COLUMBUS (WCMH) — The corner of Lane & Olentangy.
This is what I picture when I think of a Buckeye game in Columbus. Every game, we drive from the station down Olentangy and stop at the light in front of the Schott. And every time we sit there I take a good look around. At endless tents, grills, cornhole boards and flags lofted high above. At vendors selling Buckeye necklaces and anti-Michigan stickers. At the officers controlling the massive rush of traffic two hours before kickoff. At the hundreds of people waiting at the corners to cross, many still hoping to score tickets.
That’s Columbus to me. That intersection during Buckeye home games in the fall. Where the city, the state and far beyond unite in common colors. It’s that seasonal reminder of what makes us unique and proud.
I’ve had the good fortune to see many great college stadiums in this country… so many great atmospheres.
Navy in the fall, when the Midshipmen march into the stadium before incredible foliage in the surrounding hills. Similar story at West Point, where the reservoir runs near the stadium and creates one of the best views in America.
At Washington and Tennessee, you can dock your boat AT the stadium. Those are some mammoth parties they throw. The Rose Bowl is perhaps the most scenic stadium in America.
A Happy Valley whiteout. A night game at Tiger Stadium. Howard’s Rock. Enter Sandman. The Gator chomp. Bear Bryant’s hat. Touchdown Jesus. And on and on. They’re all great, no matter which team you support.
But in my humble opinion, Columbus remains the best city in America for college football, driven by the unprecedented power of OSU and its brand success. It’s not the loudest or most raucous stadium in America, nor the prettiest. But the shape, the posts in B-Deck, the rotunda. It’s not like anywhere else. The greats who’ve played and coached here… There’s too much history to bury here. Ohio Stadium stands alone.
Yes, the football team wins. Nearly every game. But here, the fascination with the college football team feels more cultural than results-based. Some people compare their trips to the Shoe like a visit to church. It’s a cleansing, inspiring moment. And that’s built over generations. It’s just what they do. And if the team wins… Even better.
So if you’re headed to the Shoe and if your path takes you by Lane & Olentangy, it’s worth stopping and looking around. It’s not the football game or TBDBITL, but it’s a view which reminds you why this matters so much to so many people.