It would be different if, say, Maurice Clarett were still punking things up, if the Buckeyes were accessorizing orange prison jump suits with Big Ten championship rings. It would be much easier to dislike these guys if they were the least bit arrogant. Woody Hayes' neo-Fascism could suck the life out of any room. The closest Jim Tressel gets to vanity is his special closet time when he picks out that day's Garanimals.
Let's see, is it going to be the gray sweater vest and the red tie today, or the red sweater with the gray tie?
|James Laurinaitis and the Bucks are poised to make another run to the BCS title game. (Getty Images)|
Eight days from kickoff, these Bucks are aware that their reputation going into 2008 is somewhere between the Washington Generals and Dwight Schrute on The Office.
"Nobody ever remembers the losers," cornerback Malcolm Jenkins said. "I couldn't name the last four national championships losers before (us)."
That doesn't mean they're going to stop playing. If there is a top story arc to this season, it is whether Ohio State can do it again. Even then, it all depends on what your definition of "again" is. Do you want to see the Bucks a) in the title game again, b) lose the title game again or c) become national champions ... again, or at least for the second time in the past seven years.
If you picked a) you're a Buffalo Bills fan. If you picked b) you're from Florida or Georgia already figuring your team is going to be there to make it happen. If you picked c), you consider that vial of Woody's sweat you wear around your neck a holy relic.
I, for one, am not interested in d) none of the above. This is going to be great theater if nothing else. The Bucks themselves are obsessing over the prospect that the country is just plain tired of The Ohio State from the mighty Big Ten.
"We've got to win that big one to get respect," quarterback Todd Boeckman said.
This season is going to be a referendum on whether getting there is good enough. I don't claim to have the answer. Better to ask those Bills fans who would probably cut off a limb these days just to see their team make the wild card.
Missouri has been No. 1 and on the cover of Sports Illustrated twice since November. That's twice more than the only team to beat it last season. That was Oklahoma, which trounced Mizzou in the Big 12 title game and wrecked its -- I still can't believe I'm writing this -- national championship hopes.
Crack couldn't get Tigers' fans any higher going into this season. Credit the BCS for some of this. Without it there would be no "there" to get to. Remember the old bowl system when you won your game and then hoped to win the fashion show in the polls?