It has technically been college football season for about six weeks now, but speaking for myself (although, I think that many of you will agree), it hasn’t felt like football season without the Ohio State Buckeyes suiting up and taking to the field each Saturday. However, two weeks from tomorrow that will all change as Ryan Day and his team will finally kick off an abbreviated and delayed Big Ten-only schedule against the Nebraska Cornhuskers on Oct. 24.
So, now that there is a scarlet and gray light at the end of our long, football-less tunnel, I’m committing to getting my mind prepared for the season by completely diving into the CFB action over the next two weekends. I have tuned in to my fair share of games over the past month+, but with the additional distractions of the NBA, MLB, and NHL playoffs, I have to admit that my attention has been split in ways that would never have happened had the Buckeyes been playing.
However, after everyone’s favorite Buckeye fan LeBron James hopefully wins his fourth NBA title tonight — and the Cincinnati Reds and Columbus Blue Jackets long eliminated from their respective postseasons — I am ready to recommit to my first love, college football.
So, that brings me to an interesting conundrum. With Ohio State still sidelined for the next two Saturdays, I have no real rooting interests to get me especially excited for any particular contest. Obviously I will want to watch the biggest games of the weekend, but I think I’ll need a little more juice to keep me from just mindlessly flipping channels as I doze in and out of consciousness on my couch.
In the before times, the best way that I have found to generate said juice (without risking any money) is to find a way to make whatever game you’re watching some how about Ohio State’s postseason potential. Now, obviously that’s not going to work with every game, but in most years, any contest that includes a top-10 or 15 team you certainly could spin into having an impact on OSU’s playoff chances.
The problem with that in this weird, shortened season is that a lot of the nuance is already gone from the College Football Playoff race. As I’ve written about before, with the Big 12 already imploding and no one having any non-conference games of consequence, as long as Ohio State (or any B1G, ACC, or SEC team for that matter) runs the table, there shouldn’t be any drama about them getting in.
So, if non-B1G games aren’t really going to impact the Buckeyes’ playoff hopes all that much, how do I pick who to root for now, you ask? Simple. I root in the most 2020 way imaginable; I root for chaos.
I’ve advocated for letting every sport be as weird as possible this year, and it’s no different here. I want upsets; I want normally obnoxious fanbases to be embarrassed (except for our normally obnoxious fanbase, of course); I want crazy, Kick-6 level plays to win games every weekend; I want controversial calls to determine outcomes; I want coaches to have absolutely epic meltdowns on the sidelines. Simply put: I. Want. Chaos.
Take tomorrow’s game between No. 1 Clemson and No. 7 Miami. I am dying for this upset to happen; I desperately want Dabo to go down so hard. But, believe it or not, this has nothing to do with last year’s Fiesta Bowl (or 2016’s Fiesta Bowl, or 2014’s Orange Bowl, or 1978’s Gator Bowl), I just want it to happen because I think it would be hilarious.
Of course, Ohio State and Miami have their own complicated history, but for all of the trolling that the Clemson community has sent our way in the past four years, I would laugh hysterically if they lost this game, and put a major damper on their playoff chances.
The fortunate side benefit of Clemson losing would, of course, be that if Ohio State remained undefeated into the playoff, they would have one less potential team in front of them in the rankings. But that’s just a cherry on top.
The banana split of the situation would be the top-ranked team in the country losing to a program that hasn’t been relevant for damn-near two decades, and failing when they finally have a competent conference opponent for the first time in recent memory. Look, OSU has obviously lost to teams far worse than this year’s version of The U, and you know what? People laugh at us when it happens (hell, do you know how many times people still jump in our mentions about Iowa or Purdue? It’s kind of pathetic), and while I won’t actively troll anyone if it happens, I absolutely will be celebrating.
If Clemson going down would be the banana split on the chaos sundae, No. 22 Texas losing to Oklahoma — so that both Big 12 blue bloods would have two loses after just four games — would be the whipped cream. And you know what the sprinkles would be? If in losing, Tom Herman inevitably brings on calls from the Longhorn faithful to fire him and hire Urban Meyer. Can you imagine how chaotic that would be?
I don’t have anything against Herman, and I would never root for someone to be fired simply for my entertainment, but I’m not actually rooting for him to be fired, I hope he has a long, successful tenure in Austin; I’m rooting for the crazy UT Booster rumor mill to get going and to make that seat the most uncomfortably and chaotically hot one in the country. Do you know how many times I will tweet “Ok, cool. Hook ‘em” if those rumors start up?
And look, if the college football gods want to throw in some gummy bears and have No. 21 Texas A&M upset No. 4 Florida, or those mini M&Ms and have No. 14 Tennessee knock off No. 3 Georgia, I certainly won’t complain about that either!
With the main course of Ohio State football still two weeks away, here’s to the most chaotic college football weekend (and sundae) possible!
After some unexpected start and stops, I am back to posting a column every single day from preseason camp until whenever Ohio State’s football season ends. Some days they will be longer and in depth, some days they will be short and sweet. Let me know what you think of this one, and what you’d like to see me discuss in the comments or on Twitter. Go Bucks!