It’s not often that Ohio State starts the season on the road, but this year they’ll open up their 2021 campaign with a trip to Minneapolis to take on the Golden Gophers. It’s no secret that Buckeye fans show up pretty much anywhere Ohio State plays. You could play a game on the moon and we’re sure that Buckeye fans would find their way to watch the game.
For those who do like to follow Ohio State on the road, this seems like a perfect time to take a trip to the Land of 10,000 Lakes. Even though the Buckeyes do kick off their season on Thursday, at least the earlier start to the season falls on Labor Day weekend when many do have extra time off already. Plus, since it’s before October, you should be able to avoid temperatures dipping below freezing in Minnesota.
While there are some that love to try and take in Ohio State games on the road, there are others that are content to watch from Columbus, or wherever they call home. That could be the smartest strategy of all right now considering everything that is going on in the country when it comes to the spread of COVID-19. Plus, beverages are a lot cheaper at home.
Today’s question: Are you for or against going to away games as a fan?
We’d love to hear your choices. Either respond to us on Twitter at @Landgrant33 or leave your choice in the comments.
Brett’s pick: For going to away games as a fan
A lot of this has to do with because I like to stir the pot anyway. I have been an away fan at games in Ohio a few times in the last decade. As a Portland Timbers fan, I was sporting Timbers gear at MLS Cup 2015 in Columbus when Portland beat the Crew. Also, in 2019 I went up to Cleveland to watch my Buffalo Bills take on the Browns. As if that wasn’t enough, I pretty much feel like I’m at an away game whenever the Cleveland soon-to-be Guardians take on my New York Yankees in the MLB playoffs.
While I haven’t yet made a journey to another Big Ten stadium to watch Ohio State, I would be all for watching the Buckeyes on the road. The only exception would be Penn State because the people there are insane and I’m positive I would end up in jail if I had to spend a day around so many of them. I’ve been through central Pennsylvania and I would much rather go to Michigan than State College.
Other than avoiding Penn State, I would love to see some of the sights of what the rest of the Big Ten has to offer. Or in Purdue’s case, just slam enough boilermakers so I’m blind and not won’t have to see the toxic waste dump that is West Lafayette. But I’m sure they at least have to have some good food there, since something has to keep people from leaving en mass.
The non-conference schedule will start getting juicier over the next few years, so there are some fun destinations coming up for Ohio State. Texas, Washington, Alabama, and Georgia will all be very fun trips for any Ohio State fans that want to check out areas that they might not have been to before. Now we just have to hope these future games hold up, unlike some high-profile contest that have been scrapped in the past.
Meredith’s pick: Against going to away games as a fan
As much as I love Ohio State (and the idea of hitting up every game in a season), I’ve got to admit that I am absolutely opposed to traveling to away games. It feels like a no win situation. Think of the scenarios: Either your team wins and you’re happy while everyone else is sad, or your team loses, and you’re sad while everyone else is happy.
We also have to own the fact that, as Ohio State fans, we have a reputation as being somewhat cocky and perhaps a bit obnoxious, so it’s easy for the home crowd to take offense to our mere presence and make things just a touch uncomfortable for us. And because we’re Ohio State, if we traveled to, for example, West Lafayette, Indiana, for a sure win against Purdue, we would surely have our spirit heckled out of us by excited fans who had just slayed a giant. And as much as I love watching that happen against other teams, it’s no fun when it’s Ohio State — and I certainly don’t want to be there if/when it happens.
Plus, if you win a nail biter and have a particularly rowdy crowd, getting safely out of the stadium without having food thrown at you feels like a big stretch. There was also that time at the Denver Broncos game that the old guys in front of us got upset that my friends and I (dressed as Browns fans) were permitted to sit in “their” section.
As much as I love to travel and explore new cities, doing so in the context of a football game, surrounded by the proverbial enemy seems less fun. I used to have a dream of seeing a game in every Big Ten stadium, but gave up after about four away games.
It’s disorienting. It’s fun to explore a new city and find local spots in normal times, but I find it significantly more challenging (especially as a short person) to navigate crushingly crowded new bars pre- or post-game.
I will say there are two notable exceptions:
- Being a fan of a service academy. I can say for certain that I was never heckled when wearing my Air Force blue even at away games.
- Northwestern: Because about 60% of the fans there are for the away team anyway.
For the record, bowl games and neutral site games are not in the scope of this discussion. There’s nothing wrong with heading to warmer climates in the middle of a midwestern winter to watch a bowl game.