Football Saturdays, much like Drake’s third studio album, will never be the same. When I arrived on campus in Autumn 2014, I knew that Ohio State was good at football, and that much hasn’t changed, but everything surrounding Ohio State’s success on the field — from the people holding the program together to the traditions before each game — has changed drastically.
True OSU Big Ten veterans will remember when the conference broke into the Leaders and Legends divisions, but it never really stuck, so now we have the Big Ten East and the Big Ten West. However, while those division names didn’t stick, there’s a good chance you’ll see some of these ~leaders and legends~ around the football program for a long time.
You’re living under a rock if you haven’t heard about Urban Meyer’s exit from Ohio State football. Actually, it might be more than living under a rock. You’re buried deep underground, moving around among dinosaur remnants and the ghost of Woody Hayes. Urban Meyer is now an assistant athletic director (and restaurateur!), and Ryan Day is our metaphorical Superman.
I’d like to be the first one on this hype train, so repeat after me: RYAN DAY IS BETTER THAN URBAN MEYER! Look at the NUMBERS! Ohio State has one coach in its history with an undefeated record, and it’s Ryan Day. Sure, Urban Meyer started his Ohio State tenure with a 12-0 season and then rattled off 12 more wins before being handed his first loss in the 2013 Big Ten Championship game, but Ryan Day is UNDEFEATED and I don’t see that changing anytime soon.
Another change I’m excited to see this year? Justin Fields. Since Tate Martell’s commitment in 2016, I was counting down the days to see a true dual-threat quarterback retake the helm of Ohio State football and guide the team to glory like the greats. There’s just something more fun about watching a quarterback who can run and throw. But it’s 2019. Tate Martell is in Miami (and not looking too impressive, tbh) and Justin Fields has made the move from Athens, Georgia to Columbus.
The Mirror Lake Jump is no more. When I was about 12, I tried convincing my mom to let me go to campus and do the Mirror Lake Jump before the Ohio State-Michigan game. Luckily, she said no, because I can’t even get into a cold swimming pool in the summer. I would have died in a freezing cold lake at the end of November. However, the fact that I was 12 YEARS OLD and already wanted to do the jump speaks to how iconic the tradition is. Of course, there will always be some people who do the Jump, but the increased fencing and police presence around the Lake on the eve of The Game will certainly deter them. I’m all for finding a new tradition, but in the name of safety, I think this is a change in the right direction.
If we’re talking about legends, there are few that stand higher on the totem pole of college life than partying and tailgating. Pregaming at Block before Ohio State takes the field is a rite of passage at Ohio State, but now, with the increasing number of suspended fraternities at Ohio State, Block is looking like it could be going the way of Blockbuster. (Remember that old DVD rental store?) This change will ring throughout Ohio State football history as one of the darkest times in Saturday pregaming… Or maybe we’ll all just forget about it because buying a bunch of Naturdays and drinking them at home can be just as much fun as playing beer pong with KYLE and CHAD before heading to The Shoe.