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Friday, November 23, 2012

Know Your Foe: Ohio 2012

It's finally here:  Meeechigan vs Ohio State. Maize and Blue vs Scarlet and Gray.  The greatest rivalry in all of college football.  A showdown so special that not even Jim Delany can screw it up, try as he might.

Tomorrow marks the 109th edition of The Game.  Last year, Michigan beat Ohio for the first time since 2003 (although Ohio hasn't beaten Michigan in a game that's still in the record books since 2009 thanks to the exploits of Cheaty McSweatervest) and Michigan holds a 58-44-6 overall advantage in the series.  But that you know, what you didn't know about the angry mob of f-bomb aficionados from That School in Ohio is found below - in the final regular season edition of Know Your Foe, fergodssake.

1870: The last year they didn't have
to vacate some of their wins
OSU: Where even the book on
their seal is blank.  O-H!
History - The school was founded as THE Ohio Agricultural and Mechanical College in 1870 as a land grant institution.  Later that year, the first group of 24 students, including three women, started attending classes (while probably wearing "Fuck Michigan" shirts).  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 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, mocked the other schools, and basically browbeat the state legislature to give the new institution a prominent position above Miami and OU. 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 Ohio would be limited to Bachelor and Masters Programs.  This also established the proud Tosu trend of bullies named Hayes bringing their school glory.

Location - Columbus, Ohio.  The city - named after the lost explorer - is the capitol and largest in the state of Ohio. Many folks are surprised to learn that C-bus is the biggest because the cities of Cleveland and Cincinnati are more well known, home to major league sports teams, and not the center of evil in the known universe.  According to Benny's 2007 KYF, Columbus has kept its largest city in Ohio title by bullying the few surrounding suburbs into annexation in exchange for sewer and water service that the city controls (thus making Michigan fans who call the city a sewer not too far off).

Nickname -  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 somehow this led to calling themselves buckeyes ever since. The leaves appear in a five-leaf cluster, and the fruit (nut) resembles the eye of a deer, thus the name: buck-eye.  It’s poisonous to humans, horses, cattle, and coaches as it apparently causes them to punch opposing players and lie to the NCAA.

Coincidentally, there is a city in the U.S. named Buckeye, though it's in Arizona, not Ohio.

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 (even a deer can only hear so many f-bombs before losing its shit).

Instead, they went with a 40-pound paper-maché buckeye nut which was worn over the head and torso, with legs sticking out.  They named him Brutus Buckeye. He made his 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, angers other mascots into an uncontrollable rage and causes still others to do this on YouTube.

Thing-Atop-A-Donut-Shop Brutus...Lonely Brutus...Asshole Frat Guy Brutus

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. This was the closest Ohio State has ever come to being confused with Princeton.

Logo/Helmet - 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.

One should be careful, however, not to confuse the official school logo with their now-more-well-know logo, The Buckstache.

Normally, the Buckeyes have their distinctive silver bullet helmet design.  It had been unchanged since 1968 until Nike got involved and OSU whored-out The Game with "special" and "Pro-Combat" uniforms the last couple years, including tomorrow.  They also love to award their little pot-leaf Buckeye Leaf helmet stickers.  The design was "originally drawn in 1950 by alum and comic strip artist Milton Caniff and was intended to represent the buckeye tree as a symbol for strength and sturdiness of all Ohio State students.  The first Buckeye leaf decal appeared on the helmets of the 1967 OSU football team and are still given to players today for execution of an exceptional play on the field." They're now trademarked by the school.

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 was needed for pep rallies and football games than the sad melancholy Carmen Ohio (which sounds like something the students would sing in Dead Poets Society).  Thus, Across the Field was born.  It debuted on October 16, 1915 against Illinois and has not stopped playing since (although it is important to note that they had to wait another 4 years before they could play it during a win against Michigan).

While this is the main fight song, Buckeye Battle Cry is played after touchdowns.  Fan favorite Hang on Sloopy (NOT Snoopy) is played every home game, and no mention of anything to do with the Ohio State music would be complete without a mention of Script O-lie-o Ohio in which their marching band boldly steps onto the field and performs a move they initially learned from the Michigan Marching Band.

As much as it pains us to say it, KYF thinks OSU's fight song and Battle Cry are top notch.  And if you've ever been in the 'Shoe when Hang on Sloopy plays, it's pretty darn cool.  Okay, enough compliments.  Let's take a look at OSU academics.

Mila Kunis is a Tosu fan?
Academics - According to the latest U.S. News & World Report rankings, OSU is #56, down from #55 last  year, tied with Noreastern (the school, not the storms).  But they did rank 16th (down from 8th last year.  Oh, sad face) in U.S. News' list of  "Up-and-Coming" Schools, tied with NC State, VCU and Biola University.  So from everybody here at the MZone, congrats and good luck with that, you Buckeye up and comers! 

Athletics - Few schools have the athletic tradition of Ohio State. They currently field 36 varsity teams and 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).

In 2007, Sports Illustrated nicknamed Ohio State's athletic program as being "The Program" due to the unsurpassed facilities, unparalleled amount of men's and women's sport teams, their success, and the financial support of an impressive fan base."  Gee, after The Downfall, I wonder if they'd still say that today?  

Exceptional former athletes at Ohio State include Olympic Gold Medalist and Dude Who Made Hitler Eat Crow Jesse Owens, NBA greats John Havlicek and Jerry Lucas, college basketball coaching legend and chair-thrower 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 (due to a PI flag thrown about as long after the play as it took you to read KYF thus far). They’ve won 34 Big Ten titles (a number I didn't have to update after last years KYF due to their season being wiped away). 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.

However, Ohio State is football probably most well known as a place that once-great coaches eventually are forced out in disgrace.  The two most iconic coaches in the school's history met such a fate: Woody Hayes for punching a Clemson football player after he intercepted Art Schlichter;  and Jim Tressel who "forgot" to tell his bosses, oh, 642 times about his players associating with shady characters, selling merchandise and lying to the NCAA.  Naturally then, Ohio State is going to honor Tressel this Saturday as he is rumored to be taking the field with the rest of the 2002 Buckeye National Championship team*.

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, Ric Ocasek from The Cars, 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 which is probably why it took so long for folks to finally realize the truth about Tressel.

As much as Michigan fans don't want to admit it, Bo Schembechler has a graduate degree from Ohio State. From his coaching days under Woody, he also has a pair of those little gold-pants charms they give out for beating Michigan (but never tried to sell his on eBay).

KYF 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) -- none of them attended or graduated from Ohio State.  But they are an "Up and Coming" school.  So who knows what the future holds (although if these Buckeye fans are an indication, it ain't good).

The Game - Last year, Michigan got the monkey off its back, beating Ohio State for the first time since 2003.  Even still, KYF thinks it's actually more important for Michigan to win The Game this year than Ohio State.  If the Bucks win, Michigan's victory last year - at home against one of the weaker teams in recent OSU memory - will feel like an aberration.  A one-off to the streak* started under The Vest*.  But if Michigan can come into the Shoe and defeat Urban's undefeated team, then I think we could be one step closer to a new, back and forth, Ten Year War.  Because (unfortunately), I don't see U-M running off a Cooper-esque string of victories against Urban.  But you never know.

Sadly, KYF doesn't believe such a string will start tomorrow, with the difference being the home field:  

Michigan - 20
Ohio State -24


Dennis said...

Compliments, as always.

I had a similar thought about who has more pressure. Was last year only a fluke because of a bad year by OSU? I think several things for you last year were a bit of luck, but I alos think luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity. A part of me hopes Iowa beats Nebraska today which would put added pressure on your guys.

I think there is more pressure on us. We are favored. We are at home. We are trying to cap off a perfect season. If we lose this year, we'd have to win one at Michigan next year to keep you from going 3-0. The biggest positive is the game is at noon so I don't have to stress all day waiting for it to start.

I don't know what Michigan is going to do QB wise. Part of me thinks it is gamesman ship on Michigan's part and Denard is not that hurt, but we'll see. I hope Borges tries to get too cute and it blows up in his face, but both Gardner and Robinson are very good athletes. With this OSU team every time I pick a shoot out, I get a close game and vice versa this year. Well, I'm going close, relatively low scoring game 21-16 OSU. Robinson gets one TD, the rest are FGs. Michigan leads 9-7 at the half and 16-14 late into the fourth. Miller gets one passing TD, early in the game, and Hyde gets a late rushing TD.

Hopefully everyone stays healthy and we have a good game decided by the guys on the field that aren't wearing stripes.

Go Bucks!

Dennis said...

I forgot one score. Special teams or defensive score of the blocked kick, Denard fumble, etc. not kick return.

Yost said...

So far, so good on your Iowa wish, Dennis. C'mon, Hawkeyes!

Dennis said...

Punt from the 30? The other team's 30?

And now I see Vandenberg threw an INT. Such great promise after looking so hot a few years ago. Oh wait, that was Vandenberg's Mom who seems to have plunged even farther than the kid.

I heard conditions are bad there, in the office for a little while longer today, so not watching, just looking at BTN drive update and lurking a bit at BHGP.

Ramona said...

KYF is pretty much on the mark.

I'd like to take this opportunity to thank M Zone, Yost and his contributors for another season of coverage, spirit, pictures, analysis and humor. Fall would not be fall without MZone!

Mikoyan said...

You keep forgetting Curtis LeMay. He honed his city burning skills while a student at OSU.