Published Wed, Sep 21, 2011 10:11 am Dateline
Updated Wed, Sep 21, 2011 12:42 pm
Go ahead, do it. I know you want to.
Think about a win over Rutgers. Ponder a top-25 ranking. Daydream about a MAC Championship. Or an undefeated season.
That's the fun part of sports.
For the first time since 1976, the Ohio football team is 3-0. It's not only that, though.
They're really, really good.
For me, the most interesting part of Frank Solich's Monday press conference after his team's 44-7 rout of Marshall was when the head coach was asked how the 2011 version of the Herd compared to previous Marshall teams.
Those in attendance got the sense that the coach hadn't really thought about that.
He paused, then said: "Well...going in I thought they were very, very good, and their coach indicated it was the best team he's had since he's been there."
Yet even the O-Zone couldn't leave fast enough to miss its football team turn the 55th version of the "Bell" rivalry into a laugher.
It was 34-7 at halftime. Ohio humiliated the Herd on national (internet) TV.
Ohio's starting quarterback lead blocking for a long touchdown run? A fake punt in the third quarter, when Ohio was leading by 30? Record-breaking performances and exciting plays all over the field?
That didn't look like a team destined to lay an egg like it did against Kent State last year, did it?
It's been a very long time since Ohio had a nationally-relevant football program, sure. The Bobcats haven't been ranked since 1968, when the electrifying Cleve Bryant helped Ohio finish the regular season undefeated and ranked 15th.
This team of student-athletes and coaches won't admit that they look ahead on the schedule. They'll give you the tired adage of, "we take things one game at a time."
But you don't have to play along with that cliché. You can have some fun.
Go ahead, look at the ridiculously sub-par schedule over the next five weeks. Fantasize about a win over Rutgers catapulting Ohio to an 8-0 record entering November (Ohio's October opponents combined to win nine games last year and have three total wins in 2011).
So why not overreact?
In fact, I think you should.
Sure, you probably have to call it an overreaction to think "unbeaten through October," if not for the fact that it's a prediction and most predictions don't come true. After all, on any given Saturday...
But if you're one of those cynics who prides himself on being right, even at the expense of the team you claim to love - "I told you they'd blow it!" - get a life.
Many fan bases don't even get the chance to dream big. Think about Eastern Michigan. Or New Mexico. Or any other FBS team in the state of Ohio. Other than your Bobcats, no team in the Buckeye State is undefeated. Essentially, no FBS team from Ohio except the 'Cats has a mathematical chance to win the National Championship (with apologies extended to our Scarlet friends up North).
Look! I'm overreacting already! I'm trying to provide a good example.
There's more talent on that Peden Stadium field than on any other in the MAC. Your quarterback doesn't make mistakes. Your starting middle linebackers show no fear. Your receiving core is scary good. Your coach has been to the national pinnacle before. Your team is undefeated.
Take advantage of this opportunity. Buy one of those sweet, black jerseys if they go on sale. Watch Saturday's game with friends and family. Order food. Hang on every play. Yell at the computer screen while you watch online. Pick on the Big East - it probably won't be around much longer.
Because for the first time in a long time, Bobcat fans, you have a real reason to stand up and cheer.
Take full advantage now, because an opportunity to show unbridled hope doesn't come around very often.
Now's your chance to chime in! Comment below in the discussion box!
This commentary does not necessarily represent the views or opinions of the WOUB Center for Public Media or the WOUB Sports Department.