Welcome to my final hate article for this cursed year (don’t worry, this is the penultimate hate article for the 20/21 season, I’ll be back next week for Bama). I’ve got my target set on a familiar nuisance. A university from the state of Ohio stands in the way of my Tigers and the Crimson Tide, and I couldn’t be happier. This is the light work game I wanted in the semi-final. If you’re going to have a perfunctory game for TV ratings, it may as well be against the 11th best team in the nation. Don’t get me wrong, everything should be earned, but if the college football powers that be decide Clemson is worthy of a semi-final walkover, who am I, a lowly sports blogger, to object.
If you boil this down game down to its essence, it’s a game of privilege vs hard work.
You’ve got a midwestern “blueblood” against an upstart program from rural South Carolina. I’ll be the first to admit that Ohio State was significantly better than Clemson during the leather helmet era of college football. If you’re into dusty relics of the past, the Buckeyes are your team. They’ve got COLLEGE FOOTBALL ICON WOODY HAYES moldering away in their annals. In an era that worshiped abusive, hot tempered, idiot head coaches, Woody stood head and shoulders above the rest before Clemson put an end to his abusive relationship with college football with one Charlie Bauman interception.
Of course, Woody Hayes wasn’t the only Ohio State coaching legend Clemson has exposed as an over-the-hill fraud. Saint Urban the Forgetful was served a beating so severe in the 2016 Fiesta Bowl that you can only hope the “significant memory issues” turned up by that inevitable Ohio State investigation (the traditional end to every Ohio State coaching job) into the Zach Smith saga helped Mr. Meyer move past the 31-0 beating administered by Dabo and the Tigers.
Speaking of the Zach Smith saga, that brings me back to my main theme: privilege vs hard work and sacrifice. Ryan Day wasn’t hired because he was some great coaching mind, he was hired by Ohio State because they couldn’t hire Kevin Wilson (b/c he abused his players at Indiana and was subsequently fired) and Day was far enough removed to claim ignorance. Day was handed a top 5 roster, beat his flabby chest, and declared himself the greatest coach in the history of football. I assume Ryan sends Zach a Christmas card every year, because without Zach, Coach Day would still be helping Urban find the remote in the coaches’ lounge.
Folks, I’ve got a 6-year-old. I’ve seen my fair share of foot-stomping, “it’s not fair” temper tantrums, but my daughter, even at her most sleep deprived, could never contend with Day’s post-Fiesta Bowl pity party. It’s understandable though. I assume Coach Day thought that winning the Fiesta Bowl was somehow owed to him. He was handed the Ohio State job, why wouldn’t they hand him a spot in the National Championship game?
It wasn’t fair that his Buckeyes jumped out to a 16-0 lead and were subsequently outscored 29-7 for the rest of the game, and it certainly wasn’t his fault.
The refs were responsible for Ohio State kicking 2 first half field goals inside the 10-yard line.
If Shaun Wade hadn’t been ejected, Ohio State wouldn’t have given up a 4-play, 94-yard drive to lose the lead with 2 minutes left in the game. How could you possibly defend Clemson while missing your slot corner? With Wade out of the game, they only had 2 first-round cornerbacks and the #2 overall pick in the draft between Trevor, Travis, Amari, and the end zone, and that’s simply not fair.
If Chris Olave ran the right route, Justin Fields wouldn’t have thrown that interception, and an Ohio State University would have pulled through despite blowing a 16-point lead.
Ryan Day is the first to admit that it’s someone else’s fault, but if you look at his “mentor” it’s clear the apple doesn’t fall far from the rotting tree.
That leads me to the 2020 season. Let’s face it, this whole year has been a train wreck. If I’m totally honest, I still don’t think college football was a great idea this year. But, you know what? It happened. Teams came together and, for the most part, made things work. Clemson fought illness, injuries, and the opposition to put together an 11-game season. Sure, they dropped a game to Notre Dame, but they more than redeemed that upset loss in the ACC Championship.
Ohio State, on the other hand, held out their baby powder soft hands like the blue bloods they are and demanded the rules be changed to their benefit. They had the cash strapped Big10 over a barrel and knew it would cave to their demands. Indiana, rightfully, should have played in the Big10 Championship game, but Indiana football doesn’t pay the Big10 bills. Clemson won their way into a chance of redemption in the ACC Championship game. Ohio State bullied their way into the Big10 Championship game and the Big10 bent the knee and kissed the ring.
That’s the difference between Clemson and Ohio State. Dabo inherited a floundering Tommy Bowden program and built it into a dynasty. Ryan Day inherited a college football dynasty and wants credit for being in the right place at the right time. If you want to know why Dabo rubs Buckeye fans the wrong way, look no further.
He refuses to kiss the ring.
Little Ol’ Clemson in middle-of-nowhere South Carolina has the nerve to challenge a “blue blood.” You see the blowback because college football is based on “blue bloods.” Alabama, Michigan, Ohio State, USC, Notre Dame, Texas, and Oklahoma all think they deserve to be handed things in the present because they were good in the past. Now, I’ll go ahead and take Alabama out of that group because they live by what they do on the field today, and not what they did 50 years ago. But the rest...spoiled rich kids blowing their trust funds and wondering why the poors like Clemson get to attend their party. Dabo is public enemy #1 because Clemson isn’t supposed to be this good. A coach outside of the inbred, syphilitic college football aristocracy isn’t supposed to stand up and demand a team like Ohio State earn their spot in the College Football Playoff because every other coach is afraid of Ohio State.
That brings me to the mouth breathing conglomerate known as Ohio State fans. If Ohio State football is a part of aristocracy, their fans are clearly dirt farming serfs. If you’re wondering why South Carolina’s trashiest beaches are swarmed under by saggy armed, flabby bellied, hairy backed Ohio State grads and their husbands, the answer is simple:
You don’t live in Ohio, you get stuck in Ohio.
You don’t thrive in Ohio, at best you survive until you escape.
If you graduate from an Ohio State University, the first thing you do is get as far away from Columbus as possible. The Grand Strand is littered with Ohio State MBA’s selling 5 dollar swimsuits and pawning off dead hermit crabs on unsuspecting elementary school kids because anything is better than living in Columbus. A bad day in a Myrtle Beach trailer park is better than the best day in an Ohio mansion.
Think on that point for a moment.
I usually end this article with some sort of “rah, rah, we’re going to show up and kick their ass” paragraph, and I’m almost always right, but I thought I’d let Coach Batson take this one home.
Clemson is going to roll into New Orleans with splintered, broken nails and 2-inch-thick callouses. It has been a fight to make it this far in a season that was anything but normal, but they put in the work. Ohio State is rolling into town with a fresh manicure, and Coach Day even pitched in extra for some French tips. They don’t put championship rings on smooth hands, and Ryan Day and Ohio State are going to find that out for themselves tomorrow night.
I’ll see y’all next week.