The last few years I have made the trek down I-71 from Northeast Ohio down to Columbus for the Arnold Classic. No I’m not into the whole weightlifting scene as time on that has passed me by, but I think (in my mind anyways) at my size I can get away at looking like a former lifter. Honestly its kind of refreshing that this is a place at my size that I don’t get any stares or people saying man your a big guy. I digress to what has brought me a sense of pride especially so much so this year. Columbus is like a second home to me, my second city behind Cleveland. The Land will always be my home and have that special tug at my heart but there is something about Columbus that has a special spot also. No its definitely not the drivers down here (your a bunch of crazy selfish thugs). Its The Ohio State University,The Scarlet and Gray, The Buckeye Leaf, The Buckeye Nation.
Many of us if fortunate enough to get to spend quality time with our fathers, want to be like them and love the same things as them. I was no different growing up watching Browns, Indians, Cavs, and Buckeye games with my Dad. When he use to score tickets to go to any of these events it was the best thing (there was no HD and 100 camera angles when I was a kid). Walking into the Old Cleveland Stadium had a great feeling but it honestly felt like it needed to be redone or fixed up especially when you were forced to watched a Browns game behind a pillar at least the Indians games you were able to move closer to the field because there wasn’t many fans showing up at all. Cavalier games were a trek to the Richfield Coliseum but that place was fantastic (sorry Q your really a good stadium but the Richfield was better IMO). Getting to go to The Shoe was the best. Nothing ever compared. You could tell that it was (and still is) an old stadium but even to this day I still get goosebumps every time I enter the Rotunda going into the greatest stadium in all of college football. The House that Harley built, the greats that have played on that field, coached on the sidelines, The Best Damn Band in The Land and what they do and have done on that field, the feats that were accomplished on that track (yes there use to be a track in The Shoe youngins Google it).
The last week there has been a flood of news coming out about The Ohio State University and its all been so positive its great. Yes I know that there is more to OSU than football (heck I’m going to the men’s regular season finale against Wisconsin). There is the B1G Championship Wrestling Tournament taking place on the campus right now, women’s basketball team has a really bright future with Mitchell and Hart plus the other sports in general are really on the rise. Buckeye Nation has so much to be proud of right now its not even funny. The reason we key so much on football especially here at MotSaG is that is what you our readers are telling us you are looking at which is great. 2010-2011 the Buckeye football program took a huge black eye and some really came after the Buckeyes (I’m looking at you four letter network). Jim Tressel “The Senator” “The Sweatervest” was forced to resign in May of 2011. Everything was so bleak, many were calling for AD Gene Smith’s head (I was in that camp) for what felt like his arrogance of not self imposing a bowl ban on 2011 season.
November 2011 a new era was born, Urban Meyer was hired as the leader of the Buckeye program. Buckeye Nation was ecstatic the rest of the nation was not at all.
I’ve had this on the back of my pick up truck since Jan 2012 “Urban Renewal- Restoring Greatness inside the Horsehoe”. Urban’s first season the man leads the Buckeyes to a 12-0 record and should have played against Notre Dame and won the National Championship that year but no we really were the one’s catfished thanks to Gene Smith right (more on that later). 2013 the Buckeyes go 12-2 only losses were the ones that meant something, MSU in B1G Championship game and Orange bowl to Clemson. 2014 starts off shaky with Braxton going down and the loss to Virginia Tech. Meyer and company kept the team together and grew stronger and was getting better. There were still skeptics like myself before the Michigan State game but they came out and showed this is a team lead by one of the greatest coaches of our time. We all know what happened to finish off the year and coach Meyer wasn’t even B1G Coach of the Year. Yes as a homer I and all of Buckeye Nation was out raged but the ones in the national media who know and understand football like Phil Steele claimed that Meyer was COY. What was interesting was what Jon Gruden recently said
“What he did at Ohio State, losing a Heisman Trophy candidate and then doing what he did with two different quarterbacks that were backups. Amazing to me.”
How can you argue with that? Urban Meyer has Restored Greatness inside the Horseshoe plus what he is doing with these kids and teaching them leadership and turning them into men . You aren’t hearing of the Florida problems that were all his fault that supposedly followed him here but mysteriously have gone away, because kids have bought in and know there are consequences for their actions in Ohio. In my opinion it seems like a lot of covering up going up in the Whole State of Florida. I don’t want to make accusations but honestly three different universities and their issues and its always business as usual just saying.
Remember the catfishing I was saying about the Gene Smith situation? Well lets be men here and say everyone makes mistakes, they still got a ring for that season (I’m looking at you Mark May, You mad Bro). Smith is only the eighth athletic director for The Ohio State University, been going strong since March 5, 2005. I know it can be easy sitting on the outside saying if “I was in that position I would do this”, until your in that position you don’t know all the variables. Smith has put the Buckeyes on the map as a destination to bring in the best coaches in all sports, Bringing in Meyer, Matta who has turned the Buckeyes into a school that you can say plays basketball too, and recently brought Kevin McGuff to lead the woman’s basketball program who is on the verge of blowing up if they can get past the injuries, just to name a few. Gene Smith has been the leader who has helped turned the Buckeye Athletic program into one of the Top 10 of all of Sports Programs in the Nation per Forbes.
“The culture of OSU Athletics is one of excellence that is focused on the growth and development of each person. It is an environment where all individuals are valuable members of the team with ideas to contribute and given the opportunity to lead those efforts. The department provides traditional education opportunities as well as engage’s employees with projects to stretch them and grow new skills. Individuals are given autonomy at the local level to determine what works best for their group. Gene [Smith] truly supports each individual and allows them to lead. It is a culture of we and not me as cliché as that sounds. I am very thankful for the opportunity the Buckeye’s have given me to grow my professional skills.” – Janine Oman, Assoc Athletics Director Sport Administration/Sport Performance
Yes a National Championship does bring in a ton of pride into a University and fan base, but honestly I can’t remember feeling so much pride for the Scarlet and Gray as I feel now as when they last won their National Championship. This is due to the leaders like Gene Smith who has went out and found quality leaders to lead each individual program with pride and turn the young men and women who play for the Buckeyes into great leaders of tomorrow. I would personally like to thank Gene Smith for what he has done and all of the coaches who work there butts off to help build a better tomorrow by being the greatest.