Trinity’s End

Tomorrow Ohio State plays its first game.  That means it’s almost time to put aside The Trinity.

The Trinity, of course, refers to the last three games that Ohio State played to reel in the first ever college football playoff championship.  The Buckeyes crushed Wisconsin to get into the playoffs, roared back to upset Alabama in the semifinal game, then spanked Oregon in the National Championship Game to bring home the trophy.

For members of Buckeye Nation, this Trinity of games is just this side of heaven.  They are three of the finest games Ohio State has played in my lifetime, and for them to come back-to-back-to-back, with all of the marbles and pressure and SEC jinxes on the line, is just short of incredible.

So, I’ve watched them, and watched them, and watched them.  I’ve seen the 30-minute version of the Buckeyes’ win over Wisconsin so many times that I’ve pretty much memorized dvery Cardale Jones completion and every catch phrase in Gus Johnson’s commentary.  I’ve watched Ezekiel Elliot split the Alabama defense and rip away for 85 yards so often that I see it in my dreams — which is a good thing.  And the fourth-and-goal stop of Oregon, following by the relentless ground game that chewed the Ducks into bits, is indelibly carved into my memory banks.

But now, it’s time to put those wonderful things away.  When a new season starts, you’ve got to forget the past and focus on the present.  There’s nothing sadder than football fans who live in the past.  I’m sure there are Michigan and Penn State fans who need to go deep into their history to find happy moments — and that’s pathetic.  I’d rather live and die with this year’s team than revel forever in last year’s glory.  That’s part of the fun of sports.

I’ll always remember The Trinity.  In fact, since we’re still more than 24 hours from kickoff, there’s still time for me to enjoy them — one more time.

A Fan Of Gus Johnson

The NCAA Tournament is great not only because you get to see some great basketball, buzzer beaters, and heartbreak, but also because you get to see some great TV announcers ply their trade.

Some people like Dick Vitale, some people like Bill Raftery, some people like Jay Bilas — but for my money no announcer is so perfectly matched to a sport as Gus Johnson is to college basketball.  He is knowledgeable, and professional, but what really makes him great is that he gets as pumped about the great games, the great plays, and the great finishes as everyday fans do.  Listening to Gus Johnson call a game, his voice rising as the adrenalin surges, always makes that game more exciting and memorable.

Ohio State fans have been privileged to have Gus Johnson call a number of Buckeye games, and this year he has worked games for the Big Ten Network, so I’ve had the great pleasure of hearing him even more than normal.  As a Buckeye fan, one of my favorite Gus Johnson calls is of Ron Lewis’ legendary last-second shot to propel the Buckeyes and Xavier into overtime in a 2007 NCAA Tournament game.  To this day, members of Buckeye Nation debate exactly what Gus Johnson said as Lewis’ shot found the bottom of the net.  Was it “bangs it home”?  Was it “pizza dough”?  We only know that we like it.