Many of us who love college football have bucket lists. The items on the bucket list can vary greatly, from simply attending a home game at your favorite team’s stadium to making it to the national championship game. But Ohio State superfan Billy Goldberg’s bucket list is a little bit different, and quite a bit longer. His goal is to see every FBS team (there are currently 125) play in-person by the time he turns 65 years old. At first, Billy’s journey was about fulfilling his lifelong dream. But as time went on, it took on a much more meaningful purpose.
Goldberg’s journey started at home. Growing up in Columbus, he was a diehard football fan from the very beginning. He says that going to Buckeyes games as a child at “The Horseshoe”, OSU’s monstrous football stadium, helped solidify his love for the game of college football. “There’s nothing better to initiate you into college football like The Horseshoe”, claims Goldberg. He says he’s always had a passion for the game. On his blog, divisionquest.com, he notes that he’s most connected to the “religion” and culture surrounding the game.
So far, Goldberg has seen 84 of the 125 teams on his journey. While he’s partial to Ohio Stadium as his favorite place to catch a game, Goldberg has a couple of other venues that have stuck out in his mind. He recalls his trip to Ole Miss in Oxford as a “great game day experience”, and he also enjoyed the “passionate fans” at Texas A&M, which he mentioned as a favorite destination.
Goldberg has been all over the country and has had the opportunity to witness many unbelievable moments in college football history. He’s seen legendary coaches like Bobby Bowden roam the sidelines and college superstars like Cam Newton take the field. While he has numerous stories from the action on the field, he has also experienced a great deal off the field – from scalping tickets to trying some of the best BBQ in the country.
As for the motivation behind Goldberg’s journey – well, that’s changed a bit since he began. Goldberg originally started his quest because of his love for college football. But after a visit to watch Ohio State play in 2006, during which he saw his sister for the last time, his perspective changed, and it became more about living every day to its fullest. Melissa Goldberg, Billy’s sister, passed away from mental illness shortly after his visit. It made him feel even stronger about completing his journey. “Go out and live. Do what you can because you never know what’s going to happen”, Goldberg said.
Outside of his college football journey, Goldberg maintains a very busy schedule. He runs his own consulting firm in Southern California named The Buckeye Group. Back in Columbus, he also helps run a non-profit organization dedicated to his sister’s memory, named Melissa’s House, which aims to offer a “permanent safe-haven for adults facing mental health struggles.”
Given his flexible work environment, Goldberg is thankful for his ability to arrange business trips around the football schedule. He’s motivated to achieve his goal of watching every FBS team, but as he notes, “they’re moving the marker on me”, considering there have been more teams moving up to the top level in college football. The journey that started with a focus on football has evolved into a new appreciation for life, and making each day of count.