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Jonathan Daniel

This is not your fault, Ohio State. Stop, stop, just stop before you even get started. Whuh uh hey have you seen Alabama's schedule? We're not talking about Alabama today. Bringing up this point is handling your variables like a man who sat on his hands for an hour, and then walked into the OR without even washing their hands and went to work. This is how most people on the internet argue, particularly when discussing what a series of diseased toadstools they have to play because they are in the Big Ten.

Again: the Internet, in one image.

So at the start, obvious things are obvious: it is not Ohio State's fault for playing their conference schedule. It is not their fault Vanderbilt canceled their 2013 opener with the Buckeyes, and did so by mail because aristocrats don't hurry anything, especially last minute cancellations that nuke your already suspect strength of schedule. It's not Ohio State's fault Cal is in year one of the Sonny Dykes Blues Explosion, and will likely be just learning to walk like real boys when the Buckeyes come to Berkeley in the second week of September.

None of this is their fault. And yet there's that guy on the table, and these hands that think a hammer is for surgeonin'. Here is every week of the Ohio State 2013 football schedule--their terrible, terrible football schedule--as a terrible sad short story.

BUFFALO BULLS. Up 31-14 in the third quarter, Urban Meyer paced the sideline. He was nervous. Tarvaris Jackson dropped back, rolled right, and directly into an oncoming blitzer. The schedule just said Buffalo; it never said which Buffalo, or had anything about what Doug Marrone would look like learning the true meaning of sorrow on the other sideline. Death comes one sack at a time, thought Meyer. And I shall be its mailman.

[buffalo loses]

[team dumps tub of cold chili on him anyway]

SAN DIEGO STATE AZTECS. The video game exec paused.

"Okay, here's the pitch. A first person shooter about a cabbie named Braxton, an Algerian immigrant with a shady past who must parkour over a gang of tiny cannibals who lost to BYU 23-6 last year. Can you get him to the docks in time to rescue his girlfriend?"

"Is this game challenging?" An engineer scowled.


"Is it multiplayer?" The engineer was skeptical.

"No, it's pretty much just this guy Braxton running around doing whatever he wants without getting hurt. His powers are like, way, way too strong for this game. He can almost fly. Okay, he can fly. This guy can fucking fly, and shoot missiles from his ass, and it's just Adderall Rambo the whole time."

"Is it fun?" The engineer scowled again.

"For thirty minutes, tops."

"How much does it cost?" The engineer scowled with an unreal depth of scowliness.

"This game will cost you something like $1,000,000 minimum."

The engineer smiled. "WE'LL TAKE IT."

CAL GOLDEN BEARS. Sonny Dykes remembered it: the pillaging, the burning, his people running through the village with fear in their eyes. They were stripped of all humanity, mere animals on the hoof in flight. He survived...barely. One day he would get revenge, and let them feel the steely blade he pulled himself from the body of his father. He would burn their village, somewhere over the hills in the land of Ohio. But he'd start small. Probably with that little helpless village called Colorado, first. The hamlet that built its huts out of old christmas trees and full gas cans. Baby steps to barbarianhood, Sonny. Baby steps.

FLORIDA A&M RATTLERS. FLORIDA A&M: Nick Cannon slammed the limo door. "You said this was supposed to be some pregame hype bullshit. You said this team fuckin' loved Drumline." He tore off his Ohio Stadium visitor's ID. "So tell me why I just sat through FIFTEEN DAMN MINUTES of Urban Meyer explaining why I'm not good enough for Mariah?"

WISCONSIN BADGERS. "You see that man? Sometimes all a man wants is a clean, well-lighted place to have a drink."

"That place is not Wisconsin. It will never be Wisconsin."

"I know. That's why Bret Bielema left Madison. Hemingway would have been so much happier if he'd only known about 'sky's out, thighs out.'"

"Who's having this conversation?"

"Literature and a 24-10 Ohio State win you won't remember watching when the season ends, kid. Now forget this game ever happened. After all, you'll say to yourself, it's probably only Big Ten Football. Many must have it."

NORTHWESTERN WILDCATS. The police interviewed hundreds, if not thousands, of ticket holders, but not a single one could recall anything about the game. What they did remember was far more chilling: a three hour Greco-Roman wrestling match between Pat Fitzgerald and Luke Fickell that ended in a tie and both men shouting "BROS FOREVER."

OPEN DATE. [Urban Meyer bonds with captive Pakistani scientists in a cave outside West Liberty, Ohio as they construct a new arc reactor replacement heart for Meyer, and realize the futile but necessary nature of violence]


PENN STATE NITTANY LIONS. PENN STATE NITTANY LIONS: At some point, the Buckeye defenders just sort of stopped trying. Their presence was unnecessary anyways, because Bill O'Brien was demonstrating a mathematical wonder - if you kept throwing for half as many yards on one attempt as you had on the previous one, you'd finish with an infinite passing game, capable of passing backward and forward in the same reality.

"We just couldn't get them off the field on Quarkth down," Meyer would say later after the game.

PURDUE BOILERMAKERS. He lay bound and gagged in a dark trunk. He could hear cheering--a train whistle, like that of the one in his worst nightmares. He did not remember how he got there, or even who had hogtied him and stuffed him into his silk-lined prison. He knew why he was there, though, and who might have taken him. He'd taught Darrell Hazell well. Do anything to win a football game--- even if it means putting Jim Tressel in the building by any means necessary to enact the Tressel-Purdue Curse Protocol.

Tressel used his metal teeth and began chewing through the wall of the trunk. It was his--and Ohio State's--only hope.

OPEN DATE. [probably bitching to media about other people's schedules sucking, too] [in verse form]

ILLINOIS FIGHTING ILLINI. In the second quarter, the side judge paused. Illinois was already down twenty, and after playing the entire game so far with thirteen men on the field, Tim Beckman was sending out a fourteenth. "Let them dream," the side judge whispered, tucking his flag back into his pocket. "Let the little ones dream."

INDIANA HOOSIERS. Kevin Wilson had never faked his death before. He handed the man his driver's license, and the man laughed. "Oh no, sir, there's no need for that. The money is for the secret I'm about to tell you."

Wilson gulped. "Okay."

"You're the football coach at Indiana. You fake your death every day."

Wilson staggered backwards. He suddenly craved mayonnaise--a deep, satisfying drink of Hoosier state mayonnaise.

MICHIGAN WOLVERINES. The wolves circled him. He placed torches in a circle, and strapped the pizzas to his knuckles. They were his last pizzas. He would have to make them count. Brady Hoke then ate the pizzas off his knuckles, which didn't matter because pizzas don't do shit in a fight, anyway, and also because they were delicious.

Then he threw the wolves the carcass of Al Borges as a sacrifice, and ran away to live another day.