World War E(SPN): An Oral History of the CFB Zombie War Against Ohio State
by Tony Gerdeman
COLUMBUS, OHIO – THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
[The base of operations for the Ohio State University, which was at one time part of a football conference that was highly thought of. Now, the conference lies in a state of disregard after six years of war with ESPN. While still a formidable entity, the Ohio State University is now viewed as the nicest house on the worst block of a war-torn ghetto. Tony Gerdeman, who has lived in the region for nearly 20 years, recalls the night that he first became aware of the zombie Stanford outbreak.]
I was watching Thursday night football like I do most weeks that don't involve the ACC, and with this being a double-header, I was very excited to see the action. Baylor and Oklahoma provided some entertaining moments, although not in the ways that were expected. Maybe I should have seen it right then, because there was something in the air that just wasn't right.
I could kick myself right now just thinking about the various signs that I missed.
Eventually, the game of the night – Oregon at Stanford – began, and we were all happy to see it get underway. Columbus is a city loaded with Buckeye fans, and with Oregon being undefeated and ahead of the similarly undefeated Buckeyes, there were millions of Ohioans pulling for the Cardinal to unseat the Ducks so that the Buckeyes could slide right into the third spot of the archaic BCS standings.
Stanford, who had already lost a game to a clumsy and pedestrian Utah team, had still managed to find their way back to fifth in the BCS standings, but they were not considered a threat to move in front of any teams that they were currently behind, other than Oregon. The loss to Utah was a deathblow to Stanford's championship hopes, and all they could do now was wait for the undefeated teams to fall.
But then I began seeing reports of something extremely unnatural on Twitter.
“If Stanford beats Oregon, will they jump Ohio State?”
I laughed off the reports as mischief. Just people trying to scare other people. Something to keep village children in line, and nothing more. A one-loss Stanford team jumping an undefeated Ohio State team? That's ridiculous. It's too farcical to even entertain.
Then Stanford took a 14-0 lead in the early second quarter, and there were more rumblings. By the third quarter, the rumblings had become constant.
ESPN reporter Brett McMurphy tweeted, “Poor Ohio State. Buckeyes could get jumped by Stanford & Baylor.”
I was shocked, if not a bit a concerned. This couldn't be true. It was against science. Against nature! Stanford had a loss, Ohio State didn't! How could a team that was dead jump a team of the living? What was the cause of this talk?
These were lies, they had to be. Just rumors of horrors, stories told without any confirmations. A global game of “Operator” where nobody enunciates and everybody just assumes the worst.
But denial only lasts so long when reality keeps trying to tear at your flesh and consume your brain.
And then I saw it with my own eyes – Stanford's re-animation.
ESPN's Jesse Palmer began talking about Stanford like they were still alive. He was referencing them in the present tense. He was saying that they were one of the two or three best teams in the nation. According to Palmer, a team that we all presumed to be long-dead was now undead, and worthy of a shot at the title.
I remember looking at my television and saying, “But Utah killed Stanford. They killed them to death. How can this be? What type of witch craft is this?”
He kept talking.
“When Stanford plays like this, when they play like they didn't play at Utah, they're good enough to beat anybody in the country,” he belched. “They weren't running the football against Utah, and when they do that, I think they're one of the two or three best teams in the country.”
Maybe if they were still alive, but Stanford is dead now.
Yes, when a team that is dead plays like they did when they were alive, they may resemble a living thing, but they're not living. They're still as dead as they ever were.
Why weren't people seeing this?
“You can't discount the loss at Utah, but I look at it more subjectively.”
It was then that I realized it was too late. The fever pitch had spread quicker than the horror movies ever prepare you for. You then start to wonder when that fever might hit you. The pustules of ignorance boiling up and breaking your skin, pus oozing out like milky white idiocy.
I checked Twitter. The panic was beyond any tangible border at this point, and any thought of containing it was likely met with a gallows chuckle by the government agencies in charge of policing such things.
Stanford had come back from the dead, and Ohio State was no longer safe to walk the streets at night.
All I can tell you is that we have not all been infected by this – some of us still have our brains, but the infection is everywhere. As this finds you, you may already have a cold compress on your forehead, as your lungs are chasing fluid out of your body with cough after wet cough.
You will hear terrible, terrible stories of the Stanford zombie apocalypse in the next few days. What is true and what isn't no longer matters because the reports will not stop.
The terrible irony in all of this is that this is the very thing that Ohio State fans wanted. They wanted Oregon to lose so that the Buckeyes could rise. But when the Ducks did indeed fall, something was stirred up, something that should have stayed dead, but didn't.
If you are reading this, do not give up your fight. Be strong. Do not fall victim to the Stanford zombie plague. They are dead. All you have to do is leave them there.
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