It's important that we go through with this exercise. It was obviously necessary with schools like Cal and Western Michigan, where we had to manufacture our hate. With Ohio State, it's different: we all know that we hate Ohio State, but it's tough to determine why.
It's not something that was deeply entrenched in me -- it's not like I grew up in Michigan in a Go Blue household that taught me Buckeye people were as poisonous as the eponymous nuts. I just began liking Northwestern sports, and very quickly realized there was an air of unlikeability surrounding those dudes in Columbus. I think I'm able to pull for literally any other Big Ten team in out-of-conference sporting events. But I just feel something in my bones about the Buckeyes.
I'll try my best to break it down in just five keys:
They beat Northwestern all the time and by a lot of points
A lot of schools have dominated Northwestern, but I don't think anybody has done it for as long, with as much random violence.
It's not just the dark ages winning streak, which virtually every school has against Northwestern -- they won 24 games in a row against the Wildcats, starting in 1972 -- it's the way they've won, and the fact that they've kept beating Northwestern after Northwestern became good at football.
Ohio State has more wins against Northwestern by 40 or more points (15) than Northwestern has wins against Ohio State (14). And it hasn't really stopped. Since the overtime win in 2005 Northwestern has lost four straight games against Ohio State, all Buckeye victories by at least 35 points.
I have a memory that will last me forever: Jim Tressel running a fake punt against NU up 31-10 in the fourth quarter of the only Ohio State game I've ever seen, a beatdown on a sleety day in Evanston in 2008. Jim Tressel, who never saw a punt he didn't like, aggressively going out of his way to hold onto the ball up several scores.
Villains don't seem like the villains we see in movies, or else detectives would have really easy jobs. The sickest murderers, the ones who push the limits of what disgusting, horrific things you can do to a victim, often seem like the most upstanding citizens, the most mild-mannered people in public: CPA's, friendly mailmen, members of your town's Rotary Club.
That day, I saw through Tressel's sweatervest into his cold heart,. That day, I learned his milquetoast on-field ways were simply to hide the deviant pleasure he derives from watching the life slowly ebb from a team's eyes as he throttles them.
Urbz can't stop either
A lot of people are like URBAN MEYER IS A CRIMINAL or URBAN MEYER LETS HIS PLAYERS DO BAD THINGS. I just think dude gets way too much of a rush from running up the score. Beating FAMU 76-0? Going for two every time you can against, like Buffalo? YO, WE GET IT.
I'm not entirely sure we're in the same conference
This is the first time Northwestern has played Ohio State since 2008. I was a freshman. I went to the game with my parents, because it was parents weekend, and freshman parents think parents weekend is a thing that parents actually go to. I didn't have a blog where I wrote about Northwestern sports. After the game, we ate at Clarke's, because I still thought Clarke's was a cool local place to take your parents in Evanston. I didn't even drink a little bit before, during, or after that game. TIMES HAVE CHANGED.
We never even got to make fun of Joe Bauserman. WE NEVER EVEN GOT TO MAKE FUN OF JOE BAUSERMAN.
It's also the last time Northwestern will play Ohio State until 2016, also known as the year the kids who showed up on campus the year after I left will graduate. I met some of these kids, drinking at my fraternity house when I visited school for Dillo Day. They are of a different species than me. And they'll be making fun of the kids they meet at tailgates if they decide to return to campus for the Northwestern-Ohio State game in 2016.
Ohio State just kinda sits over on the other side of the conference, doing them. Despite the lopsided nature of the series, there's only one explanation: THEY SCARED.
Since the death of Osama bin Laden, it's been easy to decide the No. 1 spot on my hate list.
I'm an extremely reasonable sports fan. I expect my team to lose games they should expect. When the referee makes a good call against my team, I'm like "aww, man, that was a good call. We shouldn't have committed that penalty/foul." When a referee makes a bad call against my team, I brush it off as a chance occurrence rather than building a conspiracy theory about how the refs clearly want XXXX team to win.
I've never had a more infuriating sports watching experience than watching Jared Sullinger play against Northwestern. In his two years at Ohio State, he played four games against the Wildcats. One was a big ol' blowout. One was a game where No. 1 Ohio State fended off a vicious Northwestern comeback where Sullinger was mayyyyyyyyybe fouled with a few seconds left and the score tied, giving OSU a 58-57 win. One was a Big Ten Tournament game where Sullinger took 18 free throws, allowing Ohio State to win in overtime. One was a game where Sullinger answered a game-tying Alex Marcotullio three at one end with a game-winning shot from the post at the other end.
Jared Sullinger won three games late against Northwestern, all games where Ohio State was highly ranked, but left Northwestern in the game, only to be bailed out by 7 trillion free throws. Each win would have boosted Northwestern's resume enough to get the Wildcats from the top seeds of the NIT into the bottom seeds of the big thing.
More than any one person, Jared Sullinger is personally responsible for Northwestern still being the only major conference team never to make the NCAA tournament. And as such, more than any one person, Jared Sullinger is responsible for me being a bitter, sad individual, incapable of loving other humans. I don't think it's unfair to say Jared Sullinger has ruined my life.
I only hope the football refs aren't equally inclined to give penalties for slight amounts of physical contact.
The home crowd, so sparse, made a tattle-tale sound
When Braxton Miller broke the plane of the goal line
And every man knew, as the captain did too
'Twas the witch of Urban Meyer come stealin'
OSU scored again and NU fan dropped his head
When Dontre Wilson came slashin'
Then afternoon tears were flowing like rain
In the face of an Ohio State onslaught
When suppertime came, the old fan in the stands
said' "Fellas, it's too rough, I'm leavin'"
At seven PM the 'Cat defense caved in
He said, "Fellas, it's been good to know ya"
Ol' Fitzy wired in he had water comin' in
And the good ship and crew was in peril
And later that night when his lights went out of sight
Came the wreck of the Patrick Fitzgerald
Go Bucks. Beat Northwestern. Like you have 39 out of the last 40 times...
Not included, because I don't care, although I'm sure you'll say all these things in the comments and I will frown disapprovingly: Ohio State getting in trouble for players getting free tattoos, because that's just a sign the NCAA is awful at what they're supposed to do, Ohio State players getting into trouble for doing things that I have probably done at some point in my life because Ohio State players are 18-22 just like most other college students, DURRRRRRR WE GO TO NORTHWESTERN AND THAT'S A GOOD SCHOOL AND OHIO STATE ISN'T, because Ohio State is actually a good school. Can we stop it with that one, yet?
What am I missing?
More from Sippin' On Purple:
- Venric Mark injury update: Maybe Northwestern's RB can play vs. Ohio State, actually
- Northwestern-Ohio State: Scouting the Buckeyes and Wisconsin
- Northwestern vs. Ohio State: The biggest game in Wildcats' history?
- Venric Mark injury: Northwestern RB listed as starter on Ohio State depth chart
- Northwestern vs. Ohio State: Handicapping the Wildcats' College GameDay Guest Picker