The game on Saturday will be broadcast on ESPN2 with former Wolverine (and National Champion) Brian Griese providing the color commentary.
History: Originally known as Bowling Green State Normal School, it was established to meet demands for the training of teachers. The institution was granted a charter in 1910 by the State of Ohio as part of the Lowry Bill, which also established Kent State University. At the time the state's only schools of education (OhioU, Miami, and OSU) were located the southern Ohio while the majority of the growth, population, and need for teachers were in northern Ohio.
The state was so desperate for teachers, that tuition was free; students only paid for materials. Classes began in 1914, enrolling 304 students, from the looks of the early photos, all of them were women. The school graduated 35 certified teachers in 1915, the same year that the campus’ first two buildings opened their doors.
This year marks the 100th year of Bowling Green State University, so they have an interesting historical timeline on the school web site right now. Here are a couple of fun ones:
1920 - A student newspaper, The BeeGee News, is printed for the first time.
1933 - A plan by members of the state legislature to turn the college into a mental institution is defeated.
1935 - Every time BGSU plays the University of Toledo, fighting breaks out in the stands. Competition between the two schools is suspended until 1947.
1947 - After a 22-year hiatus caused by violence, athletic competition resumes between Bowling Green and Toledo.
1951 - Former trailer camp for married vets turns into site for new chemistry building.
1951 - Women students are banned from riding in automobiles.
1975 - BGSU is listed in the Guinness Book of World Records when 3,376 students join hands to form the longest snake dance ever.
Location: Bowling Green, Ohio is 20 miles south of Toledo and serves as the county seat of Wood County. It sits directly in the middle of an area called The Great Black Swamp, which was the last area of Ohio to be
The first time a significant group of white men came to disturb the quiet forest where the school now stands was in June of 1812, when General William Hull and his army passed by. They were marching from Dayton to Detroit. Hull is famous because he invaded Canada and then surrendered Fort Detroit to an outnumbered enemy. He is the only General Officer in the history of the United States to be sentenced to death via court martial. He was reprieved by President James Madison because of his status as a revolutionary hero and returned to his native New England.
After the war (1817), the Indians signed treaty at the Foot of the Maumee Rapids allowing the US to buy the land at a price slightly less than four cents an acre.
In the late 19th century, Bowling Green experienced an oil boom. The wealth generated by that time can still be seen in the downtown store fronts and along Wooster Street where many of the oldest and largest homes were built.
Today BG is a typical American town of about 30,000 people. In addition to an annual art and county fairs, Bowling Green has hosted the National Tractor Pulling Championships since 1967. This annual event, one of the largest in the nation, draws an estimated 60,000 people.
Academics: BGSU offers over 200 undergraduate programs, as well as various master's and doctoral degrees. Bowling Green ranks #170 in the USNWR National University Rankings, tied with Biola, George Fox, Pace, South Carolina State, and Utah State. Based on these same rankings, within the state of Ohio, it is the 7th best school.
The most popular major at BGSU continues to be education, in 2009 6% of the graduates majored in kindergarten/preschool education and teaching.
Alumni: Famous BGSU alumni include Olympic gold medal figure skater Scott Hamilton, comedian and Emmy Award winner Tim Conway and Academy award winner Eva Marie Saint. Shantanu Narayen is the president and CEO of Adobe Systems Inc.
From the world of sports, they claim Nate Thurmond Basketball Hall of Famer, NHL All Star Rob Blake, Baseball pitcher Orel Hershiser, and former Michigan assistant and West Virginia head coach Don Nehlen. Nehlen worked for Bo and was the coach at WVU before Rich Rodriguez took over that program.
No US Presidents or astronauts.
Colors, Helmets, Mascot, and Fight Song: Orange and brown have been the school colors since the first year of classes. Legend has it that an industrial arts faculty member named Leon Winslow got the idea from observing a brown and orange women’s hat on a bus to nearby Toledo. Former Cleveland Browns’ head coach Paul Brown must have also liked it. Legend has it following a trip to BGSU he decided to use the colors for his pro football team.
BG has a long history of orange helmets. The current design features a boring interlocking BG. Prior to that they had some pretty cool falcon designs. My favorite is the version they wore in the 1960’s with the cloud and Falcon. Each cloud is unique, as it appears they applied white spray paint to each helmet over a falcon template. The white areas had "blurry edges" and varied in size and shape considerably from one helmet to the next, but all appeared to be centered above the helmets' ear hole regions.For over 82 years they have called themselves the Falcons. Before 1927, BG teams were called the Normals or Teachers. Then a news editor named Ivan Lake (class of 1923) suggested the nickname after reading an article on falconry. Lake liked the name change because it fit headline space and because falcons were “the most powerful bird for their size and often attacked birds two or three times their size.”
Currently, Frieda and Freddie Falcon are the sideline official mascots. The Freddie Falcon tradition began in 1950 while Frieda Falcon was added in 1979. Student tryouts are held each spring, and the winners remain anonymous to the student body until each is “beheaded” at the last home basketball and hockey game.
The official BGSU Fight song is called "Forward Falcons".
Forward Falcons, Forward Falcons
Fight for victory,
Show your spirit, make them fear it
Fight for ‘ol Bee Gee.
Forward Falcons, Forward Falcons
Make the contest keen,
Shout out the fame of our mighty name
And win for Bowling Green!
Bowling Green also has unofficial fight song the call “Ay Ziggy Zoomba”. Gil Fox, an Air Force bombadier brought a loose translation of a Zulu war chant back with him following WWII. The Falcon football team traditionally sings “Ay Ziggy Zoomba” after each victory.
Ay Ziggy Zoomba Zoomba Zoomba
Ay Ziggy Zoomba Zoomba Ze
Ay Ziggy Zoomba Zoomba Zoomba
Ay Ziggy Zoomba Zoomba Zi
Roll along you BG warriors
Roll along and win for BGSU
Football: They first started playing football at Bowling Green in 1919. Unfortunately there were only 30 male students at Bowling Green Normal School at the time, meaning more than half of them (19) had to suit up for the first Falcon football team. That team went 0-3 and failed to score a point all season. Not to be discouraged, they did score a touchdown in their first game of the next season and eventually won a game.
The Falcons play in the Mid American Conference. They have won ten conference championships, which is second only to Miami of Ohio’s 13 MAC titles. Times have been tough recently for the Falcon football team, their last MAC title came in 1992.
They have a big rivalry with the Toledo Rockets. The two schools play in the annual Battle of I-75 called The Peace Pipe. They also play their sister school, Kent State for the Anniversary Award. Bowling Green has been invited to play in 9 bowl games in its history, compiling a record of 4-5 in those games. The first in 1961 was played in the LA Coliseum, it was appropriately called the Mercy Bowl as they lost to Fresno State 36-6.
The only football jersey ever retired at Bowling Green is #29. It was worn by Paul Miles from 1971-73. Miles rushed for 3,239 yards and 25 touchdowns in his career and was a three-time first team All-MAC selection. He was just the third back in NCAA history to rush for 1,000 or more yards in three consecutive seasons.
Current Florida coach Urban Meyer served as head coach for 2 seasons at the start of this decade. He compiled a 17-6 record before leaving for Utah. Don Nehlen was their coach for 9 seasons (1968-76). Neither Meyer or Nehlan ever won a MAC championship for the school.
On October 25, 2003 ESPN’s College Gameday made a stop on campus when #23 BGSU beat #12 Northern Illinois. That visit stands as the only time the crew has broadcast from a MAC stadium.
Famous NFL players are headlined by former Oakland Raiders pro bowl LB Phil Villapiano. The most recent famous player from BG was wideout Freddie Barnes. Last season, Barnes set the NCAA record for most receptions in a single season with 155 catches. He was a finalist for the The Biletnikoff Award, but finished behind Notre Dame’s Golden Tate. Barnes was not selected in the NFL draft.
Former Michigan kicker Bryan Wright is a member of the Bowling Green Falcons headed to Michigan Stadium this weekend. Wright owns three Michigan varsity letters and is enrolled in grad school at BG. Considering the problems we have had in the kicking game so far this year, I am sure Rich Rodriguez would love to him in a winged helmet instead of an orange helmet this Saturday.
Other Sports: There are 18 varsity sports at Bowling Green. They own one NCAA Division I National Championship, the 1984 hockey team defeated Minnesota-Duluth in the longest college hockey championship game in history. The game ended when Geno Cavillini scored at 7:11 in the 4th overtime period.
Two former BGSU hockey players were on the "Miracle on Ice" U.S. hockey team that captured the 1980 Winter Olympics gold medal: Ken Morrow and Mark Wells. Former Sparty Hockey coach Ron Mason was BG’s coach in the 1970’s before moving to East Lansing.
The Falcon basketball team has made a total of 4 NCAA tournament appearances, the last being in 1968. Their women’s basketball team has had a lot more success, winning the MAC tourney 10 times and being invited the NCAA tournament 9 times, including last season.
The Game: After "the scare" of last week, I don't know what to think. In a word, our defense is pathetic. We could fall to any team in the country, including a mediocre MAC team like Bowling Green. These guys put up 44 points last week against Marshall. Since 2001 the Falcons have squared-off with a Big Ten opponent nine times, coming away with four wins (Northwestern twice, Purdue, and Minnesota).
The pressure the defense puts on the offense is pretty heavy, but I assume we will score. Often. The effort to reduce the wear and tear on Denard will continue. He will put up the yards. I expect, like last week, we will see more carries by Michael Shaw and Vincent Smith than the first two games of the season.
We absolutely have to have this win if we expect to go to a bowl game this season. BG has already lost to Troy and Tulsa. They will be playing without their starting QB. With a few third down stops and forced turnovers, this could be the game we were expecting last week.
Bowling Green 17