Columbus is one of those places where you can tell how the local college team is doing just by walking down the street. Ohio State’s win-loss record has a direct, visceral connection with the emotional makeup of the city’s residents. When the Buckeyes are winning, Columbus is the happiest place this side of Disney World. When the Buckeyes were routinely gagging to Michigan in the ’90s, dank, evil clouds of gloom hung over the city, leaving everyone grim, ashen-faced, and trying to avoid the fistfights that routinely broke out whenever someone mentioned the “big game” record of the Coach Who Shall Not Be Named.
The dark times are back, my friend! Make no mistake about it. Every day seems to bring a humiliatingly inept offensive performance, or another drip in the water torture that is an ongoing NCAA investigation. Conversations that begin calmly, with protestations that there really isn’t anything to talk about, quickly morph into neck-vein-bulging diatribes at ever-increasing decibel levels until the worked-up Buckeyes fan suddenly realizes that he has coated the listener’s face with a fine coating of righteously spewed Buckeye spittle.
“Well, we knew this would be a tough year. But who would have thought that the athletes recruited by Ohio State would have trouble scoring a single touchdown? Seriously, what are the coaches doing? It’s an embarrassment! We’d be competitive with the suspended players, but how in the hell could those kids have gotten into trouble? How could they be so stupid? And when is the NCAA going to finally finish with us? MY GOD, WHAT IS GOING TO HAPPEN WHEN WE PLAY WISCONSIN?!?! IT COULD BE THE WORST LOSS IN THE STORIED HISTORY OF OHIO STATE FOOTBALL!!!!”
The sanity of Columbus is hanging by a thread.