For those college football fans who do not understand, no other team compares with the Ohio State Buckeyes. I have always lived in Ohio -- and I know.
Here are 25 reasons why:
1. The History. The football program began at OSU in 1890 (1). It has legendary games, coaches and players. With all that has happened in this history, you either love us or you hate us. There is no in between.
2. OSU's Size. As OSU moves to over 65,000 students, it is approaching the status of an Empire. But, not The Evil Empire. We would be Glenda, the good witch in the "Wizard of Oz." (Michigan would be the munchkins.)
3. You know someone who went to Ohio State. Of course you do. Everyone does. When the size of the graduating class approaches the population of a city, I can guarantee you know someone who is rooting for the Bucks.
4. The Atmosphere. There is nothing like spending an afternoon with 103,000 of your closest friends in "The Shoe". (2)
5. Buckeyes are mostly homegrown. This is not Michigan, where most players are imported from other states. Ohio State players are mostly Ohioans. (3)
6. Script Ohio. For natives, the band spelling out "Ohio" draws on our emotions. It is a beautiful thing to experience.
7. Dotting the "I". When a non-band member gets to dot the "I" on Script Ohio, he or she is king or queen of the day. It is an honor few have experienced.
8. O-H, I-O. The code is performed throughout the world. Twenty-five years ago, my wife and I were sitting in a small outdoor bar watching the sunset off Grand Cayman. The bartender smiled, pointed at me and said, "O, H", to which I responded, "I,O". It happened to a friend of mine in an OSU shirt at the Eiffel Tower; to my wife on a beach in Hawaii. What do Cornhuskers do?
9. People all over the world wear OSU jerseys. Even the French want to be Buckeyes.
10. The Legendary Coaches. Start with Woody Hayes, Wes Fesler, Earle Bruce, Jim Tressel, John Cooper, Paul Brown and Urban Meyer. No other school can list a lineup like that.
11. I am a Born and Raised Ohioan. Those of us fortunate enough to be born Buckeyes bleed scarlet, not red.
12. Upper Arlington is my home and I swear 90 percent of OSU employees live here, too. Buckeye loyalty increases the strength of our community.
13. Mirror Lake. The Thursday before we slaughter Michigan, students jump into Mirror Lake to bring the team good luck. This doesn't make a lot of sense, but it is a cool tradition.
14. Brutus. He is America's best mascot and probably the one only modeled after a poison nut.
15. Columbus is Not Ann Arbor. There are actually things to do in Columbus after the game. The only thing to do after a game in Ann Arbor is leave.
16. Buckeye Grove. Every time a Buckeye player is named a first team All-American, a buckeye tree is planted in Buckeye Grove in their honor. (4)
17. Walking across the Olentangy River as you approach the Shoe. Being among the thousands crossing the river as the stadium comes into clear view is like having the Red Sea part as the Jews fled the Egyptians. Honest.
18. Listening to Chris Spielman cover a game on television. It is always good to have a commentator who is not afraid to tell you who he wants to win.
19. OSU Football is an Industry. Jobs are created by people's desire to own Buckeye T-shirts, chairs, key chains, underwear, dog collars, notebooks, and anything else that can be created.
20. Craig Krenzel. He was the quarterback of the 2002 national championship team who majored in a subject so difficult that Michigan players could neither spell it nor pronounce it.
21. Our coach is not named Brody Choke. Michigan eeked out a win last year when the Buckeyes were in true turmoil and did not have a head coach. That streak ends at one. Choke will be at West Virginia Tech by 2015.
22. The Crowd Noise. I don't live quite within the shadows of the stadium, but I am close enough that on a clear fall day I hear the cheers from my house. It's exhilarating.
23. The Fans. We understand football and appreciate a good game. Unless you crawled in from the state up north, we are happy you are here.
24. Michigan Week. The week before "The Game" is intense and filled with tradition.
25. Michigan Stinks and We Aren't Them. If for no other reason, you should root for the Buckeyes because we are not Wolverines.
I can pledge allegiance to Ohio State not just for the reasons you have read. I was a graduate student there in the '80s and I have two daughters attending now. My Dad, a graduate of Purdue, took me to the OSU-Purdue gamein Ohio Stadium+ in 1968. Purdue was ranked number one. OSU upset them and never looked back. It has been a love affair with Ohio State for me since then.
(1) Ohio State Media Guide: http://www.ohiostatebuckeyes.com/graphics/pdf/m-footbl/1112_guide_7history.pdf
(2) Buckeyes offical Athletic Web Page: http://www.ohiostatebuckeyes.com/facilities/ohio-stadium.html
(4)Buckeye Traditions at: http://www.ohiostatebuckeyes.com/trads/footbl-traditions.html