ESPN released their television schedule for the opening weekend, and the very first game was a punch to the gut.
Ohio State Buckeyes at the Indiana Hoosiers. Deep into another uneventful basketball season, I guess I missed the announcement back in December. I’d like to think I was hyper focused on the upcoming playoffs, but more likely I was defending the pick to anyone that would listen.
So why is this a punch in the gut? Like most red-blooded American fans, I don’t like change. Opening with a Big Ten opponent? That’s crazy talk. Indiana hasn’t exactly been a pushover in a lot of their recent games against the Bucks, and giving their players the added incentive of playing on national television, after an entire season to prepare, isn’t how I would draw up an ideal schedule.
For some sort of solace, I decided to check out Ohio State’s schedule throughout history, confident that if they ever have opened with a Big Ten opponent, it was ancient history. I was wrong. Well I was wrong depending on what you consider ancient history. In 1976, Ohio State opened up with Michigan State, and came away with a 28 point win. I was 2, so I believe I should be forgiven for not knowing that Ohio State didn’t always open their season with a non conference opponent. But this is the internet, and it’s brutal and unforgiving, and I expect no mercy.
It turns out that Ohio State opened up with a Big Ten opponent the previous 5 years, too. The 70s were crazy times, man! Prior to that, Ohio State opened with a non conference opponent, like a sane person, all the way back to 1954. Now this history I did know, well at least the most important part of the 1954 season. Ohio State was undefeated that year, and won the national championship. It’s such a relief knowing that Ohio State, Indiana, and the Big Ten decided to schedule this game so that Ohio State will win the national championship, and not for some other crazy reason.
All kidding aside, seeing that tweet made my mouth water for college football. It’s going to be another great season, and there are some great opening games. The last time Florida and Michigan tangled, Michigan demolished them. The time before, however, was a great game to end the 2007 season. I expect this one to be a similarly entertaining game. Virginia Tech and West Virginia should be an exciting game, and all eyes will be on Florida State and Bama when they play.