Hello Buckeye faithful, all of you in Ohio, around the world, incarcerated and institutionalized – I hope this column finds you better than expected. It's been awhile since my last contribution to Bucknuts, and not by coincidence, the site has grown in popularity by leaps and bounds. Where have I been? After seven years in a comfy desk job, where I could spend the entire day getting paid to be in Buckeye message boards and Web sites (like you are right now), I took a job that requires traveling every day. As a result, my contributions are fewer and much farther in-between, kind of like Beano Cooke, but with seven fewer chins and about 80 years younger.
So…have you watched the Buckeyes this year? Pretty lousy, eh? The other day I checked my Bucknuts email account for the first time in awhile and found that several of you had sent me messages; some from as far away as Nigeria looking to cut what sounds like yet another sweet money laundering deal. Many others were more hostile, and therein lies the purpose of this column: Sharing just some of your words with you…
Email #1 (cut/paste)
<<DUDE WTF IS UP? WE ARE SO BAD THIS YEAR. WHY DOES ROSS GO DOWN SO EASILY? HAVE YOU HEARD ANYTHING? I THOUGHT ZWIC WAS SUPPOSED TO BE GOOD, DIDN'T HE LEARN ANYTHING FROM KRENZEL?>>
This email demonstrates all of the Four Pillars of Email I Receive from many Bucknuts readers; (1) It assumes that I know something about the game of football, which is funny (2) It assumes that I have a pipeline of sources that provide me with good team gossip, which is also funny (3) It includes the obligatory misspelling of a football player's name, which I can definitely relate to (4) It makes a bizarre assumption, like that Zwick should be good because he played behind Krenzel. Who was OSU's quarterback after Joe Germaine? Oh, the same guy that came before Krenzel. Right.
To answer those questions publicly…despite what the Ohio Stadium billion dollar replay screen doesn't ever show you, you're right, the Buckeyes are definitely bad this year, for reasons that have been expressed in every other media outlet and message board repeatedly – can't throw, can't run, can't block, can't defend, can't control the ball, can't pass rush, can't outcoach anyone. But, BUT…they can kick the snot out of field goals. (1) Why does Ross go down so easily…I guess because he always has? It doesn't help matters when he meets his first tackler in the backfield either. (2) I have heard that eating too much cheese will back you up something fierce. (3,4) It looks like Zwick definitely learned one thing from Krenzel, and that is the worst possible thing you could ever do as quarterback is to make a mistake. It looks as though he focuses more on that than he does on trying to make a play. He has an awful offensive line and no running game, and the current offensive scheme is predicated on not having an awful offensive line and no running game. Damn it!
Email #2 (cut/paste)
<<Our O-line is TERRIBLE. Our running backs are TERRIBLE. Our playcalling is TERRIBLE. Will we EVER win ANOTHER game?>>
Yeah, PRETTY much. I'm NOT REALLY sure. NOT the way they HAVE been PLAYING. It shouldn't get much WORSE than THIS.
Email #3 (cut/paste)
<<Why isn't Troy Smith playing? This smells of Stanley Jackson/Joe Germain all over again.>>
The Four Pillars again, in all their glory, and in only two sentences – well played, lad, well played. I can actually answer this one. It's up to Jim Tressel. He is in charge of winning games. If he does that at an acceptable level, he gets to keep getting millions of dollars. If he does not, he meets the fate of every fired Ohio State head coach, which is never getting a good coaching job ever again.
Now seriously, this season has been awful – but some of the panic I've read is over the top. Does anyone really think that Ohio State is going to go down the same abysmal path of Notre Dame and Penn State? This is not a steady pattern of sucking and scapegoating. This is a terrible season that followed a 25-2 run with two BCS bowl wins. You can't be 25-2 every two years in college football without either cheating or playing in the Big East conference. Even a mediocre Big Ten, like this year's, is still pretty decent. Don't get me wrong – the sky has definitely fallen. When you lose to the purple ass crack of Big Ten football on national television, get rolled by Iowa's fifth-string running back, and are nervous about just beating Indiana, then your team is a complete abomination. Sometimes you have to be poor so that you can appreciate being rich again. This too shall pass; just not this year. This is why following all college football is much healthier than just following your favorite team.
Take care, and remember that there is no such thing as "never" in Ohio State football.
P.S. I am stocked up on toner, mortgages and Viagra for at least ten years. Thank you all for enriching my life.
Venting is always welcome at firstname.lastname@example.org