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On My Hill: Ohio State’s loss isn’t the end of the world

Ohio State got punched in the mouth by Michigan Saturday. There's no other way to say it. There's a sour taste in Buckeyes fans' mouths right now for a good reason. 

I'd love to be a fly on the wall in Ohio State's locker room. I can never say I understand their game plan against Michigan, but I think treating it like their own personal Super Bowl has been a weakness for the Buckeyes.

Football rivalries are healthy and The Game may just be the greatest rivalry in sports. I've lived in Central Ohio for the entirety of my life, but I didn't realize until I was older just how much it's burned into you to hate the Michigan Wolverines and the state they play in. 

I also failed to understand just how young, immature and inexperienced college football players were until I began college myself. The Ohio State and Michigan rivalry is so intensely highlighted that it's the most important thing to ever happen to the players. 

I'm a regular person with anxieties and personal issues. These players are no different. Quarterback CJ Stroud is four months older than me and only became legally allowed to drink a month and a half ago. I can't imagine the stress of the game and letting millions of people down following the loss. 

Stroud handled himself incredibly well in the post-game press conference. It was sad to hear him talk about how he put everything on the line for this game, saying he would ignore his mom's calls because he was watching film. He also reiterated that there was no stone unturned in preparing for the matchup.

This fan on Twitter didn’t seem to agree:

Are we serious? He doesn't "get" the rivalry? What is Stroud even supposed to say? "Everything is over and nothing matters because they lost to Michigan"?

College football fans have very little consideration that players are people too. Fans harass recruits who don't choose their favorite school or leave their options open. There's very little respect from fans toward collegiate athletes and the reaction to OSU's loss is indicative of the problem at hand.

Ohio State players and coaches are also judged by their record against Michigan. Ryan Day has faults as a coach, but he's 45-5 all time. Nothing he's done is a fireable offense. Stroud is genuinely one of the most elite quarterbacks to ever be a Buckeye and has the chance to be drafted into the NFL at the highest slot in program history. The things fans have said about his ability as a player are just delusional. 

The loss to Michigan smears any rational sense many fans have, and it impacts the team. Going into a game that your whole life and career are riding on can lead to decisions with worse outcomes. The defense fell apart against the Wolverines, and coaching schemes and players may have acted more riskily to do anything to gain a competitive advantage. 

This isn't to say the Buckeyes shouldn't take this massive rivalry seriously. It's obviously important for playoff implications and improving the trajectory of player and coaching careers, but having everyone lose their minds over this game is what can be a weakness. Treat it like a major matchup, but not the end of the world if lost.

Ohio State isn't even out of the playoff race yet. Though OSU doesn't control its own destiny, if USC and/or TCU lose in their respective conference championships, the Buckeyes will almost certainly jump back into the top four. Even then, it's been a great season, and there's a lot to be happy for.

I'm not one to claim it's just a game and write off how important this is to a lot of people, but fans and players alike can do a better job of reminding themselves it isn't the end of the world. 

Christo Siegel is a junior studying journalism at Ohio University. Please note that the views and opinions of the columnist do not reflect those of The Post. Do you agree? Tell Christo by tweeting him at @imchristosiegel.

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