A full house is expected on Ohio State's campus again this weekend. As usual, The Best Damn Band In The Land will march in followed by the cheerleaders and then the Buckeyes themselves.
Fans' excitement will build hours before starting time in anticipation of another great show from their Scarlet and Gray heroes. The love from Buckeye nation will overflow right onto the court.
Buckeye basketball? Nope, guess again.
The football Buckeyes of course.
The 12-0, Urban Meyer lead, almost-off-probation Ohio State football team jumps back into the spotlight for the first time since November 24th when they beat "that school up north" to earn the most difficult title in sports; "perfect".
Friday night more than 13-thousand fans will head towards the campus area, grab a bite to eat somewhere, overpay to park their cars and file into the second most historic athletic venue on campus to see THE team that really matters.
There will be music, speeches, standing ovations and lots of joy, just no game.
Such is the power of Ohio State football. The free tickets to this event, available online were "sold-out" Monday. Don't be surprised to see a strong secondary market come Friday night.
This celebration, although smaller in scope and overall meaning is similar to one held ten years ago after the 2002 Ohio State football team won the national title.
But Friday's celebration will be as much about looking forward as celebrating the season just ended.
There is no bowl game--BCS or otherwise--for this year's team. But a 12-0 season in 2012 has fans drooling over the possibilites for 2013.
Think of Friday's celebration as the official kickoff of what could happen a year from now.
Fans will celebrate a coach who took a 6-7 team and turned them into a perfect team.
They will celebrate a Big Ten MVP quarterback who will not be in New York for the Heisman this year, but might bring the trophy back next season.
They will give an ailing defensive lineman one last roar of approval--a roar an injury prevented him from hearing in the final home game of his career.
Fans will show up early and no doubt linger a little longer than they should when the celebration is over. It's hard to let go of perfection.
To put it into perspective, line this celebration up against the Ohio State basketball game that will be played 17 hours later at the Schott.
The Buckeyes will play Long Beach State, another "check-off" team on the way to the conference schedule.
Roughly the same number of people will file into the arena but since the cavernous Schott has a greater capacity, there will be plenty of available seats. (That will not be the case Friday night at St. John).
The crowds will cheer, the pep band will play and the cheerleaders will wave their pom-poms but the impromptu, passion-filled roars will not be there.
Those are the types of things reserved for special teams and at this moment, this 2012-13 basketball team hasn't earned that distinction yet.
Football, even with no post-season and nothing to look forward to until next season will be king again for at least one more weekend.
Honoring the past with an eye toward the future. It's been happening at Ohio State for decades.