Look, I have probably started and deleted at least seven drafts this evening trying to come up with a good device on how to say nice things about the Ohio State Buckeyes (Sadly, I just counted, and I do indeed have seven drafts saved in a Google Doc that will soon be deleted because it annoys me). A lot of them have talked about the fact that Ohio State is the last B1G team to win a National Championship, a few of them say nice things about the program, and a smattering of them even said that the Buckeyes are going to be the next B1G team to win a championship.
The thing is, I hated every last one of those pieces. I'm not even sure why. Some of it probably has to do with the fact that I don't really know if I'm just hyping Ohio State going into 2013 because it feels right, or if I've been conditioned. Oh, and also I kind of hate Ohio State for the same reasons. Some of it is media hype and outrage, and some of it is because it is super easy to hate a school like Ohio State who has it as easy as anyone in the conference. Nonetheless, I promised the team that I would write something about Ohio State, so here goes another set of Jesse Bullets... Random thoughts, semi-coherent thoughts, and probably the influence of too much Cubs baseball. It's a cheap blogging device, but I have too many thoughts and no organization. You can argue with me all the same, right? Right.
- First off, I think that Ohio State is the best team in the Big Ten this year. They have not had this much hype since they won the National Championship back in 2002. In fact, I would venture to guess that they will be a Top 5 team in almost everybody's poll, and as the season progresses, and the wins inevitably pile up, they will become a media darling. For what it's worth, the attention will be mostly justified, so that's a plus.
- With that in mind, one of the reasons I feel like Ohio State is poised for something so good this season is that they are a media darling, as mentioned just a second ago. Even if it's bad press, it's press. I have been ridiculously impressed with how poised Urban Meyer has been so far this offseason. Is it polish? Charm? Smarminess? Probably a case of all of the above, but I still gotta give props where props are due, and he has taken advantage of negativity and tried to spin it positive. People will be talking OSU this year, and this little programming bump helps.
- Of course, having idiot kids being idiots, and potentially worse, doesn't help this cause of going for broke. Don't do something terrible, don't set yourself up for terrible things to happen, and remember that you do live in a fishbowl, so it's amplified. With that said, you cannot judge an entire team on a few incidents. Stupid kids are stupid. I have been fairly impressed by Braxton Miller not doing anything stupid, though. That should pay dividends this season.
- Well, so long as he remains not injured. I'm still hoping there is a Bauserman Jr. somewhere on the Ohio State roster that can show his face for all to enjoy. But seriously, I cannot root for Braxton to get hurt. He's a legitimate Heisman threat and entertaining to watch. Sure, he isn't a world-class pocket passer, but when he improvises, things get crazy. I really like crazy. Look for the aforementioned media craze to only intensify if Braxton puts up video game numbers at any point in time. The Game could have crazy significance this season as it gives a national stage for Miller to give Heisman voters a lasting impression.
- On that note, I am still rooting for the meteor that day.
- Okay, maybe not seriously. As a Nebraska fan, I'll be rooting for anyone playing Michigan, so there's a strong chance I'm hoping for a Buckeye win. On that note, the question all B1G fans will be asked to answer if Ohio State does make the title game, "Can you put away your OSU hatred to root for them for the good of the cause?" This is not a conference that prides itself on solidarity. Even as I was hoping for a B1G Bowl Sweep, and continued my never ending attempts at making #AllB1GEverything a thing on twitter, I realized there are still some strong hatred pools in this conference that will root against their rivals, even at the realities of the weakening of the overall brand.
- Which brings me to my biggest point of contention so far. Do I root for Ohio State this season, knowing they are the best chance of a B1G title, knowing that it will help the cause going into the CFP, knowing that it actually does lend credibility to my team despite my team not being there, and knowing that if they don't win the BCS game if they are there, that the jokes will make my team look awful? I can't answer that yet, but honestly, right now Ohio State is being painted as the B1G's last hope. I hate that. I don't know if I can agree with that. I'm realizing it's probably true.
- And so, after a week dedicated to the Buckeyes, a week where I've said nice things about them, and a week where I am trying to understand exactly how to put this team into its proper context, I find that I am no more sure of what to think than I was when I wasn't thinking. Confusing? Absolutely, but the fact that we're almost ready for the helmets to be crashing into each other means that the confusion will work its way out. Nothing wrong with that.