Look, Land-Grant holy Land is a college sports blog. So, especially during this time of year, we celebrate all things about the college game (except for the exploitation of unpaid, largely voice-less athletes) that makes it so much more enjoyable to watch than the joyless, sanitized version of football played on Sundays.
Over the past few years, one of the things that has made the college game a bit more fun— if not nutty— is the rise in popularity of turnover props. Whether it is the now famous Kennesaw State turnover plank (aptly named Plank); or The U’s turnover chain; Oregon State’s turnover chainsaw; or Florida State’s incredibly nerdy turnover backpack, these silly props bring a bit of celebration and personality to a sport that otherwise has systematically attempted to strip the players of anything approaching individuality for years.
However, that specific brand of joy hasn’t yet found its way to Columbus. Now, I know what you might be thinking, “We’re Ohio State, we are one of college football’s blue blood programs. We don’t participate in stupid stunts like that.”
To that, I say, I hear you, and remember that Ohio State is the program that had a moonwalking Michael Jackson made up of over 200 band members entertain over 100,00 fans at halftime of a game just a few years ago.
If the band doing cool stuff at halftime doesn’t prove to you that it’s ok for the Buckeyes to get into the spirit and adopt a turnover prop, then think about it this way. You know how everyone from TTUN, with their “Michigan Man” superiority, thinks that they are better than everyone else? Well, one of the things that the high and mighty team from Ann Arbor refuses to do to assimilate with the plebeians of the college football world is have a mascot.
Seriously, Michigan is too good to have a mascot. A mascot! Who doesn’t love a mascot? And while turning your nose up at a turnover prop is not the same as refusing to have an anthropomorphized wolverine running around the sideline, as a proud Ohio State alum, I’d prefer not to even entertain the idea of doing something that would put our beloved program in the same snooty discussion as our rivals.
So, with that in mind, I have three modest proposals for props that Urban Meyer’s team could celebrate with after a takeaway.
The Turnover Turnover
This one is near and dear to my heart. When I turned 16, I got my very first job working the drive-thru at the Arby’s in Pickerington. This was in the days when the 5 for $5 wasn’t some long-ago special, it was just the normal price for roast beef sandwiches. This was also long before they went and got all of those exotic Ruebens, gyros, and brisket. Back then, Arby’s was all about roast beef, and they weren’t ashamed of that fact.
Anyway, one of the things that we were taught to say at the end of every order was, “Would you like an apple or cherry turnover with your order today?” Most of the time, people would just say “No”— annoyed that I was trying to up-sell them in an Arby’s, as if the experience wasn’t bad enough already— and pull up to the window.
But, what the customers didn’t know was that the only times that I would ever actually ask that annoying question was when we were being incentivized to sell those turnovers. Often, at the end of a shift, whoever sold the most turnovers would get a free Jamocha shake or curly fry or something like that. I hated up-selling, but I was competitive, and even though I hated Jamocha shakes and curly fries, I wanted to win.
So, for me, a turnover has always been seen as a reward. And think about the possibilities, we could have a cherry turnover be for a fumble recovery, and an apple be for an interception; or vice versa, I’m flexible. The only question is, do we make it an actual, edible turnover, or a giant, over-sized, display-only turnover?
The Turnover Tuxedo
This season, the Memphis Tigers debuted their Ric Flair-inspired Turnover Robe. While schools like Miami and OSU’s Week 4 opponent Tulane have gone with easy to slip on jewelry, Memphis is stylin’ and profilin’ with their robe.
Can you imagine how much of a limousine riding, jet flying, kiss-stealing, wheelin’ n’ dealin’ son of a gun a player must feel like wearing that robe? Now, add in an extra dash of class, and you have the turnover tuxedo.
Now, I’m not talking about the random, ill-fitting tuxedo that you rent for prom or for your cousin Billy’s wedding, because he needed an extra groomsman and he doesn’t really have a lot of close friends like that, and he thought that it would be nice to have a family member stand up for him, even though he knows that you guys were never really all that close growing up, but he really hopes that that will change now that you’re both adults.
I’m talking about a straight-up, tailored, five-piece, James Bond level tuxedo. Now, of course alterations would need to be made to fit over the shoulder pads and to get on and off quickly (NCAA rules don’t permit players to play in tuxes).
You know what, on second thought, what if we just went with a bow tie, cummerbund, and an oversized jacket with tails?
Still too much? What about a super large tuxedo t-shirt that velcros in the back to get around the pads?
No? I’m starting to think this isn’t a very good idea.
The Turnover Tattoo
Now, this one is going to sound sacrilegious to some, but it is suggested as a way to reclaim one of the darker days in recent Ohio State memory, the saga that brought down a Hall of Fame coach, #TattooGate.
Nearly eight years ago (how has it been that long?), five players reportedly traded trinkets (including the legendary gold pants awarded to players that beat TTUN) for tattoos at a Columbus ink establishment. For the time being, let’s ignore the ridiculousness of players being punished for bartering with items that belonged to them; or that this “scandal” is unbelievably quant when compared to everything that’s happened since.
Approaching a decade after the fact, I think that it is time for the program to embrace its past and adopt the Turnover Tattoo. And, because for those of us that lived through it, #TattooGate was a painful experience, I humbly suggest that this not be a metaphoric tattoo, not a temporary tattoo, not even a henna tattoo, but a real, honest-to-goodness pulsating needle tattoo-tattoo.
Hear me out; in baseball, players all have walk-up music. The song that they choose is a mode of communication between the player and the fans. So often today, unless they are superstars, athletes don’t have opportunities to truly express something about themselves to the fans at large. A tattoo would do that!
Players could already have their desired tattoo predetermined to expedite the process upon the turnover. Then, as soon as the play is whistled dead, instead of sprinting to the sideline to have a turnover chain bestowed upon them, they could sprint over to the sideline into the #TattooTent, conveniently located right next to the HIPPA medical tent, and a tattoo artist would be waiting.
If the university wanted to monetize the Turnover Tattoo (and of course they’d want to monetize the Turnover Tattoo), they could have a celebrity artist do the work, with their logo and website on the tent. Imagine Kat Von D or Carey Hart on the sideline!
Now, I realize this could cause players some pain, which is not ideal for the middle of a football game, but players need to be able to endure pain in pursuit of on-field glory. And besides, this isn’t like head trauma, CTE causing pain, that’s what happens when they go back onto the field.
So, what do you think of my Turnover Prop suggestions? Vote in the poll below, and if you have a better idea (which, honestly, it’s not possible to have a worse idea), leave them in the comments below.
Which idea is the least dumb?
This poll is closed
The Turnover Turnover
The Turnover Tuxedo
The Turnover Tattoo
None, they are all equally idiotic.