My school won a title
A title game took place this weekend.
One school was from Ohio. All year critics wonders how good the team was, how strong it was, and whether it could hold up against tough competition.
But Bowling Green proved itself against Northern Illinois in the Mid-American Conference championship game.
Who did you think I was talking about?
You probably were thinking (assuming you didn’t read ahead or have sight which allowed you to see all of four lines forward) about Ohio State, that team everyone thinks of when talking about Midwest football power.
I get it. The Buckeyes have a grip on our state like no other sports team does. It’s to the point where you rarely meet someone ambivalent about their fortunes.
The Buckeyes either are loved or hated here, and there doesn’t seem to be much in between.
Again, I get it. I like Ohio State. I’m not allowed not to.
My mother went to the school. My brother went to the school. My aunt, my uncle and many friends are OSU grads.
My late grandmother, who didn’t attend Ohio State, probably would have done exactly what Woody Hayes did to Charlie Bauman in the 1978 Sugar Bowl.
OK, I’m not saying she’d have punched the Clemson linebacker. But she probably felt the same way Woody did.
But I must admit that while I like to see the Buckeyes win, it’s not like it is for me when say, the Browns, Indians or Cavaliers win a big game.
Or for that matter, Bowling Green.
My school is BGSU. I graduated from there in 2003. In September of that year, the Falcons traveled to Columbus for a game against the defending national champions.
I was the sports editor for the BG News at the time, and got to cover the game. It was great, except for the fact that my friend Evan – whom I stayed with that weekend – introduced me to all his friends as the BG News sports editor.
He might as well have said “Hey, here’s an enemy.”
My other memory from that weekend was seeing an OSU student standing in the lawn and heckling everyone who came down the street wearing BG orange.
When one Falcon had the audacity to respond, the OSU student came back with “win a championship, then talk.”
It’s been 10 years and the comment still annoys me, especially since I got a good look at this clown, and I’m certain he wasn’t on the field in Tempe the previous January.
So, yeah, Ohio State haters, I get it too.
And because of that, I get in trouble with my family from time to time. When I told my brother I was cheering for BG when the schools met in 2006 – a year OSU went to the national title game – he let me have it.
“Bowling Green has no chance to win a national title,” he said. “How can you root against the Buckeyes?”
It didn’t matter. Ohio State won.
What I’ve found living in Ohio my whole life is that Ohio State is a game-changer.
High school teams adjusted some of their start times Saturday so as not to conflict with the Big Ten Championship game.
Last week, at a Columbian-Sandusky girls basketball game, an official emerged from the locker room after halftime and gave the patrons an update on the OSU-Michigan game.
“How are you able to keep track of it?” I asked the official. Halftimes in high school only are 10 minutes long.
“Headphones,” he said.
I’m writing this the morning before the Big Ten title game. I’m attending the Clyde-Hathaway Brown girls basketball game during the football contest itself, which is for the best.
I’ve discovered my complicated relationship with Ohio State means I’m never overly happy when it wins, but boy do I get annoyed when it loses.
BG fans may be tempted to watch Ohio State Saturday and reminisce back to a time when Urban Meyer was BG’s coach, back when he saved the program from years of obscurity and put it on a path few of us ever could have imagined.
ESPN College Gameday coming to our campus.
Maybe there’s even some jealousy. No matter how good my college gets, it never will reach the levels Ohio State consistently does. It’s reasons like that why Meyer left, and reasons like that why so many of my friends have what we used to call “our team.”
That is, the big team we root for that has a chance to reach the top.
So it all comes back to me.
If I want to see a team I like win a national title, Ohio State remains the best bet.
So I sit back, hoping the Buckeyes win.
Never forgetting that first and foremost, I’ll always be a Falcon.
Zach Baker is the sports editor for The Advertiser-Tribune, and he proudly knows all the words to Ay Ziggy Zoomba.
Contact him at:
firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @Zachthewriter