Archive for August, 2011


not football weather.

Sure, I put up a post about the deliciously cool weather Sunday morning; I wax rhapsodic about the coming season because of a slight chill in the air.

And then I looked at the actual forecast. Or, rather, three of them:

The National Weather Service:


The Weather Channel:

Crap. At this rate, I won’t be able to wear a jersey into a game until November.


let’s play some football.



it’s time.

Did you feel it this morning? I did.

I’m sure it has more to with the northerly wind pulled down towards Pittsburgh by Hurricane Irene than it does an actual change of seasons, but when we walked out of the house today to hunt down some breakfast, I was hit by a cool breeze crossing our front porch.

And it felt like fall.

We’re just a few days away from the start of the season, one that felt like it would never actually get here. It’s going to be an unusual one, with the suspensions, the addition of a new rival that could win the conference in its first season … and the possibility that the NCAA could still drop a nasty surprise in our laps before the end of November.

That’s all real, and it will all have a bearing on what happens in Columbus in the fall of 2011.

But once I felt that breeze this morning, none of it mattered.

What does matter? Arriving in Columbus on Friday. Visiting Buckeye Corner and The Andersons and Giant Eagle. Checking on all the gear Friday afternoon. Checking it again Friday night. Trying, unsuccessfully, to get enough sleep on Friday night that the alarm going off at 5 Saturday morning won’t be too painful. Getting in the lot — whichever lot it turns out to be — at 8, pulling out chairs, starting up the stove, having the first bloody mary, welcoming friends back for the first time since the end of November — that’s what matters.

In terms of the weather, I don’t think it’s going to feel much like fall on Saturday — it’s supposed to be close to 90 by the time the game against Akron is done — but that won’t matter either.

Fall is here. Football is here. And I’m ready to go.



2003: Kellen Winslow Jr. and Nevin Shapiro during happier days.

Dear Nevin Shapiro:

Thank you.


Jim Tressel



As the season gets closer, the energy we have to spend on The Unpleasantness seems to dwindle each and every day. Sure, we’ll have one more day to think about all that stuff — when the NCAA announces its findings and whatever sanctions it has ready for us — in two or three months — but in the meantime, we’re going to be thinking about football.


There is no question that the most recent off-season is going to at least color everything that happens during the season, from picking a quarterback to waiting on some very good players to finish up their suspensions to enduring what I’m sure will be endless carping about the program during televised games, especially on those televised by our friends at ESPN (Tip: Just don’t listen to anything — ANYTHING — that comes out of Mark May’s mouth for the rest of 2011).

Yes. No matter what we want to happen, The Unpleasantness isn’t going away anytime soon. It’s going to be the elephant in the stadium all year. And it’s going to be a challenge for everyone connected with the program — players, coaches, administrators and fans.

How does one approach a challenge? A former coach we’re very familiar with suggested you embrace it (unless the challenge involves potentially ineligible players, I guess). And that’s what we’re going to do. We’re going to take on the haters, and we’re going to enjoy it while we do.

We’ve just added the above designs — available in multiple colors and in men’s and women’s styles — to the Killer Nuts Tailgating store, and we’re hoping that you’ll see fit to have one or the other ready for the Sept. 3 season opener. We’ve spent weeks and weeks being appropriately ashamed, shocked and/or contrite (well, sort of); now that the season’s here, it’s time to put that crap behind us.

(And yes, we’re aware that 0-13 isn’t technically what happened to the 2010 season, but we don’t care — it’s funnier this way.)

You’ll find the store here, and ridiculously detailed directions on placing your orders here. Of course, the lovely “we are killer nuts” and “I blame the tailgate” designs are still available and, as always, if you need a different size or a different color, just let me know and I’ll make it happen.



Yes. Yes I am.


turned a corner.

The team started preseason practice today. Sure, there’s plenty more of The Unpleasantness to come, but we’re at the point of the year when we can finally — FINALLY — start talking about football.

I would say I started getting excited about football today, but that wouldn’t be true.

I’ve been ready for football for a few weeks now.

But before we get to the games, we have to do a proper pregame, right?

There’s this:

And this:

And no pregame would be complete without this:

How’s that for pregame?



If this doesn’t look familiar to you, it probably should: That building over there on the left is sitting squarely on the spot we’ve used for tailgating for the last 87 years.

It also rules out the possibility of squeezing one more season out of our old spot. We sort of knew that already, but the presence of a building there makes it seem pretty official.

So we’re sort of left where we were at this point a year ago — that is, with a bunch of questions about where we might end up for the tailgating portion of the 2011 season. As you may recall, we started the year in the South Lincoln lot — a destination that we had been told would not be available in 2010 — and ended up back where we had been since time began — also a lot that we had been told would be off-limits because of construction.

The other thing we found about football parking a year ago — It might just be best to show up somewhere we like, because it doesn’t seem like many people know what we can or can’t do with a 12th and Cannon parking pass. In that spirit, Bud and I set out for campus during our visit last week to check things out. And if stuff works out as it did a year ago — as in, we show up and act like we belong there — we might not be in for a huge change at all.

This should look a little familiar, right? That’s the Parks Hall loading dock on the right, and the entrance to, ahem, our bathrooms right there in the middle. And look — a bunch of parking spaces! Many, if not most, of the spaces in this area are reserved for handicapped parking, which we are, of course, qualified to use. The spaces we’re looking at here aren’t ideal — there’s no real grass to back up to, and not a ton of room between the rows — but we could make it work. Or, even better, we could do this:

Now we’re over by the loading dock, looking back at Cannon and the newly constructed extension of John Herrick Drive. And: More parking! Sure, the construction trailer doesn’t provide the best view, but check out that last marked space and all that territory next to it. That, boys and girls, could be ours. In fact, the plan as it stands now is to just show up there on the morning of Sept. 3 and see what happens. We’re betting that even if we’re not permitted to stay there all season, they’re not going to make us move once we’re set up. And if no one minds, we’re there for the whole year.

And if someone does mind, we have other options.

If you joined us for last season’s first time — the Thursday night one against Marshall — you’ll recall that we ended up in the construction-shrunken South Lincoln lot. It’s still small, but it’s been reorganized a bit — fresh blacktop, fewer spaces, a little grass nearby, a little more room to spread out. Last year we secured a special tag that allowed us to use that lot in conjunction with the 12th and Cannon pass; we’re not sure if we can get that again this year, but we’re certainly going to look into it.

And then there’s this, the lot north of St. John Arena. This would be a huge change, yes, but one I think we could manage. This is the designated handicapped accessible lot for Football Saturdays. We don’t need a pass to get in this one; we just need to get there early (it’s first-come, first-served), we need Bud’s handicapped hang-tag (and Bud, since the tag is issued to him) and we need $15. There’s lots of room here, and the space alongside the French Field House (that’s the building on the right) even have some grass between the lot and the building. There’s a shuttle that, in theory, could get my folks to and from the stadium easily, and it would be a shorter walk for the rest of us.

A shorter walk, that is, from the tailgating spot. This would obviously require some adjustment from those who park at the hospital (ahem, Coochie Doctor and Matlock) or in the Cannon lots (ahem, everyone else). But there are plenty of day-of-game parking lots (the ones, marked in red on the university’s handy parking map, that you don’t need a pass to use) nearby, at Fawcett Center, across Lane, on the other side of the Olentangy between Lane and Woody Hayes, etc. Yep, that would be a hike for you guys, and that’s why I’m thinking this one is a decent option, but not the best one.

(There is, of course, one other possibility that we know we can do — the Cannon lots. But they’re big, they’re sloppy and crowded and they’re a long freaking way from the stadium — and I’d rather not).

When Dad and I left campus last week, we both felt oddly optimistic about being able to park fairly close to where we’ve always been. Sure, it won’t be quite the same — but there’s an awful lot about this season that will be, uh, different, and it won’t hurt a thing if tailgating is a little different as well.

2017 schedule

Aug. 31: vs. at Indiana, 8 p.m.
Sept. 9: Oklahoma, 7:30 p.m.
Sept. 16: Army, 4:30 p.m.
Sept. 23: UNLV
Sept. 30: at Rutgers
Oct. 4: at Maryland
Oct. 7: Maryland
Oct. 14: at Nebraska
Oct. 28: Penn State, 3:30 p.m.
Nov. 4: at Iowa
Nov. 11: Michigan State
Nov. 18: Illinois
Nov. 22: Indiana
Nov. 25: at Team Up North, noon
Dec. 2: B1G Championship, 8 p.m.

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