It's Iowa week on the OTE. In the past few years, that would have meant a busy week writing about the Hawkeyes for me. I'm not writing anything about the team this week. This is actually my last post as an active member of the staff. After four football seasons and almost four years, I'm saying good bye. But before I do, I wanted to take a couple of minutes to think back on some of the fun and give some thanks.
It's funny, whether it's been Penn State fans, Michigan State fans, or some other group upset with my writing, the easy throw-away line always was that I "didn't know anything about college football." The irony here, of course, is that
my real name is Ron Zook, my real name is Tim Brewster, my real name is Pat Fitzgerald I actually was brought onto this staff because I knew more about college football than Jon and Graham - for one week at least. After winning the old predictions contest and penning a column, the two asked me to write for the site. Flattered, I did. Ever since then, it's been a blast.
I wrote some columns that I'm proud of. Plow Horses (and it's follow up Prove It All Night about 2009 Penn State). Because the Night (about the Orange Bowl). You'll Be Coming Down (it still hurts to remember the post script). Two for the Road (comparing Kirk and Hayden). The Decade Summary. I wrote some others that...well, they had to be written and they got done. I really enjoyed publishing my bowl projections. You see, before I ever wrote for this site, it was something that I'd do in my head as I went on my Sunday morning long run. When it was later in the season, I'd start writing out all of the bowls. I didn't start doing projections for the site. I started publishing my projections on the site. I never thought that they were one of the important things on OTE in terms of content, but they brought readers. And if readers came and read other articles, we could build up this community. And build we did. I remember being so excited the first time that we got 1,000 hits in a day. The first time that we were linked to on CBS. I was so proud of the coverage we had during expansion. During Jim Tressel's downfall.
Of all the things that I did, this letter seemed to connect with the most people. I knew that I wasn't alone in these feelings when I was sent it by a friend who didn't know that it was my writing. At the time, it got more hits, tweets, and likes than anything that we'd ever posted (numbers that were later blown away by Jon's incredible piece on PSU post-Paterno).
He'll be back home in Iowa City before it's October.
So now it's goodbye. It's not because of any reason other than time. I've given as much as I could (and given is the right word - this staff does it for love and literally no money), and I have less of it available. Plus, for four seasons, I've been able to publish my thoughts. I know that somewhere there is a more talented Hawkeye writer who deserves a chance to publish hers (or his as it may be). I have no doubt that the OTE will be looking for someone very soon. Show off your brilliance to Jon and Graham, and you may well get a shot.
Thank you to each of you who took a couple of minutes to read the thoughts that I spilled on the screen. It truly has been my pleasure. Thank you, Jon and Graham. You opened up your Rivalry and never made me feel like I was anything less than a full member. You both have done amazing work. It has been a privilege to write for you. Thank you to Ted, Hilary, and the other OTE writers. I've read every word that you've written here. That's not going to change. I'm excited to see what you teach me next. Thank you to Pat, Adam, Ross and the rest of the cast at Black Heart Gold Pants. After reading your work (from the days of Compulsion) I knew that I could never be a funny Hawkeye writer. I knew that I had to try something else. This was the best that I could do.