Mark Titus reflects on time at Ohio State, comes home with co-host Charlotte Wilder as a part of the ‘FOX Sports Ultimate College Football Road Trip’

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Stop what you are doing and take in this public service announcement. If you haven’t gotten on board with FOX Sports’ new “Ultimate College Football Road Trip sponsored by Dos Equis,” you might want to get the memo, digest it, and take action. It is co-hosted by former Ohio State basketball walk-on and media-savant Mark Titus. His partner is Charlotte Wilder and together they both also co-host the “People’s Sports Podcast.”

Now, they are both taking their show on the road with the “Ultimate College Football Road Trip,” and visiting eight college campuses this fall to take in all the sights, sounds, pageantry, and emotion that is college football. The first trip saw the duo visit Madison, Wisconsin to experience college football being bringng fans back. The two went behind the scenes with the Wisconsin band, made other appearnacnce, and of course, got to witness “Jump Around” first hand.

Now Titus and Wilder are taking their talents to Columbus, Ohio for the Ohio State vs. Oregon game and that means “Mr. Rainmaker” is back where it all started. I originally started this piece believing that it would be about what the sbow was all about, what kind of cool features the two will show us, and what kind of wacky situations they could get themselves in. And, to be fair, there is certainly plenty of that, but it became clear to me that their efforts and desires to go to campus like Ohio State is about more than that.

Wilder painted a picture of wanting to help people through what we’ve all been going through with the pandemic and showing everyone how much these types of gatherings and college football in general mean to so many.

Titus echoed very similar thoughts, but began to get emotional and reflective on what Ohio State has meant to him. How coming back has really brought back a flood of memories and gratefulness for the people of Ohio, and what the place Buckeye Nation will forever have in his heart.

It was — and is — refreshing to say the least. College football is back, and these are the type of people and shows that make you forget a little about the state of the world. And who couldn’t use a heaping dose of that right now?

Here are the highlights of what Titus and Wilder (who have amazing show chemistry together by the way) had to say about their work on “FOX Sports Ultimate College Football Road Trip,” and what it means to visit THE Ohio State University.

All as we prepare for the tussle on the gridiron between Ohio State and Oregon Saturday.

On what the show means

BW: You guys started the "People's Sports Podcast" back in September of 2020. Right? And then from there now you're now doing the "Fox Sports Ultimate College Football Road Trip sponsored Dos Equis," which, by the way, good job on the sponsorship, I'm a big fan of their beverages. Can you just tell me a little bit about the show and what it means for you? Charlotte Wilder: Yeah, you know, we are extremely lucky. I think we've got the best gig in sports right now going from school to school to the biggest games of the weekend and basically just immersing ourselves in the fan experience and parachuting into people's homes and the places that they love the most, and really trying to take that pretty seriously. We want to honor the fans and the traditions and really try to understand what it's like to love the school and the game day, and be the eyes in the ears of the fan. If you can't be here, you know, it's a huge feel. We haven't had this for two years and so we're really just experiencing these games now that we have them again. And these fan bases, I feel very lucky -- I know Mark is too -- that people have been so welcoming and willing to open up their homes for us because that's what college sports are about; where you come from and what you love, and your identity, and so it's good. That's sort of the gist of it.

On the first stop in Madison to see Wisconsin host Penn State

BW: Awesome. Yeah. And, and your first stop was in Madison last week. That's a pretty good place to stop for the first time. Had either of you been to Madison for a football game day before? Mark Titus: I have been to Madison five times, all for basketball games. It was much much colder when I was there previously, so to be able to go this time and finally get to experience what it is, because I felt like my experience of Madison did not align with the way I was sold Madison. So I was very confused when people would talk about that as being a great college town. And finally, I got to experience that. So it was a great time and I had a lot of fun up there. But also the winters are quite like, in the back of my mind. I'm like why don't I move here, this town is so cool. The environment is so cool. The people are so nice. And then the small part of me that's like, that's right, the winters that's ... yeah.

On experiencing the tradition of "Jump Around" in Camp Randall

BW: So Alright, on my college football bucket list is to witness Jump Around in person. I haven't had a chance to experience it yet. I'm sure I will at some point. But how was that in person? To me, that was the one moment when I looked at the television, and I'm like, Oh, yeah, college football's back with fans. Wilder: I mean, you know, I've been in Madison once, not for anything related to sports. And being there, Mark and I standing on the field in front of the students' section -- and the energy was just insane leading up to it. And I remember looking around, and honestly, I almost got emotional. I was like, it is such a significant moment. And I felt so lucky to be there. And also it was just the energy, you know? We haven't had that. That was the moment where you really feel like the community is what it's really all about you know? Mark and I were front row and then by the D.J. booth for it jumping around, and it was high. It was really, it was a total rush. Titus: I was just gonna say, I was with you that that was my kind of welcome back to college football. It's weird how we get, you know? As we were tailgating or walking around and all that, I definitely had that feeling of like, man, it's been a while since I've done this. And there was no -- I turned my brain off. And it was weird. You know, there was no contextualizing what the last however many days or months or weeks or years or you know, what we've been through as a society and where we're at now. It was this pure release of energy and excitement and celebration of this important thing and -- not jump around -- but that college football as a whole is so important to so many people. I was surprised at how little I was thinking. There was no part of me that was like, 'man, this is cool, given XYZ.' I was like, 'this is just cool. I'm not even thinking about anything else. I'm just here in this moment.'

Wilder's response to becoming a college fan despite being from a pro sports town

BW: Charlotte, for you, tt's a little bit interesting, right? When you think about where you come from, you're originally from the Boston area, which is more of a pro sports type of town. How did you find yourself getting that kind of a love affair for college sports? Wilder: That's something that we talk about a lot. Obviously, we're here in Columbus, and this is Mark's home, and where he went to spend so much time and really understands and was immersed in it. And, you know, I went to a small liberal arts school, Colby College -- God bless the mules. I've always been a little jealous of people who have the college football, the college basketball, the big college experience, because I never truly understood it. And I think that's what fascinates me so much. I think that it was kind of bucket list. Everywhere I've worked before, Fox Sports even, I've pitched to them, I'd be like, please send me to college football games. There's so much here. I think that anyone who's recalled my work knows I'm into the wacky and the weird and the human interest side of things, and sort of like, what does this mean on a more personal human level for people? And once I got more clued into to what college sports really are, it was just like, 'Oh my God, this is the gold mine of that.' I've been to a bunch of college games before this tour, but there was a moment when we're in Madison, and the band played and everyone started singing the alma mater. I was up sort of, in the stands, and I looked over, and there's this old couple with their arms around each other. They weren't there with their kids, they weren't there with their grandkids, they're just there with each other. And they were singing. And I got very emotional because I was like, 'Oh, I get it.' You know, I'm wearing the Badger colors, I'm holding these pom poms, I'm fully immersed in the experience. I'm looking at these people as like, this is home, you know, like this is, this is so much more than than a sport. This is where people come from, and the memories and the tradition. And the thing that links them back to a place. And for a second, I felt as though I had really been in it. And that to me was that was very special. So I think it's not having had it that is so fascinating and special, and makes me want to just keep diving into it. BW: That's pretty cool -- especially coming from somebody from Boston with the whole Red Sox nation, right? Wilder: Yeah, I think for me sports always meant a ton in terms of pride of the place that I'm from -- with the Red Sox and the Patriots. And there's very much a, even though it's not us as against the world mentality in terms of, I'm a fan of this team. I know you hate us, but I love it. And growing up there, that kind of defines your relationship to the place if you care about sports, and it really links to other people. I still see someone in a Red Sox hat and I'm like, 'OK, yeah, like we get each other.' But that's different in college because you can't go to the Red Sox, you can't go to the Patriots, you can go to Ohio State and go to Wisconsin. It's a different kind of feel. BW: Oh, I get it. Mark can probably relate to this, but you can be almost anywhere in the world and you can shout O-H, like in Hawaii, right? And you're gonna hear an I-O come back. I think it's so cool. It's like you said, 'we get each other, you know?' Titus: Yeah. If I ever go to Mars for any reason, the first thing I'm going to do is shout O-H-, and you will get an I-O, or even on a deserted island.

On Mark coming back to Columbus and the feelings he experienced

BW: Alright, so you're back in Columbus Mark. How was the feeling when you were coming down on the plane and landing? Titus: It's actually been weirdly more -- I don't know about emotional because I don't know if that's completely accurate -- but I'm doing a lot more reflecting than I thought I would. I came to came to Ohio State as a kid who never visited campus even my first time. I'd never set foot on campus at Ohio State until I was moving into my dorm freshman year. I just decided I was going to come here. I had a very, very unlikely four years in a lot of ways, a very unique four years. I defy anybody to find a college experience that was anywhere close to mine in any way, shape, or form. For better or worse. It was just, it was an absolute roller coaster. And it made me who I am today. And then I lived in Columbus for nine more years after I graduated. I've been in L.A. for a couple years, I came back and this this does feel like home. Like the moment I came off the plane, something came over me about how much I've missed it, how much it's bizarre staying in a hotel in the Short North. I've lived here for so long and I have so many friends and family that offered me to crash on their couch and all that kind of stuff. So walking around campus yesterday, Greg (Oden) and I did did a little tour of all the spots of when we were freshmen here and that kind of stuff. I thought it'd be more fun I guess I could say. But it wasn't really fun. It was more like a reflective type exercise. I was just taking it all in and thinking about it. And there's a lot of factors that go into it. Obviously, the state of the world, you know, the last 30 years and being away from my family, as all of the COVID stuff's happening and just the bizarre nature of the times we lived in. And being thousands of miles away from my loved ones and all that. So I thought about that for a while and then being here for the last 48 hours or so all of that came flooding back. And it's just been like kind of a weird day. But I will say the thing driving that engine for me when I say it's reflecting is joy. It's like I love this place so much. It will always be home to me. It's a place where I showed up here as an 18-year old, I had no idea where I wanted to go with my life. And now I feel secure with who I am, and it's all because of Ohio State and Columbus and the people here. And I don't take that for granted. So it's that's a long winded way of saying it's good to be back.

On Mark's status in Columbus

BW: I'm sure people in Columbus and with Ohio State will love to hear those comments. But speaking of that, I don't want to call you a God in Columbus, but you're at least a Demigod, right? You're at least Loki, or Thor, but we'll call you Thor. Titus: No, I'm the guy that's like on the poster with the Avengers like in the way the back that you kind of recognize his face? You have no idea who that is, but you recognize him. BW: I don't know about that. You clearly have a decent following in Columbus, Ohio, for sure. Charlotte, you are how are you dealing with that? Are you noticing walking around Columbus on campus or whatnot that things are a little bit different with Mark Titus around you? Wilder: No, you know, I think it's part of what I actually kind of love so much about the show, the live show that we do on Fridays. What I think makes it so fresh and different from anything I've seen is that Mark and I don't spend Thursday together. I actually don't think I saw Mark at all yesterday. I guess we crossed paths in the when we were shooting one thing but I think what what I love about Mark is that he is not -- I think you calling him a God, he's probably sitting there being like 'Oh crap, please don't do that.' He's an overly humble guy and it's what I think makes him relatable. And what makes the show so well is that, for both of us, honestly, neither of us take ourselves or sports media too seriously. And by that I mean, we care deeply and we work very hard and you actually just caught me, I accidentally fell asleep in my hotel room. We're really grinding out here but there's a sense of, 'this isn't about us.' And I think that for Mark, this whole thing, the show is still going to be about Columbus about Ohio State, not about him. I guess what I'm trying to say is Mark is a huge deal here. And I feel very honored to be able to do this show with him and sort of be a part of that. But I also think he's very humble about it. And I think what makes our show really fun is that we both try to stay relatable, because I think we both still feel pretty relatable, if that makes sense. So, I don't know if that answered your question. I guess I'll find out tonight, I hope. I hope we sell out this bar.

On what Mark is looking forward to showing Charlotte about Ohio State

BW: Mark, what are you looking forward to maybe showing Charlotte or Charlotte experiencing about Ohio State? Titus: I think it's just the people. Columbus is a place, especially where Ohio State, especially football, as we know, this isn't really a pastime. This is not a hobby. This is very much a religion, culture, and a language to people in Columbus. And I guess it's that every Ohio State fan believes that Ohio State is the pinnacle of the sport, and we do it better than everybody else. And that comes with the territory. And we're not always loved nationally for it. But I guess my hope is as we're going from campus to campus, like some small part of Charlotte, and everyone else on the team of FOX is thinking back 'Oh, Columbus was like, Yeah.' Like last week, Charlotte spent some time with Wisconsin's band. And she told me how cool it was. Obviously, the Buckeye in me rolled my eyes, 'just wait till you see this band.' Like come on. And so I guess it's just the level at which we do everything here. I think people who aren't Buckeyes think that we're pretentious, or we're a little big headed about Ohio State or whatever. But those of us that are Buckeyes feel we're that way for good reason. We want to be the best at everything. We want everything to be great. We want tailgating to be great, we want the tradition and and all of that. So I guess that's it. But like, you know, on a personal level, like this is kind of who I am. That's what I mean. I kind of go back to like the first little thing I was saying about coming home. I came to Ohio State as a blank canvas. Like I didn't have any affinity for Ohio State whatsoever. It was just the school that made the most sense for me to come to. And that's about it. That's about all. I didn't own a single Ohio State piece of clothing. I probably didn't know how to spell Ohio people say O-H, and nothing. So, for my time here -- my 13 years I spent here -- it really did make me who I am today. And all of the traditions and all of the people I interacted with, and just that whole era of my life has now set the stage for whatever's to come the rest of my life. And so I want Charlotte and everyone else on the team to just experience that for just one weekend. And you know, kind of hopefully maybe understand me slightly a little better. I don't know if they will, I'm probably pretty tough to understand. Maybe a little bit better, you see the some things around town and the tradition and the way we do things here, that maybe I'll make a little bit more sense to them.

On where Mark would take his crew to eat if given one spot to go to in town

BW: So if you were to take your team to to one spot to eat, where would you take them? Titus: Oh, man, you know what's funny is the two spots I wanted to go to both are permanently closed. I was devastated. My two favorite places were Easy Living Deli on Lane Avenue in Upper Arlington. They tore that down to build like an apartment complex. I don't know what the hell happened to that. And then Nancy's home cooking on High Street north of campus. That's not there anymore. I don't know what the hell happened to that. So I gotta call my friends to figure it out, like I was so excited to go to both of those places. BW: Columbus changes so much every time I go back. It'll be like a year, two years. Easton just keeps blowing up bigger and bigger. It's going to be the entire city at some point. Titus: It is crazy how high street I don't even recognize anymore. I swear I jumped in a time machine, 20 years It feels like.

On the AAU Titus played on in high school that had Greg Oden and Mike Conley

BW: Actually, I want to ask you about something else. You came to Ohio State because Greg Oden, Mike Conley Jr., and Daequan Cook. You were on their AAU team. Did you guys ever lose a game? Eric Gordon was on there too. Right? Titus: Eric Gordon ... Josh McRoberts. If I remember right, we lost like three or four games with our full string team. And I think most of those were when we were playing up a level. We were like sophomores in high school. We were playing juniors and seniors and we would still beat everybody we played. We did, we did lose three or four. And they stick out. I have the memories I remember vividly, at least two, because it was such a rare occurrence. There was one time we were playing North Carolina and we lost. And it was it was at the end of a very busy time for us. Just everyday we were filming. We're going on a plane flying to play a different AAU tournament. And we lost on like a Friday. So that meant we didn't have to now play Saturday or Sunday, we were knocked out of the tournament. And we all just looked at each other, and we're like, 'thank God.'

Speaking of the Ohio State marching band (TBDBITL)

BW: Real quick on the whole band thing. So my wife is an Iowa grad, and the first time she experienced an Ohio State game she's like, 'why is nobody leaving a halftime?' It's like, 'well, the band's coming.' So it was very bizarre to her that everybody stayed at halftime just to watch the band. Titus: I went to my first day of practice ever yesterday and I was absolutely blown away. Every Ohio State football game I get to watch, I stay and I watch the band. I'm no dummy. I know how good they are. But watching them practice I was like, 'Oh my god.' I don't understand how every everybody in the band shouldn't be able to major in band. How much time and effort must go into it is crazy, and it's so good. Anyway, I'm excited to see it come to fruition because I got to watch them practice and stuff yesterday. Wilder: You know, I spent time with Wisconsin last weekend at practice and when they came on the field, I felt like I was a mom watching my kids. You get so invested. I think that when you see a band come out you're like, 'oh man, that's insane, how do they do that?' Normally you watch them practice for three hours, and they do that twice a day sometimes. And they do that six days a week. It gives you a whole new appreciation. These people are athletes. It's insane. like seeing how it has was one of the most impressive things ever. And I was a little jealous Mark was asked to do the Ohio State band but I was very happy that he got to see behind the scenes. Titus: They let me put the sousaphone on, the actual sousaphone they'll be dotting the I. The kid who's gonna be dotting the I and it was just fun. And I did the high step and bow and I felt like I blew out my knee and hip walking around. https://twitter.com/CFBONFOX/status/1436087770372583430?s=20 Wilder: In our 30s traveling this much, let's just say I'm traveling with a heating pad these days. Mark's got it for his knee.

On anything else they'd like to wrap up with

BW: Is there anything else you want to add at all before I let you go and get back to your whirlwind weekend? Titus: I would just say that I am so excited to go back to the 'Shoe more than anything else. It's been weird having my worlds collide where I have a work group from L.A., and and my people here in Columbus, and having them collide. It's been hard to kind of split it all out and figure out what I'm supposed to be spending time with and when I'm supposed to be spending time. And the one clear moment of clarity that I have is just closing my eyes and picturing the 'Shoe being full. And we're beating Oregon's brains in. And I have this on cloud nine as it's all happening. So I don't know, I echo the sentiments of everyone else who is going to be at the stadium, which is like, it's been a longtime coming, and the the twists and turns of not having -- we thought we weren't going to have a season last year -- then we had a season and then there's no fans. Just to have the normalcy of a jam packed Ohio Stadium is going to be so, so, so, cool, and I can't wait to see it. Wilder: I can't wait to see it. And I think that seeing it through Mark's eyes it's going to make it that much more special. And, you know, I also want to thank everyone who's been following along online. I know we're putting out a lot of content and if people aren't sick of us yet, or so it seems, I'm very grateful. So just, I'd like to thank the internet and the Academy.

How you can follow and watch Mark and Charlotte on the 'FOX Sports Ultimate College Football Road Trip'

Mark Titus and Charlotte Wilder are in Columbus this week, and will still have six other locations they'll be visiting. Those visits will result in social media shares, videos, and photos to engage the college football fan where they are. The duo also live streams a show from a local establishment at each stop on Friday evenings. Live shows are streamed on FOX Sports digital and social platforms, including the FOX Sports app, FOX Sports.com, Twitter, Facebook and YouTube, while additional content is featured across @CFBONFOX social channels. Mark and Charlotte's complete schedule is the following. https://twitter.com/CFBONFOX/status/1431331622423392260?s=20 We thank Mark and Charlotte for their time and can wait to see what each week holds with each and every stop. Until then Mark, we say from wherever you are, even on Mars, O-H ...

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