So, those of us in the Buckeye Nation were informed recently that we have a rivalry with Penn State. Huh. Who knew? Penn State and wikipedia, apparently. I mean, I’ve had a general dislike of them since they entered into the Big Ten universe, but I never considered them to be anything other than a regular conference rival, like Indiana. Rivalry by proximity, I guess. Personally, and I know everyone has their own feelings on the subject, my ranking of Ohio State’s rivals goes as follows: 1) TTUN, 2) Wisconsin (I was there when Ron Dayne ran all over our field, and it hurt), 3) Illinois, 4) the rest of the Big Ten, led by Michigan State, Penn State, or whoever is good that year. I guess Purdue’s up there too since we’ve had some trouble with them lately. And their engineering program is just so damn good!
I used to think favorably of Penn State. I liked their history and tradition. I had a soft spot in my heart for Joe Paterno, and I wanted him to lead in all-time victories. He was little, old, and talked funny. What’s not to like? Then their fans (or, I should say, a small percentage of them) just became so obnoxious. Most of us have seen the video of the Ohio State fan being pelted with beer cans. I still didn’t hate their team much, just some of their fans. Then, after the whole Sandusky nightmare was brought to the world’s attention, I started to feel sorry for the majority of their fans, and of course for the victims. But do annoying fans, proximity, and only playing them 27 times in 100 years make for a big rivalry? I don’t think so. Maybe if we play them every year for the next 100 years.
There is one area where we have a rivalry: Recruiting. Both states are breeding grounds for high school football talent. Although we have each snatched players from the other’s state, neither school has a 2013 commitment from the other’s state yet. There are quite a few potential recruits who are undecided and currently considering both Ohio State and Penn State. Here’s some of their info (thanks to espn):
- Robert Foster, PA – 88 (espn grade), 4 star, offers from both OSU & PSU
- Dorian Johnson, PA – 88, 4 star, offers from both, guest at Nebraska-OSU game, decommitted from PSU
- Laquon Treadwell, IL – 87, 4 star, offer from OSU
- Derrick Green, VA – 86, 4 star, offers from both
- David Williams, PA – 83, 4 star, offers from both
- Alquadin Muhammad, NJ – 83, 4 star, offers from both
- Corey Clement, NJ – 83, 4 star, offers from both
- Donovan Munger, OH – 82, 4 star, offers from both, guest at Nebraska-OSU game
- William Houston, OH – 75, 3 star, neither have offered, guest at Nebraska-OSU game
- Corey Smith, OH – not ranked, offers from both
The Nebraska game was a really big day for recruiting for Ohio State, maybe second only to The Game. But this should be a pretty important one too. It would be really nice to put on a show for any of these potential recruits who make it to the game (or are watching on tv), like at the Nebraska game. Winning is, of course, the most important thing, but it would be nice if we could get away from the stressful, ugly play that almost hurt us in the last two games. 2014 recruit Thaddeus Snodgrass (Springfield, OH) went to the Purdue game and is still considering OSU and PSU. It would be really nice to put on a better offensive performance, but I would love to see a more commanding defensive performance like those we became accustomed to during the Tressel era. The recruits are watching, and it would be nice to win the game AND the recruiting rivalry.