Sunday, July 27, 2008

52 52 52 Week #23: Ohio

In which I examine crappy local sports journalism on a state-by-state basis, progressing through the states in terms of an alphabetical ordering of the heights of their tallest points. Because I can.

Well, I'm still in Central America, my computer died (I mean completely and utterly) earlier this week, and we didn't have running water for most of this week. On the plus side, I got to wield an honest-to-goodness machete. That more than makes up for it.

So, with my computer dead and gone, comes the first ever 52 52 52 written on a Mac. I have no idea whether or not it'll be the last, but if you detect slightly more self-loathing in this post than usual (hard to notice, I admit), that'd be why.

But first, something awesome...

Ah, holy shit. Do I really have to do the rest of the post? I mean, it's only Ohio, right? And unless Matt Sussman still reads (and I think it's pretty clear that he does by all the comments he doesn't leave), I'm somehow doubting anyone will care. Seriously, what's Ohio got? A couple halls of fame and a kickass amusement park? Actually, that reminds me...

Oh yeah, I've ridden that bad boy. I've also wielded a machete. All from the safety and security of my mother's basement, of course.

In any event, Ohio makes the list this week thanks to its 1550-feet high Campbell Hill. Three things potentially worth knowing...

1. It was "the former home of the Bellefontaine Air Force Station, where the 664th Aircraft Control and Warning Squadron maintained a Cold War early warning radar." Hey, as long as it helped beat the commies, I'm on board with whatever.

2. Apparently the hard rock of Campbell Hill helped it resist the glaciers during the ice age. Must have been commie glaciers.

3. The land used to be owned by the brewer of Augustiner and Gambrinus beers. I don't have much to add here, but those are some fucking awesome brand names.

Speaking of fucking awesome (this post is just full of the stuff, even if I'm just compiling it for you nice people), this week's newspaper is The Toledo Blade. You might remember I tried to do an article from The Washington Blade, but sadly the gay newspaper of record for our nation's capital had no sports section. The Toledo Blade, however, is not only awesomely named after the swordsmithing industry of Toledo, Spain, but it also has a sports section. And that's more than enough for me to do a quickie article and throw in some clips from the Blade movies. You're welcome.

Today's article has the headline, "Bucks expect expectations." A headline that asinine just has to be worth making fun of. Matt Markey?

The specter is everywhere.

And thus a pulpy fifties detective novel began.

You are reminded of it by the girl from Circleville who sits behind you in sociology class, then by the guy in the produce aisle at Krogers, and again at the family reunion, and when you meet with a couple former players who stopped by campus to visit.

Booooring. Time for a Blade clip.

I'd like to see the girl from Circleville remind you of that.

And even here, surrounded by the swirl of humanity in the heart of downtown in the Windy City, just beyond the shadow of the Sears Tower and a short walk from Navy Pier or the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, you can't elude the aura of Ohio State football.

And to think I used to like Chicago...

Sorry! U of M fandom rearing its head here a bit. I'll try harder.

"It is all around you, and it is everywhere," Buckeyes linebacker James Laurinaitis said yesterday morning as the Big Ten wrapped up its two days of preseason meetings that signal the informal start of the 2008 college football season.

"It is all around you, and it is everywhere"? That may be the most profound-sounding-and-yet-utterly-not-profound thing I've ever heard. And I've heard Martin Heidegger.

Philosophy BURN!!!

"Ohio State football has such a position of prominence in the minds of so many people. But with all of that history and tradition come the constant expectations, and you quickly learn to accept it and really embrace it. You gotta love a place where every year, you are expected to be great."

Its position of prominence? Woefully underrated team that gets blown out when it actually counts. (Admittedly, Michigan loses when it doesn't count, so I maybe shouldn't talk).

Let's cleanse the palate with some more Blade...

That scene (and any other Blade scene with Donal Logue) is so much more funnier if you've seen (or just barely remember) early 00's Fox sitcom Grounded for Life. That might actually be the only contribution Grounded for Life made to the world of humor. Not an utterly terrible show, actually, as far as sitcoms go, but still...

Boeckman, a fifth-year senior who played behind Heisman Trophy winner Troy Smith for two seasons before assuming the starting role for 2007, was first-team All-Big Ten last year, when he threw for 2,379 yards and 35 touchdowns. Boeckman said he won't ignore the Buckeyes being ranked in the top five nationally in all the preseason magazines, and Ohio State being the overwhelming choice of the media to win the Big Ten.

I guess it's sort of refreshing that a player admits he is actually aware of his team's gaudy rankings. I'm not sure; I'm kind of blinded by rage here. That and all the blood from that last clip. Damn messy vampires!

"When things get hyped up, you can't let yourself get distracted by that kind of thing, but you also can't deny it exists," he said. "I think the best approach is for us to just make sure we are ready to face what comes with all of those expectations. At Ohio State, we feel like we always get everyone's best game, and that should definitely be the case again this season."

Yes...the best games of soft, outmatched teams that are scheduled merely to rack up rings. I mean, I'm no "SEC is the best and should always be champs" guy, but seriously. Northern Indiana's best game is still a pretty shitty game.

Jenkins has twice been named first-team All-Big Ten, and was a second team All-American last year when he helped Ohio State lead the nation in pass defense. He said the Buckeyes, who have played in the last two national championship games, have the depth and talent to challenge for another conference crown and make a case for returning to a third title game. Jenkins said the expectations of the fans and the media won't be higher than those the team will set for itself.

I'm pretty sure OSU fans expect the team to fix the economy, cure most known diseases, and land a man on the Sun by 2025. I dunno...they're expectations still might be a little bigger.

"We do have a lot of guys back - a lot of very good players - and on paper this could be a championship team," he said. "We have that potential, but until you turn potential into product, it doesn't mean anything."

I'm guessing the words "potential" and "product" were the two words he took away from the one econ class he went to last year before he was told a special assistant would take care of it. Man, I'm an ass. Feels good though.

You know what even OSU and U of M fans (not to mention all you nice normal people out there) can agree on? Blade. Just...Blade.

Tressel, who starts an eighth season as coach at Ohio State, said he was comfortable that the leadership on his team would handle any issues with keeping the hype and expectations in perspective.

"The Buckeye Nation is out there and we see it everywhere we go. Our fans are very loyal and very passionate, and they don't make it a secret that they want us to succeed," Tressel said. "Our players know that and they understand that. It goes with the territory, and I'm comfortable they won't let it affect their preparation or performance."

You know, OSU fans and players are so unique and interesting. Oregon fans only secretly want their team to win, and Boston College routinely shits itself because they're terrified of upsetting the fans (OK...that might be kinda true).

Laurinaitis, who was chosen as the Big Ten's preseason defensive player of the year for the second straight year, said the sense of obligation to honor the winning heritage at Ohio State is likely on his mind more than any stress over living up to what appears in polls or what fans expect of the team.

"There's a saying we have at Ohio State that says 'with tradition comes responsibility,' and we've got great tradition at Ohio State, so we've got a responsibility to keep it up," Laurinaitis said. "That's something I think about every day."

"With tradition comes responsibility"? That's what happens when you take a cliched Spider-Man quote and up the suck. It sucks, that's what.

Eh, let's just watch Blade fight Dracula.

Man, I wish I could fight Dracula. I'd even bring my machete! Speaking of which...

You're all fucking welcome. Make checks in appreciation payable to the Archie Micklewhite Foundation. It's money...for me.

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