Friday, November 25, 2011

Who Are You and Why Do We Care?: THE Ohio State Buckeyes


Is there a rivalry here?
Its only the greatest rivalry in sports. When these two colleges face off it is called "The Game," and it has been the regular season finale all but three times since 1935. Michigan and OSU have met 107 times. Michigan leads to series 57-44-6. The Big Ten Championship has been decided by The Game 22 times. 

The numbers do not say the whole story in this rivalry. Michigan and Ohio are natural rivals akin to cats and dogs. Starting in 1934, any time Ohio State beats Michigan every OSU player receives a gold pants pendant. In 1950, Ohio State had the option to cancel the game against Michigan due to weather, but they refused. Even though Michigan didn't complete a pass or a first down, they blocked two punts (one for a touchdown and one for a safety), and Michigan won the Snow Bowl 9-3. The "Snow Bowl" lead to Woody Hayes being hired as Ohio State's head coach. In 1968, Ohio State was winning 50-14 late in the fourth quarter, and they decided to go for a two-point conversion. Woody Hayes supposedly said that he went for two points "Because [he] couldn't go for three."Bump Elliott resigned after the game, and Bo Schembechler was hired. Riding a 22 game winning streak, Ohio State came into Ann Arbor to play against Bo's first Michigan team. The Wolverines won 24-12. During this decade, Woody Hayes coined phrases such as "That team up north" so he would not have to say Michigan. Once Hayes retired, the rivalry became less about the coaches feud, and more about play on the field. Both teams have had long win streaks back and forth including the current seven* game win streak for OSU. 

When did we see them last?
The 2010 game is a difficult one even to think about, so I'll keep this short. Terrelle Pryor threw for 220 yards, ran for 49, and scored 2 touchdowns. Dan Herron ran for 175 yards on 22 carries for a touchdown. On the Michigan side, both Denard and Tate struggled to throw the ball as they combined to throw 16/33 for 169 yards and an interception. Denard did reach 105 yards on the ground, but it was not nearly enough. Ohio State won 37-3. 

When did we last win?
To find the last Michigan win, we have to go all the way back to 2003, John Navarre's senior year. In the 100th game between Michigan and Ohio State, Navarre, Chris Perry, and Braylon Edwards lead Michigan to a 35-21 victory. Navarre threw for 278 yards and 2 touchdown. Braylon was on the receiving end of both touchdowns and 130 of those yards. Chris Perry had quite a game on the ground, running 31 times for 154 yards and two touchdowns. Steve Breaston also scored a rushing touchdown as he took the snap with Navarre lined up at wide receiver. Craig Krenzel and Scott McMullen had good days throwing to Michael Jenkins and Santonio Holmes, but after going down 21-0 in the first half, OSU was in a hole to big to crawl out of. 

What do they look like?
When I typed "Ohio State Uniforms" into Google, I saw this: 
Of the twenty pictures on that page, only four show Ohio State's "classic" uniforms. Ohio State's colors are Scarlet and Grey.  Their home uniform is scarlet with grey pants and their away uniform is white with grey pants. Their helmet is grey with a red stripe. A very boring helmet early in the year, but slightly more exciting at the end. That is unless Nike decided to mess with their uniforms that week. The last two times Michigan has faced OSU, we have seen some variations with Nike's Pro Combat Uniforms. Last year, they wore this at home, and the year before they wore this in the Big House. Luckily, this year, Nike decided to have Ohio State wear their new atrocities against Wisconsin

Have they won any Big Ten or National Championships?
Ohio State has seven recognized National Championships. Five of the championships came between 1954 and 1970 under Woody Hayes. They won most recently in 2002 under Jim Tressel in a controversial victory over Miami (YTM). They also have won 34 Big Ten Championships, including all of the last six years (Although last year's was vacated). 

Have they had good coaches? Do they have a good coach now? How close are we to having to play Urban Meyer once a year?
Since I discussed Hayes earlier, I'll focus on the 2000s here. Jim Tressel was hired as head coach by Ohio State in 2001. Previously he worked at Miami (NTM), Syracuse, and Ohio State as an offensive position coach. From 1986-2000 he was the head coach at Youngstown State. As coach for the Youngstown State Penguins, Tressel had a 135-57-2 record. He was then hired by Ohio State after John Cooper was fired. At Ohio State he went 94-22 including six conference championships and one National Championship. Amongst violations (which I will not be getting into now) Tressel resigned as head coach on May 30, 2011. Ohio State needed a new coach quickly, so they hired Co-Defensive Coordinator and Linebackers Coach, Luke Fickell. Fickell is almost definitely not Ohio State's Coach of the future. According to ESPN, Urban Meyer will be the head coach of Ohio State last year. There are even claims of a 7-year $40 Million contract. I wouldn't be surprised if this is true and Urban is just tempering the claims until after the game. 

Where do they play?
The Buckeyes play at Ohio Stadium in Columbus, Ohio. It has a capacity of 102,329, which makes it the fourth largest football stadium in the country. The Horseshoe was built in 1921, and it hosted its first game on October 7, 1922. 

Do they really have the "Best Damn Band in the Land"?
The Ohio State Marching Band was created in 1878 as a way to provide music for army cadets in military training. The OSU Marching Band is the only all brass and percussion marching band in the country. The band's largest tradition is the Script Ohio, which was actually first performed by Michigan in 1932. A fourth or fifth year sousaphone player gets the privilege of dotting the i, then bowing

Do they have a goofy mascot?
People from the state of Ohio are called Buckeyes. This is related to the Ohio State tree, the Buckeye. Brutus the Buckeye first appeared in 1965 as a papier-mache chocolate constructed by students. Its gotten slightly upgraded over the years, and is now in its most human form. Videos of Brutus: 
  • Getting Beat Up by Rufus the Bobcat: 
  • Not Handling Richard Simmons Workout Routine: 

For the first time since 2006, Michigan has a real chance to win this game, and end the seven year losing streak. Braxton Miller seems to hate having a successful offense even more than Denard does. Miller has not thrown the ball more than 18 times in a game yet this season. Against Miami he went 2/4 for 22 yards and against Illinois he went 1/4 for 17 (This was OSUs only complete pass of a game that they WON!!!). Ohio State does have a very good defense, and they did beat Wisconsin, yet I cannot imagine a loss in this game for Michigan. Prediction based on everything but football: Michigan 24 - Ohio State 10. 

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