Uncomfortable Fandom: Being A True Fan


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Written by: Matt Shock (@shockwave_music)

Edited by: Curt Ashcraft (@cashcraft740)

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Sometimes, being a true fan and fully rooting for your team causes you to do things that make you feel flat out dirty.  For example, no real fan of the Indianapolis Colts truly felt good about themselves when they were sporting the good old “Suck for Luck” posters at the games. Looking back on it now, that instance of unadulterated fandom seemed to work out pretty well for them in the end when their rookie quarterback led them to the playoffs.  Deep down, Colts fans weren’t rooting against their team, or rooting for the other team, or whatever you want to call it.  What they were rooting for was for their team to succeed in the long run.

This year, for Ohio State football fans, we find ourselves in a similar conundrum.  With the Big Ten Conference (or B1G if you want to use their asinine logo) being downright dreadful and the Buckeye non-conference schedule filled with cupcake games, our schedule strength doesn’t stack up with the other big boys in college football.  I don’t think that just going undefeated and winning by big margins will be enough, because the rest of college football looks to be better than everyone thought (for example, the Clemson Tigers).  That’s right ladies and gentlemen, this year the Buckeyes are going to need some help, possibly from those who aren’t necessarily their friends and Buckeye fans are going to have to do some things that just don’t feel right.

The first thing that the Buckeyes need to do is root for the Northwestern Wildcats to lose only two games this season: the game against Ohio State and the game against Michigan.  Everybody in college football who knows anything already believes that Northwestern poses a real threat to Ohio State’s hopes for a national title and it’s hard to disagree with them.  The fact is that Northwestern is finally one of the top football powers in the Big Ten, and when Ohio State plays them in Evanston at Ryan Field, the whole country will be looking for an upset.  In order to gain as much credibility as possible from this match-up, the Buckeyes need Northwestern to be undefeated coming into that meeting in Evanston, and rebound to have a stellar season after that game.  So yes, Buckeye fans, be prepared to take an extra shower each week as you root for the Northwestern Wildcats.

Another thing that the Buckeyes need to do is root for the Michigan Wolverines to have an undefeated season going into The Game in Ann Arbor this November.  I can’t believe I’m saying this, but we all need to root for Michigan.  (Great, now I need another shower just for typing that.)  But in all seriousness, this is the highest profile match that the Buckeyes have this season, so it needs to have as much riding on it as possible to make an impact in the AP and Coaches Polls to earn us points in the BCS system.  So for once, I did NOT root for Notre Dame to beat Michigan, which made me feel really dirty.  But if it ends up putting my team in the title game at the end of the year, I can handle feeling a little grubby for a bit.

Lastly, the Buckeyes need the rest of the Big Ten to have solid seasons as well.  We need to root for each of the Big Ten teams to finish out their non-conference schedules with wins.  That’s right, I need to become the epitome of filth and root for Kirk Ferentz and the Iowa Hawkeyes to step it up and not crap down their legs against their easy non-conference schedule.  They play Missouri State, Iowa State, and Western Michigan to finish out their non-conference schedule…surely they can get it done against that lineup! If they loose those games, it’s time for Kirk Ferentz to go, despite his massive contract buyout.  The reality is that we need every team in the conference to step it up if we expect to have any shot at a title this year. 

This is what it means to be a Buckeye fan this year.  It means doing things that we aren’t necessarily proud of in order to achieve a greater good for our own team.  I’m not at all suggesting that we start donning Michigan or Northwestern jerseys every Saturday, because that would just be wrong.  What I am saying is this: taking joy in the failures of Michigan and the rest of the Big Ten teams that we typically hate does us no good this year.  Ironically enough, we need to be selfish and root for other teams this year.  Yeah, wrap your head around that one for a little bit.

What say all of you out there?  Are you willing to get a little bit dirty for the Buckeyes?  Will you still root for the Wolverines to lose no matter how much it hurts you and your team?  Let us know, call me an idiot, agree with me…just do it in the comments section below.  The best responses will be read and discussed on the Buckeye Hangover!