tis true what they say about in-laws.

    I will be Tivoing that one, so I can soak in every last grimace of disbelief that washes over Weasel Rodriguez’s face during the trouncing.

    Hey…the last time I had to do Thanksgiving at the in-laws’ during The Game, was 2001, and we all know how that turned out.

    Drink one for me!

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  4. Actually, CB, 2001 was the year of Jonathan Wells and three interceptions by Michael Doss.

    And the former tailback whose name shall not be uttered? He’s, uh, busy…

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