Friday, November 21, 2008

A Brief Aside Regarding College Football

Because I'm an alum who lives in Columbus, Ohio, I've been asked by a couple of people for my thoughts on tomorrow's Michigan-Ohio State game. Here they are:
  • Ohio State should win and win handily. It's going to be cold and I think Chris Wells will carry the ball 30 times, Michigan will stuff him pretty decently early, but then they will tire, fall behind, and because they don't have that dynamic an offense, ultimately die. Sprinkle in some play action and, more likely, some quarterback keepers from Pryor, and I really don't think Michigan has much of a chance.

  • That said, I am not some blind Ohio State homer, and I am fully respectful of both this game and Michigan's program. Ohio State had the better team and was supposed to win in 1969 and didn't. Ohio State had the better team multiple times in the mid-to-late 90s, was supposed to win, and didn't. Michigan had the better team and was supposed to win a couple of times in the Earle Bruce years and during Tressel's first season, and didn't. Anything can happen in this game, new coaches that come to this rivalry not named John Cooper tend to surprise, and somewhere between hubris, weather, and outrageous fortune lies about a dozen scenarios in which Michigan could humiliate the Buckeyes tomorrow, with humiliation being described as a Michigan win of any kind. I know that, and I will be nervous unless and until Ohio State takes a two-touchdown lead.

  • Because it will be cold and because Ohio State is likely to run Wells until his friggin' hamstrings snap, this game is going to be an almost exaggerated version of classic Big Ten-style football. This will drive SEC, Big 12, and Pac-10 fans absolutely nuts. Save it. We know: The Big Ten sucks. Your conferences invented speed and offense. The southern and western schools have better looking women, have more passionate fans, and your players, coaches, and legends both living and dead walk on water, breathe greatness, eat all challengers, and shit glory. We don't care.

  • For the first time in my life I have tickets to The Game, and I look forward to freezing my butt off in Ohio Stadium tomorrow afternoon.
  • That's the last I'll say about non-baseball stuff today, but please feel free to add whatever thoughts you have in the comments.


    Pete Toms said...

    "shit glory", very funny, is that original? Hadn't heard that one before.

    Craig Calcaterra said...

    Nah, it's become something of a meme in these kinds of sarcastic rants. I've seen it multiple times in other places and thought I'd whip it out for the occasion.

    rob said...

    As a recent transplant to Ann Arbor, I'm rooting for the Wolverines, but they don't stand a chance.

    I will submit, however, that The OSU (or is that The U of OS?) is not going to run the ball as much as you predict. I see them taking full advantage of Pryor, both running the ball when UM plays it deep, and abusing the UM safeties when they don't (I'm looking at you, Stevie Brown).

    Wells will get his carries, but they're going to be set up with judicious use of Pryor's legs putting UM on their heels. Look for a solid defense from Michigan on about 90% of the plays, and a few huge gains due to missed assignments, missed tackles, and overall confusion on the other 10%. I'm predicting 18-yard gains on 3rd and 7, back-breaking 4th down conversions at the 40-yard line, and pass interference penalties in the end zone.

    On offense, look for highly talented receivers with a high school quarterback chucking up overthrows, underthrows, and bootlegs that look like they're in molasses.

    Daniel said...

    It's true that in the Pac 10 we have better looking women.

    That's really all I have to say.

    Ken Dynamo said...



    hey thats cool tho. my parents and aunt and uncle will be there, as my aunt is an alum and former flag girl, or something like that.

    seriously tho, why is the big east so crappy this year? they hardly shit glory. they poop failure. go R-U.

    Craig Calcaterra said...

    Rob -- I actually hope you're right, because that's a game I'd much rather see. Tressel is conservative as hell though. I know he saves a bag of tricks for the Michigan game and that last week's vanilla attack against Illinois may have been a big head fake, but if Pryor throws a pick or Michigan bloodies our nose early, he will retract into his shell and it will be three yards and a cloud of little plastic bits from the field turf for the rest of the game.

    Ken: I think the Big East's problem is a structural one in that to this day, the big dog in east coast recruiting remains Penn State, and thus a ton of talent just leaves the area, and it's not as talented an area as a lot of other places to begin with.

    Ed Giles said...

    I don't give a damn for the whole state of Michigan.

    Larry (Boston) said...

    We all know the game to watch this weekend is Penn State - Michigan State. The Ohio State - Michigan game is a nice rivalry, but means nothing.

    That being said, I went to my first ever college football game last weekend, the soaking wet, rainy, soaking wet, rainy, Penn State - Indiana game.... did mention WET??? While it lived up to some of the hype, the weather put a damper on things. And worst of all, at 3:30 the sun came out......... AFTER the game!

    Dress warmly, buy some hot chocolate, and enjoy the game!

    mooseinohio said...

    In regards to best conferences I admit that the SEC and Pac10 are impressive in warm weather bowl games but what would happen if the national title games was played in Chicago or NY - I suspect the 'respect' factor for the Big11 would increase slightly. I know it won't happen - same with the SB but I find it interesting that a national champion is determined in a slightly artifical way as cliamte issues are supposed to be an element of football games until the last game to determine who is the best.

    Kind of goes back the quesiton -
    Do you build a team to get you there or to win if you get there?

    Ken Dynamo said...

    yeah, th big east definitley has a recruiting problem, with lots of talent migrating south or to the mid west, but i dont think its anything that can't be overcome over time.

    sure, the other regions have a huge leg up on tradition, and i'd grant that the south definitely has more football talent per capita than anywhere else, but theres also a lot more competition among schools for that talent. think about it, Louisiana has 5 DI football schools. the entire new york metro area has 1, rutgers, or 2 if you count syracuse. all of new england has one, granted its in the ACC now, but you get my point.

    anyway, bottom line is the big east rep in the BCS is going to be a joke. i am not looking forward to watching cincy get smoked by Utah in a bowl game.

    Eric said...

    are you excited for Texas Tech/OU?

    i know i am.

    Dre said...

    Glad I'll be on the road and will miss this debacle... just a fitting miserable end to the season for my beloved Wolverines.

    Who knows, maybe they shock the world. Beating tUOS would save the season.

    Sara K said...

    Of course, what is *really* important is who has the better marching band. ;-)

    Jeff said...


    As a non-OSU attendee or alum, but someone who HAS been to 3 OSU/Michigan games, I'll just say - get caught up in the game. It's seriously one of the best rivalries and experiences that can be had on this planet. The pageantry, the stupidity, the fandom, the excessiveness, the bacchanalia, the game, the history.

    How many SEC teams have been playing each other for 105 years? How many SEC coaches have lost their job not because of their records but because they could not beat one specific team regardless of the number of Conference Championships or bowl games said coach has taken the team to? How many times has one game, held every year, between the same two teams been the single deciding factor in the conference championship?

    Have fun. Be safe. And may Ohio State win.

    tHeMARksMiTh said...

    The SEC has offense? As a UK fan, I find that offensive.

    dtro said...

    As a big Michigan fan, I recognize that they have zero chance of winning this game. Not only is OSU better in general, but the last few years (and from what I can tell this is still true under Rodriguez) they get absolutely lit up my QBs whi can run.

    The only consolation thi year has been making friends with a big OU fan and therefore watching the Big 12. Now that is an entertaining conference.

    Matt said...

    Shyster - it's too bad that this is going to be your first experience attending this amazing rivalry. I went to many of them growing up in Ann Arbor and attending U of M, and there really is no experience that I have ever felt which can relate to this experience. I hope that what I feel will likely not be a great showing from my beloved Wolverines will not sour you from attending this game in the future when both teams are again battling for the right to go to the Rose Bowl.

    One last statement that depressed me greatly when I saw it the other day..."The Michigan-Ohio State rivalry will take a sudden turn this week when Michigan is forced to forfeit after not being able to get past Toledo."

    Kritical Man said...

    Dude! you're an OSU alum and this is your first Michigan game? Sorry to hear that. Dare I ask what you were doing the 2 (or 3) Michigan weekends that happened in Columbus while you were a student? Or do you, uh, not remember? Both of mine are pretty blurry at this point. I think I killed the requisite brain cells before the kickoffs even happened. Good times, good times.

    Have a great time at the game! Just make sure you know the alternate words to the Michigan fight song!!

    Richard Dansky said...

    I'll take the Big East over the ACC any day. I'm convinced that Bobby Bowden has built some sort of demonic engine that sucks the football prowess out of every school in the ACC. It used to funnel that straight back to Free Shoes University, but a few years back he disconnected a hose or something and now all that footbally goodness just goes straight into the Chattahoochee.

    Peter said...

    I don't think the ACC is anywhere near as bad as the conventional wisdom says. In fact, Sagarin has them as the #1 conference by central mean:

    It's weak at the top, no question, but it's pretty deep -- heck, even Duke has been respectable this year.