Welcome back to Land-Grant Holy Land Group Chat, our newest series where our staff members write about anything and everything (i.e. the latest trending news, the Super Bowl-bound Cleveland Browns, the son of protest leader’s return to college football, etc.) In other words, if it’s something we’re talking about in our staff Slack channel, you’ll probably find it here.
Now, that doesn’t mean this series will be void of all things Buckeye football, especially now that we have a season on the horizon. It just won’t be all Ohio State, all the time. Because contrary to popular belief, we have many other interests outside of college football, and we assume you do as well! So without further ado, here’s what we’re chatting about at LGHL.
We’ve got so much to celebrate this week with a (hopefully very very safe) return to Big Ten football to look forward to! But we’ve also got some off the field wins that we can be super proud of in the interim:
- Dorris Burke being announced as the first woman to call the NBA Finals
- US Open champ Naomi Osaka honoring Black victims of police violence with her masks throughout the tournament’
- The NFL having 10 Black quarterbacks start in week one - the most Black QBs to start a season in NFL history.
- Dak Prescott speaking out about his depression and anxiety, giving a tangible voice to the one in four people who suffer from mental illness.
These wins didn’t come without their ugliness, though. When Maria Taylor aired as a sideline reporter on Monday Night Football’s season premier this week, a radio host compared her outfit to that of an adult film star. (That host has since been fired). Apparently we still live in a world where women’s talents can be judged solely by their appearances. Can we just kill that vibe now?
And, for all its faults, the NFL worked to allow some inclusive ways to recognize social justice causes in week one. Unfortunately, some of those tributes were met with boos from fans.
Sense a theme here? Yep, sports are an avenue to allow our society to progress. However, athletes, including Osaka in the past week, have been critiqued for bringing politics into sport.
Guess what? By telling athletes to “stick to sports,” you are telling them that they are not valued as people, but only as objects of your entertainment. Mad kudos to Osaka and the other athletes this week and always who have defiantly stood and fought back at the notion that they should keep their thoughts and opinions to themselves, especially when they themselves are the victims of the injustices they’re giving voice to.
So let’s be part of celebrating these big wins, and not be part of that crowd that’s trying to hold us back.
If you have any Michigan fans in your life, you might want to check on them after yesterday’s news.
The Shadow is BACK‼️‼️‼️‼️ pic.twitter.com/VIQIhkOImb— Mark Pantoni (@markpantoni) September 17, 2020
Have a great weekend, friends.
As I’ve said before, I’m normally a fairly risk-averse, err-on-the-side-of-caution kind of guy, especially from an administrative responsibility perspective. My brain naturally wants to mitigate anything that could cause problems for me, but especially for those who rely on me. So, I’ve always understood the inclination for conferences to want to rework college football — even to the point of cancellation — because of COVID-19. I’ve written about my conflict between wanting to watch college football this fall, and thinking that institutions of higher education need to do everything within their ability to keep their students and employees safe.
So, there were been a number of different emotions bubbling up inside of me while we were suffering through the ridiculous five weeks of “Moonlighting”-levels of “will they or won’t they” when it came to playing this fall (if you don’t get that reference, that means that you are a millennial, so feel free to use Google if you would like to understand).
But, now that we have an answer, there really is only one emotion that I’ve had for the past few days, and that’s happiness. As soon as the announcement became official, I wrote about how I was happy for the players, but since then, I’ve selfishly internalized that happiness, because I’m stoked to watch this Ohio State Buckeyes team play.
I’m excited to wear scarlet and gray on Saturdays; I’m excited to live tweet games for LGHL (if you’re not following us @Landgrant33, your game day experience is not complete?); I’m excited to eat peanut butter balls covered in chocolate, except for a small circle on the top; I’m excited to scream and celebrate with my family when the Buckeyes score; I’m excited to tear up when I see the marching band (whether they will be there live or not); I’m just excited to be excited.
Now, that doesn’t mean that I am ignoring all of the other complicated aspects of the fact that unpaid college students are playing a physical, contact sport during a global pandemic mostly just for our entertainment. I get all that, and will continue to think about it — and perhaps even write about it — but I’m sorry, I’m a human being who loves my alma mater and loves Ohio State football. And, I’m absolutely tickled that in this year when literally everything else in the world has been an absolute disaster, that I am going to (theoretically) have the opportunity to experience one of the things that most brings me joy.
Is that selfish? Probably. Do I care? Yeah, a little bit. But it’s 2020, I think we all deserve a little happiness and selfishness after what we’ve suffered through this far.
What an awesome week it has been for all of Buckeye Nation. In just a few short days, we got the announcement that Big Ten football will return this fall AND on top of that, both Wyatt Davis and Shaun Wade decided to come back to Ohio State after previously declaring for the NFL Draft.
Ryan Day’s impact in his very early tenure as Ohio State’s head coach cannot be overstated. On one hand, his perseverance and relentless fight throughout these last five weeks most certainly played a role in keeping the pressure on the B1G to make some form of decision as to when they would next take the field. In addition, he is clearly creating some kind of special vibe around his program, as two guys who could easily never play another down at Ohio State again and still make millions of dollars have chosen to come back for another season — not to mention all of the top-tier recruits that have hopped on board with Day in both the 2021 and 2022 recruiting classes.
It is fantastic that all of the Buckeyes will get a chance to show off their hard work from this offseason, but I think I’m mostly happy for the seniors — especially guys like Jonathon Cooper and Justin Hilliard who have put in so much time and energy working their way back from numerous injuries to play one final season. It is also a tremendous opportunity for Ohio State’s fringe NFL guys. We saw what one great season can do for your draft stock with the emergence of Joe Burrow at LSU last year. There are a number of Buckeyes hoping to make a similar climb up the boards this season, albeit probably not all the way up to the No. 1 pick like Burrow.
Finally, I’m glad that Justin Fields and Shaun Wade get to end their Ohio State careers on a much better note than the way they left off. Two players as tremendously talented as Fields and Wade do not deserve for their final plays as Buckeyes to be a game-ending interception and an ejection for a questionable targeting call in a playoff game. Fields will now get a chance to compete for the Heisman and show the nation he is the best quarterback in college football, while Wade can prove he is the top corner in the country and solidify his first-round NFL Draft candidacy.
It feels somewhat cruel for the Big Ten to bring football back merely two weeks after we started the Ohio State Virtual Season over on Twitch, but I’m absolutely overjoyed that all the Buckeyes that put in hard work before and during the pandemic will get the opportunity to make their efforts pay off.
Tia mentioned Shaun Wade earlier, but personally, I can’t wait to see Wyatt Davis again. With big #52 back in the fold, this could be the best Ohio State offensive line we’ve ever seen:
Wyatt Davis is about to eat the rest of the Big Ten alive. We can’t wait. Go Bucks.
College football is back, but it’s still pretty BLEH with some of the matchups the Big 12 and ACC have been giving us. The opening weekend of the NFL was fun (especially since my Buffalo Bills didn’t crap the bed against the New York Jets). NBA is down to the final four teams in the playoffs, while the NHL saw the Stanley Cup Final set last night when the Tampa Bay Lightning burst the bubble of the New York Islanders, and now the Lightning will take on the Dallas Stars.
So what am I most excited for this weekend isn’t any of those things. After a short break following a restart to finish the 2019-20 seasons, many soccer leagues in Europe are returning to action to start their 2020-21 seasons. Last week the English Premier League kicked off and this week the German Bundesliga opens up, with Bayern Munich looking for their 472nd straight league title.
Back to the Premier League, I’m a Chelsea supporter and on Sunday the Blues host Liverpool, who are the defending champs. Lately Chelsea hasn’t had much success against Liverpool in the EPL, only winning one of the last 10 meetings. I have a feeling this year could be a little different.
Sadly, it doesn’t look like American wunderkid Christian Pulisic will be playing for Chelsea, as he is out due to injury. But, the Blues at least have new signing Timo Werner available. Werner came to Chelsea for Leipzig, where he scored 78 goals over the last four years, including 28 last season.
While Sunday morning’s contest won’t decide the league, it’s still a huge clash that could give a talented Chelsea squad some confidence if they can beat a team who has had their number of late.