This may sound odd, but I’m starting to get bored with Buckeye football. I know that there are still big games on the schedule, especially the Michigan game. But after getting beat by Purdue, playing a fluky game against Wisconsin and predictably blowing out New Mexico State, the whole thing is just starting to feel tired. I just haven’t been able to get behind this team. I still root for them, but watching the Buckeyes this year just isn’t the same.
Luckily there’s another team starting their season, and it is one that I think is going to be a lot more entertaining. The men’s basketball team doesn’t have problems with unproven freshman or sophomores. Instead they have returning juniors Evan Turner, Jon Diebler and Dallas Lauderdale who are genuine, battle-hardened veterans of a couple long seasons.
Add to that a return of National Championship-run team member David Lighty, super sophomore William Buford, and hard-working junior college transfers Jeremie Simmons and P.J. Hill. There are other guys that casual fans won’t recognize from their playing time, (including another Greek seven-footer, Zisis Sarikopoulos) but the starters have seen it all in the Big Ten, and are ready for another title.
I even like the basketball coach more. Thad Matta had back surgery a little bit ago, but it hasn’t slowed him down at all. He looks like he runs as much as the players on some nights. Where football fans see a stuffed sweater vest standing on the sidelines whispering into a headset about the next punt, basketball fans see a guy in a suit yelling, screaming, sweating, and cheering his team to victory with every other fan. You can tell that he lives for basketball; he was born in a town called “Hoopeston.” I can’t see gum flying out of Tressel’s mouth, much less him picking it up and putting it back in after it hits the ground.
From my seats in C Deck, I can just barely make out some of the numbers on the field as I try to remember what my fingers felt like. From my seats in Value City Arena, I can high five the players after they go on a 12-0 run to finish out the half. The chants are louder and clearer, the game is faster and the team is better. What better cure for the gridiron doldrums?
Not to mention that when basketball season ends, there’s usually a 65-team tournament to savor. By contrast, football enjoys a month and a half of waiting before a bowl game that won’t matter unless some journalists and computers say it does. I won’t be tuning out the rest of the football games, but I am relieved that the better fan experience finally starts their season next week. Go Bucks!