It’s August, it’s Thursday night, and the Ohio State Buckeye football team is playing a Big Ten game — and on the road, no less.
This sort of thing isn’t supposed to happen to one of the most tradition-rich teams in college football, but this year all of the tradition goes out the window. No more first-game cupcake, with Ohio State pulverizing one of the directional schools that are served up annually as fodder for the big boys. No, this year we’re starting the season in earnest, with a game at Indiana this week and Oklahoma visiting the Horseshoe next week. That’s called jumping into the season with both feet. Sure, Indiana isn’t one of the Big Ten’s recognized powerhouses, but it’s a conference game, and Indiana has played the Buckeyes very tough indeed in recent years. And all indications are that Indiana and its fans are pumped to the max for this game. Indeed, their coach is calling the most significant home opener in Indiana history.
As a Buckeye traditionalist, the idea of Ohio State playing football in August — much less on a Thursday night, much less against a Big Ten team — rankles me, but the sport of college football is changing and the scheduling is changing with it. Even though it’s August, I’ll be watching with interest tonight, to see if head coach Urban Meyer and his staff can once again blend new players with more experienced upperclassmen, replace a slew of talented Buckeyes who have moved on to the pros, and make another run at the college football playoff.
But Big Ten football, for the Buckeyes, in August? I still shudder at the thought.