Fifteen years ago I was a freshman at The Ohio State University—Actually, I attended classes on the Newark Campus, where I also played on the Varsity Basketball team. But, on November 7, 1998, I came home to Columbus for the weekend to spend some time with my family before the schedule of my basketball season got too hectic for me to do so again. Like most fall Saturdays in my house we watched the Buckeye football game. This particular Saturday it was against that “other team from up north.” The one we didn’t hate as much because, well, they were never as good as us.
The 1998 season was no different. The Buckeyes were in the midst of a dream season, one that appeared to be leading to an appearance in the first ever BCS National Championship Game. The Spartans were 4-4 and posed no real threat to our championship dreams. No one, I mean no one, thought this team could ruin a season the way their in-state big brother had done several times before.
Most in Buckeye City were already looking ahead to the match up with scUM, but a funny thing happened. The Spartans did what their Big Brother had done, spoiled another dream season. The Spartans won 28-24 after being down 15 points in the second half, and ended any hopes of OSU getting a shot at college football glory. Once again our season was ruined by that “state up north.”
I was so crushed I considered quitting basketball to tryout as a walk-on to the football team for the 1999 season. I wanted to be apart of the redemption. I rethought that, and kept playing basketball—great decision for me.
Here we are fifteen years later, and the “little brother from up north” once again stands in the Scarlet and Gray’s way to a BCS National Championship. Ironically, the last BCS National Title game. The Big Ten Championship game is the first time the Buckeyes will face a team ranked this high in the two seasons under Head Coach Urban Meyer. The entire country is watching to see if OSU can validate their number two ranking, others hoping they’ll lose so they can say “I told you so” and keep them from another title game. When you are one of the top programs in the land, it be like that some time (I know, that was bad grammar. I do it for emphasis rather than profanity.)
But I NEED Ohio State to win this game and eventually win the National Title. My father got me hooked to the Buckeyes as a kid. He was born and raised here, then raised his family here. It was one of the things we constantly talked about in the last two months of his life—he passed away on October 16th. Every Saturday while he was in the hospital he would ask “does State play today?”, that’s what he called his Buckeyes. I would say “yes”, then immediately turn the channel to the game and we’d watch every second, just like we did when I was growing up. For years I saw the frustration on my father’s face anytime “State” blew an opportunity to win it all. Then 10 years ago—my senior year at OSU—I saw the elation in his face when they finally hoisted the coveted National Championship trophy after beating the vaunted Miami Hurricanes.
This one means more to me, with him gone I NEED this. I NEED to see the Buckeyes do it one more time. With my dad looking down, to see his Buckeyes win the last BCS Title, after losing out on a shot to win the first one, would be the perfect redemption.
November 7, 1998 has been on the minds of several Buckeye and Spartan Fans. A decade in a half later the Buckeyes have the chance to right a wrong. This would be the perfect way to wipe that painful November Saturday memory away. The biggest Buckeye Fan I know will be watching from the best seat in the house, don’t let him down.