Reluctantly cheering on USC, lesser of two evils

By Allyson Kloster

I hope you were conflicted in week 3 of the college football season.

I certainly was.

Trying to decide whether to root for Ohio State or USC was a traumatic experience I never want to have to relive. But, as painful as it was, I swallowed my pride and wished OSU worse luck than the Trojans.

Those of you sell-outs who became Buckeyes for a game probably cannot fathom how I could cheer on the Trojans. But hear me out, since I didn’t base my decision on the color of their uniforms or the athletic abilities of their mascots.

Instead, I based my decision on their respective histories with the Illini.

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Thankfully, our history with the Trojans does not date back to Helen of Troy. Though recent history seems to have provided enough drama for an entire Roman saga – needless to say, we’re still a little tender after the Rose Bowl.

Since USC bruised us more recently than OSU has, it’s natural to feel more resentment toward the Trojans.

However, it’s shortsighted to unabashedly bash USC without stopping to think about the big picture: they only defeated us once (in recent history), whereas Ohio State has driven us crazy since seemingly the dawn of time.

So why waste our energy on a team that only flashes on our radar screen once every millennium? Sure, its fans are rude. But all those Trojans managed to do was beat us at one game. In short, we are giving them too much power. They should be dead to us.

As for the Buckeyes, I sense many Illini fans have forgotten our shared history after we beat them in the Horseshoe last year. Our win flushed years of bad memories out of our deprived systems, shooting us to Cloud Nine. The only problem with Cloud Nine is that it’s the perfect environment for planting seeds of sympathy, since when you’re above everyone else, you tend to take pity on them.

Friends, I beg you to not take pity on the seeds of sympathy, since they are Buckeyes! When they unapologetically infiltrate our stadium in November, we will have the chance to exploit their bruised egos and fight for the slot atop the Big Ten. If it wasn’t for USC’s win, this might be impossible.

Who cares if we no longer have the chance to spoil their (potentially) perfect season? We did that last year. Why repeat history when we – and hopefully more teams to come – have the chance to finish off what the Trojans started? We have the chance to keep the Buckeyes as far as possible from the Cloud Nine pedestal they thought they owned.

Another factor when deciding which team to root for was my own history. Throughout my entire childhood, I developed a deep-seeded aversion to the Buckeyes, more than the average Illini fan has.

Actually, my aversion was my grandfather’s doing. But not intentionally.

A graduate of OSU, his entire life has been Buckeyes football. He asked my grandmother to hold off from giving birth to my mom because the Buckeyes were playing. Thankfully, reason prevailed, since he managed to make it to the delivery room on time. Perhaps it was the wrath of a woman in labor. More likely it was because OSU was losing the game, so he couldn’t bear to watch.

In my entire life, I cannot think of one time he didn’t gloat about those Buckeyes. Not even at Thanksgiving dinner last year, a few weeks after we beat them, 28-21.

I tried slipping him extra pieces of turkey so that he’d get tired and stop insisting Illinois just had a lucky break. It was no use. There’s no point in arguing with a Buckeye.

But there is a point in taking close notice of Buckeyes like my grandpa, since whenever they speak, they remind us of the long, obnoxious history we share. That’s exactly what we need to keep in mind when we’re eating turkey or sitting pretty on Cloud Nine. Otherwise, we lose sight of reality: Ohio State never deserves to win.

Allyson Kloster is a senior in Media. She can be reached at [email protected].