Referees make bad calls. Bounces go the other way. Other vague platitudes.
Northwestern was there. We were THERE.
Make every "LOL NO FANS" joke you want. Throw in a "Chicago's Big Ten Team" reference for funsies. I'm sure you could even find a way to mock Gameday, which Northwestern fans absolutely KILLED.
I don't like to wax poetic. Honestly. I got goosebumps tonight. I stopped, while Northwestern was winning, and looked around. Students were up on the benches screaming their heads off, casual fans were standing and cheering - shit, even the old alumni who can't be bothered to stand for something that's not the Star-Spangled Banner were out of their seats. It was, quite frankly, what real football is.
And that was real football.
Northwestern lost. There was a questionable spot on 4th-and-1, there were bad penalties. My phone's broken. We move on. We accept the result, analyze how we can fix it, and improve. We will be better for it.
I know that people here enjoy their Northwestern jokes. I know that Northwestern's not an established program. Hell, I know that in 5 years we could be 6-6 and barely making the Pizza Pizza Bowl.
But watching Ohio State fans and players react like they won the Super Bowl, watching Urban Meyer sprint down the field celebrating the victory...and then to read this:
"Very, very good players. Borderline great players," Meyer said. (via)
I shouldn't be mad. I really shouldn't. But I mean this, and I mean this from the bottom of my heart:
Get fucked, Ohio State. Get fucked, Urban Meyer.
Go ahead. Post a gif of Urban Meyer pointing at me. Post something, anything about LOL NORTHWESTERN. But that's a clown quote, and that's a clown reaction. Don't look down your nose at "football upstarts" like Northwestern, then act like Bret Favre just snapchatted you and dammit all if you're going to screenshot that shit ASAP.
But don't you dare tell me that beating Northwestern is not a real win, don't you dare call them "borderline great players", and don't you dare tell me that that team didn't go out and play out of their mind. Am I overreacting to his choice of words? Probably. But probably not. We went blow-for-blow with Ohio State, and damn if we didn't have the chance.
The blocked punt, the red zone mistakes...these things happened. No team is perfect. Ohio State turned the ball over a non-zero amount of times, too. We all do stuff that's a bad idea. Northwestern just had bad things happen at the wrong time. Carlos Hyde is a damn good football player. We knew that, and we couldn't stop him. We all do stuff that's a bad idea.
But NORTHWESTERN, you guys. Earnestly, when the student section gave the team a standing ovation as those heartbroken 18- to 22-year olds jogged off the field, I do not think I have been prouder to be an alumnus of such an institution. Those kids made the entire day - from 5am on the Lakefill to midnight at Ryan Field - a Homecoming that Northwestern University should be damn proud of. Not only were they there, but they killed it.
I stood, after the game, on the bleachers I'd been standing on. I had my hands on my hips. Neither I nor my stands-mate spoke or moved for 10 minutes. There's no reason that just happened, but it did. Life at Northwestern: pay $50K a year, get kicked in the nuts repeatedly. C'est la vie.
But this team is there. Northwestern is good, and Northwestern's not going anywhere.
But fuck all if this doesn't hurt worse than any other loss has ever hurt.