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Jon’s Post-Life Crisis: With Ramzy Nasrallah of 11 Warriors - What About Ohio State?

What do Buckeye fans expect this season?

Ohio State Head Coach Urban Meyer Press Conference Photo by Kirk Irwin/Getty Images

This week I talk with Ramsy Nasrallah of the Ohio State site 11 Warriors.

  • What about this new coaching staff?
  • What about the 2019 Ohio State Buckeyes?
  • What about those big losses the past two years?
  • What about Ohio State trying to trademark the worth “THE”?

About the Transcript

Keep in mind that the following is a transcript. . I use a service that automates the first draft. As much as “artificial intelligence” is included in the description of every bit of technology these days, it’s clear that computers understanding human speech is more artificial than intelligent. The transcript has been edited to take out human speech bites, you know, um, okay, uh, but it’s not been edited to be an “article”.

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Jon Johnston 0:10 Welcome to Jon’s PostLife Crisis. I am Jon Johnston, founder manager of coordination calm your Nebraska Cornhuskers site have much fun. This week. This episode we welcome Ramzy Nasrallah from the Ohio State Buckeye site 11 Warriors. How are you doing today Ramsey?

Ramzy Nasrallah 0:32

W’re closer to football. So I’m doing a little bit better than usual.

Jon Johnston 0:37 I looked at your site, and it says you are the executive editor and Director of Business Development. Does that mean you are in charge? You’re the guy?

Ramzy Nasrallah 0:48

That means I’m one of four guys who has equity in the site, and just trying to advance what’s become a labor of love that also has a whole bunch of full time employees. We have a lot of fun with the site. The site does very well, I write once a week, and I help make sure that our writers come across exactly the way that they want to.

Jon Johnston 1:10 So how long have you guys been around?

Ramzy Nasrallah 1:12

I founded it in 2006, I’ve been writing about Ohio State football since 1997. Before we came up with the word blogging, I wasn’t quite sure what I was doing, just kind of writing, putting my feelings on a screen and putting it on the internet and eventually got called blogging. And so 20, 22 years now writing about teenage gladiators as a as a source of fun, I don’t really golf. So this is kind of takes the place of that.

Jon Johnston 1:38 Wow, that’s quite an experience. I’m going to before we get into Ohio State football, I do want to ask you this. In Nebraska, we have two major newspapers that cover the Nebraska Cornhusker. The Lincoln Journal Star and the Omaha World Herald. And that’s how there’s a massive amount of media coverage. So when we I mean, Nebraska is a small state, but still, as my site goes, we still it’s like you’re fighting a big space for trying to be a bigger fish in a fairly decent sized pond. I mean, Columbus, Ohio, you guys have the Columbus Dispatch that hasn’t gone out of business yet. Right? What’s the media like there?

Ramzy Nasrallah 2:20

Columbus is now the 14th largest city in the country. It just just passed San Francisco, I think this year, there’s a combination of old media and you mentioned the dispatch, which is owned by a conglomerate like other brick and mortar newspapers have been gobbled up. They have dedicated coverage. There are like SB Nation where coordination resides. There are systems that have independent dedicated team sites. And then there are independent sites like 11 warriors where there’s no agency, it’s the owners run the site, and the shareholders are us we don’t we’re not part of a larger system. We do have some affiliate sites that, but on a much smaller scale, and the thing that would be in the same universe as SB Nation, in terms of competition, we have dedicated beat writers, photographers, we coverage across revenue, sports and non revenue sports.

I think what’s made us successful is just having a differentiated voice. And not just being the voice of the fan. But being the voice of the insider being the voice of the reporter. Sometimes we have to report on news that our readers don’t want to read about if you remember a year ago right now, Ohio State’s fall camp was dominated by a former wide receiver coach and and what his superior newer didn’t know about what was happening in his house. people hated that. But you know, and we hated covering it, but something’s got to do. Yes, the cover that you know, the stuff that you like, sometimes it’s the kind of stuff you don’t like so I think people trust what 11 warriors delivers to the highest state fandom experience. And you know, we just try to do it in a in a clever, funny and informative way.

Jon Johnston 4:01 It’s been a while since Mr. Smith went off on Twitter.

Ramzy Nasrallah 4:05

Oh, he’s still doing it. Don’t worry. We don’t cover all the tweets. But yeah, it it needs he had some transfer portal takes a couple of couple weeks ago. I don’t. It’s out of my purview. It’s not something that I I try to cover just every now and then it sort of bubbles up to what I’m looking at, but I don’t get involved in it.

Jon Johnston 4:26 Okay, let’s get into this book I team. That is got like a new shine a new look. You have a new head coach Ryan Day, right? You have a new defensive coordinator, Greg Mattison, who came over from Michigan. What do you guys actually expect out of this season?

Ramzy Nasrallah 4:48

It’s pretty interesting, right? So it’s it’s definitely whenever you have a change in the regime, and I’ve been around for a while and seen this happen a few times. We haven’t had a true season like this one since go back to Tressel’s first year 2001. Because when he left in 2011, there was an interim situation and it was an assistant coach. And it just, it felt like nothing felt right that whole that whole season, including the build up, no one really wanted to accept that that was a true change. A year later Urban Meyer gets hired. And he’s coming into a postseason banned season so there’s there’s excitement but at the same time you’re like this is just like a scrimmage season. this year there’s there’s nothing holding them back. I feel like they did the succession plan that the way that they wanted to. There’s no lingering issue. No one was fired, which is the first time in my in my life. At Ohio State coach wasn’t fired and left that his own volition you can you can debate how trust the left but he was he resigned but he was kind of told to resign. So this is an interesting season in that kind in that frame. Last August, I mentioned the Urban Meyer was suspended. And Ryan day was was running a fall camp and then he actually coached the first three games.

That was Ryan Day coaching urban Meyer’s team that was Ryan day running Urban Meyer practices, preparation, culture, all of that was he was the substitute teacher, so to speak. This is now Ryan Day’s program. And he’s already made some changes to the cultural bit. Urban is very intense, was very stills, very intense. Ryan Day has created a much softer, more like leaning into the whole idea that it’s a family. They’ve always been very good at the Brotherhood in the bonding but but Ryan day is there almost as like a surrogate dad for a lot of those players. And he doesn’t make any real reservations about making sure that that’s front and center. It’s aided in recruiting prior to him taking over with players who may not have been a great fit for the Urban Meyer culture. I know that they got a couple of player specifically because of what Ryan Day did in contrast to what urban did and I’m not diminishing anything urban did because he’s a Hall of Fame coach, who if he would have kept going would have had like Knute Rockne level of numbers, it’s it’s insane what he was able to do at the age of his in his early 50s. But this this year, is is unlike any other because you’ve got a seamless transition of power. A guy that’s a bit of a prodigy from from an offensive strategy standpoint. And like you mentioned with Greg Mattison, there’s actually two coaches that came from from Michigan to to Ohio State. And so there’s just a lot of subtext about what that means, especially when you’re coaching coaches from a team they put 62 on.

Jon Johnston 7:45 You like saying that, don’t you?

Ramzy Nasrallah 7:46

I’ll never get tired of saying it’s, you know, as a Cavs fan. It’s It’s like my new warriors blew a 3-1 lead in the 2016 NBA Finals. Yeah, Ohio State’s course. Did you guys know that Nebraska fans, did you know that Ohio State scored 62 points against Michigan, the number one defense in the country?

Jon Johnston 8:02 I was shocked.

Ramzy Nasrallah 8:04

You can look it up, it’s on the internet.

Jon Johnston 8:10 I’m an old crusty man. Okay. I’ve watched college football when I was a kid. And that was Bo vs Woody. Right? I mean, there weren’t we didn’t have all the TV and we didn’t have all the games every but Ohio State Michigan was on every year you had it was like Nebraska, Oklahoma was a game you had to watch if you were going to be a college football fan.

Ramzy Nasrallah 8:33

And those games are like 10-10 14-10 21-14. They were like, you could predict the score. It’d be very close every year.

Jon Johnston 8:41 Three yards and a cloud of dust. Right. Yeah. 62. I was very shocked by that. I was it was like, It was shocking that you guys did that to their defense?

Ramzy Nasrallah 8:55

Well, they played a lot of man defense in Ohio State went five deep on the receiver side. So would you believe that the fourth receiver was always being covered by a special teams gunner. And Dwayne Haskins is you know, throwing touchdowns in the NFL now so that, in hindsight like, this could be a problem. But as it was happening, I was disbelief to especially since they had just beaten Maryland 52-51 six days earlier.

Jon Johnston 9:21 Then you had the Purdue game.

Ramzy Nasrallah 9:24

Right, which will be deconstructed that a few times. It they’ve had a couple of those the last couple of years, the one it’s always on the road against Big West teams, which is a good transition into talking about Ohio State going to Lincoln this year. The I think a lot of it, at least, you know, everyone’s got their own opinion. There’s there’s a expression and it’s actually one of Ohio State’s drinking songs. We’ll win the game or know the reason why.

So diagnosing what happened in West Lafayette last year and the year before that in Iowa City. When you don’t lose that many games. You dwell on the losses right, Ohio State’s last three games in two years. They’ve finished third in the final poll last year, and fifth and the one before that. How and then you so you have to talk about Purdue and Iowa and Purdue, they would just look crappy most of the game. They’re committing a ton of penalties I wrote about this week on 11 warriors and those two games. They committed I think almost 20 penalties and about 200 yards and it wasn’t just that it wasn’t like holding or offsides.

It was like that the Purdue game was even when they roughed the punter and Purdue kept possession as a result and they scored a touchdown. The game was over that Ohio State just emotionally fell apart. at Iowa The game was even though Iowa was moving the ball however they wanted to and Nick Bosa got ejected for targeting and it was it was just like, you know, targeting is controversial because it’s no one knows what targeting is. But Bosa jumped up and like headbutted Iowa’s quarterback in the face and you know, their Ohio State homers, but I got to terrible call but like if you know the rulebook, like I think everyone agrees that was targeting when he got ejected everything we know about 55-24 that game in Iowa City, that’s when it started. So it’s I think there’s an element of fragility, and it’s based on discipline.

Jon Johnston 11:21 I think I still remember a tweet you made during the Iowa game, which you said, I congratulate something along the lines of I congratulate Kurt Ferentz for sitting on this game plan for 20 years

Ramzy Nasrallah 11:33

The stretch plays and the throws into the flat and just making them run and it’s it was very clever. Also, you probably know this isn’t Nebraska, Iowa goes like 17 deep at tight end. So it like that was that was a tough day to be a weak side linebacker

Jon Johnston 11:55 Okay, here’s the question for you. And I, by the way, I did read that article about the panel. And I thought, Wow, you guys have committed massive amount of penalties. That some you’re looking for that to change under Ryan Day,

Ramzy Nasrallah 12:08

Last inthe FBS and it wasn’t close. And in 2017, they were 120th in the FBS, they added 200 yards of penalties in 19 flags to the same number of games in 2018. And they finished third in the country and they couldn’t run the ball. So if you’re wondering like how talented Ohio State is and how volatile and undisciplined that’s all you need to know if they if they commit an average number of penalties, they’re in the playoff and even with some of the optics being so bad for how they play defensively, a lot of what they did like with Purdue mistakes made them look worse on the defensive side of the ball especially.

Jon Johnston 12:46 I have to ask this is this the year Jim Harbaugh finally breaks through because you guys might be in a rebuilding or refining time?

Ramzy Nasrallah 12:57

No, it’s not.

Jon Johnston 12:59 That was really short.

It’s because you don’t want to save his name.

Ramzy Nasrallah 13:05

No, I can say Jim Harbaugh all day. I mean, I’m an old crusty guy too. So I remember billing him when he was playing in Ohio Stadium. During that one year, where a quarterbacks could stop the game for crowd noise. And he did it like nine times during the game, he’d be under center. crowd, the crowd was super loud, and he’d be like shrugging, like, I can’t hear anything and the refs would stop the game. And I think the NCAA figured out how stupid of a rule that was based on that. It was the Jim Harbaugh rule cancellation. Because it’s basically you can go into any hostile environment and eliminate the home field advantage by forcing the crowd to shut up. So you can pretend you can’t hear your your center anyway. I could say Jim Harbaugh all day.

I don’t think it’s a talent thing. Or I mean, there’s talented scheme, but ultimately, it’s how it’s how those teams approach the rivalry and approach the game. And I think Ohio State has a much more pragmatic and healthier view of what it means to play in that game, than Michigan does. And that’s not something that Harbaugh created and played for Woody Hayes light. A lot of what he brings to coaching comes from that experience. He is Jim Harbaugh is technically a descendant of the Woody Hayes coaching tree because he he got the guy that carbon copied everything that he learned when he was in Columbus. B

ut when it comes to the rivalry, I think the runway that was created by Jim Tressel and continued by Urban Meyer has created a bit of flux. And he saw it last year when Michigan came into the final game of the season with all the all the momentum plans for Indianapolis, I got my hotel room and Andy from from a Michigan fan who had already planned to go I mean, which I don’t think was too big of a stretch for them to expect to be there. And they loved in Ohio State with Wisconsin, Wisconsin, Penn State all the teams that have beaten Michigan in 2017 they put Ohio State on the same sort of slate like in this region tour. And people think like Bolton board does material doesn’t matter. Michigan was annihilated because of the revenge tour. And then also because Ryan day schemes Don Browns ass off, but like the I think that that hasn’t changed for this year. I don’t think that Michigan’s going to figure out how they respect a rivalry and how they approach it. They’re going to go in angry hot, like upset a lot a lot of energy like they did in 2017 and Ann Arbor, they might jump out to a lead and they’re going to lose again.

Jon Johnston 15:32 That’s pretty confident

Ramzy Nasrallah 15:33

I don’t have a lot of anxiety about it I totally trust the the cultural aspects of and that’s something that I’m pretty sure that they will keep intact and I’ve heard them talk about it behind closed doors at the woody so I don’t think that that’s something that you fix in one season, especially with the same coach it at Michigan they’re going to be wildly talented again. They lost a bunch of guys but they have they’ve got incredible player development. it’s a model program. I grew up fearing the evil empire. But the approach to the rivalry game while it was on even par during what EN bow and even during Earl and bow and then it fell off with with coop beaucoup mo and coupe Lloyd Carr. It is now on even they did two programs approach that rivalry game and completely different manner and one is successful in the other one obviously isn’t.

Jon Johnston 16:24 Well, I was going to ask you if there is any advantage to having coaches come over from Michigan but I get the idea. Well, you pretty much said that the the differences not really in the players of the coaching. It’s in a cultural concept.

Ramzy Nasrallah 16:39

Greg Mattison coach for Urban Meyer at Florida, he’s actually responsible for my nightmare. And in Glendale, Arizona and early 2007. That was a the whole game ended at in on the lines Florida’s defensive line in Ohio State’s very entitled offensive line. So he has a little bit of insight into what he’s stepping into L Washington’s from Columbus and a lifelong Ohio State fan. His dad played for Earl Bruce, he knows a little bit but these aren’t just like random hired guns showing up. There’s there’s a bit of familiarity with with what they’re getting into. From it from a technique from a philosophy standpoint, Madison’s coming in and Greg shadows leaving and I think Greg Shannon is a great coach. I think he had a bad year. I think that he was urban support system and like informal life coach even though urban has a formal life coach. But from a scheme standpoint, bringing in Washington and Greg Madison is an upgrade over Greg shadow and Billy Davis who was the best man and urban Meyer’s wedding. You’ve got you’ve got a lot. I think as someone who leads a couple organizations like this makes a lot more sense. I think they’re stronger now.

Jon Johnston 17:55 So you get a new quarterback in Justin field. Dwane Haskins was a sit in the pocket guy and Fields is not a sitting up pocket guy. How’s that change the season.

Ramzy Nasrallah 18:09

But towards the end of the year, you could tell that Dwayne was being told, hey, you know you don’t like to run and maybe it’s because you genuinely don’t rock the run. Maybe it’s because of self preservation. But toward the end of the year, he was keeping the ball more and running and he’s a big dude. And he’s got a long gate. So all someone like that has to do is take three steps and he’s got six yards and so he was picking up yards against against Maryland against Michigan against Northwestern and also in the Rose Bowl. I think if you go back to the Nebraska Ohio State game last year, there’s a couple of gifs you can find online. Were Duane like has like nothing but green to run. I mean Nebraska’s defense was we don’t have to talk about you were there. You know how it was last year, but he’s sliding with like no one within 10 yards of him. And I think that was the turning point. Justin Fields is like, he’s like Diet Coke Braxton Miller, because no one’s Braxton Miller. I think he’s got the arm and he’s definitely got some getaway sticks. I just, we we’ve had Dwayne Haskins and JT Barrett who is more of a not shifty but a great runner. We’re pining for Braxton Miller, and people need to know that there’s no such thing as another Braxton Miller. So Justin fields will be the next best thing. Someone who can command the pocket but then also convert third ninth the way that Terrelle Pryor did.

Jon Johnston 19:31 You don’t have a lot of returning players because you lost so many of the NFL Draft correct.

Ramzy Nasrallah 19:37

Not a lot of returning offensive linemen. And then a couple of receivers went to the NFL, but I mean, running back last year was Jacob Dobbins and Mike Weber Dobbins is back it was kind of a split thing. A lot of the receivers are going to be familiar man they’re gonna be loaded again. These guys all got to play last year there’s only a few guys that are going to be getting on the field I didn’t see any time last year it’s it’s the shadow starters and returning starters and Ohio State has a bunch of the the former

Jon Johnston 20:07 Is there a Bosa

Ramzy Nasrallah 20:10

they have a they have a new number 97 on the offensive line who is like a six foot four white edge rusher. So it’s going to confuse people but it’ll say Potter instead of both on the back the defensive line is going to be you know, a real pain in the ass for for offensive lines again. Yeah. And chase young is back to so it’s going to be some a lot of the same guys. Loki the best, the best defensive lineman I think they have, well, not the best, the most underrated, underappreciated defensive lineman they have is a BB landers. He’s his very thick, undersized. Three technique, like right in the middle of the defensive line. He he ruins a lot of stuff that teams want to do. If Ohio State gets better linebacker play this year, that’s going to be a much different story because he was very disruptive from last year.

Jon Johnston 20:58 So how do you see this turning out? I mean this season?

Ramzy Nasrallah 21:06

The schedule is you know the early schedule is not going to tell us anything because I think the Cincinnati game is going to be challenging for a lot of reasons familial reasons with with Luke Fickell catching it, but there isn’t. There isn’t a marquee non conference game. in the traditional sense. I’m not diminishing with what Luke is done at Cincinnati. There’s no TC, you kind of lost them. Last year, we had Holman homes with Oklahoma event with Texas. They were supposed to have right around now Tennessee and Georgia. But both programs are both athletic departments decided to walk those back for some bad non fan related reason. I think that the the big 10 schedule does not set up nicely for Ohio State at all. And we were accustomed to the land mines that the last couple of teams have had where they lost to significantly under under talented opposition. And that is going to happen again this here with ohio state of being the favorite team and just about every game, but the end with Penn State, Michigan, which is not ideal.

They they go to Northwestern on a Friday night, which just has spiders written all over it. You know, Pat, Fitzgerald is going to let the grass grow at Ryan field for two weeks to try to even add that the speeds. And then there’s going to Lincoln which you know we there’s some big West road trip trauma. I saw that Nebraska has black jerseys this year, there’s a special uniform, I’m sure that will come out. I’m sure that’ll end up being a night game. All of the bad juju is going to be there. So you know, there’s a thing at Ohio State fans that they can go undefeated every year. And over the last couple of decades. A lot of times the deal on paper Yeah, totally. That’s it’s all set up for them. This year, I think it’s going to be what comes down to if they can reduce mistakes and not commit 116 damned penalties in a season. And some some just crucial, brutal penalties. And stay emotionally attacked, especially in when they’re wearing the white jerseys. And there’s somewhere where the crowd hates them more more so than usual. I think that they can they can get through it. Not unscathed, but just mildly escaped. You can’t lose 552-4 you can’t lose 49-20 if they lose a close game, I don’t think that hurts them as much. But it’s been so long since Ohio State lost a close game. I can’t even remember what it would be an Iowa, Clemson, Purdue. The Oklahoma game I think was 3116 after they had really beaten the crap out of Oklahoma and Norman when’s the last time Ohio Statelost a close game.

They lose big or they win.

Jon Johnston 23:51 Division alignment.

When you look at that, what do you think about it?

Ramzy Nasrallah 23:55

Well, it’s obviously out of whack. I mean, the Big West has never been the big 10 championship game. And it’s I think only been competitive. Barely once that that that Iowa Penn State game was awesome. Other than that, I mean, how the when Wisconsin gets there, it’s they get exposed.

And it’s the neutral site thing does not help. I think the big West has awesome environments. And it’s also a longer road trips, and they tend to do better when they’re hosting. But when they whenever one goes to Indy, it just you know, an anti climactic I’ve been a few times my team has won the last two it’s been there a bunch of times so that’s good, but I don’t think the alignment is is weighted properly I also don’t think you should change it. I think that time ends up evening this stuff out. There’s there’s the way that momentum works. Someone will be up and someone else will be down.

Jon Johnston 24:51 Because of that. I mean, let’s face it, the big Ten’s been around for years. He added three teams lately. If you consider Nebraska lately in the big scheme of things it is you really can’t move. You can’t move anything out of the East. I mean, you can’t move Michigan Michigan State apart. You certainly can’t move Michigan Ohio State apart. Unless you’re just in a still haven’t play every year Then why have a divisional alignment.

Ramzy Nasrallah 25:17

right. They tried to do that with leaders and legends and because they wanted Ohio State Michigan and beaten and that in the final in the championship game, and that was like when Nebraska joined in 2011. So they they figured that out. By the way the ACC is doing that too. They thought they could get Florida State in Miami to meet and every and every acc championship game that doesn’t really work now hasn’t worked out. I don’t know you know, I haven’t spent I haven’t written about this like six years because I just like it was it was very hot to write about and maybe 20 1213. I just stopped caring. They split Indiana and Purdue which that that doesn’t matter in football. And I spent time in undergrad at IU in addition to Ohio State like they don’t care the buckets of fun game it’s on during the Ohio State Michigan game. So like only one state watches it. But that’s when you can split basketball would be a different story. I don’t know what you could do. I mean, all you need to know about the weights of the two divisions is that the big 10 added Maryland and records and put them in the east and the East is still better.

Jon Johnston 26:22 Now that’s a good point. Ouch. We’re coming back. We got the guy.

Ramzy Nasrallah 26:28

You do this is all true. I like I like just about everything the West is doing. And I mean, I even like Lovie Smith, I just don’t know if the Illinois athletic department is up to doing things on a grownup level. When it comes to football. They appear to not really care. It’s an odd part of the country, man. I don’t know. I mean, you were talking earlier about how Nebraska is a I think it’s geographically large state but not a lot of people to media companies Central Illinois. That’s not south of Chicago, man. That’s like almost four hours away. It’s not Yeah, they are their own culture. It’s like three hours from Andy three hours from St. Louis. It’s a horrible drive from Chicago. It’s near nothing. So they don’t have any. There’s no real advantage there. And it’s not its own stick culture like Nebraska is

Jon Johnston 27:15 Well, they do a little bit and basketball could move Penn State over to the west. And that would bekind of I don’t know, if you know what they mean that geographically it wouldn’t make sense, but it would be kind of a balanced thing. Penn State Ohio State has a little bit of a rivalry there don’t they?

Ramzy Nasrallah 27:37

They do.

But that screws Penn State because it’s kind of like West Virginia being in the big 12 like they’re always on long haul flights going to play anybody whereas Penn State in the East there it’s a road trip to Rutgers, Maryland, Ohio State even I mean the problem with Penn State is that it’s it’s in the Alabama part of Pennsylvania so it’s right between when in Pittsburgh gets its own it’s got a stronger East Coast influence though it’s not like Illinois, which is just as its own self contained. deliverance spot on the map.

Jon Johnston 28:11 Penn State’s hell to get to isn’t it stuff

Ramzy Nasrallah 28:15

so center county is the sticks man.

Jon Johnston 28:20 Are you going to the game in Lincoln?

Ramzy Nasrallah 28:23

I don’t I used to plan things like a year in advance now it’s like Tuesday of the week and like you know it can I’ll go play ticket and go we have beat guys have to go cover so I I prefer to not be in press boxes. I like to be with fans and be a fan for this three hours before I have to come up with content on what I just saw what I’m about to see. So I haven’t done it for a while have a good friend who played for the Omaha night Hawks. It’s been a while since I’ve been out there is actually Maurice Clarett played for the Hawks when he was still playing football. You know, I’d like to I haven’t had Runza in years. So it’s, I’m due for a trip.

Jon Johnston 28:59 I plan on I plan on going to that game and hopefully shooting

I can find plenty of guys that will write for me, but I can’t find a lot of photographers. And I enjoy being on the sideline enjoyed having a camera I too. I don’t like being in the press box as much because then I have to actually socialize with other people sometimes and I’m not the best at that.

Ramzy Nasrallah 29:27

There’s also reporter etiquette and I’m not a I’m not a reporter. I’m not a i mean i i have journalism experience. But I’m not a journalist. I like yelling. I like when Joe Basma throws 10 balls into the stands at Memorial Stadium. I want to say something, I don’t want to I don’t want to be quiet.

Jon Johnston 29:42 And they did you know they do that announcement. Yeah, Memorial Stadium before the big game against that this is a professional or working press box. And, you know, yeah, it’s like, that is a good point. You’re like, Who does this? What kind of automatons are you people? I thought you know, I work in it for normal well job. You know, I guess journalists, maybe they train them. I never took any journalism classes.

Ramzy Nasrallah 30:07

The press row press sections are supposed to be there working. And if you make any noise, you’re not working, you’re cheering your fan. And it’s a bad look. So I totally get it. They could By the way, they could stand the mic that that announcement at Penn State games in their press box, but they don’t and it shows. I appreciate what what most press boxes and press row sections are like you should be there covering the game as an objective journalist, even if you live and die without the outcome goes.

Jon Johnston 30:38 Some of us are just incapable of doing that.

Ramzy Nasrallah 30:40

That’s why I stay away from them. Right?

Jon Johnston 30:41 Yeah, exactly. Okay, big 10 culture. I have to ask this question. Why at sec games when they’re playing other conferences? Do you hear the SEC chant and big 10 teams? They’re not ever going to root for you’re you didn’t root for Michigan in the college world series this year? Did you?

Ramzy Nasrallah 31:04

Absolutely not.

Jon Johnston 31:05 Right. We it’s a thing. I think for Nebraska still? You know, we’ve been around for a while. But I think we’re still trying to figure out what is the big 10 culture all about? Why don’t Big Tent teams cheer for each other.

Ramzy Nasrallah 31:21

This is going to come across as condescending, and arrogant. And I’m just going to read it in history of the big 10. And I mean, we’ll start with the original from the Western Conference, the big 10. Those are all individually successful, largely land grant institutions that are self made through state funding, through continuous improvement, that every big 10 School has its own unique personality. This all also happened largely with pre Civil War. And then like with Ohio State 1870. It’s 1800s. So the culture of the Midwest coming up through what became the union and then post union and post Belem. They, they didn’t have to, they didn’t aggregate against an oppressor. The schools of the SEC aggregate their pride, they aggregate their their their allegiance regionally. And it’s rooted in what happened leading up to 1861. And ultimately, what happened after 1865. This is still post Civil War, alignment. That’s why you hear sec chance.

There’s no such thing as a big tension, not just because it would be kind of a clumsy thing, the chat. But that’s where that’s rooted. And I’m convinced of it. There’s a reason that Kentucky basketball fans or alabama football fans, they just want to win something we don’t see. You don’t see Indiana football fans. The only thing that and this is an odd outlier, Indiana, Indiana, fans will become Notre Dame fans but they’re in the same damn state. I get it. Everyone from Indiana likes Notre Dame at some point, it’s part of what they do. But that that whole just rooting for the big 10 thing that’s rooted in history. And the other part of it is that ESPN has been very clever about aggregating viewing audiences and getting people with no reason to watch to watch. Why would an Auburn fan be rooting for LSE? What’s the just maybe I tried to get more eyeballs to so it’s equal parts, audience aggregation and equal parts American history.

Jon Johnston 33:22 Right. You know, I always thought that was the case. But you want to clarify your opinions or your perspective on something with somebody else, I would hope most people would do that, you know, kind of like, I don’t know, scientists getting together and testing the same experiments, validating their data and stuff like that.

Ramzy Nasrallah 33:41

And I mean, I tried to get an SEC game once a year, just because you want to have that diversity of experience. I love going to Columbus, but like, you’d like to see how everyone else lives. I went to the LSC Ole Miss game, not too long ago and spent the weekend in Oxford. There’s no bad experience down there. Especially when you’re going with no anxiety, and you’re going to have fun and you’re not living and dying with the outcome. It’s great. So I’m not I’m not talking down or diminishing the SEC chant. I think it’s silly and stupid. But I get where it comes from. And the two things you can’t choose in life, you can’t choose your parents, and you can’t choose where you’re from. If I if I didn’t grow up in Columbus, I would have grown up somewhere else. And I wouldn’t root for Ohio State probably when you’re from a place and you come up through a culture that that’s all you know. So I get it. I appreciate it. And I also you know, I’m kind of wired to diagnose it. And I think that’s where it comes from media and history.

Jon Johnston 34:39 I don’t like to do really long podcast, but so we’re kind of we’re close. We’re coming to the closing. I do have to ask this question. Because it’s the news of the week. What is all this stuff about you guys trying to license or trademark the word “The”.

Ramzy Nasrallah 35:02

it’s, it started with Ohio University. And Ohio State said there was an intra state funded institution squabble. And the short version is that Ohio State’s trademark office has their little the whole world sees what they’re like now. They have come after my website, there’s a reason that we don’t use Scarlet or green or color schemes because Ohio State trademark lawyers like to think that they own the colors red and gray. So they think that there are people that would be confused, that 11 warriors is a wholly owned subsidiary of Ohio State, which it’s not. So I think it’s part of I think, on its face, it’s it’s absurd, I get why they’re doing it. I think it’s tone deaf. There is a legal justification for why they would want to do it. The in are the everyone said in the context that they’re trying to trade market? Not that long ago, a lot less noise. They tried to trademark OSU, and this may shock you but Oklahoma State didn’t like that at all. And they ended up reconciling because, like, no one’s going to confuse Brutus with a packin cowboy. Right. So they’re like, Okay, this is clearly they figured it out. These little bit different because it’s the most common word in the, in our language. So I think it’s stupid, but at the same time, it’s making all the best people upset. So as a as someone who appreciates trolling, I kind of like it. I kind of liked it, the doing it.

Jon Johnston 36:33 I did.

CornNation. The name of the website came because at the time that I started, which is about 2006 2007, we had an athletic director, that was a megalomaniac, and I figured that he would get around to suing everybody that had Husker Nebraska or anything related to Husker football in their website name. So I did that’s why I went with CornNation which is it’s a really stupid name. It really is a stupid name.

Ramzy Nasrallah 37:03

you can put nation on the end of anything.

Jon Johnston 37:04 Well, that’s true, but I mean, when you look at Corn nation, I mean, you search for Husker football it took like 18 years for us to like get any search you know, let’s look for a Nebraska site. Oh, that would be corn something No, I got all sorts of stuff from corn people like why is it this website about corn? You know, it was the first it was really dumb but that’s the reason why the nam is what it is.

I said this on our other podcast and I wanted to give your marketing or your your licensing department or whoever there are a lot of credit because when I saw that they were trying to trademark the word the I said that is a brilliant marketing campaig

Ramzy Nasrallah 37:47

I have a shirt that says just “the” on it and there was some apparel brand that did it and Ohio State couldn’t touch it because they don’t own the but if you’re wearing a shirt that’s red and has like blockbuster This is the on a game day in and Columbus people know exactly what it means.

Jon Johnston 38:04 Right Buthe thing about it is it came out somebody wrote an article on it and then it exploded all over the place. I mean, they got free advertising for zero dollars

Ramzy Nasrallah 38:17

and people get wound up I mean, I still think it’s stupid but like Penn State is the Pennsylvania State University there’s Ohio State’s not the only the school there’s there are plenty

Jon Johnston 38:28 I don’t think we’ve ever said that about ourselves. But I mean away I think we in Nebraska there’s University of Nebraska Lincoln University of Nebraska Omaha. And then there’s this University of Nebraska Carney which used to be Carney State College, but they they upgraded and apparently because when I was went to school Carney stages where you went if you were going to be like drunkall the time for not just drunk.

Yeah, versus like three days drunk and Lincoln, right. You know, I mean, you went to Carney state, because you were really not going to do like engineering or anything like that.

Ramzy Nasrallah 39:04

So this is what Nebraska should do. You take University of Nebraska Carney and trademark UNC and see what Chapel Hill does about it.

Jon Johnston 39:10 There you go. All right. Anything else? Anything else you want to say?

Ramzy Nasrallah 39:17

No, I you know, I’m glad that Nebraska found the right guy. Nebraska is a lot more more fun to watch. Now, the this was a hindsight thing. I think Nebraska hired Mike Riley right around the time Ohio State was beating Wisconsin 59 nothing in the big 10 championship. So it was like a side. By the way. Did you know that Ohio State scored 59 points on Wisconsin in Indy and shut them out. You can you can Google that too. But you’re you’re hiring a bad retread coach. And not hindsight. Nebraska was lost in the wilderness for three years. With that I get that Bo Pelini who I got to watch play in college needed to go. But man, you got to find a better rebound than Mike Riley. And I think you finally did.

Jon Johnston 39:58 Yeah, when he was hired, we all did this article on you know what we thought of the hire and I specifically wrote, we shouldn’t get too crazy about this. If he’s successful, then he successful? If he isn’t, he’ll be fired in three years, and we won’t have to give him a big payout.

Ramzy Nasrallah 40:14

You hired a 5-7 coach

Jon Johnston 40:16 Yeah. And we did. Like that’s not it. That’s not okay. I mean, when you hire somebody or you when you get a new coach, you’re always hopeful.

Ramzy Nasrallah 40:23

But at least he was like, 63.

Jon Johnston 40:28 all right, we’re gonna we’re gonna say wrap it up. And I think Ramsey for being here tonight. It’s been nice talking to you. I think this went pretty well.

Ramzy Nasrallah 40:39

Likewise,man, have fun this season.

Jon Johnston 40:41 Yeah, I’m gonna wish you good luck with your season, but not that much good luck. That, okay, this has been Jon’s post life crisis. I thank you for listening. And I hope you all have a good week. Goodbye.

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