Monday, September 1, 2008

When did Ohio Stadium become an NBA arena?

Well, I made a trip to Columbus for my annual Alumni-association tickets (gee, thanks, I've been out of school ten years, and only once have I even got a Big Eleven Ten game, let alone Michigan. Maybe if I donate a couple hundred large to the university, I can at least get tickets between the end zones. And maybe when I'm out of school for 50 years, I'll get Michigan tickets. Anyway.

First, the game. A bit disappointing, if a 43-0 game can be called disappointing. The offense, while showing some flashes, just didn't seem to click. All those red zone possessions that end in our 29-year-old kicker putting three points on the board can not be called successful, especially against a I-AA team of all things! There were a couple fantastic fakes with Maurice Wells that fooled the whole stadium, I'd like to know whether the TV cameras could follow along. Terrell Pryor looked very solid, for a true freshman, and his touchdown had lasting effects--USC certainly needs to think twice during defensive practice the next two weeks. And, of course, Chris Wells' injury--let's wait and see on that one.

But the main thing I noticed was the noticeable stadium aura. I don't think I went to a game last year, so maybe this isn't brand new. But some of it is, I can tell. When the heck did The university decide they had to make Ohio State games, long understated ("Eddie George carry") into the next incarnation of an NBA game? I half expected fireworks after touchdowns and maybe a unicycling-plate juggling-halftime show. Some low-lights:

  • What certainly appeared to be a new addition--the stadium announcer punctuating all Ohio State first downs--and unfortunately for the crowd, against Youngstown State there were a ton of them--with an enthusiastic, annoying, "FIRST DOWN!!!" cry. As in, "Maurice Wells carry, 4 yards to the Ohio State 47.............and that's another Ohio State......FIRST DOWN!!!!!" Obviously done to draw crowd heat, it took two or three first downs to catch on, and then a noticable portion of the stadium yelled along with the announcer. Certainly not the entire stadium, let's just say a portion of the fans are very used to shouting along with the stadium, such as "because Stone Cold said so!!" But enough people to make it annoying. At one point I think the "official" announcer didn't even say it, just primed the crowd to say it for him. Uggh.
  • Before every Ohio State kickoff, the beats of the White Stripes' Seven Nation Army permeate throughout the stadium, all the way until the ball is received. The first time, for the opening kickoff, I thought, "fine," but that quickly got old. If you need to blast rock music to get the crowd pumped, you have bigger problems than a shoddy red zone offense. Maybe limit it to the beginning of halves, like the Browns with Enter Sandman. Ugggh.
  • Another kickoff note, as the White Stripes were playing before the opening kickoff, I was hearing the crowd road (or the "ohhhhhhhhhh" sound done on kickoffs) possibly being piped through the speakers, and it was certainly louder than the crowd was actually doing at that point. I hope that was just a live mike on the field picking it up, but let's just say I didn't hear that sound again.
  • Finally, the long tradition of the band playing Hang on Sloopy was now introduced by the announcer, with great fanfare. Made it seem contrived. And then, apparently (my alumni tickets had me in the south stands, back to the scoreboard), Archie Griffin came on to intone them to do it again. Lame. Let tradition be tradition, don't make it seem like you're introducing 100,000 new fans to what goes on at Buckeyes games.
Give me the standard OSU traditions, the dorks in Block O leading the O-H-I-O stadium thunder, and the band splitting up and spreading out throughout the stadium in the second half, and leave the rock music to Hineygate across the street.