Those Who Stay…

Those who stay will get to enjoy their third-consecutive victory over Ohio State, with all three wins coming in very different — and yet somehow very familiar — ways.

Those who stay will remain in perpetual celebration of the fact that Ohio State remains in perpetual anguish.

Those who stay will get to send an Ohio State senior class on to the next chapters of their lives without a single pair of gold pants for the first time since 1991.

Those who stay will get to freely say every last thing they want to about an Ohio State team that fell 22 yards short, knowing that no comeback will suffice.

Those who stay will eat their cake and have it too.

Those who stay will find satisfaction in the fact that this is going to bother the Ohio State coaches for the next 370 days and that new answers will need to be given to the same old questions.

Those who stay will view the Ohio State players as more worried about the NFL and NIL than they are about this game.

Those who stay will point to this game as proof that the sign stealing over the past two years had no impact on this rivalry, while completely ignoring the differences in margins of victory.

Those who stay will smile at the thought of people parsing the margins of their many victories.

Those who stay will be lauded for their aggressiveness on fourth down despite attempting more field goals than Ohio State.

Those who stay will empower the conspiracy theorists by amplifying the hate in their hearts with an energized resolve.

Those who stay will have a member of their own beat crying actual tears of joy following a third-consecutive victory over Ohio State.

Those who stay will get to watch an Ohio State offense that can’t figure out how to dominate on the ground without a quarterback as a running threat.

Those who stay will be able to witness an Ohio State football program that talks about taking big swings but will often watch strike three go right down the middle.

Those who stay will probably get to see Desmond Howard insult another Ohio State Buckeye at the Heisman ceremony.

Those who stay will get to watch Michigan players point at the clothing of Ohio State’s best players as proof that they didn’t want to have anything to do with this game.

Those who stay will revel in the knowledge that Ohio State wanted this one as badly as they’ve ever wanted anything.

Those who stay will watch and then smile from afar after expecting changes at Ohio State and seeing none.

Those who stay will see a win confirm every last one of their bold declarations, even though none of the people listening ever needed them confirmed.

Those who stay will witness an Ohio State defensive coordinator change his ways in order to get this win, and then watch the defense struggle in an entirely different manner.

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Those who stay will get to watch their interim head coach call plays with the kind of confidence every player wants their coach to have in them.

Those who stay will be on hand to witness an Ohio State fan base that is ready to move on from Ryan Day because they know they’re going to have to deal with another year of hearing about you.

Those who stay will get to bask in the patience of allowing their head coach seven years to get his first win in this rivalry.

Those who stay will think a coach should be fired for losing to you without seeing the irony.

Those who stay will become heroes to one side, villains to another, and legends to both.

Those who stay will get final edits on the current narrative, even if nobody’s buying the plot.

Those who stay will be champions…of the Big Ten.

Those who stay will eventually have fans who get as tired of losing in the playoffs as Ohio State fans have.

Those who stay might want to enjoy this as much as possible because the NCAA is eventually going to do what Ohio State couldn’t.

And those who stay will eventually be asked to leave.

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