It's another Ohio State football Saturday in Columbus.
The Buckeyes, already with one win tucked away, play their second home game of the season at 3:30 this afternoon.
But as anyone who has every attended a Buckeye game can tell you, fans begin to write their script for the day long before The Best Damn Band in The Land spells it out for them on the field.
Players certainly have their game day emotions. The notion of getting their "game face" on is cliche but likely true for every Buckeye who has a chance of playing even a single play today.
Frankly, anyone who plans to spend time at the stadium has a game face of their own whether they want to admit it or not.
From the over-zealous, head-to-toe, buckeye-necklace-covered super fans who literally paint their faces on. To the crochety, old beat reporter who has to drag himself to the stadium to cover another meaningless non-conference game, everyone has a game face. Most don't want for game-time to slip into it.
It's because an Ohio State football game is a day long exersize filled with emotion of one sort or another from the minute dawn breaks on a game day.
This is no trip to the mall.
Attending a Buckeye game takes planning.
Ask Urban Meyer how important preparation is for his team. It's no different for fans, media people, Red Coats, vendors or even Brutus.
One doesn't just show up at Ohio Stadium and walk in. There needs to be a game plan and no matter what your feelings, everyone has one.
The vast majority of those who will surround and fill the 'Shoe are excited about their plan and execute it with it excitement and anticipation.
The game is the focus of course but as they say getting there is half the fun.
Game day planning may begin the night before but it's the sun-splashed, slightly brisk game day morning that gets the adrenaline pumps warmed up.
The Dispatch on the front door step carries an extra section and an extra game day morning reminder.
Your neighbor's Buckeye flag catches the sun in just the right way. The neighbor on the other side is up earlier on football Saturdays than he is at any other time during the year.
It's about preparation.
Getting to campus can be a walk from a dorm room or a drive from Ashtabula.
Each has the same payoff.
The feel of the game day experience intensifies anwhere within a mile circumference of Ohio Stadium.
The early morning tailgaters at the Fawcett Center always set the stage for me.
Scarlet and Grey tents, cornhole, grills and coolers paint the borders of a Buckeye portrait that is worth way more than a thousand words.
There's comfort in the familairity of the portrait but a little anxiety in wondering what the final picture will look like. That changes week to week.
By the time one reaches Lane Avenue, the artist has abandoned all colors except Scarlet and Grey.
Buckeye ground zero is still a couple of blocks away but with River Jam and countless French Field House tailgates, this is the staging area.
Blaring Music, dozens of flags flapping in the breeze and students carrying "Natural Light" twelve-packs like book bags bring back that familiar thump in your chest.
The numbers pop out at you. 1, 2, 5, 10, 27, 36 and of course 45.
Each number carries a name that doesn't need to be spoken. You just know it when you see it.
Skull Session begins two hours before each game. It's not uncommon for Buckeye fans to attend Skull Session, listen to the band, watch the team walk through, sing Carmen Ohio and then head back home to watch the game on TV.
The luckey ones though keep walking south.
The slow parade through the breezeway between St. John Arena and French Field House is not for the claustrophobic but a can't miss event for anyone who calls themself a true Buckeye.
It doesn't take long but the stroll through that tunnel puts Buck-nuts shoulder-to-shoulder, arm-in-arm. If O-H-I-O is your thing, then this is your sound tunnel. Throw out the "O-H", you'll get 10 "I-O's back.
That walk also comes with a big pay-off. Exit out the south end of the breezeway and get rewarded with cheerleaders, more tailgaters and the first full on view of your destination--Ohio Stadium.
From here, it's temping to turn the walk into a run but the mass of Buckeye humanity makes such a sprint almost impossible.
Whether you arrive an hour early or just before kick-off, these last few hundred yards remind you this is more than just a football game.
You're reminded that this is as much a part of the tradition as anything the players will do.
Brats have grilled and beverages consumed in these parking lots for generations. "Buckeye Battle Cry" has been blasted out of car speakers here since the 30's.
Now you're ready for the stadium experience.
Whether you're there for TBDBITL's ramp entrance or Script Ohio, you've been prepared by your trip in.
Whether your there to cheer every Buckeye first down or criticize every play call, you've been prepared by your trip in.
It's not just the game. It's not just football. It's a day. A Buckeye football game day.