This week serves as Video Game Week across SB Nation circles, and since it’s also real June hours in the College Football Off-Season: Global Pandemic Edition, finding ways to appropriately tie these two subjects together will be difficult. That being said, it’s been done before with varying degrees of success.
Gene gave a nice glimpse earlier this week at what Buckeyes of the last five-ish years would look like if the NCAA video game franchises had continued past 2014. Of course, my favorite article in the history of this website remains when Matt Brown used The Oregon Trail to predict Ohio State would win the 2015 National Championship.
But both of those Ohio State-themed video game crossovers stayed within the scope of “realism” as opposed to transcending into the realm of absurdity. Today, we will boldly go where no sports or technology journalist has gone before, and bridge the gap between Columbus and the fantasy world by exploring Brutus Buckeye’s journey through the lands of The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim.
Building Brutus, Hero of Ohio
Skyrim has withstood the test of time as one of the most popular video games of the last decade despite debuting towards the end of 2011. To put it another way, when Skyrim came out nine years ago, Urban Meyer had yet to win his first game at Ohio State, and people are still playing it regularly nearly a year and a half following his retirement from coaching.
As a role-playing game in a fairly traditional sense, Skyrim merely tasks the player with creating a character of their liking, then throws them into a chaotic world filled with dungeons and dragons alike. Much of the first hour of the game centers around the player figuring out what kind of character they want to be in both a physical and practical sense. Brutus Buckeye is no exception.
Here are some quick Brutus facts we’ll need to keep in mind when designing our hero, taken directly from the Ohio State website:
- Born 1965 (technically 55 years old)
- Known for his “extreme athleticism” & “goofy antics”
- Survived a massive squirrel ambush on live television in 2006
- Aerobics-certified by Richard Simmons
- The Ohio State University Push-Up Champion 49 years running
- Scored 200 on an IQ test following his birth
- Hates gophers, kittycats, badgers, Spartans, and wolverines
In summation, Brutus is in terrific physical condition, has great mental sharpness, and possesses tremendous dexterity. He fits the fantasy hero stereotype almost perfectly.
Brutus’ strength and swiftness in the context of Skyrim means he’ll be a character that favors combat with weapons over magic. Normally, his over-sized head and brain would lend themselves towards great speech and bartering ability, but Brutus is a mute despite his demonstrative demeanor. That means no speaking unless spoken to, including merchants!
Skyrim features an assortment of racial backgrounds for players to choose from, but unfortunately, none of them quite line up with the concept of an anthropomorphic nut. Since humans have traditionally portrayed Brutus in real life, we’re going to steer away from making our hero of Columbus a lizard woman or bipedal cat-man.
In the Skyrim universe, the Redguard people are known for their prowess in combat and natural resistance to poison. Since Brutus is a prime physical specimen and Buckeye trees are already poisonous, having a Redguard represent Ohio State’s mascot works perfectly. Some grey hair and scarlet eye-black later...
Well, his head’s a little small and he’s missing Woody Hayes’ hat, but this is our Brutus!
The Lost Tomb of the Nittany Lions
At the beginning of our journey, Brutus faces execution at the hands of the College Football Playoff Committee. The selection panel has grown tired of having to consider the perennial Big Ten champion over a second SEC team, and so they’ve decided to do away with Ohio State entirely.
Suddenly, an evil dragon appears and begins destroying the Committee’s gathering place. In the confusion, Brutus is able to escape, but must quickly decide who he will flee the scene with between the other two remaining survivors:
Does Brutus side with the yellow-haired (read:
MAIZE) chap draped in blue, or does he instead run off with the man wearing clothes accented by a beautiful shade of scarlet? I think you already know the answer.
Now comes the time when we must decide how Brutus will fight his enemies. A sword and shield? A two-handed sword? Dual-wielding daggers? Maybe an ax or a warhammer? There are several possibilities, but Brutus didn’t become Ohio State’s ongoing push-up champion for nearly a half-century by taking the easy route in life. He’s also made a diligent effort to never use any weapons other than t-shirt guns.
Therefore, Brutus will take on all challengers unarmed, no matter their size or skill. Clearly, former Buckeye and four-time national wrestling champion Logan Stieber has already taught him a few things:
Brutus and his new friend safely make their way out of the College Football Playoff Committee’s selection chamber, and our favorite mascot begins to make his way through the world. Not even two minutes down the first road, a pair of rabid Michigan fans ambush Brutus:
Fortunately, as has been the case all but two times in the last near-two decades, a Buckeye remains far too strong for Michigan. Channeling the raw power of J.K. Dobbins in Nov. 2019, Brutus clobbers his assailants into submission:
The best wolverine is a dead wolverine (even if they don’t actually look anything like above).
With the attackers dispatched, Brutus continues towards the first point of interest, a towering mountain surrounded by swirling snow. As he journeys to the top, it becomes increasingly difficult to see through the “white-out” in front of him. Eventually, the storm lets up, and Brutus realizes he has reached the Lost Tomb of the Nittany Lions:
As Brutus enters the tomb, he’s once again attacked, this time by several Big Uglies of Penn State’s past. Unfortunately for the fans in Happy Valley, there are no special teams miracles to be had here, as Brutus mercilessly smacks the stuffing out of yet another B1G East opponent:
Navigating the treacherous tomb before him, Brutus comes across perhaps his greatest challenge yet. Making his way through an open room, suddenly a ferocious creature descends from the ceiling. It has a terrifying face, deadly venomous fangs, makes disturbing noises, and won’t hesitate to eat its own to succeed.
Oh dear lord it’s James Franklin:
With no weapon and already weakened from previous battles, Brutus bravely charges the beast. The eight-legged Franklin is even more frightening up close:
Fortunately, since most spiders are carnivores, Franklin won’t actually eat any buckeyes. Brutus uses this to his advantage and gracefully dances around the spider while landing a series of powerful blows. After a final perfectly-timed right hook, down goes Franklin:
With the foul monster slain, Brutus advances towards the inner sanctum of the tomb, where scribes have written down decades of Penn State football lore on a massive stone wall. The main chamber has long been abandoned, as the Nittany Lions haven’t won a national championship since 1986.
Still, a disturbing presence lurks. Brutus senses something doesn’t feel right, and after rummaging around through a treasure chest full of sticky buns, the coffin at the center of the room begins to creak open...
Joe Paterno has risen!
Seeking to strike down Ohio State one last time, Paterno lunges at Brutus with a sword forged from the tears of Pitt fans the world over. But Paterno’s old bones are no match for the limber limbs of Brutus, and after a flurry of strikes, down goes Joe:
Back to your eternal slumber you go, JoPa.
A Dragon Attacks!
Even after a harrowing battle in the depths of Happy Valley, there’s never a moment of rest. On the way to the nearest major town, Brutus once again finds himself victim of an ambush... but this time, instead of a whole pack of animals, only one is bold enough to come after our hero.
It’s the legendary dragon Harbaugh, the Winged Wolverine!
Harbaugh is fierce, but Brutus has yet to back down from a challenge. However, armed with only his fists, Brutus has no means of striking down a dragon in the air. As such, he must wait for the nearby archers to weaken the beast and bring it to the ground.
... that doesn’t appear to be going too well.
Fortunately, Harbaugh is eager to finally slay Brutus after spending so many years chasing an elusive victory, and so he lands on the ground with the intent of swallowing the hero of Columbus whole. This finally gives Brutus an opportunity to strike, but the gaze of the beast up close is enough to strike fear in even the bravest of college mascots:
It will take all of Brutus’ talents to defeat such a foe. However, the next stage of the fight is about to begin, and as is the case with most of Harbaugh’s second halves against Ohio State, he is set to completely fall apart.
Brutus is simply too agile on his feet for a beast of Harbaugh’s size, and though each punch does minimal damage, they start to add up quickly. Now tripping over his own feet and letting his opponent run up the score, Harbaugh has no choice but to surrender at the feet of a Buckeye once again:
Brutus, not merely satisfied with the fact that he just punched a dragon to death, wants to make a statement with this triumph. He decides to take the bad blood with Michigan to never-before-seen levels of savagery, and devours Harbaugh’s entire body over the next several hours. The concept of eating your rival after thoroughly humiliating them is something that once only lived in the wildest dreams of Woody Hayes, but now over 30 years after his passing, Brutus finally has made it a reality:
And for now, this is where our brave Buckeye’s story will close. The world of Skyrim is vast and full of terrors, but only time will tell what else awaits Brutus, the Hero of Columbus.