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Friday, November 26, 2010

Know Your Foe - Ohio State 2010

It seems like just a few days ago we were cheering the our guys on to victory over UConn.  But this weekend, painfully or mercifully, the 2010 football regular season ends. As we have seen the previous two seasons under Rich Rodriguez, Michigan enters the all important Ohio State game as decided underdogs. To be blunt, our traditional old school rivalry has developed into a national joke and, sadly, we are the punch line. It hasn't always been that way. This is the 106th edition of THE GAME and Michigan holds a 57-43-6 historical advantage. The Buckeyes have won the last 6 games and 8 of the last 10. Anyway, here is everything you would ever want to know about the angry mob of poorly behaved mouth-breathers from down south.

History: The institution was founded as THE Ohio Agricultural and Mechanical College in 1870 under the ever popular Morrill Act. Later that year, the first group of twenty-four students, including three women, started attending classes. Like most land-grant schools of the era, an internal battle was fought to determine the mission of the school. On one side was the "narrow gauge" crowd, looking to teach subjects strictly related to agriculture and mechanical functions. On the other side was the "broad gauge" crowd looking for a more diversified curriculum that included liberal arts and sciences. As was the case in almost all of these land grant battles, the “broad gauge” side eventually won. In 1878, in light of an expanded focus, the college permanently changed its name to "THE Ohio State University".

But that wasn't the only battle for OSU, because the school was also under fire from other schools within the state of Ohio. Both Miami University and Ohio University were considered more prestigious institutions at the time -- and they were justifiably upset to not be selected as THE state university and the recipient of government allocations. Former U.S. President Rutherford B. Hayes lobbied hard for monies for TOSU and basically browbeat the state legislature to give the new institution a prominent position above the other schools. In the end, the state legislature settled the issue by declaring Ohio State as the only school that would be allowed to offer doctoral degrees. Miami and OhioU would be limited to Bachelor and Masters Programs.

Location: The school is located in Columbus, Ohio, the capital city positioned in the middle of the state. The city - named after the lost explorer and father of new world genocide - is the largest in the state of Ohio. Many find that surprising because the cities of Cleveland and Cincinnati are more well known and home to major league sports teams.

Nickname: They call themselves the Buckeyes. The Buckeye is the official state tree and a creative term of endearment for the pioneers on the Ohio frontier. Apparently, one of the first acts of the original settlers was to cut one of these stinky trees down and they’ve called themselves buckeyes since. The leaves appear in a five-leaf cluster, and the fruit (nut) resembles the eye of a deer, thus the name: buck-eye. As I have stated in the past, the nut is poisonous and should not be consumed by humans or cattle. Regardless of the danger, Ohio State fans love their buckeyes – and it is a very common sight to see them on game days wearing them around their neck as ridiculous tribal necklaces.

Mascot: In 1965, Ohio State students Ray Bourhis and Sally Huber decided Ohio State needed a “game day” mascot and persuaded the athletic council to study the matter. At the time, mascots were commonly live animals brought into the stadium or arena. A buck deer was contemplated but that idea was eventually rejected given the impossible logistics of keeping a deer calm in a large crowd. Instead, a simple (yet heavy) paper-mach√© buckeye nut was constructed by students and worn over the head and torso, with legs sticking out.

They named him Brutus Buckeye. He made its initial appearance at the 1965 homecoming football game against Minnesota. The heavy costume did not last long and it was soon replaced by a more permanent and durable fiberglass shell. Sometime during the 1970’s they added a baseball cap to the bucknut with limbs. Today Brutus looks like something out of a muppet nightmare, frightens anyone he comes in contact with and angers other mascots into an uncontrollable rage.

Colors/Logo/Helmet: The Ohio State official colors are scarlet and gray. This combination was selected by three students in1878, which happens to be the same year they changed the name to Ohio State. These colors were selected because they were viewed as a “pleasing combination” and they were not being used by any other college. The original suggestion of orange and black was shot down when the students discovered that Princeton also used those colors. This was the closest Ohio State has ever come to being confused with Princeton.

The primary athletic Ohio State logo from 1957 to 1987 was a simple, yet enduring block “O”. Since 1987 they have added a more modern “Ohio State” arched through the middle. They have a ton of secondary logos, the most common combining the classic “O” with a buckeye leaf and nut.
Regardless of what they have worn in the Michigan game for the last two season, the Buckeye's trademark is the distinctive silver bullet helmet design. Until Nike got involved, this classic had been basically unchanged since 1968, making it one of the longest-running continuously-used designs in the NCAA. About the only chance of the scheme is the size of the little buckeye award stickers for class attendance, good behavior and nice plays.

Fight Song: In 1915, OSU student William A. Dougherty, Jr., set out to write the perfect fight song for his school. Dougherty felt that something more exciting than the sad melancholy Carmen Ohio was needed for pep rallies and football games. As a result Fight the Team Across the Field was created. It debuted on October 16th 1915 against Illinois and has not stopped playing since. It is important to note that they had to wait another 4 years before they could play it during a win against Michigan.

This is the main buckeye fight song, although the Buckeye Battle Cry is played after touchdowns. Though the lyrics reference football heroics, the song is used by Buckeye teams of all sports. If you have ever been to an OSU game, their band plays an entire catalogue of toe tapping, yet kidnapped tunes, including the ever popular Hang on Sloopy.

Fight the Team Across the Field

Fight the team across the field
Show them Ohio's here
Set the Earth reverberating
With a mighty cheer
Hit them hard and see how they fall
Never let that team get the ball
Hail! Hail! The gang's all here
So let's win that old conference now!

Academics: The US News & World Report rankings of undergraduate colleges in America currently places Ohio State as 56thin the country. This places them tied with Fordham, Boston U, Purdue, Georgia, Maryland, and SMU. With 39,000 undergraduates, Ohio State prides itself on offering about any academic or extracurricular opportunity a student could dream of: 170 majors, 800+ student organizations; 120 study abroad programs; internship and research opportunities in every college.
Other Sports: Few schools have the athletic tradition of Ohio State. They are one of only three universities (Michigan and Cal-Berkeley being the others) to have won national championships in the big three sports (football, men's basketball, and baseball).

Since the inception of the Athletic Director's Cup, Ohio State has finished in the top 25 each year. Ohio State has won 57 total college national titles; of these 22 are NCAA championships. Their women's teams have never won an NCAA sanctioned title, but they do have trophies in Cheerleading, Synchronized swimming (24 times) and pistol (2). In 2007, Sports Illustrated called Ohio State's athletics as "The Program" due to the unsurpassed facilities, unparalleled amount of men's and women's sport teams, success and the financial support of an impressive fan base.

Exceptional former athletes at Ohio State include Olympic Gold Medalist Jesse Owens, NBA greats John Havlicek and Jerry Lucas, college basketball coaching legend Bobby Knight, and golf superstar Jack Nicklaus (attended, did not graduate).

Football: It is in football that most people recognize and associate Ohio State. They’ve won five recognized national championships, including most recently the 2002 crown. They’ve won 34 Big Ten titles. They have a combined seven Heisman Trophies including the only two-time winner: Archie Griffin in 1974 and 1975.
They have produced many NFL stars and college and pro football Hall of Famers. Famous names you might recognize include Jim Otis, Jack Tatum, Eddie George, Chris Spielman, Orlando Pace, and Cris Carter. Recent NFL first round draft picks include Chris "Beanie" Wells, Malcom Jenkins, Vernon Gholston, Anthony Gonzales, and Teddy Ginn Jr.

Ohio State is most well known for it's former coach, Woody Hayes. Even to this day, he is worshiped as a god in the state despite an irascible personality and recurring episodes of poor sportsmanship, including the final spectacular explosion in which he punched a Clemson player after he had the audacity to intercept a Buckeye pass during the 1978 Gator Bowl. The identity of the school – and much of the state – is wrapped up in how the Buckeyes do on the gridiron. It is who they are and it unites them, much to the humor (and horror) of the rest of the nation.

Famous alums: As you would expect, Ohio State has a long and somewhat impressive list of famous alums. They have many successful CEOs and political leaders. They have produced two Nobel Peace prize winners and have accumulated 10 Pulitzers. Recognizable names include former UofM President Harlan Hatcher, Tuskegee Airmen Squadron Commander Harold Brown, WWII Medal of Honor winner Robert Scott, Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center co-founder Charles Kettering, Goosebumps author RL Stine, Windex inventor Harry Drackett, Shoney’s founder Alex Schoenbaum, ESPN SportsCenter director Vince Doria, Actress Patricia Heaton, annoying comedian Richard Lewis, Rascal Flatts lead singer Gary LeVox, country singer Dwight Yoakim, Baseball Hall of Fame sportscaster Jack Buck, and the co-founder of Wikipedia Larry Sanger. They also provided an education to serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer. By far the most humorous and ironic name I find on this list is Teflon inventor Roy Plunkett. I can only imagine how many times Jim Tressel has gotten on his knees and thanked him over the years.

As much as Michigan fans don't want to admit it, Bo Schembechler has a graduate degree from Ohio State. He also has a pair of those cute little gold-pants charms they give out for beating Michigan. Barf.

I counted at least four NASA astronauts, there may be more. And although the state of Ohio has produced eight US Presidents (William Henry Harrison, Ulysses S. Grant, Rutherford B. Hayes, James A Garfield, Benjamin Harrison, William McKinley, William Howard Taft, and Warren Harding) -- but none of them attended or graduated from Ohio State.

The Game: For the third season in a row, I have no expectations what-so-ever for this game. If we win, I will be shocked and once again believe in a god that tosses miracles out when he is bored. If we lose, well.... I guess I will just go on like I have for the last decade.

Our defense is not well suited to face a talented and motivated team like the Buckeyes. I can only hope Jim Tressel shows his conservative nature and we score early and often. The reality is if both teams play to their potential -- it won't be close.

Michigan : Not enough
Ohio State : Too Much


whetstonebuck said...

Excellent. Very funny.

nathan said...

Dwight Yoakam, like most other people who attend tOSU, can't really be considered an alum since he quickly dropped out and never graduated. Wonder if this info came from tOSU's website?