The season has been completed. Silence blankets the stadium like a thick layer of snow.
The bowls are over. They have been hashed and rehashed and beaten until the only folks who want to talk about it are close to crossing the line between fanatic and zealot.
The height of the recruiting season has passed, signing day has come and gone, and each coach waxed philosophical at just how pleased they are with the class they landed.
So now what?
What in the world is there to do to pass the time?
Fear not. After much thought and deep meditation, I have some suggestions.
The Top Ten things to do between now and the start of the 2003 College Football Season…
10. Take a vacation: Consider somewhere sunny. Somewhere by the ocean. How about Miami! Take plenty of suntan lotion and proper attire. No, not swimwear. You are not going to swim. Rather, find the campus of Miami University and walk across it in your national championship wardrobe. Wear a Brutus Buckeye head if you can scrounge one up, and be sure to take several Buckeye buddies. That way, you can stand in the main quad for the Hurricane student body and holler out OH! - IO! from opposite ends. One word of note: Make sure you purchase new Nike sneakers with excellent traction before you go. You might need them to outrun a few folks who are unfortunately not cultured enough to find the humor in your actions. If they overtake you, remind them of those catchy maxims your momma always taught you -- like, "Laughter is the best medicine," and "Laugh and the world laughs with you - cry and you cry alone." If that does not deter them, just remember that the swelling should go down soon, and you should be discharged from the hospital by the time the season starts...
9. Call up every Michigan fan you know at 6 AM and chat. Ask Michigan fans around you at work (or neighbors) when was the last time they lost two in a row to Ohio State. Point out in a very sympathetic voice there is always next year; if the slogan is good enough for Cubs fans, Michigan can use it as well. If you think they really need some encouragement, inquire when they claimed their last unshared national title. Remind them that Ohio State has the last two from the Big Ten Conference. Point out that the last time Michigan won a title without having to share it was when Truman was in the White House over 50 years ago. Michigan State, Ohio State, Minnesota, Penn State, Notre Dame and even Maryland and Brigham Young have all won consensus national titles since then but not Michigan. This is sure to help get their heart pumping and blood pressure up and at the ready. I am betting that it will make their day bright and cheerful, but if it does not - then it most certainly will brighten your morning.
8. Go over the roster for Ohio State incessantly. Sit down and figure out what the starting lineup will be in 2003, 2004, and even 2005. Jabber on to all your friends about how Ohio State looks loaded in 2006 with Boeckman at QB, Whitner at CB, and Jordan at WR. Ignore their stunned looks and motions of "this guy is not right in the head." Know in your own heart that you are a misunderstood visionary that the ignorant masses cannot hope to understand. Some day when you have successfully predicted the roster four years from now, these same people will come groveling back to you to beg for the pearls of Buckeye knowledge that drip off of your tongue.
7. E-mail Kellen Winslow at Fox Sports. Share your fond memories about the Ohio State victory over the Hurricanes. Yes, I am quite certain that his reaction would be indescribable. Knowing his love for the Buckeyes, his respect for Tressel, and his desire not to be a whiner or sore loser - he will probably embrace your e-mail and ask you to send a few more his direction. Expect him to begin by complimenting Jim Tressel's wardrobe and ask you your definition of pass interference. Just remind him that Tressel has already supplied that information to him, but that if he is a slow learner - you are sure that Fox Sports has a recording of the interview.
6. Feverishly search Buckeye message boards. Refresh the Bucknuts, BSB, and O-Zone forums at least once an hour to see if there is any breaking news for the Buckeyes. You never know when the NCAA might unexpectedly kick off the football season and start without you.
5. Spend yourself into bankruptcy buying all sorts of National Championship memorabilia. One never knows when they might need an extra 10 copies of the Columbus Dispatch front page. Buy as many OSU jackets, shirts, and hats as possible. Certain ones might keep you alive due to their unique designs in the case of an invasion. Just hold up the item, and it is certain to be so offensive and damaging to behold that you will be able to escape while the invaders clutch their eyes and howl in agony. Blankets, watches, license plate covers, Bumper Stickers, pictures, posters, umbrellas, clocks, books, footballs, magazines, commemorative tapes, etc., etc., etc. The list is endless. Just make sure to remind your wife and family that these are actually investments. There is no telling how much they might be worth in 100 years. Until then, they should stop complaining about having to sleep on the floor in the basement. It would be unreasonable to even consider storing all of those valuable items in the basement in the cold and damp where they might be ruined…
4. Get on top of that "Honey Do" list. While you are at it, change the carpets, paint the house, buy new drapes, and take the car down to the shop to have it touched up as well. Make sure that in every case, the color themes are appropriate. I.e., Scarlet with Gray trimming. If your wife dares to complain, just remind her that beggars cannot be choosers. She asked for you to paint. You painted. She wanted the car fixed. You had it fixed. She had talked about new carpet and drapes. You took action. In fact, she should be thanking you for not waiting but getting right on top of that and fulfilling her every wish. Then, ask her if she has any other chores she wants done. You might even consider volunteering to go shopping for her. Ask her if she would like a whole new color-coded wardrobe - with shoes - to match her house, drapes, carpet, and car. I am fairly certain that she will be stunned speechless and probably not ask you to do another thing for the next five years. Which is just as well because it will leave you free to watch more football come this fall.
3. Winter Conditioning, Spring Practice, Spring Game, and Summer drills… Though clearly these are not games, they can and do provide a certain level of diversion. For fans whose teams have done poorly in the regular season, these are intoxicating periods where optimism is as pervasive as that cheap perfume and layered makeup worn by the local floozies. Check the Internet, print publications, and attend in practices in person if given a chance. Make sure you do this religiously. Otherwise, you might just miss a tidbit juicier than an Omaha Steak. Correlate the information you gather. Draw up a chart of where each player has been tried by the coaching staff. Do projections of what position they will end up at and how much they will play this coming season. Like a 10 digit code, there are endless possibilities. You could work on this little project 9 months a year if you like…
2. Terry Tate Time - If you cannot go to the Horseshoe and enjoy a little testosterone laced mayhem vicariously, why not bring football to the office? Wait for that perfect moment and then be proactive. Pull a Terry Tate. You know Terry Tate - right? He is the faux linebacker in the Reebok commercials. Think about all the joy this will bring (at least to you). Picture laying into that little weasel that always has his nose lodged up your boss' rear end. See him flying through the air. Wait until he is there standing at the water cooler in front of the whole office… Now ATTACK! After dusting yourself off, quickly go back to your cubicle and put two tablets of Pepto Bismol in your mouth. Wait for the boss to call you into his office. When your boss threatens you with a pink slip after you lay into his favorite crony, jump on top of his desk and scream at the top of your lungs, "DON'T MAKE ME ANGRY! You won't like Terry Tate when he is angry…" Start rolling your eyes around in your head and drooling/foaming at the mouth a bit. Talk to yourself, mumble and growl, hit yourself in the head a couple of times, in your best Adam Sandler - make Waterboy sounds, and slowly approach your boss with a crazed look in your eye. Ask him in a quiet voice if that blue blazer means he is a Michigan Man. Cock your neck at an odd angle and whisper, "I hate Michigan. Maize and Blue drives me crazy. Do you know what I do when I get crazy?" I am sure an equitable solution will be found (probably one where you get a temporary raise), and you can go back out into the hallway and play Terry Tate again (at least until the men in white suits show up).
1. Watch the Fiesta Bowl at least once every two weeks until the picture is fuzzy and the tape is worn out. Revel in the game. Enjoy the commentators bumbling over names. Listen to the media hype and gushing over the Hurricanes. Watch as the "slow" Miami defensive back has to try and catch up to Chris Gamble. Tell Craig not to throw on first and goal, and warn him that Taylor will to try and intercept the ball. If that does not help, then immediately holler for Clarett to steal the football back from an unsuspecting Taylor. Pop a couple of antacids when OSU reaches the critical 4th and 14. Giggle like a school-girl as Dan Fouts self-righteously proclaims, "Bad call… BAD CALL" in the first overtime. Know that not only was it a good call but that Ohio State wins the game. Stand and scream Ciiiiieee as Grant comes off the corner to toss Dorsey to the ground like some cheap rag doll. Burst with pride when Anderson shows incredible class by going over to Dorsey to console him after the game.
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