Wow. Wow. Wow. I was idling along on SI.com doing something, what I can't remember, when an SI Vault link invitingly titled "Herbstreit has Buckeyes Rolling" promised retro lulz given the way Herbstreit's career turned out (0-4-1, all of which losses were entirely his fault… just like Mike Hart). I clicked, and found myself in a gold mine. (Though it was a mistitled one. Herbstreit hardly came in for a mention.)
For one, here's one of the great quotes of the rivalry, one I had no idea about:
Facing fourth-and-goal on the Michigan five with 4:24 remaining and the Wolverines leading 13-6, Ohio State's Kirk Herbstreit threw a scoring pass to Greg Beatty, and the Buckeyes hung on for a 13-13 tie. University president Gordon Gee's jubilant assessment of the stalemate—"This tie is one of our greatest wins ever"—was interpreted as naked relief that he wouldn't have to fire a decent man.
Also, I had no idea how rough Cooper's start was. His first four years he brought home a winning percentage of .600 to go along with an 0-4 record in The Game. Would Rodriguez get that sort of slack these days? (Maybe, since it would mean Michigan would average 9.2 wins over the next three years. Woo for going 3-9 to start.)
And then there's this annoying, deathless meme:
Two things, however, separate this Buckeye squad from Cooper's previous teams: an abundance of speed and an absence of controversy. The ascension of Florida teams has finally convinced Big Ten coaches that the days of pounding the ball behind stegosauruslike offensive linemen are over. "We've begun to realize," says Cooper, "that if we're going to compete with the big boys, we're going to have to recruit speed."
argh. argh argh argh. This is almost 20 years ago! How many times has a spiritual equivalent of the bolded sentence been written? An exhaustive search of everything ever written about sports yields 600 million, or so, all of them trite and dumb.
And this… this I give the title of fakest FAKE 40 of all time:
Even Dan (Big Daddy) Wilkinson, the Buckeyes' 6'5", 305-pound defensive tackle, can motor. Big Daddy ran the 40 in 4.87 three years ago—when he weighed 350.
The hell, I say. The freakin' hell.
And then there's the tenor of the article itself, wherein undefeated Ohio State wonders if its current team "stacks up with Woody's best":
Certainly the defense, which has yet to yield a rushing touchdown, is special. A debating topic among Buckeye fans is whether this is the best Ohio State defense since the '84 unit, which featured Chris Spielman and Pepper Johnson, or since the '73 defense of Bob Brudzinski and Randy Gradishar.
How did this all work out for Ohio State?