Posts Tagged ‘uncle crappy


a change of plans.

But this makes me feel a little better.


not superstitious.

In 2012, my helmet-stripe underpants — picked by you guys — served me very well.

And that’s why I’m asking for your help again this year.

As you may recall, a year ago I asked for your help with picking out the boxer shorts I wear for each Saturday during the season, a habit I choose to refer to as a “tradition” rather than a “superstition.” And going with the pick you guys made, Ohio State ran through an undefeated season.

And maybe those helmet-stripe boxers are a good place to start. Do they have another 12 straight wins in them? Or 13? Or even 14? Or did I use up all of their luck in 2012?

I’m counting on you guys to come up with those answers.

Your contenders:

Helmet stripe.

Helmet stripe.


Bright red plaid.

Bright red plaid.





Gray pattern.

Gray pattern.


Block O.

Block O.


Not-as-bright red plaid.

Not-as-bright red plaid.


And here’s the deal: I’ll have all six pairs with me in Columbus this weekend. Once I finish loading the truck — probably about 6:30 Saturday morning, if all goes as planned — I’ll check the vote totals. The leader at that point will be the pick for the season.

Thank you once again for your support.








I can think of at least three posts related to Saturday’s Michigan game, but we’re going to start with the one that will make this year’s edition memorable for me forever. We’ll get to the other stuff tomorrow.

These? These are important.

It could have been the lack of sleep. It might have been the altered schedule. It could have been the heroic amount of alcohol I had the night before.

But for whatever the reason, I was a bit off my game on Saturday. The tailgate party was a good one — except for the part about Suzette setting the sleeve of her coat on fire on the propane heater (Suzette was fine, her coat was not) — but I was struggling to hold it together from the time my alarm went off at 4:50 a.m. Saturday morning.

The early start was my idea, and we were in the lot close to 7:30, which had been my goal. And almost as quickly as we got set up, it was apparent that the day would be a struggle for me. Two examples:

  • It quickly became clear that the temperature was going to be cold enough that keeping my feet warm during the day would be a problem, even with the shiny, new propane heater. Did I bring my Sorels to Columbus? Nope, just my game Chucks and a couple pairs of socks.
  • What should have been a fairly simple cooking morning turned into a hassle. We had pancakes, and they should have been easy; Crappydad, as he does, had these well planned (instant batter, already mixed in the bottles; syrup warming in a pot of water on the stove). Fred had a pot in which to heat his delicious maple sausage. Mrs. Crappy and I had pre-cooked some bacon, which only needed to be heated in the morning. But: Our Coleman griddle wouldn’t stay lit. One bottle of gas for the Coleman stoves wouldn’t screw into anything but the non-functioning griddle. And because I didn’t bring our table from Pittsburgh, I was stuck making pancakes with our stove sitting on the grass outside Campbell Hall.

Frustrating things both, but neither one would have been enough to kill the day. Everyone ate, and seemed pleased with the food, and those little hand-warmer things took care of my feet all day.

One thing did work well. I wanted to start early — and finish early — to give my folks plenty of time to walk to the stadium. Michigan pregame stuff — senior day, Script (a special one this weekend, as a neighbor of my parents, Jocelyn Smallwood, was making history as the i-dotter), getting to hate on The Victors right there in front of me — is not to be missed. We did the toast, sent my folks on their way, and began packing up so the rest of us could head inside.

Truck is packed. I’m organizing the stuff I always take inside. And I am hit with a stunning, crushing realization.

I have no tickets.


Two things.

  • I have a velcro Ohio State wallet that I take into games. I pack it in my sister’s old bedroom before each home game: driver’s license, my debit card, whatever cash I have … and the tickets.¬†On Saturday morning, though, I couldn’t find the wallet. It wasn’t in with my tailgating stuff because I had taken it out the weekend before when we came to Columbus to watch the Wisconsin game with Matlock and the Coochie Doctor, and I hadn’t put it back. I am certain that if I had gone through that part of my preparation before we left the house, I would have remembered the tickets. But I was in a hurry, I couldn’t find the damn wallet, and didn’t think about that other, fairly important step.
  • It is almost like clockwork. As we pull down the driveway, someone — usually my mother — asks if everyone has the tickets. On Saturday, no one did. I have no idea why.


OK. It’s about 11:15. Game time is listed at noon, but with all the extra stuff, will probably actually start around 12:10. I have to get back to my folks’ house. Right now.

But I am immediately presented with problems (and, fortunately, solutions):

  • My dad has the truck keys. But there’s always an extra set inside, and I can get in with the keypad on the door.
  • OK, I have the extra keys. But they don’t have a key to the lock Crappydad uses to lock the bike rack (he usually rides from where we park to the stadium, because it’s easier on his legs) to the truck. Miracle: He forgot to lock the rack to the truck on Saturday.

Once in the car and headed back towards Upper Arlington, I start thinking about the other things that could go wrong. I’m reasonably sure I won’t have trouble getting off campus — and I didn’t, reaching 315 south from the ramp by the OSU Medical Center without hardly stopping — but I have no idea if I’m going to be able to get anywhere close when I return.

But first, I’m concerned only with getting back to the house as quickly as possible. Our path home has been set for years, because while it’s slightly out of the way, it almost always keeps us out of football traffic after games; that ramp takes us to 315 south, which we follow to 670 west, the Dublin Road (Route 33) exit and that pretty much straight to my parents’ home.

And let me tell you, boys and girls: without revealing any incriminating details, I made that 10.3-mile drive in record time.

I got into the house without setting off the security alarm — given the way my day had gone to that point, it wouldn’t have surprised me a bit to screw that up too — grabbed the tickets and jumped back in the truck, all while saying a prayer to whatever Greater Being that might be paying attention that I could get reasonably close to campus after the trip back — and not get caught in any traffic.

McCoy Road? No problem, but I’m still miles away. Kenny? Nothing. I turned on to Woody Hayes Drive, and see signs that say “Parking passes only”: I’m expecting to get turned away before I get to Herrick … but no, I can make the right turn with no trouble. I’m panicking as I pass the cars parked along Herrick … but still no traffic.

I’m thinking the light at Herrick and Cannon is the point of no return; if I make it past there, I’m going to be OK. I’m probably the only vehicle the cops standing at that intersection have seen for a while; they look, but they don’t stop me. I turn left at the Neil Avenue Garage, wondering if I’m going to have to sweet talk the parking attendants to get back into our lot … and they’re not there.

In fact, the only people I see in the lot are Mrs. Crappy and Ann, Fred and Ethel’s awesome sister-in-law, who stayed with Mrs. Crappy while she waited on me; they were having enough fun, in fact, that they sent me ahead (once Mrs. Crappy secured her ticket in her hand) to the stadium.

I was just outside our gate when I heard the unmistakable roar that comes with an Ohio State touchdown. I had missed a bunch of stuff I wait all year to see — it especially killed me to miss Jocelyn’s Script — but my monumental mistake had cost us just one touchdown and only a few minutes of the game. I was panting when I reached our seats in 14C, but I took a healthy swallow from the flask I had shoved in my pants on the way inside, took a deep breath, and stood to cheer my Buckeye defense.

I needed breaks. I got them. And, via a circuitous, harrowing route, I made it home for the Michigan game.

A favor: If we text, tweet or follow each other on Facebook, set an alarm for 7 a.m. on Saturday, Nov. 29. When that alarm goes off, by whatever means you have available, send me the following message: “Hey, dumbass — do you have your tickets?”


road trip.

Let’s see: I’ve been to games at Purdue. Indiana. Pitt, in buildings old and new. Miami (the one in Ohio). Michigan State. Cleveland Browns Stadium. And two miserable visits to The Big Hole in Ann Arbor.

With the exception of those two visits to AA, I’ve always enjoyed my college football trips.

But I can’t imagine what it would take to have a better trip than the one Mrs. Crappy and I took to State College on Saturday.

Our friends Kelly and John got themselves their first season ticket package at their alma mater earlier this year, and they immediately offered their extra two tickets to the Ohio State game to us. That’s not an offer we would turn down.

The plan: Head out to State College early — early — Saturday morning, see the town, eat, visit a couple tailgate parties, have our own, watch the game and catch some rest at a cheap motel in Altoona before heading home to Pittsburgh.

How’d we do? Here’s a look:

We got out of the car in our parking lot, looked to the south — and there is Beaver Stadium. Let me be clear about this: one of the things I was most excited about was sitting in this building during a white out. It’s always been one of the most impressive — and intimidating; just ask the 2005 Buckeyes who lost during a Beaver Stadium white out — displays of college football fandom I’d ever see on television, and I couldn’t wait to see it in person.

After a quick stop to see one of Kelly’s old professors, we headed to another lot to see Lauren — and The Bus. A friend of Lauren’s bought the old team bus on eBay — the first such retired bus to be sold that way by Penn State — and turned it into a tailgating machine.

They pay attention to every detail.

We were there early enough that the Blue Bus crew was just getting started. But even in the morning, the spread was impressive.

One of the stops on our campus tour was the Millennium Science Complex, a stunning L-shaped set of buildings joined by a triangular cantilevered roof, covering a courtyard. Penn State’s campus is dense and compact, especially for a school of its size, more like OU than Ohio State, but while it doesn’t feel crowded, the courtyard is a beautiful oasis in the middle campus.

The aforementioned courtyard. See?

We walked downtown to look for some Penn State gear — uh, for Kelly and John — and get some lunch at the Corner Room, which had this sign posted outside. The point? Everyone was nice. The entire day, I heard just one muttered shitty comment, from a student who was drunk enough at lunchtime that he was going to be passed out before the game started. Over and over, we were welcomed to Happy Valley by people who seemed genuinely happy we were there. We heard plenty of comments about the upcoming game, but all were good-natured, and once we set up our own tailgate party, we chatted with a guy from Pittsburgh that Kelly had met before a local half marathon. Old college football games, the Browns-Steelers rivalry (back when it was a rivalry) — great stuff to get in the right frame of mind for the game.

We walked back towards the lots, which were filling rapidly. Had some beer, some of the snacks that Mrs. Crappy brought along and an amazing beer-bratwurst-cheese soup Kelly had prepared. I’m hoping she’s going to get together a guest post about that soon, because it was too good not to share (a note — if you had the soup we made for last year’s Michigan game, you’ve had one of Kelly’s recipes. Good stuff, right?)

As we walked around the stadium to our gate we passed the corner where I left a buckeye at the feet of the Joe Paterno statue days after he died in January. I was expecting to see a crowd there; I wasn’t expecting to see a person, in bronze makeup from head to toe, posing as the statue. Very cool.

Inside. Teams are warming up. And the student sections, directly across the field, were already full. The building doesn’t look especially big — I guess I’m used to the concrete on the banks of the Olentangy — but there are a lot of people in there … 107,000-plus on Saturday.

That’s us, with Kelly and John. The fun is about to begin.

Ohio Stadium is loud. And while there may have been games in Columbus that were close — USC in 2009, Michigan in 2002 or 2006, or Penn State in 2002, which I still remember as one of the loudest games I’ve ever attended — I don’t think I’ve ever heard anything as loud as Saturday’s first half in Beaver Stadium.

And being in the middle of a white out is an awesome thing.

We’ll talk about the actual football in another post. Let’s say I was happy to be able to join in the postgame Carmen Ohio when it was over.

We were even close enough to see this.

We had an interesting night at our hotel in Altoona — I can’t say I’d recommend the Econolodge there for pretty much any reason — but we had an awesome breakfast at Tom and Joe’s Diner, a place Kelly found, before heading home.

It was a short trip, and a very long day — we were up at 4 and didn’t get to bed until late — and I wouldn’t change a thing. Kelly and John were great hosts, and I hope they don’t mind if I thank them one more time for a fantastic day. I hope we can return the favor in Columbus next season.

And. State College, you do it right. I hope we’ll be back soon.

I originally referred to the bus as one that took members of Penn State’s marching band to the stadium; Lauren pointed out that the bus was actually used to transport team members to Beaver Stadium. Sorry ’bout that.




I’m pretty much beside myself over tomorrow’s trip to State College. We’re going to have an awesome time — even if the weather isn’t quite so awesome — and the game promises to be one of the best ones of the season.

Part of the fun is going to be seeing a patented Penn State White Out in person. And that should work out well for those of you watching on TV, especially if for some reason you want to see Mrs. Crappy and me.

It should be pretty easy, actually, especially with the white out. This shot is the same angle that you’ll be watching at home. The red star is our approximate location — and we should stick out like sore thumbs (bright scarlet ones) in the sea of white.

We’ll be sure to wave.



One of my favorite moments of the Purdue game came after the comeback, after the overtime touchdown and after Christian Bryant successfully defended the Boilermakers’ fourth-down pass in the end zone. Mrs. Crappy and I watched the celebration and were still in our seats — actually, standing on our seats, I think — when the team assembled in front of OSUMB.

Most of the guys had already locked arms and started swaying, as they do when they sing the post-game “Carmen Ohio.” But as the noise of the crowd died down in the South Stands, a figure, in a white jacket, appeared in front of the team. It was Urban, doing one last pump-up job before the band did its thing.

You’ll see him briefly in front of the team; you get a better look if you’re watching the scoreboard.

I don’t have any doubt that the previous head coach had emotional moments like this; in fact, I remember seeing a couple in person in Tempe almost 10 years ago. But this is not something the previous head coach would have done, ever, and I have to say that I’m enjoying the hell out of watching the new head coach and the enthusiasm he wears on his sleeve.



Hi. It’s been a while. Let’s get caught up, shall we?

  • By a narrow margin, we have decided that Ohio State plays in the Pork Division. Excellent decision, you guys.
  • Boy, the Nebraska game was fun. I didn’t feel like there were huge defensive lapses — in spite of Nebraska’s 38 points — and the offense … hooboy, the offense. The weather was gorgeous, the halftime show — that was the video game theme show, the one that went viral in the days that followed the game — and with the exception of Mrs. Crappy’s absence for illness, that was a great time all the way around.
  • Boy, the Nebraska tailgate was, uh, even funner. We had a huge crowd for the all-day party, and we had two excellent meals. Suzanne was the star of the lunchtime show; her Mexican tarts — known to Juan as “our special guests” — were delicious, and the corn I made to go alongside turned out pretty well, if I do say so myself. For dinner, we went through about 18 pounds of the family sloppy joe mix. Everyone went above and beyond the call of duty in bringing along snacks and sides, and our other special guests — all part of Lovely Rita Meter Maid’s entourage — were awesome people to hang out with all afternoon.
  • We got home from the night game and finished unpacking around 2 a.m. Sunday. I love night games, but I’m glad they happen just once a year.
  • Recipes? We have recipes. Specifically, the recipes for Suzanne’s tarts and my corn will be coming soon.
  • Bud and Pat visited Pittsburgh for my birthday weekend, which meant we watched the Indiana game at home, accompanied by pizza from our favorite local place. That part was good; Ohio State’s defense was not. But I knew that might be the case when I saw a tweet from Tim May, who saw that Zach Boren was warming up with the linebackers. My folks went to bed with about five minutes left in the game, and joked about me coming to get them if Indiana came back. And they didn’t believe me when I told them the final score on Sunday morning.
  • If you’re ever looking for pizza on Pittsburgh’s North Side, look up Pizza Pescara. Seriously.
  • And now we’re in Columbus, watching the weather and eyeing an early bedtime, so we can be ready to do it all over again in the morning. It’s a little difficult to believe that there are just three more home games this season, but there you go … Purdue, Illinois and our bowl game for the season against the Team Up North. That’ll make for a good finish, boys and girls, even without postseason play — and it’s time to get ready for the 2012 Pork Division Championship.

oink. moo.

A couple weeks ago, I announced that here at Killer Nuts Tailgating, we would no longer recognize the Big Ten’s chosen names for its two football conference divisions, as they are stupid.

I also said the B1G’s chosen names would be replaced here by Beef and Pork, appropriate, I thought, for our solidly Midwestern culinary sensibilities.

I am standing by those two assertions.

However. Over the weekend, I began to reconsider the third part of the re-naming equation, which stated that Ohio State plays in the Pork Division. It was the notion that Minnesota and Iowa, both members of the other division, play annually for the Floyd of Rosedale Trophy, pictured above. I thought about Wisconsin, a member of our division, and its reputation for dairy farming. I thought about the pastures that dot northwest Columbus, all owned by Ohio State, and the hundreds of cattle that peer through those fences at traffic on Kenny and Sawmill roads.

And I thought about a delicious, juicy double cheeseburger. (I had been sick all week, and was dying for something other than soup.)

When I announced that we were members of the Pork Division, I immediately got some pushback from other KNTers. I stuck by my pronouncement at the time … but I’m now reconsidering.

So now I’m asking. Are we pork, or are we beef? And you guys get to decide.

A few things to consider:

  • Pork is inherently, and infinitely, more fun.
  • White Castle, which claims to use 100 percent beef in their hamburgers, is based in Columbus.
  • Two members of the other division, Nebraska and Iowa, are among the Top Five beef-producing states.
  • Bacon.
  • Four of the five states represented in our division — Ohio, Pennsylvania, Indiana, and Illinois — are among the Top 10 pork-producing states.
  • But so are Iowa and Nebraska, members of the other division.
  • Carnitas.
  • Wisconsin, a member of our division, is second only to California in dairy production.
  • Steak.
  • Without pork, there would be no stuffed pork chops.
  • Without beef, there would be no double cheeseburgers.

So what’s it going to be, boys and girls? Poll closes at 11:59 p.m. Friday.

Photo source.



to review.

Ohio State is undefeated. After the team’s four non-conference games, it is where I thought it would be.

In a wins-and-losses sense, anyway.

I haven’t, however, expected the struggles the team has dealt with, especially in Saturday’s game against the University of Alabama branch campus that doesn’t play football nearly as well as its big brother in Tuscaloosa. That’s been unsettling, to be sure.

But on the other hand: Just win. That mantra got me through some pretty good years — and one great one — in the last decade, and if I have to fall back on it again in 2012, that’s OK.

Before we launch the conference schedule — a thing that suddenly has much more importance than it did back in August — let’s take a look at what we’ve seen on the field so far.

The good.

Braxton Miller. In this young season so far, I’ve seen quarterbacks who throw better balls than Braxton Miller. I’ve seen some who are more consistent, and more polished. And there are some — even some in our own conference — that have received more hype than the Buckeyes’ sophomore. But I haven’t seen a quarterback — not a single one — so far this year who can take over a game like Braxton Miller. I’ve generally been pleased with the development of the team’s receivers, and the tailbacks are improving (see Rod Smith) and getting healthy (see Jordan Hall), but there is no question who the coaches turn to when they’re looking for something to happen. There isn’t anyone in the country I’d rather have as Ohio State’s quarterback right now, and just think about this, kids: He’s only going to get better.

Receivers. If you listened to Urban during spring practice, you heard this: “Receivers? We don’t have any.” Look now, though. Devin Smith. Corey Brown. Michael Thomas is starting to play. Jake Stoneburner looks good after the move from tight end. The backs are included in the passing game as well. This is not a polished group, to be sure, but they’re better than I thought we might see, based on Urban’s comments last spring.

Jordan Hall. He looked tentative against Cal. He looked less so against UAB. And while he has good guys behind him, there is no question that the guy from Jeannette, Pa., — you know, the one who chose to stick around — is the team’s best tailback. And Ohio State will get better with every game he plays.

The offense. It’s different … but it’s not. This isn’t the spread we typically think of; it’s still Ohio State, run-driven football. But I couldn’t begin to count the number of different formations we’ve seen, just four games in, and I have no idea how a defensive coordinator figures out where the ball is going next. Mix in the passing game — and some of those dink-and-dunk passes are going to start breaking for big gains once the timing between Miller and his receivers improves — and that’s a scary offense. I can’t wait.

Red zone. In a refreshing change from the past regime, when Ohio State gets there, it scores touchdowns. The Bucks have been inside the other team’s 20 17 times so far; they’ve come away with 14 touchdowns.

The bad.

Braxton Miller. After the season’s first two games, it was clear that Ohio State was relying too much on Miller; even in an offense that’s built around his talents, it’s probably not smart for him to be the fourth-leading rusher in the country, as he was after Miami and Central Florida. But it’s possible to go too far in the other direction as well. Against Cal, he looked like he was thinking too much about not running, and it led to sacks and some poor decisions. I don’t think this is a huge thing, and it seems to me that he’s got a better grasp of the offense than did his predecessor at the same point of his career. It’ll get better.

The defense. There is one specific, defense-related thing I’ll address in a second, but in general, the defense has seemed a little lifeless. In the first two games, that might have been by design. Fickell and Withers didn’t call many blitzes, and we didn’t do much to pressure the other quarterback. That’s picked up some, but the team is still giving up an embarrassing amount of yardage — UAB outgained Ohio State 403 to 347, for example — and that’s going to bite us in league play. However — I like what Coach Withers told the Dispatch’s Bill Rabinowitz after Saturday’s game:

Great point, coach.

The ugly.

Tackling. As in, there isn’t any. OK, that’s not quite true — I saw improvement against UAB … but I also saw a lot of blown tackles, a lot of soft defense on the outside and a lot of intended big hits — most of which turned into whiffs — that should have been wrap ’em up and take ’em down. This is a fundamental thing; my coaches at Hastings Junior High School preached it over and over and over, and I assume that most of these guys have already had a longer football career than my five seasons. The Big Ten isn’t looking especially solid this year, but it’s going to provide tougher, more physical games than we’ve seen in the first four. And Montee Ball and La’Veon Bell will crush a DB who thinks a shot with a shoulder pad is going to take him down. Time to get this fixed.

Penalties. Thirty one of them. Two hundred and sixty yards. Many of them of the after-the-whistle-hits or yapping-for-unsportsmanlike-conducts variety. Stop it. Now.

Special teams. I wouldn’t have included this had I written it a week ago, but the performance of Ohio State’s special teams against UAB were atrocious. Know who our special teams coordinator is? Urban Meyer. Coach? Let’s not let that happen again.


best. commercial. ever.


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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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