While spectator limitations and safety precautions may prevent students from packing Ohio Stadium to watch the Buckeyes play on Saturdays, there are still ways to maximize how you cheer on the scarlet and gray.
Whether it is your first time watching Ohio State football or you are a life-long fan, here are five tricks to successfully navigate your first year as a student fan.
Know the TV station and kickoff time
There is nothing worse than accidentally sleeping in on a Saturday and missing the opening quarter of an Ohio State football game.
Though common sense would lead one to believe that the biggest games are played at night, Ohio State played Penn State, Michigan and Cincinnati in noon games last season, so make sure to keep an eye on the schedule for kickoff times in order to not miss out.
Knowing the appropriate TV channel is also a must or else you could be scrambling to find the game on TV while junior quarterback Justin Fields and the Ohio State offense are trotting onto the field for the opening possession.
Ohio State offers Philo Edu, an online television provider, for students living on campus that can be accessed with a student’s login credentials. It offers all the channels needed for watching Ohio State football, including FOX, ABC, ESPN, ESPN2, FS1 and Big Ten Network.
Have a planned location for watching the game
After figuring out the TV station and kickoff time, watching the game in the proper location is the next ingredient to a great game day experience.
Watching the game on a phone, laptop or TV in a dorm room is an easy way to watch a football game, but there are other options as well. Keeping in mind proper social distancing and mask-wearing practices, common areas in dorm buildings are great places to watch a game with fellow students, and the main common area will likely have a flat screen TV that will enhance the viewing experience.
Ohio State also offers Wi-Fi throughout its campus, so games could even be livestreamed while you lay on a towel on the Oval.
Make sure to get the appropriate food and drinks beforehand
Snacks and drinks are a gameday necessity, so it’s always important to plan ahead and make a run to the grocery store before the game begins.
Other places to grab snacks quickly are the C-Stores located in Scott, Morill and Neil Marketplaces, however it’s important to stock up either the night before or early Saturday mornings as the lines can tend to get long on weekends.
In case you’re in a time crunch before the games, each residence hall is equipped with vending machines that provide all kinds of snacks, however options are much more limited when compared to the C-Store or grocery stores in the area.
Look for alternative ways to get involved
Even with a potential closing of Ohio Stadium to fans, there are still many ways to get involved and enjoy Buckeye athletics with fellow students.
Block “O” serves as the official student section of Ohio State athletics and holds events such as watch parties and rallies. With social distancing restrictions due to COVID-19, Block “O” may be changing its approach to its usual events.
Block “O” president Nick Wead said that the club is looking at virtual opportunities to get students involved at their events and that they have played with the idea of a virtual watch party which would allow Block “O” members to watch the games together over the internet.
“If we’re not able to get tickets for a lot of students,” Wead said. “Maybe there are other ways that we can involve students that don’t necessarily have to have the physical presence of students to still feel connected to the overall student body.”
Embrace school traditions
No matter where you are on a given game day, school pride and Ohio State traditions permeate throughout campus.
On fall Saturdays, the campus will be full of students donning scarlet jerseys and Ohio State apparel as they prepare to watch the Buckeyes. While looking the part is important, a student must also be able to sound the part. Make sure to answer an “O-H” with an “I-O” while walking around campus, and familiarize yourself with the lyrics to “Carmen Ohio,” which is sung after every game.
Don’t be afraid to lean into old traditions while also exploring new ones. This is a unique time and having fun while showing off school spirit is essential.