sticking my neck out.

I had other buckeye necklaces before this one, but they were usually pretty simple ones, maybe a single buckeye strung on a piece of suede cord. Prior to the start of the 2002 season — yes, THAT season — I decided I wanted more. I went to a bead store and found a couple things that seemed like they would work. I also grabbed some buckeyes from the tree back home, drilled them out with my old yankee drill and put it together.

And Ohio State proceeded to have a pretty good decade — not to mention the national title the team won while I wore that necklace in Tempe.

Fairly early in his tenure, Jim Tressel made it clear that unlike his predecessor, he understood that the Michigan game was different. He did things differently for the final game of the season, and he made sure that everyone — the team and the fans in particular — knew that the Team Up North required a special effort from everyone.

Happy with this change from the Cooper era — when I had come to dread the Michigan game, for obvious reasons — I thought I’d make a special TUN-only necklace, to be worn on just one day every year. That was 2003, when I was still giddy both from the title the year before and two straight wins against the rival.

And then we lost that year.

I stuck with it, though, and it’s paid off. That buckeye necklace is 7-2* so far, and it’s not going anywhere.

And then came The Unpleasantness.

And prior to the start of the 2011 season, I knew there had to be a new necklace. The original had a great run, but I felt the need for a clean break from the bad stuff that left Ohio State with a new coach and a slew of players who had to sit out significant portions of the season while they contemplated their new tattoos.

I came up with this one, a combination of new buckeyes, some beads I found at a shop on Bethel Road and a few old ones I had in my bead bag.

To be honest: I’m not sure whether it was the season itself or something about the combination of beads, but the 2011 necklace never felt quite right. And once last fall’s Michigan game was complete — and once Ohio State hired Urban Meyer — I knew immediately I would assemble a new necklace for this new era.

Unlike the others, though, this one isn’t all new. The buckeyes and most of the beads return from last year’s model, and that’s OK. I view 2011 as a transition; Luke Fickell is still on the staff, and we saw glimmers — Braxton Miller, Jordan Hall, Ryan Shazier, for example — of what could be down the road.

We saw a lot of ugly football. We had more than our share of rough Saturdays. But we also saw reasons to hope.

So — I have a “new” necklace. We’ve broken from the previous era, we’ve acknowledged the sweeping changes of a year ago — and we’re ready for 2012 and what it will bring.

*Yes, I’m counting 2010. Bite me.

2 Responses to “sticking my neck out.”

  1. 1 JB Williams
    August 18, 2012 at 9:38 pm

    Right on, bro. It’s a New ERA. It may take a while to Achieve! There are lots of reasons to be optimistic. No one believes it more than Kenny G.


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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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