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November 22, 2006

The Game of the Century

I was going to do another running diary for the OSU-UM game Saturday (did you hear they were playing?), and I even started one, but it was feeling kinda lame, so I cut it off at game time.  Don't worry, I'll do one for the National Championship game.  Anyway, in lieu of an actual diary, here's some thoughts and photos.

  • The pregame scene was unbelievable.  I wasn't on campus for OSU-UM in 2002, but people said that was the only comparable pregame.  Either way, it blew the 2005 OSU-Texas game out of the water, and that night was a madhouse as well.  Before the game, every bar was packed.  Walking up High Street, there were 40 people in line at Eddie George's bar four hours before the game, and the line to get into Flying Pizza wrapped around the building.


I was wondering how the Dead Schembechlers would react to Bo's passing.  Of course, they did it the way all Ohio State fans do (cough, cough):  Classy.  So, on the Newport marquee they took off their name and put up "God Bless Bo."  When I drove by Tuesday, though, the "L" had conveniently fallen off so that the marquee read "God less Bo."


The view looking east on Lane Avenue, around noon (just after Corso picked Michigan).  The place was just warming up.

The view of Lane Avenue, from the St. John's parking lot, around 3.  During this time, there were literally about 100 people in line to get into the Lane Avenue 7-Eleven.

View of the Stadium, from the banks of the mighty Olentangy.
  • The game atmosphere was a little slow to get going.  After kickoff, though, the Stadium started cooking, and by the time O-State scored their first touchdown, the place was going nuts.  It was the best in-game atmosphere I've experienced at Ohio Stadium (second going to '04 Michigan and third going to '05 Texas).


Script Ohio, upside down from my seat in 24C.  Check out my main man from Hudson, Ohio dotting the "I."

View of the field from my seat.

The replay of the final play on the scoreboard.

  • My analysis of the game: Michigan played a good game.  Mike Hart is unbelievable, and Chad Henne held up fairly well against OSU's defense.  With that said, Ohio State dominated the game.  We had 100 more total yards.  We had three turnovers, two of which were unforced.  We had more controversial penalties go against us (by my count, it was 2-1 -- OSU: the "slapping the center" call early in the game & the bogus pass interference called on us deep in our own territory; UM: the personal foul on 3rd-and-16, although it was correctly called because of the helmet to helmet rule).  After Beanie Wells opened up the game with his 52 yard run, the game was ours.  After Pittman's 56 yard run, the game was over.  By the way, wasn't Michigan supposed to be the greatest rushing defense in the nation?  They gave up 187 rushing yards.  And wasn't Michigan's defensive front four supposed to be unbelievable?  Again, OSU had 187 yards rushing, and Troy Smith was sacked only once.
  • The postgame scene in the Stadium was fun to watch.  It was good to see thousands of fans peacefully rush the field.  During "Carmen Ohio," I noticed my buddy Will's friend Bob on the scoreboard standing right behind Jim Tressel.  According to Bob, Tressel was a bit freaked out by the adulation surrounding him on the field.  After "Carmen Ohio," Bob asked Tressel to bless his buckeye necklace.  Tressel responded by jokingly saying, "These fans are out of control" as he laid his hand on the necklace.  My friend Rick and I made our way down to the field after "Carmen Ohio."  It was insane--people smiling, crying, and taking pictures.  All over the field, people were ripping up the brand new sod so they could take a piece of the game home.  Just like in Austin, I didn't want to leave the stadium after the game.


The final scoreboard.  It was really dark.



The scene as fans rushed the field.

The field as the band played "Carmen Ohio."


The field at perhaps its fullest.

Fans ripping up the sod.

Me posing with a piece of the sod (and no, I didn't carry sod around with me for the rest of the night, but I did take a few blades of grass home).

The field after most of the fans had been cleared away.

The view from the home tunnel on the way out of the stadium.

  • This was definitely the best sporting event I've ever been to.  Definitely worth the $29 I paid for the ticket (and the $780 I turned down for my ticket).  Ohio State will be the first #1 ranked team to play three #2 teams in the same season.  I've been in the seats for the first two 1 vs. 2 matchups.  Guess I have to go to the third.
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November 14, 2006

Greatest Coach Meltdowns of All Time (at least as available on YouTube)

A friend of mine asked me today to help her come up with the names of famous Hermans.  She had already thought of Herman's Hermits, so the next name to come to mind was Herman Edwards.  I was astonished that she'd never heard of Coach Edwards, and that she'd never heard Herm's famous axiom, "You play to win the game."  So, I felt inspired to post the Top Five Greatest Coach Meltdowns of All Time.

  1. Herman Edwards, "You Play to Win the Game":  "Meltdowns" is kind of a bad word for this list I guess, because Herm didn't melt down here (in my opinion).  He was just fired up.  Either way, this is the gold standard, because it provided us with a fresh coaching catch phrase that, perhaps by virtue of its obviousness, gives us a common sense approach to life, sports, love, etc.
  2. Dennis Green, "They Are Who We Thought They Were":  Who would've thought that after moving to ESPN, Monday Night Football would trigger one of the greatest coaching meltdowns of all time?  This tirade supplied another catch phrase, which--again--gives us a common sense approach to life, sports, love, etc. by virtue of its obviousness.
  3. Jim Mora, "Playoffs?!?!":  This is sorta beyond description.  Really, Mora's "playoffs?!?!" is just below with Howard Dean's indecipherable yelp from the 2004 presidential primary season on the list of "Most Memorable 'One-Word' Exclamations."
  4. John L. Smith, "The Coaches Are Screwing It Up":  I had to add John L. to this list--I'm really going to miss him as Michigan State's head coach.  This is the one Ohio State home football game I haven't attended in person over the past three seasons, and in a way it kind of worked out, because I was able to witness this gem live on television.  This was the beginning of the end of MSU's 2005 season--all because they couldn't get their field goal unit on the field in time.  John L.'s "I got hit" press conference clip from after this season's Illinois game would be number two on this list, but the post-Google YouTube has been flooded with bogus clips for some reason, and a lot of stuff has been deleted recently.
  5. John Chaney, "When I See You, I'm Gonna Kick Your Ass":  As a University of Dayton alumnus, I miss John Chaney.  When the A-10 announced that the A-10 Tournament would be in Dayton, John Chaney said something to the effect of, "That's ridiculous.  Why should we all have to go out to the sticks?"  At the next UD-Temple game in Dayton, the ever-enterprising Red Scare proclaimed it "Farmer Night" at UD Arena.  People dressed up as yokel farmers, complete with custom UD John Deere hats.  The good-natured Chaney donned a straw hat for a few moments and posed for pictures with UD students sitting near the court (seriously).  Anyway, in one of his less good-natured moments, Chaney threated John Calipari's life after a game.  I would've listed the "Send in a goon" press conference from after an ill-fated Temple-Saint Joseph's game a few years back, but, alas, it's not on YouTube.
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