Oh, how the mighty have fallen

Written August 2nd, 2009 by Jeff

Here at The BBC, we take great pleasure in mocking Michigan fans. For longer than I care to remember, they had the upper hand on us, having won 10 out of 13 games over Ohio State (thank you, John Cooper)…..and they were arrogant about it.

In my world, payback’s a bitch. So I have no qualms whatsoever about pointing out their feeble attempts to remain relevant in the college football world (and especially in The Rivalry).

The latest laugh I have had at Michigan fans involves their opener for the 2010 football season. When Michigan’s Athletic Department announced that a new opener was being signed to a contract, the denizens of Ann Arbor found themselves in a frenzy of joy. They actually labeled it as “a real opponent“, and Brian at MGoBlog rattled off a long list of teams that were possible and/or likely to be the mystery opponent. Among the potential opponents;

  • LSU
  • Cal
  • Oklahoma State
  • Georgia
  • Oregon State

All of them quality opponents with a lot to offer both Michigan and the college football world.  Any of these would be big, big news.

Imagine my laughter when the word escaped that the home-and-home BIG BIG announcement was that Michigan would open 2010 by playing host to…..Connecticut.

As an admittedly biased Ohio State fan, even I would begin to tout the benefits of playing Connecticut if the tables were turned….but the discussion has gone from biased fan to sycophantic worship in Wolverineville.

Today, the aforementioned Michigan blog actually posted the phrase “Kudos to Martin for scheduling the Huskies.” They struggled so hard to make it seem like Connecticut was THE best choice for Michigan football. Among the other “ZOMG this is teh AWESOME” points from that blog up north;

  • Praising UConn’s 34-29 record over the past five years, despite that barely-over .500 record being compiled in the Big East.
  • Having a 2-1 record in bowl games. They failed to mention who they defeated in bowls. Their wins? Against Buffalo in the International Bowl, and Toledo in the Glass Bowl. Wow.
  • They posted a picture of a player at Connecticut. That player doesn’t even play at UConn anymore.

But the most asinine comment of the day was used against Michigan fans who were reminding everyone that at least Ohio State plays USC and Penn State will play Alabama.

…it is far harder to schedule and defeat a big-name opponent in real life than it is in a video game (I note your examples of Alabama-Penn State, and Ohio State-USC and counter with the seven mediocre opponents that PSU and OSU combine for OOC this year).

You can “note” an example of USC all you want, guys…but guess who is among those “seven mediocre opponents” that MGoBlog is pooh-poohing???

Please take note that the previous game was played back when Sam McGuffie was still considered “tough”.

Actually, having re-watched that highlight of Michigan losing to Toledo (at home), maybe Michigan should have gone with an easier opponent. UConn might embarrass the Weenies after all.

Chris Spielman lives vicariously through himself

Written July 31st, 2009 by Jeff
Spielman once recorded 29 tackles in a single game against Michigan, then went into the stands and beat the hell out of Jim Harbaugh's grandmother

Spielman once recorded 26 tackles in a single game against Michigan, then went into the stands and beat the hell out of Jim Harbaugh's grandmother

I grew up with the name Chris Spielman dominating the news. When I was in junior high, he was a running back and a linebacker at Massillon High School, a mere seven miles from my house. He humiliated both offenses and defenses across the state week after week. Guys in this town still have nightmares from when they were 16 year-old kids and would get punished having to try and tackle him on Friday night. They don’t talk about getting tackled by him because the concussion took that memory away.

Dude was even on a Wheaties box before he turned 18.

Then he chose Ohio State. Actually, his father told him to choose Ohio State or “never come home again”. Spielman was apparently considering that school up north.

In 1986 he was all over the field against Michigan, recording 29 tackles in a single game. No, that’s not a misprint. 29 tackles in one game.

So by the time I got to see him up close for the first time, he was a legend.

In 1987, I went up to Michigan Stadium to see the Buckeyes/Wolverines game. Four days earlier, Ohio State had fired head coach Earle Bruce and it was considered a travesty in every part of Ohio except the university president’s office. The players were pissed, and they were fully supporting Bruce.

During pre-game warmups that cold morning, we were right along the end zone wall, screaming for our Bucks. The players (who, in solidarity, had all put on white headbands with the name “Earle” emblazoned upon it in black Sharpie) were fired up and loving the atmosphere of the day. Hundreds of high-fives and hugs being exchanged between players and fans. It was electric.

Except for Spielman.

I have never seen a scarier sight in my life than when #36 came near our corner of the end zone. The look in his eyes was of pure anger and pure hunger. Nobody reached out to wish Spielman luck. They were too afraid of him. He looked as if he would literally plunge a rusty 6-inch shank in your jugular vein if you got in his way.

We were terrified of him and we were on the same freaking team.

And then we watched Michigan’s offense try to use only half of the field, constantly running to the side of the field that didn’t have a guy named Spielman on it. They clearly remembered the attack they had witnessed in 1986 (seriously, 29 tackles!) and tried their best to avoid a repeat.

That day, Spielman and the rest of the Buckeyes gave Bruce his final win at Ohio State, beating Bo Schembechler 23-20. Thanks, Chris!

36 days until kickoff!

John Cooper remembered – And NOT in a good way

Written July 20th, 2009 by Jeff

This morning, our old friends at Eleven Warriors published a brilliant piece on John Cooper and his recent induction in the College Football Hall Of Fame.

Of course, you can’t write a Cooper-based piece with using the numbers 2, 10, and 1. 11W did that. Sprinkled around the article is a list of Coop’s accomplishments, and The BBC will not argue with the fact that these feats qualify our former coach for the HOF.

But our disagreements about Cooper end there. I haven’t yet forgiven Coach for many of his failures and perhaps I still hold too much of a grudge….but my frustration with him hasn’t faded.

My freshman year at The Ohio State University was 1987. Earle Bruce had a team with minimal talent and he caught a few horrible breaks that year (seriously, a TD on 4th-and-23 to Iowa….in The Shoe). But four days after the administration fired Bruce, his team went up to Michigan Stadium and beat Bo Schembechler. With Greg freaking Frey taking snaps, no less.

My sophomore year was Cooper’s first year, and the season hadn’t even begun before Cooper’s heart was being questioned. I recall an article in The Lantern in which Cooper was openly mocking students who had casually reminded him that he shouldn’t be wearing a blue blazer around campus. Rather than run to complain to the student newspaper, he should have pulled aside any one of his assistant coaches or players and asked them why it was so important to ditch the blue (and/or maize) colored apparel.

When the season began, the first three games would tell you all you needed to know.

  • Game 1 – No turnovers, no penalties against the Bucks, as Ohio State laid waste to Syracuse on national TV
  • Game 2 – Travel to Pitt, give up 6 touchdowns to the Panthers and lose by more than 30 points.
  • Game 3 – Fall behind 33-20 to visiting LSU with 2 minutes to play, and pull off the miracle win.  They scored 16 points in less than 90 seconds and beat the Tigers 36-33.

The Buckeyes were schizophrenic under Cooper and when they finally captured some sort of consistency, it wasn’t the type of consistency we wanted to see.

John Cooper, during the off-season, was a brilliant recruiter and nobody could ever (and possibly will ever again) put together a team like he could.  Every amazing player you saw in the 1990s was brought to Columbus through the charm and brilliance of John Cooper.  Eddie George.  David Boston.  Orlando Pace.  Shawn Springs.  Joey Galloway.  Etc, etc, etc.

But where we may have been the most talented team on the field every single Saturday, that talent was often wasted with poor coaching decisions time and time again.  Let’s not forget…..

  • Sensation RB Robert Smith, who was chastized by the coaches for missing a practice….to attend class.  Smith’s well-publicized run-in with the coaching staff led to his leaving the Buckeyes prematurely.
  • The whole “I was left with a pack of slow white guys” whine-fest.
  • The day Cooper allowed the game to end early because of rain.  In 1990, trailing USC with just under three minutes to play, the Buckeyes began making a hasty exit for the locker room, followed by the Trojans team.  A sold-out stadium was left wondering what had happened until we were later told that the game had been called due to weather.  Cooper later told reporters that he didn’t want any players to be in danger from lightning.  He left no word about whether or not he was concerned about the 100,000 fans in attendance who had no opportunity to run to the locker room before their job was complete.
  • Two words.  Air F***ing Force.
  • In the 4th quarter of a tie game in Michigan territory, Cooper calls for Greg Frey…yes, Greg Frey…to run an option play. On 4th down. Seriously.  Having never run an option play before, the Buckeyes failed.  Michigan used a handful of plays to move the ball forward just enough to kick the game-winning field goal.
  • Following the huge victory over Arizona State in the Rose Bowl, reporters rushed in to get the first comment from Cooper.  Rather than praise his team, his first words were an attack on Buckeye fans, as he said “let’s see if that’s a big enough win for them”.  Classy, Cooper.
  • Cooper’s final game against South Carolina, when the team fell apart and lost all semblance of discipline.  After a series of cheap shots from Buckeye players, LB Joe Cooper was finally ejected for a late hit in the end zone. John Cooper’s career came to end with that woeful afternoon.

I could actually go on and on for a long time.  I’m sure you could too.  Cooper’s issues are a novel waiting to be written.

Eleven Warriors closes their article with “if you can’t at least bring yourself to recognize and appreciate the good that Cooper did at Ohio State, then you’re either clueless, or hold irrationally long grudges. Neither is healthy.”

11W is right….Cooper deserves to be in the Hall Of Fame.  But let me be the first to stand up and say that while I recognize and appreciate the good that Cooper did, I am not at all prepared to forgive him for the shame and humiliation brought upon us by him.

To this day, I still can’t figure out why we haven’t hired him to be a recruiter for Ohio State, and then put a restraining order on him every Saturday afternoon in the fall to prevent him from showing up at Ohio Stadium.