Let’s get something out of the way right from the start. Down in Columbus, Michigan is about as well received as a venereal disease at a swingers’ party.
Knowing that, I’m about to spit some venom that I’m sure will result, at best, with nasty e-mails, and at worst, in threats to my life. But, as a great man once said, carpe diem.
Ohio State is a great football school. That’s obvious. But Michigan is better – it’s that simple. Belligerent, drunk Buckeye fans can spout off about being 3-1 with Coach Sweatervest at the helm. Well I’ve got a better stat – 57-38-6 – the series all-time record.
I may be from the land of the Boundary Waters, but I know one thing – I dislike (not hate, because I know what’s truly important in the world) the Buckeyes. Being an adopted son of Michigan has taught me this. I’ve always had a weary feeling toward Ohio State, but this feeling of extreme disgust didn’t boil over until the last 15 months – and it has nothing to do with wins and losses. For the record, I don’t want to hear people talking about how crappy Detroit is, I’m not from there, so I don’t care.
I truly believe that Ohio State, at times, runs a classless program. Look no further than last year’s dog-searching incident.
As the Wolverines entered the Toilet, err the Horseshoe, police with dogs awaited the Michigan players and coaches. Hmmm, that’s unusual, a large group from a football team entering the stadium prior to kickoff. Yeah, definitely sounds like grounds for dogs sniffing their bags. So, Lloyd Carr and crew are pissed, as I would be too. But – and this is my favorite part – the Ohio State athletic department claimed that it did the same thing to Iowa, Penn State and lowly Indiana. Funny, all three schools indicated to Carr that they didn’t deal with that BS.
Carr put it best during his Monday’s press conference.
“Well, I think there is a difference between gamesmanship and just respect,” he said.
I’m not blaming Jim Tressel or former Athletic Director Andy Griger, but the treatment for Michigan last year was ridiculous.
In my opinion, and a 22-year-old can be wrong, that is the problem with much of Ohio State – a lack of respect. I’m not saying that Michigan fans are angels. I once saw someone on State Street set a Buckeyes hat on fire and toss it onto the windshield of a moving Ohio State recreational vehicle – not the nicest thing in the world. But Buckeyes take it to a new level. Even their players get into the act.
Troy Smith, great quarterback. Sixth in the country in passing efficiency, first in the country in accepting $100 handshakes.
Those incidents were just the cherries on top of my disdain for our neighbors to the south.
There have been other off-the-field incidents this past year involving Buckeye players, including a couple marijuana problems, but my favorite incidents happened in 2003.
Oh Robert Reynolds, he was quite the linebacker. Unfortunately, he was better at choking and trying to injure opponents than tackling them. Exhibit A, the choke incident of Jim Sorgi in Madison. After a scramble, Sorgi slid and waited for the whistle. Instead, he got a choking from Reynolds. Sorgi had to leave the game, but the Badgers pulled off the victory anyway.
You’d think national scorn would dissuade the Buckeye. But no, in Michigan’s 35-21 victory in 2003, Reynolds was seen twisting Wolverine Chris Perry in a pile up after the play was over. He wasn’t embodying the words of Ron Burgundy, you know, “staying classy.”
See a pattern with the Buckeyes? If not, maybe another example will help.
While we’re speaking of linebackers, who remembers Andy Katzenmoyer? I know I do. He was suppose to make Dick Butkus look more like Andy Dick. But his great career was almost derailed before his junior season. Shockingly, Katzenmoyer somehow did not have the greatest of grades, even at Ohio State. I’m sure it was because the organic chemistry classes he had to be taking were just too taxing for him.
Well, the school said he had to take some summer classes to raise his GPA. You’d think maybe a psych class, English or even history. No, he took a golf class. I don’t even know what that would entail, but at least he was eligible for that season, a season in which the Buckeyes choked away (not in the Reynolds sense) a national championship.
I could reel off more reasons why Ohio State is inferior to Michigan. Its greatest tradition – dotting the “i” – is a Wolverine invention. Ten percent of Michigan’s current roster are Ohio natives, an obvious sign that they wanted out of “Riot U.” I could even talk about Maurice Clarett, but that would be just too mean.
There it is, laid out so even a Buckeye fan can comprehend (assuming he or she can read). Ohio State is a talented team, and the few players I’ve talked to (A.J. Hawk, Nate Salley and Nick Manigold) are pleasant, well-spoken dudes, so Ohio State’s not all bad. But what’s done is done, and all that matters is winning in this rivalry.
Speaking of victories, this Saturday Ohio State probably should win, but I just get the feeling that Carr’s crew knows that they have to win, and that they will. Prove me right Blue.
Matt doesn’t really care what comments he’s going to get from Ohio State fans, just like he won’t care what’s on sale at Wal-Mart, where most of those e-mailers will be working in a few years. Matt can be reached at email@example.com.