BCS National Title Game '11

BCS National Title Game '11
BCS National Championship 1/10/11 Oregon vs Auburn

Sunday, July 8, 2012

College Football GameDay Experience #3 (Columbus)

With only three game day experiences remaining, here are the game day experiences that have been mentioned so far. Iowa City (Iowa Hawkeyes) came in a number ten, Madison (Wisconsin Badgers) at nine, Knoxville (Tennessee Volunteers) at eight, Lincoln (Nebraska Cornhuskers) at seven, Eugene (Oregon Ducks) at six, Gainesville (Florida Gators) at five, and South Bend (Notre Dame Fighting Irish) at four. GameDay Experience number three leads us to what is known as "The Horseshoe." Columbus is a destination that is a must for any college football fan, even if you despise the Ohio State Buckeyes. Ohio Stadium is a shrine to college football and is one of the best atmospheres in all of college football.

3. GameDay in Columbus-Ohio State Buckeyes (Ohio Stadium)

The Ohio State Buckeyes struggled last season with the firing of Head Coach Jim Tressel. The Buckeyes ended up finishing the season 6-7. This year it will be interesting will the hire of Urban Meyer and what he can do with a team that was hit with a one year probation, meaning the Buckeyes will not be able to play in the Big Ten Championship, nor be eligible for a bowl. Overall though, Ohio State has been very successful this past decade. The Buckeyes have appeared in three national championship Games getting their only win in 2002. They have appeared in BCS Bowl Games eight out of the last ten years and have won five Conference Championships. Now onto my experience in Columbus.

"The Horseshoe" 
Before I went to Columbus, I figured it was some dump town in Ohio. That's because as a Michigan football fan that's what you're supposed to believe, but when I finally arrived there and made it to the downtown area it was actually pretty nice. I never really thought Columbus would look like that and that The Ohio State campus would be as big as it was. Downtown was busy Friday night and many places were packed with fans in for the game the next day. The restaurant my dad and I went to is one of those places you need to go if you are there for a football game. It's called Eddie George's Grille 27 and it located on North High Street. It has Eddie George memorabilia hanging all around the restaurant and also has some great food. I had the deep fried cheeseburger, one of the most recommended food items on the menu, it was pretty much amazing. After a wonderful experience Friday night, it was time to get ready for Saturday.

Skull Session in St. John Arena
Our Saturday morning began by attending another segment of ESPN College GameDay. I was wearing a Trojan shirt obviously, I liked Pete Carroll and I never in my life could get myself to where anything Ohio State. The fans bickered back and forth about who cheated more and how Reggie Bush was a cheater. Looked like both fan bases were right. After this season, the Trojans were hit with a two year bowl ban. As we made fun of Maurice Clarett and how he screwed up, I never imagined that the Buckeye quarterback Terrelle Pryor, who I would be watching that evening, would be the player that caused Jim Tressel to be fired and place the Buckeyes on probation three years later. Funny how these things happen. Anyways, Kirk Herbstreit's kids came up to the GameDay set for the pick and Corso picked the Trojans.

There is a lot to see on the Ohio State campus prior to kickoff. We checked out Value City Arena, home of Ohio State Basketball. We then headed to the Jack Nicklaus Museum, which was about a 15-20 minute walk from the stadium. If you are a golf enthusiast this is the place for you. It is full of memorabilia, with includes items such as trophies, green green jackets, and old golf bags Nicklaus used in the major tournaments he played in. After viewing the Jack Nicklaus Museum, we headed over to the Woody Hayes Athletic Center close by. Unfortunately on game days, the Ohio State hall-of-fame is closed. You can still look from the outside though and see some of the trophies the Buckeyes have won over the years.

Once we made it back to the main campus we checked out Mirror Lake. It's not as pretty as I thought it was going to be, but there is a lot of tradition surrounding the lake. Mirror lake is located on campus and is more like a small pond. The tradition surrounding the lake is that Thursday night prior to the Michigan game, which takes place in late November, students usually get really drunk and jump into the lake with bathing suits on. They have a huge pool party that goes into the early hours of Friday morning. It would be fun to watch. I just don't know if I could get myself to do when it's only 15 degrees outside. After we hung out there for a little bit, we headed to a tailgating area set up for fans and watched football. Then it was time to go check out the Skull Session in Old St. John Arena. This is one of the most important traditions on game day at Ohio State. The Ohio State Marching Band aka "The Best Damn Band in the Land" makes their way into the arena and starts playing. The football team eventually walks in and the coach and maybe a player or two says a few words, then they leave. After they leave the court, the band plays the many songs associated with The Ohio State University. What is interesting about Ohio State is everything is so structured on game day. Everything is done in an orderly fashion, such as the Skull Session.

 Matt Barkley and teammates celebrate after touchdown
It was eventually time to enter "The Shoe." We ended up sitting with many USC fans right behind the USC Marching Band, which was a lot of fun. Pre-game at Ohio Stadium is not like anything else you will ever see in sports. The Band does their tunnel entrance onto the field and begins to play "Fight the Team Across the Field." The Band eventually makes their way to "Script Ohio." This is honestly my favorite tradition in college football. The stadium erupts when the sousaphone player dots the "i". This happened to be the game where the ESPN cameraman got to close to the sousaphone player and the sousaphone player ended up teaching the camera a lesson. Prior to kickoff, Ohio Stadium was as loud as ever. It is also very overwhelming because of how big the stadium is. Throughout the game it was deafening as the Trojans and Buckeyes went back and fourth. "The Horseshoe" is probably the second loudest stadium in the country after Florida. It is quite a scene. Of course, it was probably the quietest stadium in the country after true Freshman Quarterback Matt Barkley led the Trojans down the field with a minute left and shocked the Buckeyes 18-15. I witnessed a record breaking crowd at Ohio Stadium go completely silent. All I can say is... I was a very happy person in Columbus that night. I took it all in and was taking pleasure in the Buckeye fans misery. Those fans were completely stunned, it was great!

Overall, the Columbus experience was amazing. As much as I hate Ohio State, there fans were nothing but nice and they are a university built around class and tradition. The atmosphere at Ohio State is something you just don't get at many other college football stadiums. Everything is also revolved around the Ohio State Marching Band. Buckeye fans love their team and have such a great knowledge of the game. I highly recommend it for any college football fan who loves the history and tradition of college football. I would love to go back there someday and attend another game.

Game Attended in Columbus:

9/12/2009   CFB  USC 18, Ohio State 15   * ESPN College Gameday

ESPN College GameDay
Best sign at College GameDay "Stop World Hunger Stop Feeding Charlie Weiss!"
Mirror Lake 
Script OHIO 


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