Part of Big Ten Week.
Move over Hands Across America, Ohio State is rolling out an early version of the Tunnel of Pride.
For the Buckeyes' season opener against Akron, 1,500-2,000 former Ohio State athletes are going to line the southwest tunnel of Ohio Stadium and show the world that they stand by their football team.
It takes more than a national scandal, a disgraced football coach and a banned quarterback to keep these alums down.
The Tunnel of Pride is usually reserved for Michigan football games, but the alums said they need to let the current Buckeyes know that they're behind them right now.
"First of all, we all love (former coach Jim) Tressel, and as far as I'm concerned, he got shafted because of the actions of (former quarterback Terrelle) Pryor, for one, and a few others," Pandel Savic, 86, who quarterbacked 1949 Big Ten championship team that won the Rose Bowl, told the Columbus Dispatch. "I just don't like the idea of him being let go. I think the world of the man, and he did a hell of a job for us.
"As far as the group, though, we're definitely going to back (new coach) Luke Fickell and the current coaching staff 100 percent. I think they're qualified."
Honestly, there's no reason not to back this year's Ohio State team. With the exception of a few guys who were no doubt influenced by that demon spawn of a quarterback, Pryor, this is a team that needs as much support as it can get.
"Former players feel we still have a tremendous amount of pride and tradition that makes us still feel good about the program," former running back Jeff Logan said. "And we want not so much the stadium or the nation to know, but for the players and coaches who are standing on that sideline getting ready to start another season to understand that regardless of what has happened in the last 12 months or so, that we support them wholeheartedly.
"I mean, this program is much bigger than what has happened in the last 12 months."
Off-field problems aside, Ohio State still has the ability to be one of the better teams in the Big Ten and will still compete for the title. Yeah, it will be difficult without the tragic hero that Tressel turned out to be, but it would be harder if the Ohio State players didn't know the geriatric, and other Ohio State athletic alums, were with them arm-in-arm.