It’s finally an Ohio State game week, and we can put the long, dark offseason behind us and look ahead to 12 brand new Buckeye games to help us pass the late summer and fall together. Many people before me have broken down Ohio State’s 2023 schedule, but I’m not sure anyone has done it the way I’m about to. My aim is to find the most aggravating thing (to me) about each of the 12 upcoming games on the schedule.
Saturday, Sept. 2: Ohio State at Indiana
I’ve never been a fan of starting the season with a conference game. I like easing into the season with a MAC opponent or a smaller P5 opponent from out west somewhere. This year, that’s especially true with the Buckeyes breaking in a new quarterback. I don’t expect this game to be close in the second half, but I resent playing not only a conference opponent, but also a divisional one in the first week.
Saturday, Sept. 9: Youngstown State at Ohio State
Why is this game happening? This is not a game that should be happening. This is one of those games in which Ohio State could win by 70 and everyone will say, “Well, you should win by 70 against Youngstown State.” And if it’s close, the mockery will be unbearable. Nothing against YSU, but this is not a game to put on the schedule.
Saturday, Sept. 16: Western Kentucky at Ohio State
This should probably be the opener. This isn’t a sexy matchup but it’s perfectly suited for the season’s first game. I resent the fact that Western Kentucky is so far below my normal college football radar that I had to look up the school’s nickname to remind myself they are the Hilltoppers. I’m not a kid anymore and I forget a lot of stuff, such as that Western Kentucky calls its athletes the Hilltoppers, and also what a Hilltopper is. I’m actually not sure I ever knew what a Hilltopper is, come to think of it.
A quick Google search turned up this dumb answer:
This automatically begs the questions of why WKU students had to carry things to the top of the hill, and which hill. Is there more than one hill on campus? Also, I resent the fact that WKU mascot Big Red is simultaneously terrifying and kind of cute.
Saturday, Sept. 23: Ohio State at Notre Dame
I can sum this up in one phrase that gets said every year: “Notre Dame is back!”
Saturday, Oct. 7: Maryland at Ohio State
The most annoying thing about facing the Terrapins in 2023 is that the Buckeyes will have to defend Maryland quarterback Taulia Tagovailoa for the ninth consecutive year. Didn’t he start school there a few months after Ohio State beat Oregon for the national championship? Maybe it only seems that way. At least it isn’t a road game.
Saturday, Oct. 14: Ohio State at Purdue
Speaking of road games, is there any patch of the Earth where Ohio State plays less like Ohio State than in West Lafayette, Indiana? I’m pretty sure the engineering students and faculty at Purdue have created some kind of machine that makes Ohio State play like Big Ten-era Nebraska when visiting that campus. I hate the way the Buckeyes play when they visit the Boilermakers. It’s like everyone simultaneously decides to have the absolute worst game of their career. The university isn’t even in Lafayette. It’s in West Lafayette. Ugh.
Saturday, Oct. 21: Penn State at Ohio State
I don’t know how this is possible, but James Franklin is almost certainly both the best and worst thing about Penn State. He recruits annoyingly well, but somehow usually loses the plot at some point during big games. Sometimes his players bail him out with insanely ridiculous jump ball catches for touchdowns, or by making the first man miss and going the distance. Other times, he calls running plays on fourth-and-medium to hilarious effect.
Also, the “We are!” cheer is just objectively dumb. Obviously no one else is going to claim they’re you, and perhaps no one aside from Rutgers wants to be you.
Saturday, Oct. 28: Ohio State at Wisconsin
Storylines! I’m going to hate hearing all about the storylines with this game. Luke Fickell was a longtime coach at Ohio State. Did you know that? Luke Fickell played at Ohio State, too. And some think Luke Fickell did a good job in his lone season as the Buckeyes’ head coach after Jim Tressel left and should have gotten the job full time. I’ll be watching this one with the sound off.
Saturday, Nov. 4: Ohio State at Rutgers
The most annoying thing about this game is that it stands as an annual reminder that Rutgers is in the Big Ten. I have nothing personally against Piscataway, New Jersey. I once visited a really nice record store there and had a delicious buffalo chicken philly in one of their fine local restaurants.
Saturday, Nov. 11: Michigan State at Ohio State
I’m not sure if the most annoying thing about this game will be the mentions that the teams didn’t want to play a November night game, that the Big Ten doesn’t want to have November night games, or the complaints by fans if the weather sucks. I’ve been to day games when the wind chill was negative-20. Wear plenty of layers and find something to cover your face if it’s cold, so you don’t get frostbite.
Saturday, Nov. 18: Minnesota at Ohio State
I hate that this is a trap game. It’s not exactly a “sandwich” trap game, because I think by mid-November the Michigan State Spartans won’t exactly be in contention (although, you never know), but I don’t like playing potentially good teams the week before The Game. This should be the Rutgers hole in the schedule henceforth. I think Ohio State will be fine, but Minnesota is also generally a physical team and that also isn’t ideal the week before the trip to Ann Arbor.
Saturday, Nov. 25: Ohio State at Michigan
I mean, there’s not much about Michigan that isn’t annoying. I don’t get the raving and drooling that college football announcers give Michigan Stadium. It’s literally a hole in the ground, and if you want to use the restroom or get something to eat, plan on a lengthy ordeal that will take up nearly a quarter of the game.
Everything about Jim Harbaugh is annoying, from his insane antics to his whining when things don’t go his way. But mainly it’s just annoying that Ohio State has dropped the last two meetings in the series and all of the arrogance from the UM fanbase has returned en masse. Fair play, as they’ve got scoreboard the last two seasons, but it would be nice to right the ship and see how quickly that awful stadium returns to the half-empty status of the not-too-distant past.
These are the things that already annoy me about Ohio State’s 2023 schedule. Anything stick out that grinds your gears? Let me know in the comments below.