Despite the record-breaking hot temperatures outside our air conditioned cars, offices and living rooms, all over the country young men are gearing up for another college football season. Soon enough the leaves will be changing, the kiddies will be back in school and our Saturdays will be filled with football, friends, and heated debates over nachos and hot BBQ wings (my personal favorite). This year, The Ohio State Buckeyes are coming into the season ranked number two on both the USA Today poll and ESPN.com’s Power Rankings. And just like every season prior, there are a lot of non-believers in the Buckeye program, Terrell Pryor, as well as the Big Ten overall. They will have to prove themselves, despite winning the Rose Bowl last year (geesh!).
Last year, the Buckeyes won the Big Ten division with a 7-1 record, and I DO NOT want to talk about that one loss (I was at that Purdue game in West Lafayette, and I am still dazed and confused how they allowed the Boilermakers to embarrass them in my presence). They finished the 2009 season with a victory in the Rose Bowl, are returning this season with 25 seniors, and 18 juniors that includes a more experienced Terrelle Pryor. I do understand why people are not quick to openly support Pryor, he hasn’t proven to be the most reliable and accurate quarterback, but he has continued to learn and show improvement and that is really all any fan can ask for. Despite their winning record and their fearless coach Jim Tressel, they are coming into this season fighting to prove themselves, as they have so many seasons before.
The August 23rd ESPN magazine conducted a poll, and 38% of those people believed that Iowa would win the Big Ten this year. It is without question that the Hawkeyes proved themselves last year, tying Penn State with a 6-2 record in the conference, and they have an amazing talent in DE Adrian Clayborn, but I will wait until November 20 to determine whether or not they deserve to be ranked above Tressel’s 2010 team. Sometimes, coming in fighting is the best way to enter; you have something to prove. There are fans who don’t like reporters and commentators to pick their team to win, superstition I supposed, but year after year the Buckeyes silence all of their critics. The USA Today poll has them ranked number two overall (second to a heroic and deserving University of Alabama), so despite the ESPN poll taken in Iowa City, IA I am still going to round up all of my Iowa alumni friends to see how loud their voices are after the season gets started.
In a few short weeks, the iconic Shoe will welcome a new class of freshman (if they can get tickets), a well-polished and tuned marching band (The Best Damn Band In the Land), red and white painted students, and a football team with fire in their eyes. Oh yeah, there may also be a couple of folks in green cheering for Marshall. After I marched into the Purdue game with my head held high and chest puffed out, I will never again discredit any team coming into a game, but that doesn’t mean I can’t say ‘In my opinion, the Buckeyes will beat Marshall easily!’
So I would like all of my Buckeye fans to warm up their vocal chords, practice a few rounds of Hang on Sloopy, and get ready for another season of fantastic football….O-H-I-O!