Does THE Ohio State University have THE most inflated ego in college sports? | David Whitley

David Whitley
The Gainesville Sun

Before we discuss the 18-foot python that might be lurking in your backyard, we must invoke “The Beverly Hillbillies” and how it relates to a college football power.

In one of many classic episodes, Jed Clampett is introduced to a hoity-toity socialite. I’ve long forgotten her name, but let’s call her Elenora Farnsworth.

“THE Elenora Farnsworth,” she tells Jed.

“Well, how do you do, The?” he replies.

Bless his heart, Jed didn’t get it. So I wonder what he’d do today when introduced to Ohio State University. “THE Ohio State University,” that is.

That’s how THE school likes to refer to itself, and now the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office is going along. It has granted Ohio State a trademark on “The.”

What does this mean for THE future? 

Ohio State Buckeyes quarterback C.J. Stroud celebrates after a touchdown pass during the fourth quarter vs. the Utah Utes at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, Calif. on Jan. 1, 2022.

The school doesn’t now own the actual word. You won’t be jailed for singing “The Long and Winding Road,” though I’m not sure what it means for the British band The The.

Last week’s decision applies to merchandising rights — The Ohio State University caps, umbrellas and lap dance coupons at Urban Meyer’s bar. More importantly, it gives license for the rest of the college sports world to ridicule the high-falutin’ Buckeyes.

I mean, who really deserves a superiority complex?

Alabama has won five more football championships in the past 13 years, but you don’t see Nick Saban acting like he invented football.

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When it comes to baseball, The Ohio State University has won as many NCAA championships as Coastal Carolina. It’s won as many men’s basketball championships as City College of New York. Just a couple of weeks ago, Florida won more NCAA track championships (two) in 24 hours than The Ohio State University has in 101 years.

To be fair, The Ohio State won the NCAA men’s fencing championship in 1942. No SEC school has won a fencing title, though Vanderbilt won the NCAA bowling title in 2007. That’s one more than The Ohio State University.

I’m not saying The Ohio State University isn’t a fine academic institution, not to mention the main reason Jim Harbaugh was a punchline for most of his career at Michigan. But if you’re going to act like a Beverly Hills socialite, you should have the resume to back it up. Otherwise, you’re just Inflated Ego U.

Sorry, I mean, The Inflated Ego U.

Stud of the Week: Shohei Ohtani. The Angels star had eight RBI one night as a batter. The next night, he struck out 13 batters as a pitcher. Better yet, he still doesn’t insist on being called THE Shohei Ohtani.

Stud II: Rory McIlroy, for using the word “duplicitous” to describe golfers like Brooks Koepka who said they were supporting the PGA Tour and then jumped to the LIV Tour. The Elias Sports Bureau says it’s the first time an athlete has used that adjective. 

Dud of the Week: Brooks Koepka. When told that McIlroy called him duplicitous, said, “I don’t know what that means because I don’t speak Irish.”….

Deshaun Watson’s sexual misconduct hearing is set for Tuesday, and the NFL is expected to push for an indefinite suspension no shorter than one year. The bad news for Cleveland fans is it means Jacoby Brissett or Joshua Dobbs will be the starting QB. The good news is that neither of them has ever been treated for a massage therapist addiction. ...

Breaking News: After shooting 15.8% from the floor last season, Lakers guard Russell Westbrook has trademarked the term “Westbrick”.

Super Studs of the Week: Kyle Findley and Ian Easterling. If you have an invasive species in your backyard, call these guys. The biologists wrestled and captured an 18-foot, 215-pound Burmese python in the Everglades. It’s the largest snake caught in Florida since NCAA investigators captured Miami booster Nevin Shapiro. ... 

Congrats to the state of Mississippi. The Magnolia State got its second straight NCAA baseball championship Sunday when Ole Miss beat Oklahoma. Mississippi State won the title in 2021. THE Ohio State finished the season 21-30, 8-14 in the Big Ten….

Promoters announced last week who will be the referee for Ric Flair’s last match on July 31, but they’ve yet to find an opponent for the 73-year-old Nature Boy. They’ve reportedly narrowed it down to Dick Van Dyke, Granny Clampett or Tom Brady. ...

The USFL championship game is next Sunday. I’ll give $10 billion Bitcoin to the first reader who can name which teams are playing. ...

Oklahoma City drafted Santa Clara guard Jalen Williams with the No. 12 pick last week, then it picked Arkansas forward Jaylin Williams with 34th pick. Neither has yet asked to be called THE Jalen/Jaylin Williams. 

Deshaun dollars: After saying he would never settle with any of the 24 massage therapists suing him for sexual misconduct, Watson settled with 20 of them last week. He’s now made more football millionaires this year than Texas A&M’s NIL collective. ...

That’s about all the space we have for this week’s Whitley’s Believe It or Not. Pending the results of Pulitzer Prize voting, please don’t feel obligated to call it THE Whitley’s Believe It or Not.

David Whitley is The Gainesville Sun's sports columnist. Contact him at Follow him on Twitter @DavidEWhitley