"The University of Illinois is also in turmoil. The university sports an Interim Chancellor, an Interim Athletic Director, and an Interim Football Coach; the game will be played at Soldier Field, making this an Illini Interim Home Game."
Ohio State spent much of the 2010 season demonstrating that it was possible for both teams to lose a football game. But can both teams win a geme?
Visitors to Oberlin, OH on an autumn Saturday who happen to join the throng of hundreds at Savage Stadium and spend some time perusing the program for the day's football game might be surprised, if they're Michigan fans, to learn that Oberlin's all-time record against Michigan is 1-8-0. Oberlin is, after all, one of the 85 opponents Michigan claims an unblemished record against.
The late Geoff Blodgett, professor of American history at Oberlin and before that a wide receiver on the football team, spent some time in the archives and wrote a brief article on the disputed game in the Oberlin Alumni Magazine.
I recommend the piece. It's a great window into the world of college football in the 1890s--one part cutthroat mercenary competition in the style of Vonnegut's Player Piano (Oberlin had hired John Heisman away from the University of Pennsylvania not just to coach but to play!) and two parts glorified backyard pick-up game, officiated by subs from the two sides and with rules made up on the fly ("guys, we need to shorten the second half--the last train home leaves at 5 and we aren't going to be done in time to make it." "ok, we'll stop playing at 4:50.").
The latter went about as well as you'd expect. With the 4:50 deadline approaching and Michigan up by 4, Oberlin's Charles Savage ripped off a 90-yard run from scrimmage, tackled from behind by George Jewett at the Michigan 5. Blodgett picks up the story:
Two plays later Oberlin made its final touchdown. Score: Oberlin 24, Michigan 22, with less than a minute to go. As Michigan launched its last drive, the referee (an Oberlin sub) announced that 4:50 p.m. had arrived, time had expired, and the Oberlin squad trotted off the field to catch the train. Next the umpire (a Michigan man) ruled that four minutes remained on the game clock, owing to timeouts that Oberlin's timekeeper had not recorded. Michigan then walked the ball over the goal line for an uncontested touchdown and was declared the winner, 26 to 24. By that time the Oberlinians were headed home clutching their own victory, 24 to 22.
To Oberlin, well, damn it, a deal is a deal, the train is leaving the station and it's not as if there were alternate transportation options in 1892. To Michigan it must have seemed a lot like the guy that wins a big pot at the poker table, stuffs the winnings in his pocket, checks his watch and says "oops, gotta go."
I don't know how the dispute could have been adjudicated then--it's not as if there were any established procedures for it--and it's surely impossible now that all the relevant facts have been buried with the participants (what was really agreed at halftime? when did 4:50 really strike? what was the deal with the missing timeouts?).
As far as I can tell, the NCAA has recognized both team's claims to the victory. That seems fair--it makes a better story, and the double victory helps restore a little balance to the football universe after all the vacated wins of recent years.
1. Geography does not matter anymore.
2. The coasts have all the power. The midwest is a shrinking demographic and as the industrial base eventually erodes, the B1G is chasing the engines of the current economy - NY/NJ (and all of the money that trickles down from Wall Street) and DC (and all of the largesse of the federal government). [Note: I live in the NYC metro area and there are lots of Michigan alums here (with disposable income) chomping at the bit to see Michigan games w/in 2-3 hours travel time.]
3. B1G is NOT an elite academic conference. With all due respect to Michigan, Northwestern and Indiana (limited only to the Kelley School of Business), the rest of the B1G is a mediocre academic conference. Maryland and Rutgers fit right in - i.e., they are mediocre state schools (or slightly worse, since they are in states that only respect private universities).
[EDIT ON 3: I think all I really meant to say here was that Maryland and Rutgers are really no worse than the bulk of the B1G (excluding, Michigan, Northwestern and Indiana (which, in my humble opinion, are much better academic schools than the average B1G school)).]
4. CONSOLIDATION. Just like in any other industry, consolidation brings strength and economies of scale via creative destruction. TV networks want to sign deals with a few powerhouse conference "brands". If you're in one of these new "brands", you are relevant; if not, then you might as well be DII or DIII.
5. The future is nothing like the past. Those who can cherish the past, but accept the future are the happiest folks of all. This applies to any change, whether it be changes to athletic conferences, job changes or national/international changes.
[PERSONAL NOTE: I just got power back a few days ago!!! Hurricane Sandy was awful(I will post pictures when I have some time). I missed a few football/basketball games w/o tv, but I'm thankful for MGoBlog because I was able to check in from time to time to watch highlights of the games. Thanks all!]
Now that Maryland is officially joining the B1G, with Rutgers soon to follow, let's get your tinfoil hats out and figure out WHY*
I think my favorite somewhat-crazy idea is that this is a big F U to Notre Dame. When all the conference expansion hoopla was happening everyone pretty much figured that there were going to be 4 conferences left, with 16 teams each. The 4 conference champs get the 4 football playoff spots. Made enough sense.
The question is which of the 5 "power conferences" would get destroyed and join the other 4. Well, the B1G is making a move to insure that the ACC won't survive with any clout. The B1G, SEC, and PAC12 are on great footing and sure to make it. They have their own networks, best financial footings, and (historically) great teams and rivalries.
The BigXII has Texas and Oklahoma after being raided by the SEC. The ACC is getting raided by the B1G.
The SEC is at 14 teams, with room for 2 more to become a Superconference. The B1G will be in the same spot now, and the PAC12 needs to figure out which 4 teams it can get to join them. Texas and Oklahoma are the obvious answers, with maybe Boise and another team I'm not thinking of. The SEC will take FSU and probably Clemson.
ND will have a choice, do they stay in the ACC/BigXII conglomerate with the likes of Duke and Baylor? Or do they become a member of the B1G?
What's your tinfoil hat telling you? How does this all shake out?
*Besides TV markets and Money. because those are the real, boring answers
On to law school. Not UM. Their decision, not mine.
But, that costs money too, so ticket scalping, uh, broker, business continues.
Thanks to my baseball buddies, I show up for the pre-season meeting for football program sellers, open to them, and the players on club sports teams. The varsity athletes get to keep their 7 cents per program (which cost a buck back then).
The club sports, like lacrosse, had their money go to their program.
I kind of let them think I was a baseball player (cough) so I got a check in December for my sales for the season.
Yes, this would now be an NCAA violation, as you cannot have benefits available only to student athletes. Program selling is now outsourced.
Hawking programs outside the stadium was perfect cover for hustling tickets. Which my bosses new, but I always sold all my programs, so?
On the first day of Legal Research and Writing class, taught by a recent grad, we were told we would get an “A” if we guessed his favorite number. No one did. Turned out to be #87, for Ron Kremer.
My kind of guy.
We had an undefeated season, except for an inexplicable loss at Purdue. So, beating the Buckeyes makes us the co-champs, with the tiebreaker, winning the head to head game.
The instructor tells me to meet him at such and such bar Friday night in Columbus.
A couple of bros still at the fraternity house are making the trip with me.
The trip down on Friday is uneventful, as, with Michigan plates, we carefully observe all traffic rules. We don't even drink in the car.
The national rule is that fraternity members can stay overnight in any house, so we plan on crashing at the Ohio chapter of our group.
The bar is on the aptly named High street.
In conditions that can only be described as just short of a riot, carloads of people are driving up and down High Street, singing, well, yelling, the obscene words to the greatest fight song ever written, “Hail to the mother----rs, hail to the big c---suckers, hail, hail, Michigan, the cesspool of the West.”
I ask someone what the straight metal poles are, about four feet high, regularly spaced along the sidewalk a foot or so in from the street.
Those are parking meters, is the response.
Where does the money go, says I.
Oh, now they remove that part the day before the Michigan game. Cuz one year you beat us, and people were pulling them off and throwing them through the store windows.
OK, we are not in Kansas any more.
Finally find the bar, gigantic line to get in, so we say the hell with it and head for the fraternity house.
Some Buckeyes start engaging us in conversation, being that I have Michigan attire displayed. No one else around. One guy is predicting glorious events for his team. Hands in my pockets, I calmly respond, well, we'll see on the field tomorrow.
Next thing I know, his fist has left my jaw after chipping two of my upper teeth.
There is a scrum for awhile with the two groups, and they scurry away.
Silly me. A crime has been committed. So, I walk the couple blocks back to High Street and find a payphone. To call the police.
There may be something more naïve I have done in my life, but, probably not.
I wait and wait for a car to arrive, looking at the chaos outside the window. And finally realize, they ain't coming.
At the house, there are actually a couple of football fans from Kentucky, or Tennessee, or both, who came up just for the big event, having heard what a colossal game this is. Cool.
We hustle tickets on the street.
Scoreless first half.
In the second half, Ricky Leach leads that option offense up and down the field. After one TD, our holder decides, on his own, to pick up the ball and run around the end for two points.
A 22-0 shellacking. Rose Bowl bound. Though, Rick Leach completed zero passes.
This is right up there with the births of my two children as a great event in my life.
EVERY GAME BUT “THE GAME”
In the interests of providing the board with yet more analysis of upcoming opponents, I have taken the basic offensive, defensive and scoring statistics for Michigan and Ohio State and graphed them so you can see where the successes and struggles have occurred and against which teams.
First, however, a summary table of season averages:
Passing Off. (Yds)
Rushing Off. (Yds)
Passing Def. (Yds)
Rushing Def. (Yds)
Scoring Off. (Pts)
Scoring Def. (Pts)
As you’ll note, the Buckeyes’ pass defense is not at all good, and as the graphs will bear out, in individual games, it has been exploited even though obviously not enough to win in the case of their opponents. On the other hand, our average passing yards have improved about 15% in three games with the emergence of Devin Gardner as the starting QB in place of an injured Denard Robinson (who did an excellent job in limited time against Iowa – the 40 yard run was beautiful).
The obvious thing for the Buckeyes to do is to try to establish the run and start rolling out option plays, as they have shown themselves to be capable of doing. Although we beat Air Force and Northwestern, getting to the edge is going to be extra critical on Saturday, I would think. If Braxton Miller can be held to the 3.74 yards per play that we give up on average on the ground, I would say that the Buckeye offense starts to have problems.
Anyway, looking at these graphs might provide some insight into which games in particular both teams might review very carefully. The thumbnails images should work - let me know if you encounter problems.
Ohio State - Passing And Rushing Offense By Game - 2012:
Ohio State - Passing And Rushing Defense By Game - 2012:
Ohio State - Scoring Offense And Defense By Game - 2012:
Michigan - Passing And Rushing Offense By Game - 2012:
Michigan - Passing And Rushing Defense By Game - 2012:
Michigan - Scoring Offense And Defense By Game - 2012:
Miami to self impose a second straight bowl ban this year. This comes in the wake of continuing allegations of improper benefits from boosters.
This is definitely a step in the right direction for Miami, but I always feel a bit of dishonesty when schools--who could be challenging for national titles--forfeit bowl's when their teams aren't so good. Especially when those good teams were the benefactor of the improper benefits. Either way, Miami has been terrible for a decade.