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You’re Nuts: Which Ohio State football home game are you most excited for this season?

Your (almost) daily dose of good-natured, Ohio State banter.

Syndication: The Columbus Dispatch Joshua A. Bickel/Columbus Dispatch via Imagn Content Services, LLC

Everybody knows that one of the best parts of being a sports fan is debating and dissecting the most (and least) important questions in the sporting world with your friends. So, we’re bringing that to the pages of LGHL with our favorite head-to-head column: You’re Nuts.

In You’re Nuts, two LGHL staff members will take differing sides of one question and argue their opinions passionately. Then, in the end, it’s up to you to determine who’s right and who’s nuts.

Today’s Question: Which Ohio State football home game are you most excited for this season?

For context:


Jami’s Take: Penn State, Oct. 30

With the Buckeyes heavily favored to win the Big Ten again this year (and with a pretty realistic possibility they could go 12-0), choosing which home game I’d most like to be at the ‘Shoe for was about balance.

Even when you consider that Ohio State will be starting a new quarterback and lost Trey Sermon to the NFL, the team is pretty stacked. There were a few defensive holes to fill, but Ryan Day hasn’t lost a regular season game in his two years as head coach, and given the Buckeyes’ schedule and talent, it’s entirely feasible that trend could continue this season. Their most intriguing game will likely be those blue and yellow clowns up north, but it’s an away game and Jim Harbaugh still hasn’t managed to put on his big boy pants against the Buckeyes, so even that looks good for our boys in scarlet.

Still, everyone has off days, and nothing is a guarantee until the games are played. So the tricky part of this question is choosing a game that will be a good football game (no one wants to see a blowout if they only have one shot at it), while also hedging a bet that the Buckeyes won’t lose. Few things suck the life entirely out of Columbus like a home loss, and I don’t need that kind of energy during my first trip to the ‘Shoe in a few years.

In my estimation, I had three choices: Oregon, Penn State, and Michigan State. Purdue was in the mix at one point, but it felt like too much of a gamble. Either the Buckeyes will win that one handily — which is boring — or they will lose, and I still have nightmares from 2011 that I do not care to relive.

Oregon will likely be a great game either way, but I decided against this one because it’s the second game of the season. Some of the newer talent will still be finding their groove and it will be their first major challenge of the year. The Buckeyes should come out on top, but I’m not going to risk severe sunburn from a noon game to find out. I will, however, enjoy watching this from my couch with a bloody mary.

Last season was rough for Michigan State, and while the matchup with OSU tends to at least be decent football, the Spartans might be looking to finish this season with a 5-7 (or even a 4-8) record at best. So, I don’t see MSU being a close game if they’re already having a rough year by the time they get to Columbus. If the game were a home game for the Spartans, it might be a different conversation, but it’s not, so I’m not risking frostbite for this game.

And so, Penn State, we meet again, this time on Oct. 30. The Shoe should be electric, and the October weather in Columbus will be *chef’s kiss.*

The Nittany Lions have a tough start to their season (at Wisconsin first, with Auburn two weeks later). But despite last year’s abnormally shaky start, they also have the potential to be an 11-1 team this year, assuming things return to normal under James Franklin.

I’d be a little more concerned about this matchup if the game were in Happy Valley, but it still probably won’t be a blowout. In fact, even though I expect the Buckeyes to come out on top, there’s a decent chance that Penn State will be able to shake them up a little bit — and that’s exactly the kind of nail biter I’m looking for in a game.

One thing Penn State will need to keep under control in this game to stand a chance is their turnovers. If they lose the football like they did last year, it won’t end well for them. But 2020 also felt like kind of a wash in many ways, and especially with their new offensive coordinator Mike Yurcich, I don’t anticipate them continuing to struggle the way they did last season.

The Buckeyes, on the other hand, can’t let themselves get sloppy. It’s easy to do in October, when you’re a little more than midway through the season. The Nittany Lions’ defense shouldn’t cause the Buckeye offense to come completely unglued, but they have the potential to put the pressure on. And Ohio State’s defense allowed just enough big plays through the air last season to leave me with some healthy nerves about how they’ll fare.

But if Ohio State is going to be able to handle the likes of Alabama in another title matchup (which is ultimately the end goal here), they have to be able to get past Penn State. I expect the Buckeyes to come away with a victory, but I don’t necessarily expect them to smash through to it, and to me, that’s a perfect home football game.


Matt’s Take: Oregon, Sept. 11

There is only one answer to this question, and after doing these “You’re Nuts” columns with Jami for five weeks, it’s not surprising that she totally missed it. The one, true answer is the game against Oregon. There has not been a full Ohio Stadium since Nov. 23, 2019 when the Buckeyes beat the Nits 28-17.

Since then, we have watched an entire season unfold during a pandemic with a smattering of friends and family in the stands, surrounded by cardboard cutouts that were eerily reminiscent of the early EA Sports college football game crowds.

So, if you give me the option to be in our cathedral of college football as Ohio State welcomes back its fans for the very first time in nearly 22 months, hell yeah I’m going to jump at the opportunity.

Can you imagine the electricity as the drum major enters the stadium to lead the ramp entrance for the first time in nearly two years? Goosebumps.

Just picture the excitement as the Buckeyes come onto the field flanked by cheerleaders with fireworks going off and the stadiums cheers registering on the Richter scale for the first time since 2019. Full-body chills.

And what about the feels as the entire stadium joins in the communal singing of “Carmen Ohio” after a victory for the first time since pre-pandemic? Tears streaming down my face.

How could I wish to be at any game other than that one. Football aside — which I’ll get to in a second — the emotions and pomp and circumstance of being back in our fandom’s most holy of venues is enough to get me into a sweaty ass Ohio Stadium at noon in early September.

But then, you throw in the fact that it will be against a potential top-10 opponent from another Power 5 conference, and it’s almost embarrassing that Jami went with anyone else. And what’s great about the game being against the Ducks is that they will probably be good, but more Pac-12 good, not national good. As Jami said, Oregon had a rough 2020, but let’s be honest — football team or lonely individual — who didn’t have a rough 2020?

So, Donald and Daffy will almost certainly be better come fall. But, while they might be able to do some things to confuse C.J. Stroud (or whomever starts at quarterback), they just don’t have the talent to stack up with Ohio State, so we should be able to leave The Shoe around 3:15 p.m. ET very happy, if not a bit over-served, and reveling in the fact that we were able to experience the rekindling of the love affair between Buckeye fans and players. What more could you ask for from a trip to the greatest stadium in all of sports?


Poll

Who has the right answer to today’s question:

This poll is closed

  • 34%
    Jami: Penn State
    (25 votes)
  • 65%
    Matt: Oregon
    (47 votes)
72 votes total Vote Now