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Happy Thanksgiving Ohio State football fans! We truly hope the day is one of safe reflection for you and yours. We also hold hope that there is optimism for the future as we look to continue to come out of the dark cloud of this COVID-19 pandemic we’ve all been a part of for more than a year and a half now.
Despite all that life has thrown at us this year, there’s still plenty to be thankful for in life. And on a less significant note, there’s a lot to be grateful for if you are an Ohio State fan as well. After all, it could be a lot worse than rooting for one of the best college football programs of all time.
We’re here to take you through that journey with ten things to be thankful for as a Buckeye football fan. There are of course more than ten things we’re all thanking our lucky stars for, but in the effort of using your time wisely on this holiday, we’ll cut it off with an efficient, even number.
Some of it’s in jest, some, more sincere. Here we go with ten things to be thankful for as an Ohio State football fan in 2021.
Head coach Ryan Day
Ohio State Buckeyes head coach Ryan Day looks at the clock during the fourth quarter of the NCAA football game against the Purdue Boilermakers at Ohio Stadium in Columbus on Saturday, Nov. 13, 2021. Ohio State won 59-31. Credit: USA TODAY Sports
Ryan Day came to Columbus to learn under Urban Meyer. Little did he know that he’d be handed the whistle to one of the best football jobs in America after two short years.
Day has thus far been nothing short of spectacular. From the way he handled the team during the COVID-19 pandemic, to taking Ohio State to the College Football Playoff, a season of social unrest, and navigating several new legislation and processes in college football, he’s steered the team and players as smoothly through it all as you possibly can.
I’m not sure many outside the program understand the slam-dunk hire it was to elevate Day to head coach, but folks are starting to find out. Heck, the guy has yet to lose a Big Ten game … ever.
C.J. Stroud and the best receiving group in America
Nov. 20, 2021; Columbus, Ohio, USA; Ohio State Buckeyes wide receiver Garrett Wilson (5) celebrates his touchdown with quarterback C.J. Stroud (7) in the first half against the Michigan State Spartans at Ohio Stadium. Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports
We knew it was a possibility with this receiving corps, but for the passing game to be really good, it needed freshman quarterback C.J. Stroud to develop quickly.
I don’t know that anyone saw this type of explosion coming for the OSU offense. The running game could be even better than it is, but with Stroud reading his progressions well and throwing to Chris Olave, Garrett Wilson, and Jaxon Smith-Njigba, the numbers have been astronomical.
Because of it, Stroud is now the odds on favorite to win the Heisman and Ohio State leads the country in total offense, both in yards and scoring. It’s been a lot of fun.
Members of the Ohio State University Marching Band drumlins sing “Carmen Ohio” following the Buckeyes’ 59-7 victory against the Akron Zips during an NCAA Division I football game on Saturday, Sept. 25, 2021, at Ohio Stadium in Columbus, Ohio. Credit: USA TODAY Sports
Ohio State truly has “The Best Damn Band In The Land.” From epic choreographed halftime routines, to marching precision, to smooth sounds, the OSU marching band is one of the most recognized in the world.
We are even more grateful for the show this unit puts on after missing out on it all of last year because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Some of the moves and iconic sounds we see from TBDBITL are simply unbelievable, and it’s a thing of beauty.
June 17, 2020; Columbus, OH, USA; Ohio Stadium, also known as the Horseshoe, the Shoe, and the House That Harley Built, is on the campus of The Ohio State University. Credit: Doral Chenoweth/Columbus Dispatch via USA TODAY NETWORK
The venerable Ohio Stadium is one of the most iconic scenes in American sports. Even empty, the Horseshoe is a special place to watch the game of college football.
In fact, many college football fans have the ‘Shoe on their bucket lists. Buckeye Nation might be spoiled just a wee bit by being in the shadow of this historic building, but there’s no doubt there’s a sense of pride with this grand and old stadium on the banks of the Olentangy.
— Ohio State (@OhioState) June 7, 2017
Not many casual fans outside of the Ohio State program know about Buckeye Grove. Heck, even current OSU fans might not give it too much thought, because it largely goes unpromoted and underappreciated. Any player that makes First Team All-American gets a tree planted in their name.
That’s pretty cool and it sure seems like Buckeye Grove should be more revered than it is. Count me in the camp that loves the idea and aesthetics of it all.
As of last year, there are 186 trees planted in this little oasis in the midst of a concrete, urban jungle. Do yourself a favor and walk through this special place next time you get a chance.
The OSU Royalty
Dec 7, 2019; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Former Ohio State Buckeyes running back Archie Griffin presents the MVP Trophy after the 2019 Big Ten Championship Game at Lucas Oil Stadium. Credit: Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports
Chic Harley, Troy Smith, Hopalong, Archie, Eddie, Zeke. The list is long and illustrious when it comes to college football royalty for Ohio State. There aren’t too many programs that can roll out the red carpet for so many iconic names, awards, trophies, and history like OSU.
Because of all those that came before, the program is one of the best in America, and there doesn’t seem to be any slowing down in the near future. The tradition is rich, and it all starts with the players that have walked through the tunnel and onto the field on the banks of the Olentangy.
The colors Scarlet and Gray
Ohio State Buckeyes wide receiver Jaxon Smith-Njigba (11) celebrates with Ohio State Buckeyes offensive lineman Luke Wypler (53) and Ohio State Buckeyes offensive lineman Thayer Munford (75) after scoring a touchdown in the second quarter of Saturday’s NCAA Division I football game against the Purdue Boilermakers at Ohio Stadium in Columbus, Oh., on November 13, 2021.
When the colors were chosen for Ohio State, those that act on these sort of things wanted a color palette that looked great but that would also set the team apart.
When you see Scarlet and Gray, you know what team you’re watching. It isn’t a generic blue and yellow, or red and white, but two color combinations that you don’t really see in many other places. You can turn on the television or fire up your streaming device and instantly recognize when Ohio State is playing.
Scarlet and Gray also look pretty good in any ensemble, so you can rock it out proudly too.
The city of Columbus
The warm tones and changing colors of fall leaves along the Scioto River frame the downtown Columbus skyline on Oct. 14. Credit: USA TODAY Sports
Ohio State might be a global brand, but the heartbeat of the program is all about Columbus, Ohio. The OSU campus is situated just north of the downtown of what has become a bustling city.
Those living in Ohio’s capital city might be spoiled, but I can tell you from leaving Central Ohio and talking to others that visit, the Arch City is known as a cool, fun place to visit. And that is growing as the city defines its identity and continues to grow up.
There are all the amenities of a major city, yet it feels warm and welcoming in a small-town kind of way. There’s good food, amazing entertainment, good people, and a pace of life that’s hard to find.
And that comes from a guy that now lives in Tampa.
Athletic Director Gene Smith
Ohio State athletic director Gene Smith said the 2021 budget will include department-wide budget cuts, furloughs, and other reductions. Twenty-five full-time athletics positions will be eliminated. [Dispatch file photo]
OK, stay with me here. Ohio State athletic director Gene Smith is not immune to criticism. Some like to point out some missteps along the way, and he’d be the first to tell you that he would have handled some situations differently.
However, Ohio State athletics has seen some amazing years under his watch. He’s made some pretty impressive hires, continues to throw money into facilities and support, and has championed many great causes in his time in Columbus.
He’s a steadying force and looks out for those that work for him. More than that, he’s a great ambassador for Ohio State. Anyone in his position is going to face sneers and low blows, but through it all, he’s a perfect match for an athletic department as big and impressionable as OSU.
Your program is not coached by this guy ...
Nov 16, 2019; Ann Arbor, MI, USA; Michigan Wolverines head coach Jim Harbaugh reacts during the second half against the Michigan State Spartans at Michigan Stadium. Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports
No explanation needed, but it’s the gift that keeps giving. Go Bucks! Happy Thanksgiving.