Tressel Billboard: Not Our Fault Comment Count

Brian May 10th, 2011 at 11:23 AM

Remember this?


Everyone assumed that because it showed up on I-94 somewhat near Ann Arbor (it's close to the airport) that Michigan fans were responsible for it. But if you know anything about Paul Reiser-penned billboards in Michigan you know that Michigan State fans love 'em. Example one:

At this point we cannot act like we have been there because we haven't.

Example two:


It's almost as if there's some billboard company with spare inventory run by Spartan Paul Reiser. Reader Section 1 finds SPR:

The idea actually came from a Michigan State alum, who also happens to be the local sales manager for CBS Outdoor advertising.

About 10-12 of the boards are expected to be put up around the state, most with sponsor names on them.

Two are already in place -- on northbound I-75, north of I-94, and another in Grand Rapids. There's also one coming to the Lansing area, and the rest will be located in metro-Detroit.

"I have several State alumni and State fans that work for me," said Tom Carroll, vice president of the Michigan Region for CBS Outdoor. "The billboard is our response to Michigan State getting snubbed."

Section 1 went so far as to call up Bob Brown, another Michigan State guy who used the close-your-eyes-and-don't-think-of-Iowa billboard to express "frustration," and ask him who was behind the billboards. They refused to answer, saying only that the buyer was anonymous. Why they'd be so reticent now when they'd embraced their role as the state's key purveyor of stupid sports-themed billboards is unknown. It's probably not the sudden onset of shame. 

Unfortunately for Spartan Paul Reiser, his kid sold him out. An emailer relates:

I put a pic of the billboard up on my Facebook page, and got a response from a [high school] classmate who is a Facebook friend of mine – Brad Carroll.  He said his dad had created the billboard, and had shown him a mock up a couple weeks earlier.  At the time I thought nothing of it, other than that his dad was a Michigan fan.

In the aftermath of the Section 1 post the emailer deduces that Brad is Tom Carroll's son. The googles confirm by turning up a CBS Outdoor Detroit Facebook page that only people with the last name Carroll have bothered to like things on, one of whom is a Brad who matches the biographical information elided above. QED.

As per usual, Michigan State fans are responsible for the stupid billboards. Stay your wakizashi and carefully tell the guy with the katana to go get some ice cream: your honor is restored.


Section 1

May 10th, 2011 at 2:22 PM ^

If you read the original message-board thread (demoted, from my Diary), you would have seen that I did the extraordinary; I congratulated Mark Snyder as being one of the very few who did not bite on the "Michigan fan" bait.  Snyder called it an anti-Tressel billboard, and left it at that.

(See comments.)  No spittle, no Freep-rage.

I should add; I did communicate with Angelique Chengelis about this matter as well.  She was delightful.  Friendly; honest; and after exchanging ideas, tips, quips, and other miscellanea of that nature, Angelique said that she pretty much agreed with my theory.  Although no one had given either one of us a straight, unqualified, non-"anonymous" answer.

No, the primary failure on this one was the blogosphere and the new media.  Although it now seems that everybody from USA Today, to ABC television in Columbus, to NBC in Cleveland, to the Toledo Blade, to The [OSU] Lantern got faked out of their Scarlet and Gray jockstraps, in accusing "Michigan fans."


May 10th, 2011 at 12:01 PM ^

Do you realize how insecure about our own superiority complex we look, to go to the lengths of facebook-stalking to circumstantially prove we didn't come up with an admittedly stupid but relatively meaningless billboard?

I'm not sayin', I'm just sayin'



May 10th, 2011 at 11:48 AM ^

ESPN cracks me up in their article based on nothing says that Michigan fans put up a billboard.  It is amazing what gets reported based on a vague assumption.  The comments go on to say that it is great billboard material (no pun intended) for OSU b/c Michigan put this up. It is safe to say that "Michigan" did nothing.  

I think it is funny.  I wouldn't do it if I owned a billboard but it is funny that someone wants to put it out there.  Whatever.


May 10th, 2011 at 11:49 AM ^

The whole post is about how this is not done by a Michigan fan, but it ends with a quote about the billboard being done by Brad Carroll's dad who is "a Michigan fan." Was that supposed to read "Michigan State fan"?


May 10th, 2011 at 11:59 AM ^

was that the kid who posted on facebook assumed that his friend Brad's dad, who put up the billboard, was a Michigan fan.  As it turns out, Brad's dad, Tom Carroll, is not a Michigan fan, and has in the past put up the pro-Sparty billboards because he has, "several State alumni and State fans that work for me."


May 10th, 2011 at 11:50 AM ^


some guy's facebook friend said his dad...

is the new

my cousin has a friend whose older sister..

Going the extra mile beyond the standard katana reference with the wakizashi drop is pretty sweet.


May 10th, 2011 at 11:50 AM ^

Are MSU fans in a position to rag on another coach for having a "win at all costs" attitude?  Their team is slowly being filled with felons whose felonies came while they were on the team.  They don't even get punished by the coach after getting out of jail.  I am going to start saving money to place a billboard right in the center of campus that I'll have the score of all of Michigans future wins posted on so they can see it and be pissed off every day.


May 10th, 2011 at 12:29 PM ^

"Biggest fan" might even be an understatement.

This is Dantonio speaking about Tressel, on

“He is very special to me and our children.  He is special person in our life.  Going all the way back to when I was a grad assistant at Ohio State in 1983-84.  We also had the time we spent to together at Youngstown State and again at Ohio State.... I am from the Jim Tressel school of thought. This position has to be about winning more than football games. I am not naive we will be judged by that, but we have to serve people and this state.  We have to try and make it better.  Whether it is the youth camps before the spring games, summer camps, or whether (we’re) going and seeing coaches or visiting high schools to speak at a national honor society event.  I am in this place and I need to do more with it than just win games.  I have young men who will watch me as a role model.  I need to lead them. I have the Spartan Nation that I represent.  If we are only about winning and nothing else, then we aren’t winners. This position and this responsibility is about a lot more.”

Tressel returns the love:

"Tressel shares the same genuine love for Dantonio.  He told Spartan Nation, “Deano and I grew up together…kind of like growing up with a brother…who has very similar experiences, very similar beliefs, similar mentors, so many things we grew up to learn and believe in and then saw it tested in our own lives to see if those beliefs were upheld.  We have been through a lot together and have learned a lot from one another.”"


Just to recap: Jim Tressel coached at Youngstown State from 1986 through the 2000 season, when he took the OSU job starting with the 2001 season. The Maurice Clarett saga started in 2002, although the recruitment of Clarett started well before that, of course. After Tressel left YSU, they were hit with an NCAA investigation into allegations of that QB Ray Isaac received improper benefits, starting virtually from the time he arrived on campus there in 1988 while Tressel was HC. ESPN has good article on this:

Everybody is familiar with the stuff that has happened at OSU, starting with Clarett continuing up to the present day with the Tatgate 5 and who knows how much else.

What I wasn't aware of until yesterday was the extent of the relationship between Tressel and that paragon of virtue, Mark Dantonio. I knew that Dantonio was with Tressel at OSU from 2001 through 2003, which includes the Clarett era, but I didn't know that he was on Tressel's staff at YSU from 1986 through the 2000 season, which means Dantonio was there when Isaac was receiving all the largesse from the YSU boosters in Youngstown.

Mark Dantonio is an excellent position to speak authoritatively about how Jim Tressel is such a moral example for his young men. He's also in an excellent position to speak about where some skeletons are buried as well.


May 10th, 2011 at 1:14 PM ^

Good job as always Don.

Dean'o discipline would also rather have UM lose to OSU than MSU going to a Rose Bowl with a UM victory.

 EDIT: From the ESPN article

Isaac had more. As the NCAA would later learn, Isaac was taking money from a booster from virtually the moment he joined the team in 1988. A few hundred here, a thousand or so there, including $3,800 during the 1991 championship season. In all, Isaac got about $10,000, plus the use of various cars, during his career. Ray "The Colonel" Isaac was Tressel's original Maurice Clarett, a Youngstown kid with quick feet and open palms who would lift his team, and coach, to new heights.

History repeating itself.


May 10th, 2011 at 1:30 PM ^

What I find both hilarious is how Tressel and Dantonio beat their chests openly about their professional values and ethics as coaches. They're both hypocrites, little different from preachers who are banging whores and doing meth just hours after they've implored their parishoners to lead the straight and narrow path (see Jimmy Swaggart and Ted Haggard, among others).


May 10th, 2011 at 11:53 AM ^

The thought of sky writing planes flying over East Lansing on game day with "little brother" being painted for tens of thousands to see seems like fun.  Anyone have a friend or relative who is a sky writer?


May 10th, 2011 at 12:05 PM ^

Our fearless leader made this a front page post, so I assume he cares, or believes that his readers care. Everyone who has posted so far cares enough to post, so maybe a better question would have been, "Why should I/we care?" And the answer is simple. It's because we are Michigan Men, and as such, we do not stoop to tweaking our rivals using banal billboard advertisements. This billboard affair is a spartan way of behaving. We have much too much class to be tarred with their antics.


May 10th, 2011 at 12:22 PM ^

To define yourself by what others think of you. I don't think that if even one Michigan fan "Stooped" to it, it wouldn't really be a reflection on me. This is at best a UV section, or maybe a link mention at the end. There's so much more going on with Michigan Athletics that gets ignored, that I don't think the Front Page's best time is spent on this. Brian does, and Section 1 does, and apparently you do. But if you look at most of the rest of the posts on here about it, there's a lot of "meh".

Like the guy beautifully said above, you're not really all that secure in your superiority if you think this shakes it that much.


May 10th, 2011 at 12:26 PM ^

However, a person or institution's reputation IS important. It's not the most important thing, but to think otherwise is foolish.

Trust me, I grew up in East Lansing. I know the difference between spartans and Wolverines.


May 10th, 2011 at 1:12 PM ^

to start your own blog. That way you can post whatever you want whenever you want. It will still be just as annoying when you tell others what to think, and tell even others what you think some others think, but hey it'll be yours and yours alone.


May 11th, 2011 at 7:17 PM ^

No! no more people should start their own blogs. Anyone and their mother who ever used to post diaries on here now have their own blogs. I can't read any more friggin' blogs. We need blog consolidation. Blog empire!

Blog. Empire.

El Jeffe

May 10th, 2011 at 2:35 PM ^

You're just pissed because Section1 was both correct and not hysterical and you thought he was both. You and Chitown.

BTW, I don't have a dog in this fight. But all the vitriol sent Section1's way about how it was trivial and meaningless and not worth his time, etc. (as if more than about 10% of what on this blog is nontrivial and meaningful and worth our time) turns out to have been pretty uncalled for.

He's made his bed a few times, but on this he was right, and I personally found it kind of interesting.


May 10th, 2011 at 3:07 PM ^

I quibble with this characterization.

He claimed to have "found information" when, what he found, was the lack of information - a "no comment", in essence. His theory may have been proven correct, but that's not an indication that it was more than a wild-ass-guess. If we're doling out congrats for that, then...congrats, Section 1.

He was correct, I suppose, but I would disagree with the part about him not being "hysterical".

Section 1

May 10th, 2011 at 3:40 PM ^

You don't read very well.

Originally, I reported new information.  I had interviewed the "usual suspect," Bob Brown, who was the self-confessed perpetrator of the 34-24 billboard.  Bob's boss is Tom Carroll.  I asked Bob if he or anyone in the CBS Outdoor office had reported if the billboard was attributable to "Michigan fans."  When he stuck on the claim of anonymity, I asked him if he had indicated to anyone in the media that it was a "Michigan fan" who was behind the billboard.  Bob (honestly) told me that he had not given that information to anyone in the media/  Bob was of course telling the truth.

And so as of my original post, we first knew that the "Michigan fan" attribution of the sign was untrue.  I still think that was, and is, news.  It is minor news, as to who concocted the sign.  It is much bigger meta-news, that everyone got the story wrong.

What I had hoped to do, was to scare off anybody from spreading that untrue story.  It didn't work very well.  It seems to have been irresistable, to about a hundred different websites and media outlets, to run with the Michigan-against-Ohio State-story.

Now, having run with that story (and with Angelique Chengelis and I both looking on with considrable amusement), all of those media outlets are now on the wrong end of a "man bites dog" story.  The headline I hope we start seeing is "OOPS!  CORRECTION -- SPARTAN ALUM, NOT 'MICHIGAN FANS,' RESPONSIBLE FOR CHEESY BILLBOARD"