In fact, one of my most interesting mental exercises as I grew accustomed to this area was seeing how much of the Columbus metro area is tied to and revolves around the goings-on of the university. This phenomenon is amplified to even greater heights when college football season rolls around (I have kinda' noticed that this area is a tiny (ahem) bit crazy for the university's football team.) Even the Mrs. has told me that I am more likely to be the proverbial "football widower" during the season than vice versa.
|Getting with the program|
There are numerous reasons for this of course, but the main one lies in one simple word: success. Ohio State has built a tradition and expectation for success over the life of their football program, and has been the beneficiary of much media exposure. In contrast, both Stanford and Cal have had generally only sporadic, short runs of good to excellent play. Another important factor is that sports fanaticism in the Bay Area for sports generally lies with the professional teams; Ohio State does not have to battle Columbus' pro franchises for the community's attention to any great degree.
|The scarlet and gray's prominence could not be missed|
Further evidence came as we both left the station and walked through downtown Berkeley to the stadium, where scarlet and gray clothing dominated the view. Despite trying as hard as I could, I spotted only occasional splotches of Cal's blue and gold (side note: all University of California schools have some variation of blue and gold as their school colors.) This proved the same on the way back, where it seemed every big tour bus parked on the street was Buckeye-chartered.
|A Cal alum's worst nightmare?|
Talking with other Buckeye fans in the stadium made me and my spouse realize we weren't alone in making the journey here from far away places. For some, attending this game had been planned pretty much since the home and home series between Cal and Ohio State was announced in the late 2000's. Another family we ran into said this was the last stop of a West Coast excursion, and that they would be starting the drive back to Columbus after the game.
|The Buck-I-Guy grabs some grub|
For what its worth, there were Cal fans near and around our section, but they must have felt a little bit outnumbered. A few gave as good as they got, but by the end the avalanche of Ohio State support and the inevitable result finally caused most of them to leave as the clock was winding down its final minutes.
|As the sun set, the scoreboard told the final tale|
Who knows what this season may bring for OSU's football team and their fans, especially after the season-ending injury to talented starting quarterback Braxton Miller. The prospect of a freshman QB leading an already rebuilt offense (including four new starters on the offensive line and the loss of their top running back Carlos Hyde to the pros) has rightfully put a lot of their fans on edge. Interestingly, a decently tough starting schedule (including Virginia Tech and University of Cincinnati) may tell the tale of how well this team will fare against the big boys of college football more than their Big 10 conference games.