Thursday, November 29, 2007
As noted by several of our readers, U-M officially posted the job opening for its head coach (which it's required to do as a public university)...
View Job Detail
Job ID: 13431
Job Title: HEAD FOOTBALL COACH
Job/Career Family: Athletics
Country: United States of America
City: Ann Arbor
Job Type: Regular
Full Time: Yes
Date Posted: Nov 26 2007
Salary Frequency: Annual
Job Description and Responsibilities: Market Title: Head Football Coach
Salary Range: To be Determined
The University of Michigan invites applications for the position of Head Football Coach. This position entails the leadership of all phases of the Football program. Responsibilities include, but are not limited to; coaching, the recruitment of qualified student-athletes, support of the academic progress of student-athletes, budget management, and community relations.
Job Requirements: Minimum qualifications: Bachelor’s degree required. A thorough knowledge of NCAA rules and regulations is required.
Preferred qualifications: Graduate degree. Previous collegiate head coaching experience.
Whetstone? T9? Katie? Polish those resumes!
I was going to throw my hat in the ring, but in reading the posting I noticed under "Shift" that the job required some work on weekends and that blew if for me.
P.S. I wonder if Lloyd wants to punch the guy who wrote this: "Forty hours a week?! Are you out of your fucking mind?! If it was only 40 hours a week, I would have stayed, assface!"
Wednesday, November 28, 2007
But, alas, MZone reader DS steps into the void with the picture below. As he stated in his email...
"Well, if we do get Les Miles I hope he brings with him some "unpredictability" and "surprise" like in the picture."
Amen, DS. Amen.
UPDATE: Turns out the pic above comes from Poon of the SEC. Always want to give props to original source. So...props. Big props (and yes, I do realize the collective jaws of our entire female readership just hit their keyboards: "Did that say 'poon?'").
Tuesday, November 27, 2007
I would have been very surprised if it was true, not so much due to the choice itself, but rather what that would have said about how the search was conducted. To simply go out and grab somebody without going through the process - somebody who clearly isn't the commodity of say, Urban Meyer when he left Utah a few years ago - would have been foolish.
Now, our blogging brother-in-arms, Brian at MGoBlog, has been all over the Ferentz rumor - even following a mysterious flight from Willow Run to Cedar Rapids yesterday. But while I think Brian is probably one of the most well-informed bloggers out there (he was the first to break the story about Lloyd stepping down) I still think it's a case of the Internet grapevine here. At least that's my opinion. My uninformed-I-put-up-pix-of-semi-naked-coeds opinion.
I think this search may take a bit. So sit back, relax and get ready for the next whopper to drop into your inbox.
P.S. You know, just to show how dangerous a few fans can be, we should all agree on a name - I dunno, say...Bob Stoops - then hit all the message boards with some serious post about how we "just read this on an Oklahoma board" or something credible-sounding to see if we can get it started.
P.P.S. If Ferentz is hired today, mock away, folks. Mock away. I'll deserve it.
I can Photoshop a perfectly normal picture of some random guy into a mocking picture of an alleged Spartan fan. I can piss off half the Buckeye blogosphere with a few keystrokes. Hell, I can sometimes even get get Benny to post more than one fucking post a week during the season while I bust my nuts working on this site 24/7.
But, alas, whatever God gave you in the package department, I can't help you improve on that. I feel I must mention this fact after receiving the following email....
Just an FYI - I received some spam today from "yost" (lower case y about growing my penis size. I didn't want to click on the message, so I have no idea what the actual e-mail address was. It would be incredibly odd that the spammer somehow know that you and I corresponded and since the Y is lower-case, I'm pretty sure they haven't hijacked your account. But I thought (a) you might want to see if this is happening with other folks you know and maybe (b) somehow talk about it in your blog.
Hope all is well!
No, while being a mighty blogger has given me untold powers beyond my wildest imagination (like the ability to impress the ladies with the mere mention of my blogging activities), I am - at this juncture in time - unable to improve the sexual functioning of our readers.
This magical site has only been around two years. And I'm sure Blogger is coming out with another update in the near future. So you just never know. You just never know.
Monday, November 26, 2007
At some point, I should just shake my head and laugh at the "annoyance journalism" of Drew Sharp, "columns" in which the only purpose behind their writing is to sit back and revel in how upset he can make the targets of his attacks (and they are attacks, make no mistake about it). I guess I keep reading and posting about it in the silly hope that somebody at the Detroit Free Press will finally wake up regarding the intellectual dishonesty of his pieces (of...).
Drew's latest piece (of...) is entitled "Michigan isn't a top 10 program nationally." The piece (of...) deals with Michigan's coaching search and the attractiveness of the job.
Now, that very title was solely picked to poke. Plain and simple. You can argue my response is a "homer" one since this is a Michigan blog, fair enough. Take me out of it. But Urban Meyer, Steve Spurrier, Phil Fulmer, the ESPN crew and every other coach and pundit writing about the U-M coaching vacancy have called it one of the premiere jobs in the country.
Which is exactly why Sharp wrote his piece (of...).
Sharp can't bag on our season or our coach anymore. The season is over, the coach moved on. And the focus of the media has been on this wonderful coaching opportunity that has opened up to outsiders for the first time in 40 years. So what does he do? Take something that everybody is taking about in a positive light, tear at that, then sit back and watch the response.
And it's annoying because I always assumed the Free Press was supposed to be a step up from a "lowly" blog. Or so I thought. But I see much more honest reportage and stories coming out of the blogosphere on a daily basis.
According to Sharp's expertise, there are five principle factors in determining a program's reputation: Institutional support, quality of resources, natural recruiting base, competitive coaching salaries, historical pedigree. The only one Sharp "gives" Michigan top 10 credit for is historical pedigree.
He dings Michigan for its lack of a "natural" recruiting base which he defines as the recruiting base within a 3 hour drive of a school's campus. Never mind that teams like Michigan recruit nationally, regularly having a top 10 class.
He says Michigan has no institutional support because the school is only now adding luxury boxes to bring in "much needed" revenue. As if such suites are the measuring stick of program's "institutional support." Oh, and never mind that they increased seating capacity to 107,501 in the last 10 years or so. Or that with such a seating capacity - in the LARGEST stadium that is ALWAYS sold out - Michigan has been in no way, shape or form in dire need of such boxes. And don't bother to mention the seat licensing fees which were instituted in the last five years to bring in such revenue on a more stadium-wide basis. But hey, if Sharp mentioned all that, he might have to take a more honest look in his "reporting."
In his piece (of...), Sharp ties, blends and intertwines his Quality of Resources category into the institutional support slam, knocking Michigan for just now starting to build a new indoor practice facility. Uh, wasn't Michigan the first team in the country to even have an indoor facility? Correct me if I'm wrong, but that facility was built in the 80s. Are they supposed to build a brand new one every 10 years? It's time, now they're building one. End of story.
Finally, and most laughably, he says Michigan isn't competitive with its football coaching salary. This could be the most intellectually dishonest piece of crap in his entire piece of shit article. Lloyd Carr's salary is $1.5M a year. A ton for you and me, but not on the level of the standard $2M coaching salaries at the big programs. Yes, that's true.
But - and it's a huge "but" - what assclown fails to mention is that the reason Michigan "only" pays out $1.5 for its coach is, first and foremost, Lloyd Carr isn't a money grubbing whore. If even non-Michigan fans learned anything about the man over the course of his tenure and during his press conference last week, it's that money wasn't/isn't important to Carr in the way it is to, oh, say, I dunno, let me throw out a name...Nick Saban.
You think Carr could have left Michigan after winning the national title in '97 for a huge raise? Or used the the leverage of being the 7th winningest coach in the country during his head coaching career to constantly renegotiate like so many coaches do? Yes he could have, but no he didn't.
Furthermore, had Carr left, say, four or five years ago, guess what? The new coach's salary, if he would have come from outside the program, would be up in the level of the Stoops, Carrolls and Browns of the coaching world. Yet Sharp instead uses the class of Carr and the unique longevity of head coaches at Michigan as a "strike" against the program.
Seriously, if you're a sports editor at the Free Press, how do you print this crap with a straight face?
UPDATE: Just saw this dick article regarding Les Miles possibly coming to A2 that doesn't even constitute a column. It's all of four paragraphs long, with two of those being a sentence each. No, this "column" was written in the wake of LSU's loss to Arkansas for the sole purpose of these
"If LSU loses in the SEC championship game next week, doesn't Les Miles then become the prototypical Michigan coaching candidate?
He would have lost his last two games since the job became available. Sounds like a seamless transition from the Lloyd Carr era."
Folks, what I just posted above is half the article! HALF! I say again, is this the Detroit Free Press or a blog run by a fan of some Michigan rival? Seriously.
But in the immortal words of Lee Corso: Not so fast, my friend.
If you watched the LSU/Arkansas game, you saw exhibit 1A on why I don't think Miles is the best choice for U-M. Fact is, there was simply some boneheaded coaching by LSU's top Tiger down the stretch.
For example, on 4th and 2 at around midfield with just over two minutes left, Miles had his QB fake a run to the right then throw back across the field for a screen. This play took forever to develop and if not for a missed tackle by a Razorback player, the game would have been over before the OT excitement.
Then, as LSU neared the Arkansas redzone, Miles called two quick timeouts with over a minute left which made NO sense whatsoever. The game is going to end (or should) one way or another on this drive. As the announcers even stated, the only thing Miles quick timeout calls did was give Arkansas almost a full minute to get in position to attempt a game winning FG in regulation.
Dumb. Dumb, dumb, dumb.
This is also the coach whose last gasp, game-winning TD against Auburn - in which he almost burned out the clock with a timeout to spare and in position for a game-winning FG - was lucky not brilliant.
And don't forget the meltdown by a mediocre-at-best Tide team that allowed Miles and his Tigers to escape with a victory against 'Bama.
Also, while many in favor of a Miles hire point to his brass ones after he went for it on something like 84 consecutive fourth downs earlier this year against Florida, don't be fooled. As the Auburn play clearly illustrates, there's a big difference between gutsy play calling and bullheaded bravado. And I'm afraid Miles falls into the later category.
Throw in his head-scratching, why-even-say-those-comments regarding USC and the Pac-10 before the season began - comments about a team and a conference he doesn't even play and such factors begin to add up - add up to a man that I don't think is the best fit for Michigan.
And I'm not even including the rumored issues from the recruiting trail that allegedly upset Carr.
So while I won't go so far as to say the emperor has no clothes, I will say I'm not so sure he's wearing much more than an ill-fitting purple and gold toga and some socks.
Be careful what you wish for, Wolverine Nation. Be careful what you wish for.
Folks, that's one of the funnier things I heard over the Thanksgiving holiday.
You mean the guy who bad mouthed the U-M program earlier this year isn't going to be our coach?
Boy, there's a fucking shocker. Thanks for clearing that up for everybody, Jimbo. I would have sworn Michigan athletic director Bill Martin was on his way to Palo Alto with a suitcase full of cash in an attempt to woo you to Ann Arbor.
In a related story, the Tooth Fairy, Mandy Moore, Drew Sharp and MZone reader Srudoff have also removed themselves from consideration.
P.S. Nice loss to ND, Jim. Oh, and if you change your mind about the coaching thing, don't call us, we'll call you.
Thursday, November 22, 2007
Wednesday, November 21, 2007
End of Another Era at Michigan
Lloyd's coaching career wasn't the only thing that came to an end this week...
Today is the day the stadium renovation preparations begin. I work
next door to the stadium and saw that Keech Street is being blocked
off and that part of the parking lot is permanently cordoned off for
material storage and worker parking.
Today is somewhat the first day of the next era at Michigan w/ Lloyd
announcing retirement and the renovations beginning. I was thinking
this would be the perfect topic for a post. If you'd like, I can try
and send useful pictures of the ongoing construction.
Please send the pix and keep us updated, Dave. I was initially opposed to the renovations but I think I've changed my mind and look forward to the new Big (Hopefully Louder) House.
(Picture HT: MDen)
Fair commerce, fair weather or worse?
One great thing about being a longtime season ticket holder is the sense of community that develops over the years with other lifelong Wolverines in your section. After awhile, they're not strangers, they're family. But not for MZone reader Bill...
First of all I would like to say that I thoroughly enjoy your site and have turned on many of my Michigan buddies and they also enjoy it. However I do have a question. Do you know who I might be able to get a hold of concerning season tickets? Not in order to procure tickets but to have them revoked. I have had the same seats for 40 years and in the last few years the “fans” to the right of me are never the same. It’s always the opposition “fans” that are buying them on the internet for over face value. I began asking that specific question this year and the answer is always the same. I tired of sitting next to the opposition each and every game. That and the non-noise cheering sections are why Michigan seldom has a home field advantage. Hopefully you guys can point me in the right direction. If not then I will begin to query the Athletic Department. Once again, keep up the good work on MZONE.
I totally understand the frustration. I really do. If I want an evenly split crowd, I'll go watch a game in the sports book of a Vegas casino. But I'm not sure there is anything that can be done. If somebody rightfully purchases season tickets, unfortunately they can do pretty much what they want with them (as long as they're not breaking any scalping laws which are hard to/rarely enforced to begin with).
Next up, friend of the MZone and regular reader Beast in Bama sent us the following...
IT’S DIVISION I FOOTBALL!!!
Being a fan of a Big 12 team, I don’t get to participate in the unending Big 10 vs. SEC debate that rages seemingly every week here on the MZone. After all, the Big 12 is still the home of college football dreck such as Missouri, Kansas, Baylor and Iowa St., so I can’t begin to back up any “top to bottom” claims of superiority against any other conference.
But as the crazy 2007 football season draws to a close, I will submit this for your consideration: no conference has had more YouTube moments, more bizarre twists, more raving lunatic behavior – in short, no conference has had a more entertaining 2007 season on and off the field than the Big 12. To wit:
1) Kansas and Missouri will play what amounts to a BCS elimination game on Nov. 24. What?
2) Bill Callahan singlehandedly destroyed one of the greatest programs in college football history. In one season! OK, so did Charlie Weis. But ND is an independent in football – we’re talking cumulative conference effect here.
3) I could attempt to tell you what Dennis Franchione did, but that kind of insider information might wind up costing me $1,200, and I don’t have that kind of spare change right now. He will be missed – everywhere but College Station.
4) Did I mention that Mike Gundy IS A MAN!!! HE’S 40!!! HE’S A FATHER OF CHILDREN!!!
5) Four different teams have scored 70 points or more this season. Nebraska gave up 76 to Kansas one week, and then scored 73 points of their own the following week vs. Kansas St.
6) The too-morbid-for-words Okie-Longhorn crotch ripping incident. I know the UM/OSU rivalry is heated, but I don’t recall any reports of one man redecorating another man’s family room over the Wolverines and Buckeyes.
7) Dan Hawkins would like to remind you that it’s still DIVISION I FOOTBALL! IT’S THE BIG 12! If you don’t agree with him, the intramural fields are that way, brother.
8) Mark Mangino in a velvet track suit. Need I say more?
The Big 12: we might not be the best conference in 2007, but I’ll be damned if we’re not the most entertaining.
Finally, besides M/OSU, what are the best rivalries in college football?
I was wondering what your take is on other college football rivalries across the nation. Specifically the one coming up between Auburn and Alabama. Be careful how you type Auburn vs. Alabama, because if you don't put Alabama in front of Auburn i.e. Alabama vs. Auburn, the mullet nation could explode.
You could take the safe route though and put Auburn vs. Saban, since it seems thats all the Alabama fans cheer for nowadays. Like the shirts they wear that says they are a member of "Sabanation" and the year is 200Saban.
Anyway, War Damn Eagle
Well, what do folks say?
But, alas, here is this week's poll...
Yes, that's Michigan at #25. Blow me. Before you call it a strictly homer vote (which it partly is), check out who teams like Clemson with three losses have defeated. Or BYU in the AP poll. And Hawaii? Please. They might beat a good HS team, but it would probably be in triple OT.
Also, due to being at the Michigan game (then falling into a well of despair afterwards), I only saw one game last weekend (if you call a contest in which one team gets only 91 total yards a "game").
Leave your thoughts in the comments section.
What Michigan supporters saw during his retirement announcement was a coach who truly embodied Bo Schembechler's mantra of "The Team. The Team. The Team." What jaded sports fans witnessed was a man who still put principle above a paycheck. What the sport lost was a teacher who realized the "big game" was simply a way to instill larger lessons regarding the big picture.
Unfortunately, we live in an era, especially when it comes to athletic competition, where many of us claim to care about the above but deep down - and usually less so - all that really matters is the scoreboard, baby. And to many in the Michigan family, Carr had fallen short in that column of late. So while they profess their admiration for the man, deep down - and usually less so - they were happy to see the coach step aside.
Never mind that Carr never had a losing season in 13 years at the helm. Forget that the school never once had the hint of a scandal during his tenure. Who cares that keeping any team among the nation's elite year in and year out is a much tougher assignment than its ever been (see: Nebraska, Notre Dame and Miami). It simply wasn't enough for some.
And I'm not naive, blind or an apologist. Yes, the recent bowl losses and stumbles against Ohio State stung. But college football, like life, is a game of ups and downs. To wax less poetically than Carr at his press conference yesterday: Shit happens. There is an ebb and flow to everything...except the unwieldy expectations of Michigan fans.
Thus, U-M begins its search for a new coach. Forget interest or availability, I just hope the person we're looking for exists. You know, someone able to contend for a national title every year, win each bowl game and never lose to Ohio State. If not, watch out. We Michigan fans are like some long-married guy going through a perpetual mid-life crisis: the grass is always greener, the coach of "that team" is always sexier.
But to some, the coaching situation is already looking up because whoever it is, it won't be Carr. Which really is a shame. Because a special part of a Michigan just retired yesterday. Yet, sadly, too many peopled failed to realize just how good we had it.
Thank you, Coach Carr, for everything you did. Both on and off the field.
Tuesday, November 20, 2007
By your own soul learn to live.
If some men thwart you, take no heed.
If some men hate you, have no care.
Sing your song, dream your dream.
Hope your hope and pray your prayer.
Yes, a special coach, indeed.
But that's not the point of this post. Ignoring Les Miles for a minute (which is almost impossible - or against the law - to do with regards to Michigan's coaching vacancy), who else do you think Michigan should consider and why?
Leave us your thoughts in the comments section.
Thus, scroll down for one last (painful) look back at the Tosu loss.
Monday, November 19, 2007
That aside, the atmosphere was amazing...if you were in the student section. They were loud from the beginning and right on through until the end. A tip o' the hat to you guys.
But that wasn't the norm. At least from my vantage point.
My buddy got us great seats, section 4, almost the 40 yard line...but apparently right in the middle of a fucking tax audit. These people had all the energy of a rotting corpse...which is almost an insult to rotting corpses.
On several "key plays," I turned to look at the folks above me to see what they were doing. I was hoping to see yelling, screaming and general noise making. Instead, I think I saw breathing. Although even that might be debatable. Hell, these people don't even shake their keys.
Worst of all was when the Ohio State fans in attendance started their "O-H-I-O" going around the stadium. Thankfully, the student section stopped it since the cadavers around me were obviously trying to break some Guinness Book of World Records mark for quietest stadium section ever in a big game.
Defensively, Tressel quickly realized that Henne was still hurt and couldn't beat them passing. Thus, Tosu wisely loaded up to stop Hart (after a few opening runs that gave me hope) then watched as Henne's balls fluttered harmlessly all over the field (and in and out of the hands of Michigan receivers the few times he was on target).
Offensively, once the Bucks got the two-score lead - and with his own QB having an off day - Tressel decided to just run, run, run knowing, like a Woody Hayes/Bo Schembechler Three Yards and a Cloud of Dust showdown from some bygone era, Michigan would be unable to move the ball against his defense.
It really was that simple: take what the other team is giving you and get out of dodge with a victory. Period. Style points be damned.
While there was the false hope of never really being out of it due to both the closeness of the score and some decent starting field position in the second half, the truth of the matter is, one glance at the stats on the giant Michigan scoreboard revealed it would take a small miracle for the outcome to change.
Worst of all, was the grim resignation as I watched this game unfold. The above wasn't something I thought of as I sat down to write up this post-mortem tonight, those were things I actually turned to my buddy and said as we were subjected to the ugliness on the field. It wasn't rocket science, it was a beating by Buckeye squad right out of the 60s.
The sad fact for Wolverine fans is that this team really isn't that good. I don't know that we so much underachieved as over-achieved. Our offensive line never was a force that we thought it would be (except for Jake Long). Mario Manningham showed up about 50% of the time. The defense proved it wasn't just the spread that could ding them but pretty much just running it right up the gut (see: Wisco & Tosu).
I could go into the minutia of what transpired on the field, but why? What is really the point unless I want to get frustrated all over again by an effort that produced a whopping 14 yards in the second half. I mean, it's almost comical when our biggest plays of the day were a couple of PI calls (although, seeing how our receivers were playing, in hindsight, I'm guessing OSU DBs are wondering today why they even bothered since the balls most likely wouldn't have been caught anyway).
I will say that there is simply no underestimating how different a team we are/were without Hart and Henne at 100%. One only has to look at how average Oregon is without Dennis Dixon to see what the loss of a team's top playmakers does. And Michigan had two of its best hobbled much of the season. Would it have made a difference Saturday? Sadly, I can't say for sure.
Here's the worst thing about this loss is that there is no shock or outrage on my part. I bleed maize and blue yet it's almost, dare I say, not surprising. I guess I now know how Buck fans felt in the 90s.
Sunday, November 18, 2007
Ed. Note: I rushed for more yards walking to my computer to post this than U-M did all game yesterday. Ugh.
Saturday, November 17, 2007
How are we already to the Ohio State game? Wasn't I curled in the fetal position after the Appy State game just yesterday?
Yet, alas, The Game is upon us. Michigan vs. Ohio State. Bragging rights, a trip to Pasadena and the undisputed Big Ten title on the line. As it should be. As it often is. Which is why we don't need no stinkin' conference championship game. This is the conference championship game.
So, what's going to happen? Well, if Hart and Henne's injuries aren't 100% healed, it could be a long day, and not of the Jake variety. No Reverse Blog Psychology (RBP) needed. But to be safe, I'm going ultra-RBP today thus...
* Hart, Henne and Long, in an effort to protect their draft status and avoid further injury, opt out of the game.
* Carr retires during the coin toss and the "savior" Les Miles immediately quits at LSU and coaches via cellphone connection, refusing to punt and going for it on every fourth down.
* The defense...uh, well, actually, the defense plays like the defense normally plays of late in big games: like a sieve. All this leads to...
Tressel's Bitches - 18 (all FGs, so at least we got that going for us now)
The Team with the classiest fans in America - 45
Also, nobody seems to have a fucking clue as to what time the pep rally in the Diag is today: 3:30 or 6:00 pm. The students sent out one thing, the athletic department another. Arrrghhh! Nice going.
Anyway, enjoy the game tomorrow. If you take any good pix or video, please send them our way. And most of all...
The annual battle for the Big Ten title takes place in Ann Arbor when the Wolverines host Ohio State. Unlike last year, there are likely no national title implications, but the game will determine the fate of each team’s season. As any Buckeye fan will be happy to point out, tOSU has won five of the last six meetings, including two of the last three in Ann Arbor. Michigan holds the series lead, 57-40-6, following last year’s three point loss. With both teams coming off losses to break long winning streaks, there are some who don’t believe this year’s matchup measures up to those in years past. But with Michigan teetering between an accomplished season and a disastrous season, this game is huge. So you want to be prepared, and the preparation wouldn’t be complete without the final regular season version of the MZone's KNOW YOUR FOE.
History – The current Ohio State University was founded as The Ohio Agricultural and Mechanical College in 1870 as a land grant institution. But that only sparked the beginning of two huge battles in the first couple of decades of the school. The first was a result of two factions with opposing views of the role of the university. The "narrow gauge" group, held that the college should teach subjects related to agriculture and mechanical arts. The "broad gauge" party wanted a more diversified curriculum that included English and ancient and foreign languages as well. In 1873, an 8-7 vote called for the broadening of the curriculum to include seven fields of study: agriculture, ancient languages, chemistry, geology, mathematics, modern languages, and physics. The first class of twenty-four students, including three women started in 1873 and the name was changed to Ohio State University in 1878.
The second battle also came from in state. Two universities – Miami and Ohio University – had their feelings hurt that they weren’t chosen as the state university. At times, former U. S. President Rutherford B. Hayes, who later became governor of Ohio, mocked the older schools, and lobbied hard for monies for the state university, tOSU. Hmmm. There’s something about this school that likes bullies named Hayes who bring them glory. Finally, in 1906, the state legistlature settled the issue by declaring tOSU as the only school that would offer post-graduate degress, while Miami and Ohio would only offer bachelor’s degrees.
Location – Columbus, Ohio. Located smack dab in the middle of the state, Columbus is, surprising to many, the largest city in the state. It has kept this title by bullying the few surrounding suburbs into annexation in exchange for sewer and water service that the city controls. And though C-Bus is the largest, people from Cleveland or Cincinnati have far more pride in their hometowns. It’s known as the Arch City for the metal arches that spanned High Street during the early 20th century. Columbus is the capitol of Ohio and is home to Nationwide Insurance as well as the corporate home to The Limited, Express, Bath & Body Works, and Victoria's Secret.
Nickname - Buckeyes. The name comes from a type of tree that is native to much of the eastern United States, including Ohio. The leaves appear in a five-leaflet cluster, and the fruit, or nut, is round and typically about an inch and a half wide. It’s poisonous to humans, horses and cattle, though not to squirrels. We’ll find out on Saturday how Wolverines handle them. Ohio State fans love their buckeyes. They wear them around their neck, and tOSU students and alums refer to themselves as Buckeyes.
In addition to the tree, and the fruit that carry the buckeye name, there are two towns in the U. S. named Buckeye, though neither one is in Ohio. There’s also a breed of chicken named Buckeye, as well as a species of butterfly. Know Your Foe used to work with a tOSU grad. Every year for Michigan-Ohio State week his wife would make these chocolate and peanut butter buckeyes. Know Your Foe's allegiance in this game has never been questioned, but those chocolate buckeyes came pretty close to getting us to say “It might not be so bad if Ohio State won.”
Mascot – Brutus Buckeye. Brutus was born in 1965 and was the brainchild of Ray Bourhis and the student group Ohio Staters. At that time, most mascots were live animals and Bourhis proposed bringing a buck deer to the games but that proved too logistically difficult. The first Brutus costume weighed over 40 pounds. Through the years Brutus has had a number of face lifts – as well as some lipo evidently. But after the first incarnation, Brutus has appeared to be an angry, often drunk looking mascot.
Know Your Foe has been to games to see Brutus dishing out as well as receiving abuse. But the most memorable was in 1983 when Brutus, as is his wont, ran the perimeter of the field at Michigan Stadium waving the Ohio State flag. As he made his way down the Michigan sideline, one of the athletes holding the M GO BLUE banner had seen enough. He made a beeline for Brutus and dove into his legs, taking down the costumed mascot. Brutus’ head almost fell off and he cocked his fist, ready to punch the Wolverine athlete who took him down. And who was that diving star that day? Olympic silver medalist, and former felon Bruce Kimball.
Colors – Scarlet and Gray. The official colors were selected by three students in 1878. The reasoning for the combination was that they were a “pleasing combination” and weren’t being used by any other college. The original selection of orange and black was shot down when the students discovered that Princeton used those colors. It was the last time in recorded history that Ohio State and Princeton would ever be confused for each other. Now we’ve gone over the whole red thing in previous Know Your Foes. And the fact that tOSU calls their red “Scarlet” doesn’t change the argument. Red is just too common. The gray that’s added to the tOSU color scheme is somewhat unique, but is it really gray? Take a look at those helmets – there’s undoubtedly a metallic quality to them. Any non-color blind person would call them silver. And until a couple of years ago, the Buckeyes wore silver pants as well before changing back to the matte gray.
Logo – A block O, with “Ohio State” arched through the middle. The block O has been part of Ohio State for years, and plenty of Buckeye gear still only includes the single letter. In the early eighties, the words Ohio and State were added, though the current logo has been in use for about 20 years.
Fight Song – Across the Field. One of the all-time great fight songs. There’s almost no way you can walk away from listening to it and not end up humming it right after. The only drawback to it, is that it’s very football-centric. Sure, this makes sense for a school like Ohio State, but as we’ll see below they also excel in a number of other sports. And the opening line of “Fight the team across the field,” just doesn’t make sense when cheering for the Buckeye basketball or swimming team. It’s not surprising that the first word is “Fight.” This is Ohio State, after all. They like to fight. But they get big credit for also using the word “reverberating.” Sure, most of the students and graduates of tOSU have no idea what it means, but it’s a great word and the usage is perfect in the song. In addition to the fight song, the Ohio State band will also play Hang On Sloopy, and after the game the players join the crowd in Carmen, Ohio.
Academics – In the latest U. S. News Ranking of America's Best Colleges, Ohio State is tied for 57th, with Boston University. This is actually a much higher ranking than tOSU has received in past editions, and puts them in the middle of the Big Ten, which, again, isn’t that bad for tOSU. Most importantly for Buckeye grads, they’re ten slots ahead of Miami of Ohio which is generally considered a stronger school academically. With almost 52,000 students on the Columbus campus, Ohio State is the largest university in the country, But bigger isn’t necessarily better when it comes to tOSU. Not many of their undergraduate or graduate programs rank among the elite. Sure, the Department of Dance is considered the top ranked graduate program and the second ranked such program in North America. But other programs, like Business, medicine, and law are good. Yes, they’re also big. But better? Not so much.
Athletics – Few schools have the athletic tradition of Ohio State. It’s the only university to have won national championships in football, basketball, and baseball. Well, the only one other than Michigan. tOSU has also won national titles in golf, men’s swimming, men’s gymnastics, and men’s outdoor track. The women’s teams have never won an NCAA-sanctioned title, but they have won 24 titles in synchronized swimming, and two in pistol. For anyone who's attending a future game in Columbus, that's a scary thought.
But let’s face it, when people think of Ohio State sports – hell, when they think of Ohio State period – they think of Buckeye football. They’ve won five recognized national championships, including the 2002 crown. They’ve won 32 Big Ten titles, though, interestingly, only one outright title since 1984. Former coach Woody Hayes is worshipped as a god in the state despite an irascible personality and repeated episodes of poor sportsmanship. The identity of the school – and much of the state – is wrapped up in how the Buckeyes do on the gridiron. It unites the state from Cleveland to Cincinnati, from the farms to the cities.
Famous alums – This is another instance of Ohio State being bigger, but not necessarily better. Check out this list of tOSU alumni. It’s looooong. But there aren’t many people who really stand out other than athletes. The Hoover Street Rag has a grreat showdown that summarizes things well. As mentioned above, the Buckeye football team has produced hall of famers. And even in other sports, Buckeyes are among the all-time greats, including Jesse Owens, Jack Nicklaus, Frank Howard, John Havlicek and Jerry Lucas. The most familiar names in academia are current University of Georgia president Michael Adams (the guy who won’t allow Florida-Georgia to be called the World’s Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party), and former University of Michigan president Harlan Hatcher. You know, the guy who the Grad Library is named after. In business tOSU alumni run Diebold (the voting machine people), and the founder of Shoney’s restaurants. Well known Buckeye journalists include Jack Buck, Judith Miller, and Erin Moriarty. The field of the arts is populated with Buckeyes Patricia Heaton, comedian Richard Lewis, network executive Fred Silverman, singer and actor Dwight Yoakim, artist Roy Lichtenstein, and comedy writer Bruce Villanch. And though the state of Ohio has produced eight U. S. Presidents, no chief executive has ever been a tOSU alum.
The Game – The biggest question for this game is who’s going to play for Michigan. Without Hart and Henne this will likely be a blowout. With both approaching good health Michigan has a shot. But even with both of those guys the Wolverines don’t have any real advantages. The better offense? Ohio State. Defense? Ohio State. Special Teams? Coaching? All are to the advantage of the Buckeyes. Michigan can win this game. But they won’t. OHIO STATE 34, MICHIGAN 20.
Friday, November 16, 2007
Now, a "White Out" I get. Same with a "Black Out." But I absolutely hate the term "Maize Out." That to me says, "Uh, we couldn't think of anything original so we just threw one of our school colors in front of the term 'Out'.
Thus, since some people actually own blue outerwear, I propose - maybe not this year, but next year - for the big games we tell people to dress in the color of our most well-known cheer for a stadium-wide..."Blue Job."
C'mon, who's with me!
Now, I'm normally not a fan of "Fuck INSERT SCHOOL HERE" taunts but this took so much time and effort to pull off, I had to give a grudging nod of respect. In his email, MW didn't know when the pic was taken or if it's made its way around them there Internets in the past, but we hadn't seen it hence its spot on the MZone today.
1997...Carr's Crew Conquers Everest...
A half century from now, the legend of 1997 will have grown to epic proportions. The names of Carr, Griese, Woodson, Steele and others immortalized in the Michigan history books while those claiming to have been a part of the Michigan Stadium crowd that day will have swelled to over 10 million. But only those of us who were actually there, in Michigan Stadium, on that twenty-second day of November, nineteen hundred and ninety-seven, will understand what really transpired. And our story will go something like this...
"Were you in Michigan Stadium that day, Grandpa Stout?"
"You're damn right I was. I got up at 7 AM, in the freezing cold and snow, with my former team mate Brian Aparo to put 40,000 maize and blue pompoms on the seats to get my ticket in. And let me tell you--there hasn't been a game like that played in the Big House ever since."
"Tell me about it."
"Well, the year was 1997. Bill Clinton was your President and busy in Washington trying to cover up an affair with a 21-year-old White House Intern. The greatest sitcom ever, Seinfeld, was in its final season. Titantic was breaking records at the box office and Jimmy Buffett, at the tender age of 50, was still wasting away in Margaritaville with all his Parrotheads. The Michigan Wrestling Wolverines were entering their 76th season. And I was 26 but of course, still in Law and MBA school at a place that shall remain nameless."
"Tell me about THE GAME."
"Well, both schools came into The Game each ranked in the top five in the nation for the first time in 20 years. Michigan entered the game unbeaten and ranked #1 in the country. Coming off four consecutive four loss seasons, the Wolverines were gunning for their first trip to the Rose Bowl in five years, and their first 11-0 season since 1971. The Boys in Blue were led by a great team defense that emphasized "11 hats to the ball" and led the nation in both total defense and scoring defense. Spearheading this defense was the great Charles Woodson, an All - American defensive back who also excelled on the offensive side of the ball and was a threat to wreak havoc on his opponents every time he stepped on the field.
The Buckeyes came to Ann Arbor with a 10-1 record after falling only to Penn State early in the season in Happy Valley. They were ranked fourth in the nation and had won five straight since the loss to the Nittany Lions, improving each week. Led by All - American linebacker Andy Katzenmoyer, the Buckeye defense had yielded just one touchdown in its last five games. After seeing the Wolverines ruin their own perfect seasons and national championship hopes the past two years, the Buckeyes looked to turn the tables on the Maize and Blue and make their second consecutive trip to the Rose Bowl.
But on a crisp autumn day before a record Michigan Stadium crowd of 106,982, these Wolverines had their eyes on the prize and were not to be denied.
After a scoreless first quarter, the Wolverines and Woodson, almost single-handedly, broke open the game during a four minute stretch late in the first half.
The first big play of the game saw Woodson grab a Brian Griese pass a little past midfield on a third down and 12 from the Michigan 47 and outrun the Buckeye defenders for 37 yards to the Ohio State 15. Two plays later, Wolverine freshman Anthony Thomas scored from the one, and the Blue took a 7-0 lead that they would not relinquish.
Ohio State took the ensuing kickoff, and on three plays, went nowhere against the top-rated Michigan defense. With the Buckeyes looking to punt on fourth down, Woodson retreated to his own 20-yard line, and prepared to show the Michigan Stadium crowd why he was the best player in the country.
Woodson received the Buckeye punt at his own 22, broke to his left, split the sea of scarlet and gray defenders, and sprinted down the left sideline for an electrifying 78-yard touchdown. The return gave the Blue a 13-point lead and sent the Michigan Stadium crowd into a maize and blue pompom frenzy as both teams headed for the locker room.
As the second half opened, the Wolverines went for the jugular. After Woodson halted a Buckeye drive by intercepting a Stanley Jackson pass in the Michigan end zone to open the second half, the Wolverine defense once again flexed its muscles two series later. Andre Weathers picked off a Jackson pass at the Ohio 44, and raced untouched into the end zone to give the Blue a seemingly insurmountable 20-0 lead.
However, the Buckeyes did not roll over. Michigan mistakes and turnovers allowed them to score two quick touchdowns and put us Wolverine fans into a near cardiac arrest with almost a quarter to play. Buckeye quarterback Joe Germaine first hooked up with David Boston for a 56-yard TD pass to close the score to 20-7, and a two yard run by Pepe Pearson after a Griese fumble at his own ten made it 20-14 with 13 minutes left in the game.
But the Buckeye rally wasn't nearly enough. With the best defense in the country on the field, the Wolverines bottled up the Buckeye offense on three straight possessions to close out the game, close out a perfect 11-0 season, and clinch a trip to Pasadena.
On the first day of the new year, the Wolverines would capture their first national championship in 49 years with a 21-16 Rose Bowl win over Washington State. In the locker room at Pasadena, Coach Lloyd Carr addressed his team and summed up Michigan's storybook season in just few simple sentences.
'You have left a wonderful legacy for every team that ever follows you,' Carr proclaimed. 'You just won...the national championship!'
Somewhere, high up in the heavens, the legendary Fielding Yost could only smile and nod his head in agreement. Nearly a century had passed since Yost had directed the Wolverines to their first national championship in 1901. Ninety-six years later, Michigan was Champion of the West once again."
Go Blue! Beat the Buckeyes!!!
And how can you tell when you're at a Buckeye wedding? Well...
Gee, people from Ohio just loving spelling four-letter words. Zing!
* Brutus Buckeye: One of the 10 lamest mascots in college football?
* Reader Erik sent us the following...
My housemates and I want to put up a banner on our house of the popular corner of Hill and Oakland. We are looking to put something to poke fun at OSU. Got any good ideas? See if the readers can come up with anything?
I told him if he put MZone on the banner somewhere, we'd help and put it up next week. So, any ideas?
* First the Muppets do the Michigan Marching Band standard TEMPTATION, now HAWAIIAN WAR CHANT? What next, THE VICTORS?
* MZone reader and Buckeye (yes, you can be both) sends us the clip linked here showing why it sucks to be "Michigan Ave." in Columbus for the week of The Game.
* And deep down, maybe Woody didn't hate Michigan after all...
Why do I have the sense Woody would have rather we had a picture of him naked in a tutu up on our site than holding a Michigan football the day before The Game?
I love the site, you always keep me laughing. Anyways, my Dad
inadvertantly came across a Michigan State radio show in Grand Rapids
tonight where they were interviewing Javon Ringer. On why he went to
Michigan State, "Well, I took my visit and they guys were great. They
treated my like a little brother." My Dad said he waited for laughter
or some acknowledgment that it was a joke, but really Ringer just went
to State because he was treated like a little brother. I'm going to
try and find the clip but I thought you guys may have some other
sources or ways to find it. It was on AM 1340 in Grand Rapids.
If anybody can get us a clip, we'd sure appreciate it.
But goddamnit, do it!
We've received numerous emails about a stadium-wide student-organized Maize Out Saturday. While I have to say a) I hate the term "Maize Out" since it makes no sense (as opposed to Penn State's "White Out" or Iowa's "Black Out and b) nobody over the age of 10 owns any yellow outer-wear, please do your best to comply. But most of all...
MAKE SOME FUCKING NOISE! Shove the keys up the ass of the person next to you if they pull them out!
Too harsh? Blow me. It's Michigan-Ohio State. Don't like it? Stay home. I don't want you there. Want to bitch in the comments section? Suck it. Start your own fucking blog and give a different opinion. I'll say it again: IT'S MICHIGAN-OHIO STATE!
And being loud doesn't mean being a dick, it simply means cheering your ass off. Treat our Ohio State visitors with respect inside and outside the stadium. I urge anybody who sees any ass behavior by our fans to call them on it. I will. But for the love of Schembechler, during the game, let them hear you, not your fucking house keys! And not just on 3rd and short in the 4th quarter. ALL DAMN GAME!
There is also a pep rally in the Diag scheduled for 6:30 Friday. Be there. Take pictures and...
Get it. Because Michigan starts with "M." Doh!
You know what that means, right? Thousands of Tosu fans are wandering around town this week shouting "Fuck Ichigan!" at each other.
Thursday, November 15, 2007
Dear Benny and Yost,
I love the blog. I am a two-time alumnus of the university of Michigan and I'm back in college to get my teaching license. Because of geographical and financial necessities, I am unfortunately attending TOSU.
I know I'm not the only Michigan alumnus there, but, as far as I can tell, I may be the only one who regularly wears Michigan shirts around campus. I was booed once, some guys told me to go home, some dude asked me if I was on the wrong bus, and I witnessed one frat hole whispering to his buddy, "Are you serious?" upon seeing me. Oh, how I love pissing off the Buckeyes. But most people have fun with it. The most common comment I get is, "You're a brave man."
I just thought I'd let you guys know that there is someone in the trenches facing the Buckeye menace on a daily basis, and not fearing to show his Maize and Blue pride. I've attached a picture of me in front of the Horseshoe on a typical day on campus.
Godspeed, W-i-B. Godspeed.
P.S. Hey, Surrounded in Columbus, you guys really should start a buddy system down there for safety.
1989...Bo's Final Ride...
The year was 1989. Where were you? The original George Bush was in his first year as your President. The Berlin Wall had crumbled a mere 18 days earlier, just as Bush's predecessor Ronald Reagan had hoped when demanding that Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev "tear down this wall!" 29 months earlier in a speech in West Berlin while at home, the South Carolina coast was trying to recover from $10 billion in damages caused by Hurricane Hugo in September. Bobby McFerrin was winning a Grammy for telling people to "Don't Worry, Be Happy," and "Driving Miss Daisy" was claiming an Oscar for Best Picture. Matt Stout was a senior in a suburban Columbus high school less than a year away from enrolling as a student-athlete at the University of Michigan, and living his dream of becoming a Michigan Man. And the Wolverines were about to send a legend off with one final victory in The Game.
Michigan entered The Game with a 9-1 record and ranked 3rd in the nation under the direction of 21-year coaching legend Bo Schembechler. The Wolverines had stumbled to defending national champion and number one ranked Notre Dame 24-19 in a battle of No. 1 vs. No. 2 to open the season but had rebounded with nine consecutive victories to head into The Game. Senior option quarterback Michael Taylor and the bruising rushing duo of Jarrod Bunch and Leroy Hoard led a punishing Michigan running game on offense while All-American defensive back Tripp Welborne anchored the steady Michigan defense. Unbeaten in the conference, a Michigan victory over Ohio would allow the Wolverines to win back-to-back outright Big Ten titles for the first time since the 1947-48 national championship teams of Fritz Crisler and Bennie Oosterbaan. The win would also send the Boys in Blue back to the Rose Bowl for the third time in four years.
Ohio State came to Ann Arbor with an 8-2 mark and ranked 20th in the country. In just his second year in Columbus, Ohio coach John Cooper had rebounded from a disappointing 4-6-1 rookie campaign to lead his team into the thick of the Big Ten championship race in late November. Early season stumbles against Southern Cal and Illinois had been followed with six consecutive victories as the Buckeyes made a run at a 26th Big Ten title. Veteran quarterback Greg Frey and tailback Carlos Snow were stand-out performers on the offensive side of the ball while senior Derek Isaman and freshman sensation Alonzo Spellman paced an improving defense. An Ohio victory would earn the Buckeyes a share of the Big Ten title, and keep the Wolverines from returning to Pasadena.
Despite Ohio’s six game winning streak heading into The Game, Vegas odd makers tagged the Buckeyes as heavy 14-point underdogs to the Wolverines when the two bitter rivals met for the 86th time on the turf at Michigan Stadium.
For the first 30 minutes of The Game, Michigan proved worthy of their lofty ranking and heavy favorite’s role, running up 272 yards of total offense and a comfortable 14-3 halftime lead. The Wolverines struck gold for the first time midway through the opening stanza when Hoard scored from the Ohio one while back-up tailback Allen Jefferson added a second scoring jaunt from two yards out in the second quarter. Only a 20-yard field goal from Pat O’Morrow late in the half and two Michigan fumbles deep in Ohio territory had kept the first half from being a complete disaster for the Buckeyes.
As the two teams came out of the locker room after the intermission, Ohio was in desperate need of a shift in momentum, and their big break came on just the second play of the second half. Ohio’s Vinnie Clark picked off a Taylor pass, and the Buckeye offense went on the move before stalling at the Michigan 7. From there, O’Morrow booted a field goal from 22 yards out to close the score to 14-6.
Michigan took the football back on the ensuing kick-off and went nowhere against the suddenly stout Ohio defense. And when Wolverine punter Chris Stapleton shanked a 14-yard punt from his own 26, Ohio was quickly back in business at the Michigan 40. Nine plays later, Buckeye fullback Scottie Graham plunged in from the Michigan three and Ohio had closed the deficit to just two points. A missed two-point conversion attempt kept the score locked at 14-12 as The Game entered the fourth and final stanza.
As the final quarter began, the Michigan offense finally came off of life support. Rose Bowl MVP Hoard ripped off a 40-yard run to key a Michigan drive, and with a little more than 12 minutes remaining in The Game, Taylor hit Bunch for a five-yard scoring pass. The touchdown and subsequent point-after pushed the Michigan lead back to 21-12.
But Ohio responded, unwilling to bow to the heavily favored Wolverines in front of 106,137 at The Big House. The Buckeyes went 80 yards in just eight plays, concluding with a second touchdown run by Graham, this time from four yards out. Welborne blocked O’Morrow’s point-after but the Buckeyes had pulled the score back to 21-18, and once again breathed hope into the Ohio sideline.
After Michigan punted with less than five and one-half minutes remaining, Ohio took the pigskin back, intent on pulling the upset. But with less than three minutes remaining, Wolverine defensive back Todd Plate picked off a Frey pass at the Michigan 41 to kill Ohio’s final drive and the Buckeyes’ final hopes for earning a share of the conference crown.
The punishing Michigan running game worked the clock for the final two and one-half minutes, with Bunch ripping off a 23-yard touchdown to seal a 28-18 Michigan victory and second consecutive trip to Pasadena.
Prior to New Year’s Day, the legendary Schembechler announced that the 1990 Rose Bowl would be his final game on the sidelines after 21 seasons as Michigan’s Field General. And while Michigan would fall to Southern Cal 17-10 in the New Year’s Day Classic, Schembechler’s accomplishments at Michigan – 194 victories, 13 Big Ten Championships, and 10 Rose Bowl appearances – would be unparalleled.
But just as importantly, Schembechler would leave a legacy on the University of Michigan that survives to this day and will continue to survive through the test of time. From Schembechler Hall on South State Street to The Big House at the corner of Stadium and Main, Bo’s memory reminds us all that only “Those Who Stay Will Be Champions,” and that no man is more important than the team, “The Team, The Team, The Team.”
Glenn E. “Bo” Schembechler – April 1, 1929 – November 17, 2006
A LEADER AND BEST * A MICHIGAN MAN
Coming tomorrow...1997...Carr’s Crew Conquers Everest...
Leave us your best caption in the comments section. Here's what we came up with:
"Are those Buckeyes in your pocket..."
Wednesday, November 14, 2007
Now it's one thing for Tosu fans to react like, well, Tosu fans. But listen closely as the The Best Damn Band Dressed Like the Salvation Army Guy Outside the Mall at Christmas (TBDBDLTSAGOTMAC) chimes in...
1991...Howard's Heisman Pose Haunts the Buckeyes...
The year was 1991. Where were you? George Bush was your President and riding an approval rating in excess of 80 percent after watching his military juggernaut topple Iraq in the first Gulf War the previous spring. How quickly things can change when you are the leader of the free world. Clarence Thomas was just one month into his term as a Supreme Court Justice after surviving, in his words, a "high-tech lynching" during the confirmation process, while Magic Johnson had shocked the nation just days earlier by announcing that he was HIV positive. Quincy Jones was taking home a Grammy for Album of the Year with "Back on the Block" while "Silence of the Lambs" was cleaning up at the Academy Awards with five Oscars. Matt Stout was redshirt freshman student-athlete at the University of Michigan but in Columbus wrestling in the Ohio Open, and turning in a less than sub par performance at 118 pounds for the Wrestling Wolverines. And the Wolverines were about to rout the Buckeyes while a star player delivered a signature moment in The Game.
Michigan entered the game with a 9-1 record and ranked 4th in the nation. Led by 2nd year coach Gary Moeller, the Wolverines had begun the season ranked 2nd in the nation, and remained in the top five in the national polls all year with only a loss to top-ranked Florida State blemishing their record. The Wolverines featured a potent offense that had scored more than 40 points in half of their games, and had raced through the Big Ten slate without being tested. The Wolverine offensive juggernaut was paced by the Cleveland St. Joseph High School, Ohio connection of quarterback Elvis Grbac to wide-out Desmond Howard, and a solid running game led by Ohio native Ricky Powers. On defense, Butkus Award winner Erick Anderson led the Maize and Blue charges.
Ohio State came to Ann Arbor with an 8-2 mark and ranked 17th in the country. The Buckeyes were led by 4th year coach John Cooper who was still seeking his first win over "the team up North" in his young tenure in Columbus. Ohio had stumbled to Wisconsin and Iowa in Big Ten play but boasted a solid defense behind All American linebacker Steve Tovar and Alonzo Spellman. Quarterback Kent Graham and tailback Carlos Snow paced the Ohio offense as the Buckeyes hoped to prevent the first four-game Michigan winning streak in the series since 1945-48 when Fritz Crisler had roamed the sidelines as Michigan's field general.
As the two rivals teed it up for the 88th edition of The Game, a third outright Big Ten title in four years was on the line for Michigan while pride was the motivation for the Buckeyes, whose two losses in Big Ten play had knocked them out of the championship race.
Michigan took the opening kick-off and marched straight down the field against the Buckeye defense, dominating the line of scrimmage and using a fake field goal attempt to set up a one-yard touchdown run by fullback Bernie Leggett. Leggett's score gave the Wolverines a 7-0 lead they would never relinquish.
Ohio closed the score to 7-3 on a 50-yard field goal by Tim Williams but Michigan capitalized on two Buckeye turnovers in the second quarter to set up a one-yard scoring run by Jesse Johnson and a 38-yard field goal by J.D. Carlson. Midway through the second quarter, the Wolverines had seized complete control of The Game.
But one final first half blow was still waiting to be delivered by the Boys in Blue. With Michigan out in front 17-3 and the first half winding down, Howard settled in at his own 10-yard line and prepared to field an Ohio punt on fourth down. The Heisman Trophy candidate also prepared to deliver history.
After backpedaling to his own seven, Howard snagged the Buckeye punt, stepped sharply to the right, and raced down the eastern sideline for a Michigan record 93-yard punt return touchdown. As Howard crossed the goal line with one finger extended in the air, ABC Sports broadcaster Keith Jackson bellowed out a simple message that still remains among the most famous two-worded calls of his 54-year career.
"Hellooooo Heisman!” proclaimed Jackson in his legendary folksy drawl.
If almost on cue from Jackson above, Howard responded. With the pigskin tucked under his right arm, the Wolverine held out his left arm, lifted his left leg, and struck the Heisman Trophy pose. Seventeen years later, Howard's Heisman pose stands as one of the most iconic images in the modern media ambush era of college football. And it clearly represents one of the signature moments in the 104 years of The Game.
Howard's spectacular touchdown return gave Michigan a commanding 24-3 at the half. It also confirmed what Howard, Jackson, and the Michigan Stadium crowd of 106,138 already knew - that the trophy awarded annually to the nation's best collegiate football player was all but wrapped for the young man nicknamed "Magic."
Freshman Tyrone Wheatley added a five-yard touchdown run in the second half to close out the scoring and a 31-3 Michigan victory. The 28-point Michigan rout marked the Wolverines' most lopsided victory in The Game since a 58-6 Michigan walloping in 1946.
Two weeks later, Howard accepted The Heisman Trophy as the nation's best player, winning by the second largest margin of victory in the 56-year history of the award and with a Heisman record 640 first place votes. On the year, Howard would become the first wide receiver in Big Ten history to lead the conference in scoring (90 points), and set or tie five NCAA records and 12 single-season Michigan records, including most points scored (138) and touchdowns (23).
Michigan would travel to Pasadena on January 1st of the New Year where they would fall to national champion Washington 34-13 in the Rose Bowl. The 1991 Wolverines finished 6th in the final national polls.
Coming tomorrow...1989…Bo’s Final Ride...
Tuesday, November 13, 2007
1971…Taylor’s Touchdown Trumps Woody’s Rampage…
The year was 1971. Where were you? Richard Nixon was in his first term as President and his staff was busy figuring out how to guarantee that he would be re-elected for a second term. At any cost. U.S. troops were beginning to head home from the Vietnam War as the single greatest military disaster in American history was finally on the downside. Simon and Garfunkle were winning a Grammy for “Bridge Over Troubled Water” while John Lennon was topping the charts with “Imagine.” “Patton” was winning seven Oscars at the Academy Awards including Best Picture, Best Actor, and Best Director. Matt Stout was only two months old but already tossing a mini Ohio State football out of his crib as he muttered something that sounded a lot like “Go Blue!” Not surprisingly, his rapid Buckeye fan parents were already looking into psychological counseling. And the Wolverines were about to escape with a victory on Canham’s Carpet at Michigan Stadium.
Michigan entered the game unbeaten at 10-0 and ranked 3rd in the nation. The Wolverines had raced through the first ten games of the season under third year coach Glenn “Bo” Schembechler, routing seven of their opponents by 28 points or more. A punishing running game, lead by the legs of All-American tailback Billy Taylor and the blocking of All-American guard Reggie McKenzie, paced the Michigan offensive attack. On defense, All-Americas Mike Taylor and Thom Darden led a unit that had yielded more than seven points in only two games all season.
Ohio State came to Ann Arbor ranked 9th in the country and with a 6-3 mark under coach Wayne Woodrow Hayes, who was starting his third decade at the helm in Columbus. After the graduation of the “Super Sophs” class that had won the 1968 national championship and three Big Ten titles, the Buckeyes had struggled with new players at several key positions on both sides of the ball, especially on offense. Ohio had managed just 10 points in conference losses to Michigan St. and Northwestern while also falling to non-conference foe Colorado in the second game of the season.
With a 7-0 mark in the conference, Michigan had wrapped up the outright Big Ten Championship and a trip to the Rose Bowl. Still, Hayes’ troops smelled upset as they took to the turf on a cold and rainy day at Michigan Stadium. Through 57 minutes, it looked like Ohio might make that upset reality in the 68th edition of The Game.
The first half saw Michigan put the only points on the scoreboard with a 28-yard field goal by Dana Coin, as the Wolverines took a 3-0 lead into the dressing room for the intermission.
Midway through the third quarter, the momentum shifted to Ohio as Buckeye Tom Campana stunned the Wolverines with an 85-yard punt return for a touchdown. The touchdown, which stood as the longest punt return touchdown in The Game until 1991, gave Ohio a 7-3 advantage and silenced a shell-shocked Michigan Stadium crowd.
Ohio took the 7-3 advantage into the fourth quarter, and with Michigan starting quarterback Tom Slade on the bench with an injury, it appeared that the Campana touchdown might be enough to ruin Michigan’s hope for a perfect season.
But with just over seven minutes remaining in The Game, Michigan took the ball at their own 28-yard line and began a methodic march down the field. Multiple runs by Taylor, a surprising 22-yard pass play from back-up quarterback Larry Cipa to Bo Rather, and a key 4th and 1 conversion by back-up fullback Fritz Seyferth put the pigskin at the Ohio 21.
Two and one-half minutes remained as Michigan faced 1st and 10 with their perfect season hanging in the balance. The call was to the All-America Taylor. The result was a 21-yard touchdown and pure bedlam in The Big House. Legendary Michigan Broadcaster Bob Ufer called it like this…
“Cipa rolls out to the right. Pitches off to Taylor. Taylor’s to the 20, down to the 15, 10, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1, touchdown Billy Taylor! Touchdown Billy Taylor! Billy Taylor scored the touchdown...from 21 yards out! The crowd goes berserk!”
With less than two minutes to play, Ohio took the football after the Michigan touchdown with hopes of still pulling the upset. But the Buckeye rally was short-lived. Darden reached over Ohio’s Dick Wakefield to intercept a Don Lamka pass at the Michigan 32, and seal the Wolverine victory. The interception was a spectacular play in the eyes of those on the Michigan sideline. To Woody Hayes, it was the worst non-pass interference call college football had ever seen.
Hayes stormed the field, screaming at officials like a little kid robbed of his candy at a candy store. A 15-yard unsportsmanlike conduct penalty against Ohio followed.
Hayes wasn’t finished though. After the Buckeyes picked up another unsportsmanlike conduct penalty two plays later for unnecessary roughness, Hayes stormed the field once again. This time, Hayes grabbed the down marker and threw it like a javelin on to the Michigan Stadium turf. He then grabbed the first down marker and tore it into pieces. Ohio’s short-tempered Field General had completely lost it.
Despite Hayes’ antics, The Game was over. Final score – Michigan 10, Ohio State 7.
Michigan would take their 11-0 record to Pasadena where they would tackle Stanford on New Year’s Day in a rematch of the first Rose Bowl in 1901 won by Michigan 49-0. The Wolverines would fall 13-12 on a last second field goal to finish the season with an 11-1 mark. The 1971 Wolverines would be ranked 6th in the final polls.
Coming tomorrow…1977…Leach & Co. Lock Out the Buckeyes…
1977…Leach & Co. Lock Out the Buckeyes…
The year was 1977. Where were you? Jimmy Carter was your President after knocking Michigan man Gerald Ford out of the Oval Office the previous November. Stevie Wonder was winning a Grammy for “Songs in the Key of Life” while Jimmy Buffet’s epic hit “Margaritaville” was debuting off the album “Changes in Attitudes, Changes in Attitudes.” Star Wars was demolishing records at the box office, and taking home six Oscars at the 50th Academy Awards. Matt Stout was only six years old but Michigan Athletic Director Don Canham was already telling people about the young Michigan fan in Columbus, Ohio who was going to restore order in the Big Ten Universe and bring the balance of power back to Michigan. And the Wolverines and Buckeyes were about to stage another epic battle in The Big House.
Michigan entered The Game with a 9-1 mark and ranked 5th in the nation. The Wolverines had spent four of the first seven weeks of the season ranked number one in the country before getting shut-out at Minnesota 16-0 in the seventh week of the season. Still, behind the stellar quarterback play of junior Rick Leach and the three-headed rushing tandem of Russell Davis, Harlan Huckleby, and Roosevelt Smith, the Boys in Blue had responded with three convincing victories to head into The Game. With a defense that was ranked 4th in the nation against scoring, the Wolverines looked to win two straight against the Buckeyes for the first time since the 1950 and 1951 seasons.
Ohio State came to Ann Arbor with an identical 9-1 record and ranked 4th in the nation. The Buckeyes had lost a heartbreaking 29-28 thriller to Oklahoma in the third game of the season but had run the table in Big Ten action, clinching at least a share of the Big Ten title as the entered The Game. Woody Hayes’ troops were lead by mobile quarterback Rod Gerald, and 1,000 yard rushers Ron Springs and Jeff Logan on the offensive side of the ball. On defense, All-Americans Aaron Brown, Tom Cousineau, and Ray Griffin anchored a unit that led the nation in scoring defense.
With a Michigan Stadium record crowd of 106,024 on hand, the two rivals set foot on the gridiron with the Big Ten title and a trip to the Rose Bowl to be decided amongst them for the sixth consecutive year.
Ohio took the opening kickoff and hammered the football right down the field against the Wolverine defense before the drive stalled at the Michigan 12. Buckeye place kicker Vlade Janakievski kicked a 29-yard field, and Ohio took the early 3-0 lead.
After Janakievski missed another field goal from 42 yards out to kill an Ohio drive, Michigan finally responded in the second quarter when Leach orchestrated a 46-yard drive that commenced with a one-yard touchdown run by Smith. The Wolverines took this 7-3 lead to the half, and stood just 30 minutes away from earning a second straight trip to Pasadena for the first time ever.
As the second half opened, Michigan forced the first key turnover of The Game on Ohio’s initial possession of the third quarter. Springs fumbled away the football at the Ohio 20, and four plays later, Leach found paydirt from the Ohio three. Leach’s score pushed the Michigan advantage to 14-3.
Ohio took the ensuing kickoff and immediately moved down the field to the Michigan 11. But from there, the Michigan defense flexed their muscles. Three plays and negative 16 yards later, Ohio was forced to settle for a 44-yard field goal by Janakievski to close the score to 14-6.
Three more times in the second half, Ohio would move the football inside the Michigan 25. Each time, the Michigan defense stood tall and slammed the door on the Buckeye offense. Janakievski missed a field goal from 39-yards out, Ohio failed on 4th and 1 at the Michigan 10, and Gerald fumbled away Ohio’s last chance in the closing minutes at the Blue 8.
On the day, Ohio would rack up 352 yards to Michigan’s 196 total yards. The Buckeyes put 23 first downs on the board while Michigan managed just 10, and in six trips inside the Michigan 25-yard line, Ohio managed only two field goals. In addition, the Buckeyes had lost the only statistical battle that mattered – the score. Michigan 14, Ohio 6, was the final.
The victory would send Michigan to Pasadena on New Year’s Day where the Wolverines would fall to Washington 27-20. The 10-2 Wolverines would complete the 1977 season ranked 9th in the final polls.
Coming tomorrow...1991...Howard's Heisman Pose Haunts the Buckeyes...