Let me start off by saying that this has been a difficult team to defend since 'the call' in the Miami National Championship game. At least for that game I could hand someone the DVD and say,"Watch it again. Miami held our receivers all night...just not so much on that play".
Then came the two National Championship losses, and the formation of SECPN:A multi-billion dollar company hellbent on the support of one football conference. The same company that ignored OSU on College Gameday for the last seven years (unless it was Mark May talking about OSU's inferiority to everything that is SEC football), is the same company on the receiving end of the biggest blogging/article-reading/responding/trolling/hourly-click-count/love-or-hate poster child that is THE Ohio State University.
Ohio State fans, who are actually about as knowledgeable a bunch of football fans as you will ever find, anticipated a fall-out from Tattoo-Gate, but I don't think any of us thought it was going to get this bad.
ESPN has taken their OSU blogosphere cash cow and ridden the beast into the hardpan . The network rarely talked about x's and o's with Ohio State(can't say I blame them). Outside the realm of calling football games, ESPN has zero interest in positive Ohio State coverage. Negative Ohio State coverage is positive for ESPN. Palmer and Pollack are not there to discuss The Big Ten. However, in terms of Internet coverage, Ohio State reigns supreme. ESPN loves Ohio State.
Every Ohio State article generates more hits and more responses than most SEC articles. The Ohio State fans are there to defend, and the SEC fans, now fueled even more from a bias supported by the largest college football media outlet, are there to troll and shell out a Steve Bartman-Chicago-like hate onto their scapegoat.
Only Ohio State is not nearly as innocent. That's what Ohio State is there for: they are there to reinforce SEC superiority and fuel the already overflowing wave of testosterone that has been pumped into the SEC fans' veins. The Buckeyes are there to help them forget their own transgressions and short-comings. Who cares about six-figure payouts and countless felony charges when some Ohio State guys got $200 checks and tattoos, right?
There is one reason why Ohio State's plethora of small handouts and free tattoos has been shoved in the front window of the showroom, and why Auburn, Boise, Miami, and USC's problems get shoved into the janitor's closet. That reason is money. For Auburn and Boise it's the smaller fanbases, and for Miami and USC it's their fair-weather/more willing to ignore situations and wait for the next 'great' team. For Ohio State it is different.
"The Nation," as it is known, is 10 million strong worldwide, and appears to be ready to defend their team 'til the end, or are they?
Now, I'm not gonna sit here and deflect for the next half-hour. These players have made some terrible decisions. It's sort of like robbing the same bank twice in the same week.
The University, Gene Smith, and Luke Fickell need to make some big decisions over the next couple of weeks; decisions that will inevitably have a resonating effect on the future of the program.
I do not think these possible moves could make or break this year's football team. The fact of the matter is that this season, and the football team, is already broken. It's time for damage control.
Buckeye fans have been on the front lines defending this team for long-time. If the administration, players, and coaches do not begin to show some accountability and responsibility for their actions, then they could lose the only thing they have left, the support of the fans.
The word accountability is derived from the Latin word for 'reckon' (putare). There may be a reckoning on the horizon. I have already talked with some of "The Nation," and it appears as if they are finally starting to grow tired of defending this football team.
One fan said before the season even started,"I don't think I'm going to even watch college football this year". He said,"It's all gotten to be too much. I'm just tired of all the hoopla and defending them (OSU)".
This is just one example, and it's not some fair-weather Ohio State fan. Those are the words of a third generation alumnus, season-ticket holder, and ardent (formerly) supporter of the program.