Hey people, how are you, what’s up?
For this post I’m going to focus on the College game and my unforgettable Ohio State experience. But first, my Bengals are 7-0 heading to the NFL’s halfway point. But we’ve got to keep it going, and it’s a lot more fun to win, that’s for sure.
First, overall, I loved being in College, but it goes by so fast as you’re so into your routine, taking a full class load and playing football. I lived in a dorm my freshman year, and in a rented house on campus my last three years. I soaked it in because it was pretty unbelievable what I got to do. Ohio State is a big school with maybe 50,000 undergrads now. There was so much energy on campus, always something to do, so many different kinds of people. I couldn’t recommend College more for anybody. It exceeded all expectations in so many ways.
I’m from Ohio and in my freshman year, my Buckeyes went to the Fiesta Bowl (January 5, 2003) for the National Championship game and we beat the favored Miami Hurricanes in double OT. There was the “call” in the first OT, where a play was first ruled an incomplete Ohio State pass — causing the Miami team to run on the field, thinking they’d won. But it was changed to a late pass interference call in Miami’s endzone which resulted in us then scoring a TD to send it into a second OT. Then we went ahead, and at the end, our Defense stuffed Miami on four plays when they were 1st and goal on our two-yard line. But linebacker Cie Grant made a great hit on their QB, from a blitz off the edge, to stop them on fourth down. Game over, we won it all!
I was 18, and so new to it all. I remember after the trophy presentation, saying to my buddies, ‘Hey, let’s do this every year, come back and win it all, again.’ But even though I went to four Bowl appearances in my College career that was the only year I got to the Championship game. My senior year, we beat Notre Dame in the 2006 Fiesta Bowl. I won all four bowl games I played in and that win was the perfect ending to an overall amazing college experience.
What do you guys think of the Collegiate playoffs? I think it’s great because it’s added another level of excitement to College Football Rankings. Last year, Ohio State edged their way into the four-team playoffs then ran the table to win it all. A 12-member committee selects and seeds the four teams to take part. And this differs from when I played when they used computer rankings or polls to select the participants for the Bowl Championship Series (BCS).
I’ve gone back as just a fan to Ohio Stadium, a.k.a. the “Shoe” which has a capacity of almost 105,000. It’s always awesome but when I’ve gone back as an older person and pro, it gives you a different perspective. I couldn’t believe how electric the atmosphere is and how serious the fans are. It just seems there’s so much more riding on every play. When you’re playing, you’re just out there in the moment.
Now for some great new Fan Questions:
Fan @strose22 asked, “What’s the craziest thing you autographed as a Buckeye?” — Someone had an Ohio State themed urinal that we signed, and which they were going to install in their house! Others had us sign their cars.
Fan @AlwaysSunnynCLE asked, “Will you officiate my wedding at Ohio Stadium?” — Yeah, I can officiate weddings and I’ve done a few. If you send me the details, and the timing can work out, I’d like to do that. But I’d like to meet with you, get to know you and your spouse, do some research to do a good job. Reach out to me on Twitter @OfficialAJHawk.
Fan @buffy2506 asked, “If you could go back in time what musician or entertainer would you want to be?” — Johnny Cash. The older I get the more I respect the way Johnny went about his business. That guy walked the walk and never seemed to apologize for doing what he thought was right.
Hey, check back in two weeks, and let’s see where my Bengals and Buckeyes are both at – Who Dey?!
UPDATE: In a previous post, I mentioned my family’s Halloween plans. Here’s a pic of our kids dressed up on Halloween as Clinton and Trump — My children had a great time, got a bunch of candy. My son Hendrix’s wig was just perfect for the Trump look.
Stay tuned for more installments of this Ticketmaster Insider series with Super Bowl champion and Bengals linebacker A.J. Hawk. A.J.’s not only an incredible athlete, he’s also a total music lover and live entertainment fanatic. He named his kids Lennon and Hendrix after all. A.J. will be posting throughout the season (see his previous column here), so keep coming back for behind-the-scenes talk, thoughts on the game, and more. And stay plugged in with A.J.’s Podcasts (The Hawkcast) and his charity site Hawk’s Locks for Kids.
Catch College Bowl fever and watch your favorite teams charge the gridiron at an exciting College Bowl game near you.