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Wednesday, November 30, 2011

God spites ref for bad call

Been meaning to say something about this...

Did you notice the bile bursting forth from the ref when he announced they were overturning Fitz Toussaint's TD late in the game?  Everybody I was watching with asked, What the hell was that? 

Well, after getting all Zapruder on it, I think a Higher Power was in the process of making the ref's innards purge themselves from his body after such an atrociously bad call.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Who's coaching Ohio: The Urban Legend or the Urban Myth?

As you may have heard by now (I think it was on the one of the sports blogs somewhere), Ohio hired a new coach yesterday.  And they got themselves a great coach.

There.  I said it.  Based on his past record and accomplishments, one could even argue they got the best available coach.  But in the immortal words of Lee Corso, "Aww, fuck it!"  "Not so fast my friends."

Just four short years ago, Michigan nabbed a can't miss coach who'd won everywhere else he'd been.  And 10 months ago after the can't miss coach did, they hired what a sizable portion of the U-M fan base called -- and I'm being kind here -- the 85th choice when "better" choices like Jim Harbaugh and Les Miles didn't pan out.  And Michigan's equivalent to some of a "safety school" hire has so far gone better than almost any of us dared to dream.

Point is, you don't know.  So while Ohio State fans spent much of the yesterday yelling at their dial up modems because they couldn't get online at the Rent-to-Own store for Cyber Monday believing that an O-H was already being engraved on the next BCS Championship Trophy that they'll be on probation for, I say there are no guarantees.  I mean, wasn't John Cooper hired due to his past success at ASU, including a Rose Bowl victory over Michigan?  And I seem to recall more than a few snickers in Maize and Blue circles -- and panic in Scarlet and Gray/Grey ones -- when OSU struck out with bigger names and hired some guy named Jim Tressel "pryor" to the 2001 season.

And just who is this guy?  Yeah, I know about the "W"s and "L"s, but I mean the man behind the headset.  The man whose program had over 30+ arrests in his 6 years at Florida.  Who quit, then unquit, then quit again when things got tough in Gainesville.  Who swore he wasn't interested in the OSU job a couple months ago -- so much so that his daughter took to Twitter to quell the speculation -- then denied again last week while parsing his words like a practiced politician when the story began to leak about his impending hire.  It was "truthiness" at its finest. 

So sure, the hire looks perfect on paper.  And on the Buckeye blogs.  But the games aren't played there.  As Matt Hayes said in the Sporting News, the Urban Meyer the Buckeyes think they're getting might not be the one who'll actually be on the sidelines.

But what if Meyer turns out to be as advertised?

Bring it.  Because isn't that who you want to go into Columbus and beat next year?  Isn't that what The Game is all about?  Bo vs. Woody.  The Ten Year War.  Our best against their best. 

So let's do this.  No matter which Meyer they got.  We'll help get the smack talk started...
It's never too early to start the smack talk!

Monday, November 28, 2011

MZone Picture of the Day: Super Sale in Ohio

Our pal BigAssHammm who, unfortunately, is trapped behind enemy lines, sent us this picture he took near Cuyahoga Falls, OH on Saturday.  We're guessing this display was full...until right after the Michigan-Ohio game ended. 

MZone Autopsy: That School in Ohio

I think I'm only now finally coming down off the high.  That game...that game...

That game.

I don't think I've been as nervous for a Michigan game since the '97 Michigan-Ohio State when the Rose Bowl and National Championship were on the line.  Crazy as this may sound, Saturday's game almost felt like it was more important for Michigan's psyche.  Personally, I don't think I've ever wanted one more -- nay, needed one more -- than the 2011 edition of The Game.

Had Michigan lost it would have been devastating.  Yes, there would have been no denying the strides made this year, but a loss would have gnawed at the soul for a long time.  Instead, Michigan's hard fought victory has turned the 2011 campaign into one that none of us could have realistically hoped for or imagined.  And back on the personal level -- it made blogging and Twitter a hell of a lot of fun over the weekend!

Now let's take one more look back at The Game that ended The Streak in...

MZone Autopsy: That School in Ohio

*  Don't let the close score in any way shape or form detract from the sweet taste of victory.   Some Buckeye fans are trying to taint the victory by saying this was the worst OSU team in forever.  And yes, many Michigan fans didn't just want a "W," they wanted retribution.  But this Ohio State squad was a team playing with nothing to lose, finally fielding a team with all its weapons, the most potent of all being desperation.

So this was exactly the kind of titanic struggle that the great mythology of this series demanded and deserved.  To understand why it absolutely had to play out the way it did, check out our post from yesterday, The Hero's Journey

*  The overturn of Fitz Toussaint's touchdown was one of the most egregiously bad replay calls I can remember.  What part of "can only result from indisputable video evidence" did those clowns not understand?!  It would have been criminal had Michigan lost after that.  When that TD was taken off the board, I started to think that Benny Oosterbaan must've been busted having an affair with the wife of somebody pretty high up in the afterlife because it looked like the fickle finger of football fate was about to f*ck us.  Hard.  I hope somebody questions the B1G about it (the replay call, not Benny Oosterbaan's sexually active ghost).  Seriously.  I really want to know what was indisputable.  There were two angles, one in which the ball was over, one in which it might -- might -- have been, what?, an inch shy?  Maybe.  But indisputable?  Hell no!

But don't just take it from some biased blogger.  Watch this video of Fox Sports refereeing guru Mike Pereira as he goes over the play and discusses why it was wrong.

*  Let the most recent chapter of The Game serve as reminder number 6,482 that Michigan-Ohio State must always be played on the last Saturday of the regular season.  Saturday's showdown left no doubt that the B1G's marquee match up must never be moved.  And if Dave Branding Brandon and Gene "See No Evil" Smith ever float the idea again of putting the game anywhere else -- as they did in 2010 which is why the MZone returned from cyber hibernation -- they should be immediately canned.

Ed. Note:  I still believe it was a colossal mistake to put U-M and OSU in separate divisions, but that's a debate for another time if the B1G ever expands again. 

*  By beating that school in Ohio, Brady Hoke just became the first Michigan coach to claim at least 10 wins in his debut season since -- wait for it -- some guy named Fielding H. Yost in 1901 (who won 11).

*  Brady's six B1G wins in his first season equaled the total conference games won during the three years of The Dark Period. 

*  Team 132 became the first Michigan team to ever go 8-0 at home in a single season.  And anybody who said they predicted that (beating ND, Nebraska and Ohio along the way) or that Michigan would win 10 regular season games this year, is a liar or a meth head.  Or a lying meth head.  

*  The 40 points Michigan hung on OSU is tied for the 4th most points Michigan ever scored against the Buckeyes and the most since putting up 58 in '46 (thought still a ways off from the record of 86 in 1902).  And that wasn't some hack-ass defense since, even after the U-M game, OSU is tied with Oklahoma for the 27th best scoring D in the land and is #23 in total defense.

*  Couldn't believe all the bitter tweets by Buckeye players immediately after the game.  From one guy saying he's "never going to lose to those scrubs again" to Boren (not Justin but Zach) claiming Michigan showed a lack of "respect" for The Game, to several other disparaging comments by others, it actually made them look bad.  I pictured them all sitting there on the team bus on their long ride home, heads buried in their smartphones, typing their tacky tweets while poor Luke Fickell sat up in the front, watching the rest of the CARS 2 DVD playing over bus' entertainment system.

*  In looking up some of the stats for this post, I noticed Michigan's captain in 1908 was Adolf "Germany" Shultz.  I guess in 1908 you could get away with that.  Nowadays he'd claim his first name was Eddie and go by "Shultzy."

*  Luke Fickell did a great job in a virtually impossible situation.  And I'm not just talking about the Michigan game.  All season.  But I was particularly impressed with how he handled himself in the post-game presser, when he was getting hammered with questions about his future.  He made it all about The Game.  Best of luck to him in the future.

*  As you know, Buckeye fans are waiting on pins and needles for Santa to deliver an early present for their team in the form of new head coach Urban Liar Meyer this week.  And some Michigan fans are worried such a hire will tip the scales back in the Bucks' favor after only one Michigan victory.  Well, if I may say something to those folks that someone may have tweeted in kinder terms over the weekend:  Sack. The. Fuck. Up.  This is Michigan, for God's sake!

First of all, those name hires rarely work out as well as hoped for.  For every Saban at 'Bama, there's a Dennis Erickson at ASU.  And I even seem to recall a "can't miss coach" being hired in A2 a couple years ago, a guy who'd won "everywhere he's been."  But that didn't turn out so well if you recall.

More importantly, let them have their Urban Myth.  It's great for the rivalry and we have Brady, for God's sake.  If this season has proven anything, that ain't too damn shabby!

*  Remember when Urban's daughter tweeted “HE IS NOT repeat NOT, GOING TO OHIO STATE" a couple months ago? Bad news: Daddy lied.

(Thanks to Andy for the picture!)

Sunday, November 27, 2011

The Hero's Journey

It's not supposed to be easy.

Mythologist Joseph Campbell believed that there is a basic structure to any good narrative.  No matter the language, culture or country, he argued that there is a pattern that must be followed.  A series of tests a story's protagonist must overcome to get what he wants.  And the bigger the reward being sought, the more daunting the challenges must be to achieve it.  The more valuable the golden chalice, the harder the quest to grasp it.

He called it the monomyth: The Hero's Journey. 

Michigan fans had hoped for an easy victory over Ohio State.  A blowout.  A cake walk.  But that's not how good stories are told.  Even ones written not on the page, but between the lines of a college gridiron.  For after 7* consecutive losses, the task was too important.  After three years staring into the football abyss, the final push toward the mountain top demanded it be the hardest.

The hero's journey must never be easy.

He must enter the cave and slay the dragon.  Not in the first chapter of the book.  Or the start of the movie.  And certainly not during the first half of college football's most storied rivalry when facing one's fiercest adversary .

Everything Michigan faced yesterday was a test to see just how bad they wanted it.  How much they were willing to fight to get it.  To determine if they would quit in the face of seemingly unending obstacles.

To discover just how far they were willing to go to complete their journey.

When facing the 3rd worst passing offense in the country, what were the Wolverines going to do when the Buckeyes scored on a 50+ yard touchdown bomb on their very first possession?  When a nine point lead disintegrated into a one point deficit at halftime, how would they respond after the intermission?  When the star QB fumbled, the punter gave one away, the rebuilt defense showed cracks and the opponent kept fighting, it was nature's way of asking one burning question:

How bad did the hero want it?

And just when it seemed success was at hand, like any good story, there was one final tribulation.  One last twist.  When the clinching touchdown was unfairly taken away with only moments left, would the hero rise yet one more time to the occasion, or finally give up.  Falling just short of his goal.

Michigan's stirring victory over Ohio State played out just as it was supposed to.  Exactly as it was intended to be written.

Saturday's conquest tastes so sweet today because the barriers blocking Michigan from seizing the crown seemed insurmountable.  But now the demons have been vanquished.  The biggest dragon slain.  The maiden's hand won.  The clock has struck :00.

And the hero's journey is now complete.

(HT: to @jlfelicity for sending us the pic above taken by @laurenleland)

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Michigan - 40, That School in Ohio - 34

It wasn't pretty, but it's a big Meeeeeechigan "W"!

And with The Streak now history, I think President Ford speaks for all Michigan fans in saying...

Yes, my fellow Wolverines, our long national nightmare is over!

Need more?  Sure you do!  And with the Michigan victory, here's one of the most beautiful things you'll see today courtesy of the Columbus Dispatch...

And this is what 114,000 Meeechigan fans celebrating a victory over OSU looks like...

(HT: BP for the pic!)

Michigan vs. Ohio Open Thread

It's here.  The Game.  Meeeechigan vs. That School in Ohio.  I want this one more than I've wanted to beat the Bucks in a looong time (uh, especially since we haven't beaten the Bucks in a looong time).

Leave us your thoughts and comments here and be sure to follow the MZone on Twitter.


(Big thanks to Andy for all the fantastic wallpapers this week!)

And here's one more from our buddy Mikoyan and his site, Michigan Exposures...

Friday, November 25, 2011

Behind Enemy Lines: Talking M/OSU with The Buckeye Battle Cry

As you know, we take special delight in giving our Big Ten brethren from Columbus grief here on the MZone (probably because we haven't been able to do it on the football field for quite some time due to their lax interpretation of the rules).  And while most a large portion some Tosu fans react to our shenanigans as they do when somebody tries to explain to them that pro wrestling is fake, some not only have a sense of humor, but they give as good as they get.  Such is the case with the boys of The Buckeye Battle Cry.

This week, in anticipation of The Game, they asked the MZone to answer a few questions about the greatest rivalry in sport in their Across the Web series.  So, in a nod to bipartisanship, we reluctantly agreed.  Below is the transcript.


Do you ever feel dirty rooting for the Maize and Blue?  Do you ever get one of those shudders like pure evil has settled into your soul?

Never dirty, just horribly dazed watching what passed for our beloved Wolverines the last three years.   And if you've been following the Maize and Blue this season, as you know, the only evil emanating out of A2 is of the Pop Evil variety.  While, as the world knows, the evil that spews forth from Columbus is more of a Mordor strain.

What's your favorite memory of The Game? On the other end of the spectrum, what play or game gives you nightmares?  

Sweet, sweet memories.
Near the top of the "good" list are '95 and '96 when Michigan wasn't given a chance and Ohio State was undefeated and, I believe, #2 in the country both times.  Of the two, I think I enjoyed '96 a tad more just because it was in Columbus.  That was the 13-9 Michigan win that swung U-M's way when Shawn Springs slipped and fell allowing Tai Streets to score on a 69 yard slant.  OSU had been up 9-0 at halftime and you could almost hear the dread as it settled over the stadium.  My god, I'm getting weepy just thinking about it again.  But I digress.

Actually, at the top of my fave list has to be '97 when #1 Michigan faced off against #4 OSU with everything on the line.  The Game initially looked to be a Wolverine rout with Charles Woodson returning a punt for a TD (you seen that replay once or twice, right?).  But when OSU cut U-M's 20-0 lead to 20-14, you could hear a car key jingle pin drop in The Big House.  Thankfully, Michigan held on and then won the Rose Bowl to claim a National Championship.

It was the stakes of '97 and what a victory meant that made it so meaningful and memorable.  Conversely, that's precisely why 2006 still gives me nightmares.  For the first time in history, Michigan and Ohio State were #1 and #2 at the time of The Game.  OSU had the big lead at halftime but Michigan fought back.  With 6:49 left, Michigan had cut the lead to 35-31.  OSU had the ball on the Michigan 38 yard line, 3rd and 15.  Troy Smith rolled out and threw an incomplete pass.  Michigan was gonna get the ball back with a chance to drive down for the winning score.  But...

Michigan LB Shawn Crable was flagged for a late hit on Smith.  OSU got the first down and scored the clinching TD three plays later.  So that play/game is still what sends a chill down my spine whenever I think about it.  Now if you'll excuse me whilst I clean up the vomit from my keyboard after having to actually write about that &%$# game/play. (Memo to self: never do one of these Q&As with a Buckeye blog again.  Ever.)

Many Ohio State fans are frustrated by our current Athletic Department's decision to commercialize football and basketball games. With M*ch*g*n making similar decisions regarding "special" uniforms and weddings at the Big House, are you concerned that some of the "soul" of gameday experience is being compromised?

I think this is Ohio State
100%.  I loathe "special" uniforms.   Does that mean I'm out of touch?  Maybe.  But you didn't need any of that shit for decades and The Game did just fine.

Look, I can't stand the very sight of your scarlet and gray/grey uniforms and your little pot-leaf-infested helmets.  I get the same feeling seeing them that that a bull must get when he sees the color red (obviously bulls hate OSU, too).  Which is exactly why, when Michigan plays Ohio State I want, to see them!  That's part of the rivalry -- the bile that rises when I see your godforsaken uniforms.  I want to see two teams in the 'Shoe or The Big House that look like Michigan and Ohio State, not Nike or Adidas ads.

I guess the only positive is, the last two years when you guys wore whatever it is the hell you wore for The Game, at least in some small way it didn't feel like we were losing to Ohio State because you didn't look like Ohio State (then again, we didn't look like Michigan.  Unfortunately, that had nothing to do with our uniforms).

M*ch*g*n seems to have a defense for the first time since Mr. Carr left the program. What does that feel like, and who makes it happen?

Hey, been meaning to ask -- what's with the lack of "i's" when spelling Michigan?  I assume it's because folks in Columbus are really big Wheel of Fortune fans.  But again, I digress...

For years to be known as a defensive-minded school and then to not simply slip but completely implode was disgraceful and painful to watch.  Worst of all was watching Michigan actually get worse as the season progressed the previous three years.  Even in the year we lost to Appy State then got smoked by Oregon, by the time we got to the Ohio State game, we were playing for the Big 10 title and a trip to the Rose Bowl. 

So here in 2011, to go from where we were just last year to where we are now is nothing short of miraculous.  Last year we were the 110th ranked defense!  How bad is that?  Before this season, I think any U-M fan -- myself included -- would have been thrilled with something out on the field that wasn't a YouTube Yakety Sax clip waiting to happen.  It's mind boggling to now be not only good, but statistically one of the best defenses in the country.

As for who makes that happen, Rich Rod inadvertently answered that during his presser this week when he was introduced as the new Arizona head coach.  He said that it was hard watching Michigan play this year because "those are all my guys."

Exactly.  Which means  you have to give all the credit in the world to Brady Hoke and Greg Mattison for coaching them up to the level they've attained this season.

So- you've got another coach from Ohio who's turned things around for your program. What was your initial reaction when Hoke was hired?

Big fan and supporter from day one.  Which wasn't even close to the case in much of the Michigan blogosphere.  Many wanted a "bigger" name.  Or thought Michigan "settled" for Hoke.  But for every big-name hire that works miracles -- like Nick Oversigner Oversaban Saban at 'Bama -- many, many more fail, ala Rich Rod at Michigan and hopefully Urban Meyer at Ohio State.

Put it this way, I don't seem to recall Buckeye fans exactly overjoyed with The Vest's hiring.  He wasn't the first choice.  But he loved Ohio State and understood the rivalry and knew how to cover shit up.  Heck, Michigan fans weren't thrilled when Bo was hired.  The headline in the local Detroit paper was "Bo Who?" 

Hoke loves Michigan, obviously gets the rivalry and is a damn good coach.  You don't do what he did at Ball State -- BALL F'ING STATE! -- and SDSU and not have some coaching chops.  And he's only confirmed that with what he's done this season at Michigan.

Colin Cowherd- Asshole, or Douchbag? Discuss...

Gee, how do you pick one?  I think you have to merge them and go Assbag or Douchehole.  Or, as he was named by the blogosphere after the CowherdItSomewhereElseFirst incident with us, Schrutebag.  The guy's a clown.  I don't think he has insight as much as he's successful at trying to call attention to himself by being a jackhat.

(Finally, something I think UM and OSU fans can actually agree on. )

Currently, tOSU has two M*ch*g*n natives on their roster, while UM has 21 former Ohioans on their squad (I'm assuming they've been permanently banned). With several more folks from our state seemingly headed north to the dark side, how does it feel to know the successes in Ann Arbor don't happen without the state of Ohio?

Say what you will about our lack of success against OSU the last couple of years, I think your very question proves that U-M is a school that will give a kid a chance to escape the heinous stigma of having to attend that school in Ohio.  Sure, it may help our football team but on a larger human scale, it's more of an act of mercy and kindness.

In spite of your hopes and dreams, the Rodriguez Era didn't transmogrify into the Oregon Death Attack that you envisioned. What's your take on Rich and his time in Ann Arbor? How do you feel about his new gig in Arizona- will he raise them up?

From everything I've heard and read, Rich Rodriguez was a good guy.  And his success pre-A2 points to a fine football coach.  However, I think the fit was a bad one from the get go.  He came in and talked like -- as well as backed up said words with his actions -- as if he was taking over at Buffalo State, not the winningest program in the history of football.  Instead of "updating" our offense, he proceeded to tear everything to the ground.  He threw not only the baby out with the bathwater, I think he also pitched the entire tub (or maybe it just got overrun by the sink while employing his 3-3-5 defense during the bath itself).

Rodriguez's attitude -- both stated and implied -- that "we had more work to do here than I thought" was both a) entirely incorrect and b) a mindset that leads (and led) to mediocrity (and worse).  Contrast that with Hoke who said if we don't win the B1G our first season, we'll have let the kids down because that's what we always strive for at Michigan.  Put it this way, I'll excuse his "failure" this year.

As for how he'll do in Arizona, I actually think he'll succeed there.  While I don't think he'll compete with the powers in the Pac-12 year in and out (which is a UA issue, not RR issue), I think he'll put together a solid, winning program.  And I wish him well.  Again, sounds like a great guy, but wasn't the right man for the Michigan job.

We're asking everyone - If the B1G expands, who would you want to add? If we can only pick up one team, who would you drop from current membership to keep things at 12?

Boy, I don't know.  I guess my two part answer to that is: a) anybody but Notre Dame.  The B1G has been wooing them and kissing their ass for so long -- plus helping them schedule by having UM, MSU and Purdue play them each year -- that I say screw 'em.  Not only do I not want them, I wish U-M would drop them from the schedule so we could play an interesting home-home against a variety of high-quality opponents like OSU is doing with Texas, Miami, etc.

And b) if we do expand, no matter who joins, the biggest thing we need to do is put Michigan and Ohio State back in the same division.  I still believe that it was a colossal mistake to separate Michigan and Ohio State.  There should never be a chance that the result of The Game will be a mulligan; a do-over in the conference championship game.  N-E-V-E-R.  Winner take all.  That's part of what makes it special.

As for dropping someone, I wouldn't.  I love the general stability of the conference.  Although, just to be a dick I'd tell Brett Bulimia we were dropping Wisconsin only to watch his head explode.  Not a fan of his.  I bet he listens to Colin Cowherd.

How do you feel about this game coming in?  Does it feel like that 2004 game, or do you feel that M*ch*g*n will finally be able to take advantage of having the upper hand again? Other than the ones your fans will jingle, what are the keys to a Wolverine victory?

I never want to say I'm confident going into The Game (certainly not after losing so many in a row, some of them even with Ohio State using eligible players).  But while this could come back to bite me in the ass, I really like Michigan's chances.  Looking at it as objectively as I possibly can, Michigan should win.  Period.  This year U-M is the better team.  I think even OSU fans would admit that (internally, not out loud).  Furthermore, unlike The Dark Period, Michigan is -- and I have to get used to this again -- actually improving as the season has gone on.  Just as importantly, from what I've seen this year, OSU isn't close to a complete or good team.  Miller is going to be a great QB...but not this year.  Not yet.  He's too young and doesn't have enough help around him.  Plus, with The Game being played in The Big House, it really does feel like the odds and rivalry gods are in our favor.

As for the keys (to the game, not the famed Big House cheer variety), I actually believe the biggest is the mental aspect for Michigan.  Sure, players can say they weren't around when The Streak started and they're a different group of guys.  But in the back of their minds, they have to be feeling the pressure.  Plus, with Fickell apparently gone, he and his team have nothing to lose. 

So first and foremost, Michigan has to do their best to concentrate on just this Michigan/Ohio game, not the larger albatross that is The Streak.  After that, the key is to make Braxton Miller beat you with his arm.  I don't think he can do that yet, especially with what Mattison will be throwing at him from a scheme standpoint (at least that's my hope).  If you see Braxton Miller with a lot of third and long situations, I think Michigan could potentially have a big day.

Offensively for Michigan, I think RB Fitz Toussaint is the key.  I believe it actually starts with him more than Denard.  As Fitz goes, so will go Denard.  If he can establish himself early, forcing OSU to focus on both his and Denard's legs, the Bucks could be in for a long afternoon.  So if I'm Fickell, I actually concentrate on stopping Fitz and once again try to turn Michigan into the one Denard man show of last season.

In closing, thanks for having me, gentlemen.  I appreciate the opportunity to show that, while we both give each other a ton of crap online, there is a ton of respect for The Game and both participants (I almost said respect for that school in Ohio but my keyboard wouldn't even allow it to be typed).

Now, here is where I guess I'm probably supposed to wish you luck this Saturday.  But it would be a complete and total lie.  Thus, I wish you the opposite of luck.

Go Blue!

Still more BEAT OHIO wallpaper

Just when you thought we couldn't give you more, Andy did!

Know Your Foe -- That School in Ohio 2011

You know what I hate most about college football?  How fast the damn season goes.  I wait all year for it to start and then it's over in the blink of an eye.  But you know what I love best about college football?  Meeeeechigan vs Ohio State.  The Wolverines vs the Buckeyes.  Good vs Evil (I mean real, honest-to-god evil, not Pop Evil). 

Tomorrow marks the 108th edition of The Game.  And, even after the The Dark Period we just endured and The Streak which we're still suffering through, Michigan holds a 57-44-6 advantage.  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.

Ed Note: After Thanksgiving and family, I started and finished KYF waaaaay too late.  Please forgive any typos.  I'm too tired to re-read before passing out of exhaustion.

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.

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 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 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, angers other mascots into an uncontrollable rage and causes still others to do this on YouTube.

Thing Atop A Fast Foot Restaurant 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 Buckeye's 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.  Thankfully, they'll be returning to tradition 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 (meaning Tosu fans haven't heard it a lot this season).  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 me to say it, I think 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.

So there's that
Academics - According to the latest U.S. News & World Report rankings, OSU is #55, tied with Pepperdine and U of M (puh-LEASE:  Maryland) and their acceptance rate is 68%.  But they did rank 8th in U.S. News' "Up and Coming" colleges section, tied with Ball State and a notch ahead of Biola University.  So from everybody here at the MZone, congrats and good luck with that, OSU! 

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 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. 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.

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.

The Game - The stakes in this game are huge...for Michigan. The pressure is all on U-M since they haven't beaten OSU since 2003* and this year's Buckeye squad is, frankly, not that good.  The feeling by many is, if not now, when?  Ohio State's offense is currently ranked 108th in the country.  Basically, their offense is where Michigan's defense was last year.  They're starting a freshman QB and are led by a soon-to-be-replaced coach.  The odds couldn't be any more in Michigan's favor...which scares the hell out of me.  Pre-The Dark Period, I wouldn't be that worried.  But the albatross of The Streak makes the biggest obstacle to victory, I believe, mental.  Plus, it's The Game.  Anything can happen.

But not tomorrow.  Not in The Big House.  Not with Team 132.  I think it'll be close - closer than we'd like, hope for or expect - but they have nothing to lose.  Yet lose they will.

Michigan - 24
Ohio State - 17

Time to paint a happy little 'W'

A pre-The Game post from our friend, Michigan Sports Girl of @SupportBradyHoke.

Not sure if many people know, but famed artist Bob Ross was quite the Michigan fan.  On the day of The Game, he was known to proclaim "Beat the devil out of the Buckeyes!" in the same vein that he always cleaned his brushes.  And although he always referred to us as the team in Midnight Blue and Yellow Ochre, we knew what he meant.

Now, as he watches The Game tomorrow next to Bo and Woody, he'll be looking to paint a happy little "W" in the win column for Meeeeechigan.  His message to Team 132?

"From all of us here, I'd like to wish you a happy game - and Beat Ohio, my friends."

Ed. Note from Yost:  I highly doubt Woody would let this guy sit next to him during The Game. 

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving from the MZone!

Thanks to all who take a few minutes of their day to check out the site.  Have a wonderful Thanksgiving.

And even on this holiday -- with The Game so close you can taste it like the meal you're stuffing your face with today -- we're not going to leave you hanging.  Below are some of the lesser known works by Norman Rockwell that the MZone recently discovered in the archives.

Enjoy and...

Go Blue!

A very special thanks to Rigby for staying up waaaaay late to do these for today.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

More Beat Ohio Wallpapers: Bo, Desmond & Charles

You mean yesterday's offerings weren't enough?  Fine.  Andy outdid himself with three more.

Go Blue!

New Beavis & Butthead Episode: Michigan vs. Ohio State

As you may have heard, MTV's Beavis and Butthead is back.  And in an MZone exclusive, we have obtained the clip below from this week's show in which the boys weigh in on Michigan and Ohio State.


Yep.  Just another little something to pass on to your Buckeye friends.  You're welcome.

Go Blue!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

The new Buckstache logo is here! The new Buckstache logo is here!

Everybody coming up huge this week.  In honor of The Game, Rigby helped me with a new Buckstache logo.  Ah, just in time for some new fan board avators and a little pre-game smack talk!

And for those of you who may be new to the site and aren't sure what a Buckstache is, for cryin' out loud, do your homework!  This is the MZone, for god's sake!

Beat Ohio!

Ladies and gentlemen, my former blogging co-hort, Andy, has returned -- as any good Michigan Man would for The Game -- to create some very special wallpapers.  Here's the first batch.  Enjoy and...

Go Blue!

Not enough for you? Be sure to check back. Andy made more! And we'll be putting them up throughout the week.

Luke Fickell talks to his team before the Michigan-Ohio State game

In an MZone exclusive, we have obtained the video below of soon-to-be-fired Ohio State football coach Luke Fickell addressing the Buckeyes for this week's big Michigan-Ohio State game. 

As you can tell, the man is a motivational master. 

Note: I was going to start a "Luke Fickell" tag for posts about him here at the MZone. But then I realized, what's the point?

Monday, November 21, 2011

Something to share with your Ohio friends this week

In honor of Michigan-Ohio Week, we reach back into the MZone Archives for one of your favorites.  Below is a little something you can pass on to your Buckeye friends this week (and really, throughout the year).  

You're welcome!

First there was the ESPN "Without sports" commercial of the Ohio State/Michigan couple making out on the couch. Now comes this one...

Hoke-Pelini Postgame

Before we turn our attention to all things Ohio, our ol' pal Andy made this special post-Nebraska wallpaper for your enjoyment. 

MZone Autopsy: Nebraska

I'm still speechless.  Michigan's victory -- nay, bitch slap -- of Nebraska was a thing of football beauty.  A resounding win over a quality opponent.  No flukes.  No miracles.  No question.

It looked like...Michigan, for god's sake!

So before we turn our attention full-time this week to that school in Ohio, we take one final look back to savor the "W" over "N."

MZone Autopsy Report: NEBRASKA

*  Are you getting tired of praising this defense yet?  Me neither.  Nebraska didn't convert a third down until the third quarter.  Sit back for a moment and try to wrap your head around that.  Last year, U-M had the 110th ranked defense in the country (out of 120, in case you're wondering).  Last year, this defense gave up 35.2 points per game, 107th in the country.  This year, Michigan has the #14 ranked defense in all the land and is giving up 15.6 per game, 6th best in the country!

Want a little more perspective?  In its 13 games last year, Michigan gave up 458 points.  Through 11 this season, they've surrendered 172.  In other words, to equal the punchline that was 2010, Michigan would have to give up 144 points -- in EACH of its remaining two games (OSU and the bowl).

Folks, that's not improvement, it's mind boggling.   Because this wasn't some talent-laden group coming back.  It was, well, the 110th ranked unit in the nation.

No more.

*  Contrary to what you may have heard (a lot) by some, this genie-wish-like turnaround on defense has not come at the expense of the offense.  This year, Michigan's scoring offense is ranked 25th, averaging 33.6 points per game.  And last year?  Michigan had -- pause for effect...keep pausing...wait for it...okay, keep reading -- the 25th ranked offense, averaging -- one more pause -- 32.8 points per game.  Yep.  The current coaching staff that some continually keep claiming are shackling or hurting or not properly utilizing Denard have actually, factually done no such thing. 

Oh, and best of all -- Denard is still able to play at full strength and speed here at the end of the season because he's not getting the living snot kicked out of him each and every game. 

Want more here, too?  Okay.  Last year through 13 games, Michigan scored 426 points (which includes the OT Xbox game vs. Illinois).  This year through 11 they're at 370, meaning they have to average a very possible 28 points in each of their final two games to equal the offensive genius we gave up when Brady Hoke and Al Borges came to town.

Now, cut and paste the above and send it to all your friends who, for some reason, are still bitching about the current coaching staff and what they're "doing to Denard."

*  In 2010, Michigan was dead last in kicking, making just 4 of 14 FGs.  This year, they're 9 for 13 with two games to go.

* The most disappointing thing about the previous three seasons besides just about everything was the utter lack of improvement as the season wore on.  Michigan got worse as the weather got colder.  Again, no more.  The team on the field Saturday is not only now, across the board, a good football team but, best of all, they're getting better.  No, they're not a great team.  And they don't belong in the same breath as the top teams.  But this team would have a fighting chance against all but a handful of teams in the country right now.  Even against them, would you really count this team out?

*  If Michigan wins on Saturday, Brady Hoke will have won just as many B1G games in his first season -- 6 -- as Rich Rod won in his three years at the helm.

*  I think the fans -- myself included -- are having a harder time believing in the quick turnaround than the team as evidenced by my reaction to watching the Nebraska game.  Even when U-M was up 21, I -- and the Wolverine fans I watch with -- were still nervous.  Waiting for the other shoe to fall.  It's like fan PTSD after The Dark Years.  Although...

*  That roughing the kicker call against NU was weak.  Very weak.  We were up 14 at the time, had been stopped on our previous two drives, and big mo' was wearing Big Red.  But after the penalty, Michigan drove down and scored to go up 21.  Game over.  Still, it was a horrible call.  I guess somebody felt they owed us for Iowa.  Speaking of which...

*  Denard's roll out TD down near Nebraska's 2 yard line is a play I'd like to have seen on that 4th down against Iowa.  &%$#ing IOWA!

* Loved the fake FG call but would not have been in favor if we'd lined up to simply "go for it" on 4th down, if that makes sense.  When we lined up to kick, I thought it was a smart call.  When we faked, I thought it was genius.



(HT: SG, although he was unsure original creator)

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Tribute to Lloyd Carr

Here's the video tribute to Lloyd Carr that played before the Nebraska game in honor of his induction into the College Football Hall of Fame.

122-40 W-L record
5 Big Ten titles
1 National Championship

Thank you, Coach!

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Michigan vs. Nebraska Open Thread

Leave us your thoughts & comments on the Michigan-Nebraska game as well as all the rest of the cfb happenings (including the shocking Oklahoma State-Iowa State game!).

Go Blue!

Can't believe it's been 5 years

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Know Your Foe - Nebraska 2011

He's back! Ladies and gentlemen, it is with a tear in my eye and a lump in my throat that I write these words. That's because today's Know Your Foe was penned by none other than Benny, the creator and originator of Know Your Foe waaaay back in 2006 during The Original MZone (respect).  

For those of you who may be new to the site, Benny was my blogging comrade in arms during MZone 1.0 from 2005 until early 2008.  I continued for a few months after that then stepped away as well.  When I started the blog back up last fall, Benny declined to return in order to have something called a life.  Too many early mornings after a late night of MZone Photoshopping had him burned out.  His keyboard was hung up for good.  

But I did not give up.  Ever since returning to the blogosphere, I have been begging and pleading with Benny to join me.  To once again be bathe in the warm glow and acclaim that comes from putting up pictures of cheerleaders-turned-pornstars and having one's material stolen by Colin Cowherd.  I wanted to get the band back together.  For what was Simon without Garfunkel?  George Michael without the other dude whose name nobody remembers from Wham!?  But, alas, Benny always declined.  

Until today.  

Benny agreed to come back just for the Nebraska Know Your Foe (probably to get me to stop begging and pleading with him).  And while he called me numerous times during the week, bitching and complaining about agreeing to do this because of the time suck, I think he's finally excited to be back judging by the the email below which I got from from him at almost 1 a.m. this morning:

"It's done.
Take a look.  Edit if you like, certainly for any errors.  I have to wash the dishes and take a shower.

I hate you with the white hot intensity of a thousand suns."

Yep.  As you can tell, Benny's excited as hell to be back.  In fact, based on the above, I'm pretty, pretty, pretty sure he's going to tell me any day he's returning to blogging full-time.  I can feel it.

So sit back, relax and enjoy our first Benny-penned KYF since 2008.


The Wolverines welcome the newest member of the Big 10 11 conference, the Nebraska Cornhuskers to Ann Arbor for the first time since 1962. Michigan has won three of the six meetings (there has been one tie in 1911). This is the first regular-season meeting between Michigan and Nebraska since '62, as they have split their two bowl match ups after that. The teams sport identical 8-2 records and both bounced back from losses with road wins last week. Who are these newcomers, and what should we know about them? To answer these and many other questions, the MZone is proud to present this week's version of KNOW YOUR FOE.

The seal looks like
the wheel from
Wheel of Fortune.
History – The University of Nebraska was created in 1869, two years after Nebraska achieved statehood. The Nebraska legislators elected to create one unified University in the state, unlike their uppity neighbors Iowa and Kansas. That's why we don't have a Nebraska State University. The first two degrees were granted in 1873 and I can't help but wonder if the guy who was second in the class ever admitted to being last in his class. The first 20 years of the school were marked by small classes and lack of funds before a late-century boom took the enrollment to around 1,500 students. Near the end of the 19th century it was the 15th biggest school in the country. Growth continued into the 20th century with the development of the farm campus (seriously), which is now known as East Campus. The school is formally named the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and is commonly referred to as UNL, NU (which makes no sense) or simply Nebraska.

Hey look, there's a star above Lincoln!
Location – Lincoln, Nebraska. Lincoln is the second largest city in the state (behind Omaha) and is one of five state capitals that also house Big Ten teams (along with St. Paul, Columbus, Madison and Lansing – it’s close enough). It’s nicknamed the Star City because it’s the capital and state capitals are represented by stars on a map (Know Your Foe is a bit of a map geek and even we find that lame. Not quite the “Big Apple” of the “City of Broad Shoulders” for sure).

There’s a 20 foot statue of a
farmer up there – pretty cool.
The city was obviously named for Abraham Lincoln but that decision was, believe it or not, met with controversy. The village was originally founded as Lancaster in 1856 when the capital of Nebraska territory was in Omaha. Legislators wanted to move the capital closer to more densely populated part of the state so they chose Lancaster as the new capital. However, some legislators who were against the move tried to derail this plan by renaming Lancaster to Lincoln after the recently assassinated President. They knew this would be met with hostility since many residents were sympathetic to the Confederacy in the recently completed Civil War. But the ploy didn’t work and even though Lancaster became Licoln, it was still named the capital upon statehood on March 1, 1867.

Lincoln’s main industry is service, and the economy is driven by the university and the state government. There are virtually no suburbs as most of the land around the city has already been annexed. The town is home to the second tallest capitol building in the U.S. and is the hometown to erudite talk show host Dick Cavett, and current major leaguers Joba Chamberlain and Alex Gordon.

Nickname – Cornhuskers. There's no conference in the country with the variety of excellent nicknames as the Big Ten. With the exception of the Wildcats, and maybe the Spartans, each Big Ten school boasts a nickname that are unique and instantly identify their teams. This might be the best reason to allow Nebraska into the conference. Cornhuskers is absolutely unique and brings to mind only one thing: Nebraska. So much so that the state officially co-opted the nickname in 1945.

Before the turn of the 20th century, the Nebraska football teams had a number of nicknames including the Old Gold Knights, the Antelopes, the Tree-Planters, the Rattlesnake Boys, and the Bugeaters, which was their most popular name until 1900. At that time, Lincoln sportswriter Cy Sherman believed that the Nebraska team deserved a more glamorous name. The Iowa teams at that time were sometimes referred to as Cornhuskers and Sherman thought that name was better suited for the Nebraska team. Besides, Iowa fans were partial to one of their other nicknames, the Hawkeyes. The Cornhusker nickname stuck and Sherman went on to a 60-year sportswriting career and is credited (or blamed) for originating the AP football poll that still rues its ugly head over college football to this day.

But what is a Cornhusker? Well, it’s one who shucks corn, something just about all of us have done. Know Your Foe still looks back fondly on the days when our mother would order us outside on a hot summer day to shuck the fresh Michigan corn on the cob.

Mascot – Herbie Husker. The Cornhuskers went through a number of mascots, starting with Corn Cob in the ‘40s and ‘50s. Yes, this was a guy wearing a giant corn cob head. 1962 saw the arrival of Husker Man who looked like Purdue Pete’s alcoholic brother. Husker Man didn’t stick around very long and gave way to another anthromorphic corn cob, Mr. Cornhead, in the mid ‘60s. Harry Husker then took over in 1965. Is there any doubt he was based on numerous boosters who set fire to the NCAA rule book?

The corn cobs are cool - the humans are seedy looking.
Finally, in 1974 Herbie Husker was born. He was the result of the incredible cartoonist Dirk West. Seriously, check out his work – brilliant on so many levels. West created Herbie for the 1974 Cotton Bowl and later refined the character who would then be used as the mascot for all Husker teams since. He underwent a major transformation in 2003, losing the gut and getting quite cut (unlike actual Nebraska fans). He also lost the dye job and is now a brunet. All of this surely helped him win the national mascot of the year in 2006. In 1994 Lil’ Red joined the Nebraska mascot family. The inflatable dude is the nightmare Michigan fans had when Dave Brandon floated the idea of a Wolverine mascot for kids to take pictures with.
I prefer original Herbie - he
had a corn cob in his pocket.
Colors – Scarlet and Cream. One of only eight schools to call their red scarlet, Nebraska is one of three scarlet teams on Michigan’s schedule this year (joining San Diego State and Michigan’s next opponent tOSU).  They’re also one of only three NCAA schools that count their white as cream (along with Indiana and Oklahoma). Know Your Foe has stated our problem with red (or scarlet) over the years here on the MZone. Suffice it to say it’s just too common. No wonder the Huskers gave up so many points to Wisconsin earlier this season – they probably didn’t want to tackle anyone wearing the exact same colors as they were wearing. Besides, scarlet and cream sounds like a delicious ice cream flavor.
The colors haven’t changed in Lincoln for over a century. At one point the team wore gold as evidenced by the Gold Knights nickname in use in the late 19th century. But the scarlet and cream combo has been a Nebraska tradtion since the Cornhusker nickname came into being in 1900. The only slight deviation is the reference to the Nebraska defense as the “Blackshirts.” This nickname is in reference to the black practice jerseys worn by the first team defense in practice and dates back about 50 years when legendary head coach Bob Deveney wanted the defense to wear a contrasting color to the offense’s red scarlet. Thankfully the Huskers haven’t succumbed to the uniform nonsense of late and haven’t gone to a black uniform. Yet.

Looks like something
from Laugh-In.
Logo/Helmet – Since 2004 Nebraska has gone with a simple red block N and for the ten years before that they superimposed a script “Huskers” over the N. Unfortunately these recent logos feed the stereotype about the state – flat and boring. But in doing research for this piece, Know Your Foe was fortunate enough to find HuskerJ’s page of Nebraska’s mascots and logos. Scroll down and check out the absolutely groovy logos from the early ‘70s. Far freakin’ out. How could that possibly come from the same school that’s used the block N for twenty years?

No need to mess with this.
Nebraska’s helmet might not be as flashy as whatever crap Nike’s been pushing on Oregon and Oklahoma State, but it’s solid as hell and has been virtually unchanged for over 40 years. A simple white shell, a scarlet stripe down the middle and a plain but elegant N in the middle. The only change since 1970 was the move to a red facemask for the 1982 Orange Bowl. Nebraska’s helmet history is about as boring (and great) as that of Michigan. Sure, they had NU on there for a a couple of years in the ‘60s and numbers before that. But the current Nebraska helmet is as iconic as any in college football. Let’s hope it stays that way. (As always the helmets are courtesy of the excellent Helmet Project.)

Fight Song – Apparently the Cornhuskers have at least two fight songs. According to this source, they play Hail Varsity after a touchdown, and There’s No Place Like Nebraska (also known as Dear Old Nebraska U) after the extra point. It’s unclear what they play after a field goal or a safety. If There’s No Place Like Nebraska sounds familiar, it should. It’s extremely similar, if not the same, as Florida’s fight song, We Are The Boys of Florida. How could two powerhouse football programs - who met for the national title in the 1996 Fiesta Bowl - have the same fight song? Evidently, they also share the song with the Toledo public school system.

The lyrics to the two songs are quite different. Hail Varsity is pretty standard fight song fare, with a touch of communist march – heavy on loyalty, a politically incorrect sexist bent, and talk of fighting for victory.

Hail to the team!
The stadium rings as everyone sings
The Scarlet and Cream
Cheers for a victory echo our loyalty
So on mighty men!
The eyes of the land upon every hand
Are looking at you
Fight on to victory
Hail to the men of Nebraska U!

There’s No Place Like Nebraska on the other hand is much more charming and unintentionally funny (not to mention a better tune). Any song that mentions that the women are hot, the men are nerds, and the weather sucks is OK with us. The only questionable lyric is the “true blue” mention. That might not fly with Cornhusker fans this week.

There is no place like Nebraska
Dear old Nebraska U
Where the girls are the fairest
The boys are the squarest
Of any old place that I knew
There is no place like Nebraska
Where they're all true blue
We'll all stick together in all kinds of weather
For dear old Nebraska U.

Academics – According to the most recent U. S. News' ranking of America's Best Colleges, Nebraska is 101st, by far the worst rating for any Big Ten school. Even Sparty is ranked 71st. Nebraska's tied in the rankings with such academic powerhouses as Florida State, NC State, Kansas, Oklahoma, Oregon, and Tennessee. That group might make up a good sports conference, but it’s far from Ivy League in the classroom. Maybe the N on the helmet stands for “knowledge" (I know: an oldie but a goody).

Athletics – Nebraska is in their first year in the Big Ten and was a charter member of the Big 12 Conference (and all its various incarnations) in 1907. It’s too early to tell who the Cornhuskers’ rivals will be. Back in the ‘70s and ‘80s there was none better than Nebraska-Oklahoma on the gridiron. But when the Sooners moved to the South division of the Big 12 they didn’t meet every year. There was an attempt to make Colorado a rival but that never really took.

When this guy's your
all-time leading scorer
you have a bad program.
The Huskers field 21 varsity teams (Michigan has 27), including women’s bowling and women’s rifle. The women’s volleyball team is one of the most storied programs in the country. It must be all the beaches in the state that produce such great players. Nebraska has won three NCAA titles (1995, 2000, and 2006), has been a runner-up three times, and has five other final four appearances. The Cornhuskers are second only to Stanford in titles and winning percentage. The men’s gymnastics teams has won eight national titles, though none since 1994, and the women’s track and field team has two national titles, though none since 1984. The men’s basketball team has been a disgrace. They haven’t won a conference title since they shared the Big Seven title in 1950! Know Your Foe didn’t even know there was a Big Seven. They haven’t won an outright conference title since winning the Missouri Valley Intercollegiate Athletics Association in 1916. They’ve never won an NCAA tournament game, they’ve made only six tournament appearances, and their first trip to the tournament wasn’t until 1986.

When it comes to Nebraska athletics it’s football, football, football. The Huskers began playing football in 1890 and have won 46 conference titles and have won or shared five national championships, including the undeserved share of the 1997 title. Only Michigan and Texas have won more games than Nebraska. Let’s hope the Huskers don’t catch the Longhorns this weekend – Texas has 856 victories, Nebraska has 855. Michigan leads with 892. Only Rutgers has played more football games than Nebraska (who’s tied with Navy and one game ahead of Michigan), and Nebraska’s all-time winning percentage (.704 entering the year) is 8th best (Michigan’s .733 is tops). Not only has Nebraska had tremendous on-field success, but they’ve sold out every game since November 3, 1962, an incredible streak of 317 games.

Maybe Carnac knows
who will win on Saturday.
Famous alums – The list of Nebraska alumni isn’t all that impressive (with two exceptions). They’ve had their share of academics you’ve never heard of, some legal figures of low to moderate fame, and, of course, plenty of great football players from Heisman winners Johnny Rodgers (1972), Mike Rozier (1983), and Eric Crouch (2001), to great NFL’ers like Roger Craig, Irving Fryar, and the Detroit Lions’ Ndamukong Suh. But what the Nebraska alumni list lacks in volume it makes up for with quality at the top. Other schools may have more well-known business leaders, but Nebraska boasts one of the wealthiest people in the world and one of the most successful investors ever in Warren Buffett (B.S., 1950). I would imagine he has no problem scoring Husker tickets despite the sellout streak. And though other schools can lay claim to plenty of greats in the entertainment field, Nebraska can top them all with alumnus Johnny Carson (1949). For those too young to know, Carson owned late night TV for decades and paved the way for David Letterman and Conan O’Brien, not to mention hundreds of comedians. Good stuff.

Three Nebraska graduates have been U.S. senators, five have been U.S. governors, and one was even the president of Latvia, but, alas, no U.S. Presidents

The Game – Michigan might have played their best game of the year last week in Champaign. Hell, it was the best defensive performance for Michigan since probably 2006. Meanwhile the Huskers were also gutting out a tough road win. But they’ve been on a bit of an "on one week off the next" pattern. That bodes well for Michgan if it keeps up. The Wolverines appear to be peaking on D and the offense is still potent if not powerful. The team has played very well at home and Saturday will be no different. MICHIGAN 20, NEBRASKA 13.