COLUMBUS, Ohio -- Cost of an Ohio State-Youngstown State ticket: $63. Cost to park around Ohio Stadium: $20. Cost for a small tailgate party before kickoff: $60. Buckeye Head Coach Jim Tressel delivering his best line in seven years? Priceless.
Cost of an Ohio State-Youngstown State ticket: $63. Cost to park around Ohio Stadium: $20. Cost for a small tailgate party before kickoff: $60. Buckeye Head Coach Jim Tressel delivering his best line in seven years? Priceless.
Ohio State opens its season Saturday against the Division I-AA Penguins. The price of admission is no different than what Buckeye fans will pay to see Wisconsin later in the year.
When Michigan plays a lesser opponent, such as this weekend’s game against Division I-AA Appalachian State, the Wolverines knock off about $10.
Are Ohio State fans being treated fairly?
“I think it’s fair,” Tressel said. “I’ve been to a couple of concerts, and our tickets are very reasonable. I was out in Vegas ... and Ellen and I went to see Celine Dion (pronounced Seleon Deon by the coach). ... It was like $200. You can go to three Ohio State games.”
“And I knew the words to the songs,” Tressel continued. “At least when you go to a game, you don’t know what’s going to happen. Do I think it’s a problem? No. Remember this about Ohio State football: It’s about the band. It’s about the pageantry. It’s about the tailgating. If we’re silly enough to think it’s just about us, then we’re a little bit sort-sighted.”
When the NCAA allowed football programs to play a 12th game, Ohio State offered budget-balancing paydays to Ohio’s smaller colleges. Along with one opponent a year from a major conference, that is how OSU will proceed, Tressel said.
Mid-majors and I-AA programs can’t demand a home-and-home contract. Ohio State has more than 30 varsity sports and $100 million athletic budget. Each game in the Horseshoe feeds that beast.
But Tressel said — with a straight face — don’t expect Saturday to be a rout. He reminded everyone that YSU played Penn State to a scoreless first quarter a year ago. The Nittany Lions won, 37-3.
Tressel said he would need at least a game to get a read on his team. Ohio State is replacing most of its skill players on offense. Four of the top six defensive linemen are gone as well.
Will Tressel be able to gain much insight into his team from outmatched Youngstown State?
“We’ll have a good read,” he said. “We try to focus on who we are and how we perform. Really, it’s not about our opponent, whether it’s Youngstown State or Michigan or Florida.”
Tressel spent 15 seasons as YSU’s head coach. In 1994, he tried to get Ohio State to play the Penguins.
“They weren’t interested,” Tressel said.
In the offseason, the Tressel family made a $1 million contribution to YSU’s athletic building funds. He has an affinity for his wife’s alma mater.
This game could get out of hand, which would surprise few but Tressel.
“I would be shocked to start with,” Tressel said. “That’s the least of the planning. ... (A blowout) is not going to happen. That’s like asking, ‘What are you going to do if it snows on the first of September?’ It’s probably not going to snow.”
The Buckeyes had to wait nearly seven months to play. The last time they set foot on a field, Florida embarrassed them in the national title game, 41-14.
Time seems to have dragged on waiting for this game, senior co-captain Kirk Barton said.
Just because it’s Youngstown State, it’s still college football.
“We don’t care who we play,” Barton said. “We want to go out and set the tone with every game. ... I just want to go out and get after somebody.”
Reach Repository sports writer Todd Porter at (330) 580-8340 or email@example.com.