It all started with the guy dotting the "i" almost decapitating a camera man, and it got more demoralizing from there.
Imagine this. You're a band nerd growing up in Ohio. When you're a freshman in high school you switch from playing the trumpet to playing the sousaphone so that you can have the opportunity to take center stage in one of the best traditions in college football. And, eight years later, you're a senior in college, your team is playing the biggest game of the season, your family is watching oh so proudly from the stands, you follow the bandleader through Script Ohio, get your big moment with the high kicks, and prepare to take your big bow, with the camera and every college football fan in America watching you, and as you take a nice semi-violent bow, your sousaphone drills the cameraman in the head.
Yes. That actually happened.
Somehow, the Ohio State Buckeyes decided to replicate that moment in a football game.
Imagine this. You have been repeatedly beat down at the hands of highly ranked foes for three straight years, to the point where most college football fans across the country are actively rooting for you to lose, just so they don't have to watch you ruin another national championship game. You're playing your biggest game of the season, against the eminently hateable U$C Trojans, who seem exceptionally hateable this season due to their freshman quarterback who seems to have exactly one clue in the world, a clue that was likely planted by Mark Fuhrman. After watching your all-world athlete of a QB (you know, the one that decided to break out a tribute to Mike Vick in the form of eye-black in the season opener), get your team behind the cue ball just a couple of minutes into the game, you spend the next, I dunno, let's say 50 minutes more or less whooping up on the Trojans, gritting your way out to a five point lead behind some phenomenal defense and some workmanlike offense. And then, just as you're about to take your metaphorical bow in front of your family, your friends and the rest of the college football world, some cameraman gets in the way.
How bad did Ohio State need this game tonight? How bad did the entire Big Ten need it? Coming into the game, there were a lot of Buckeye fans who would have been just fine with a loss so long as they weren't publicly humiliated again. I think in the end, this one hurt a lot worse than the debacle in the Coliseum last year.
There were definitely bright spots for the Buckeyes: they played hard, they had some younger guys step up and take their first steps toward proving their worth. But in the end, all anyone will remember is the Ohio State Buckeyes (and perhaps the entire Big Ten) losing another big game.
Oh. That, and the sousaphone player clocking a cameraman.
Elsewhere around the Big Ten:
My succinct notes on Tate Forcier so far: small, excellent runner, decent arm, intangibles out the wazoo.
I'll make no secret of my strong dislike for all things Michigan, which makes it all the more horrible that I really like this guy. I hope he starts a dog fighting ring, or at the very least decks some loudmouth from the WAC so I can build up a nice little bit of hatred for him somehow.
Probably wouldn't have mattered, but did you notice how the clock at Michigan Stadium went from 11 seconds to 9 seconds between the time the kickoff ended and the time the next play started? Gotta love the homefield timekeeper.
Wisconsin got into some trouble early against Fresno State, but came back in the second half to play a brand of football that actually looked like Wisconsin football again, and, in the process, actually pulled out a game they should have lost. John Clay showed a nice little burst of speed that I had never seen from him before, and he seems to get progressively harder to bring down as the game goes on. Throw in a nice set of receiver, the typical massive Wisconsin offensive line, and a quarterback who is a significant upgrade from the last couple of years and this Badger squad could make some noise again and get Bret Bielema back in the good graces of Wisconsin fans.
Sparty being Sparty, and even earlier this year than usual. Excellent.