Saturday saw the beginning of the Urban Meyer era at THE Ohio State University. A slow start was followed by several exciting scores (if you’re a Buckeye fan, that is). Without looking at the archives of the 2010-2011 season, I can’t say with certainty that the Buckeyes scored 56 points in their first 4 games combined last year (they must have, but the fact that I’m not certain should tell you something about my recollection of last year’s offensive prowess). All in all, it was an exciting game to watch as a Buckeye fan. Braxton Miller (whom my wife calls “B” like they’re BFFs) set a single-game rushing yardage record for an OSU quarterback. Devin Smith had what LeBron James tweeted was the catch of the year (The King may be right), and the oft-maligned Travis Howard had two interceptions.
So why have I recounted all this for you, my captivated reader? Because at Ohio State, football matters. An ESPN Sports Poll in 2011 revealed that the Buckeyes are the most popular football team in the country (follow link, scroll down to last paragraph of the story). That, plus the football program brings in about $35 to $45 million in profit, some of which goes right back to the University’s general fund. None of that even takes into account the economic benefit conferred upon the city of Columbus by 100,000+ people huddled into The ‘Shoe and countless (OK, they’re probably countable) others who come out of their hovels to simply be near the action.
But I digress… I don’t really, deep down in my soul, care as much about any of that financial/economic benefit mumbo jumbo as I care about the football games themselves. I grew up in the suburbs of Columbus, less than 20 miles from Ohio Stadium. Buckeye football is on Saturdays… Church is on Sundays. Let’s just say… I’m a fan.
Some of you may be unfamiliar with Ohio State football, college football, or even American football altogether. If you’re thinking of visiting campus this fall, I encourage you to schedule your trip to coincide with a home football weekend (assuming you can get a hotel room). If nothing else, please make a point of walking by the stadium just to bask in its glory (ok, I’ll stop gushing now). And if you’re like some of my classmates of international origin and have some questions about American football, just ask. People who love football love to talk about football.
GO BUCKS! Here’s another picture of my rascally animal from his youth…