Don't Bet On It!: National Game of Disinterest

Together, we’ve gone around the S.E.C. and previewed the national games of interest. That just leaves the most eagerly awaited installment of Don’t Bet On It!

I am referring, of course, to the national game of disinterest.

I love college football. I mean, I love college football. I enjoy college football more than it is healthy for a human being to enjoy a game. If it were possible to bottle the blackout game, I would buy it by the case and ingest it intravenously.

Nevertheless, even a sport as grand as college football manages with distressing regularity to produce games so inconsequential that I am incapable of finding a way to care about the contest. Each week, that game is given special recognition for being so undistinguished; that game is the national game of disinterest.

This week’s national game of disinterest is . . .

Ohio at Ohio State

It’s not that the Buckeyes haven’t lost to a current M.A.C. team since 1894, or that they haven’t lost to an in-state opponent since 1921, or that Jim Tressel thinks this game matters so little that he can hold out Beanie Wells, whom he started against Division I-AA Youngstown State, although all of those things are true.

It’s just that . . . well, there’s just so dadgum much Ohio in this game. It feels like, instead of watching this game on the Big Ten Network, I ought to be watching it headed southbound on I-75 at Christmas.

Try saying it out loud: "Ohio at Ohio State." You can practically hear the parentheses, can’t you?

Why, I’m imagining how the game will sound right now:

Brent Musberger: Hello, Columbus (Ohio)! Ladies and gentlemen, you are looking live at Ohio (Ohio) Stadium in Columbus, Ohio (Ohio), where the Ohio (Ohio) Bobcats will be taking on the Ohio State (Ohio) Buckeyes in a battle for in-state bragging rights in Ohio (Ohio)! Joining me here in the booth is . . . why, it’s Ed McMahon! Oh . . .

Ed McMahon: . . . Hi-yo!

Brent Musberger: (Ohio). Thanks for stopping by, Ed. (Ohio). Folks, we’re expecting what my old friend Keith Jackson used to call "a barn-burner." He didn’t meant that literally, of course; barn-burning is bad, however much it may have been romanticized as an effective means for getting one’s foot in the door of the business world in William Faulkner’s The Hamlet. Folks, don’t count out the scrappy Ohio (Ohio) Bobcats, who would like nothing better than to take it to the hometown Ohio State (Ohio) Buckeyes. Why . . . look! It’s the Lone Ranger! Oh . . .

The Lone Ranger: Hi-yo, Silver! Away!

Brent Musberger: Who is that masked man? Great to have you, kemosabe! Now, if the Bobcats somehow manage to pull off the upset, it will send shockwaves from one end of Ohio (Ohio) to the other end of Ohio (Ohio). Say . . . is that Jackie Chan? Oh . . .

Jackie Chan: Hi-yah!

Brent Musberger: That’s hi-yo, my good man! Hey, did you break that board? Someone’s going to have to pay for that, you know, and it’s not going to be me! Don’t go away, folks! We’ll be right back at Ohio (Ohio) Stadium in Columbus, Ohio (Ohio), for Ohio (Ohio) versus Ohio State (Ohio) after this, right, ol’ buddy?

Jack Arute: (Ohio).

That much Ohio makes it the national game of disinterest.

Go ‘Dawgs!

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