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Ohio State Athletics Fan Community


1. Before I get into The Game itself, I'd like to spend a few minutes talking about The Rivalry. Ohio State has now played Michigan 112 times since 1897. It is a long rivalry. It is a storied rivalry. It has often been a painful rivalry. Along the way, legends have been made, glory has been earned, perfect seasons have been dashed, championship hopes have been crushed. We have seen massive upsets, miraculous comebacks, record-setting performances, ten year wars, snow bowls, shanked field goals, banners torn down, double birds flipped, and so many other memorable moments. But that's all in the past now. It's time to move on.

I have heard so many Buckeye fans say that they want Michigan to be good again, "for the sake of The Rivalry." They say it with longing in their voices. Reverence even. Maybe a touch of pain, as if it really does hurt them that Michigan just isn't quite good enough to beat Ohio State. Quite frankly, I say that it's the stupidest thing I've ever heard, wanting your rival to be good.

In the real world, do you really think that businesses and organizations want their competitors to be good? Does the Board of Directors of McDonalds get together and pray that Burger King will produce better burgers? Does Ford secretly hope that GM will produce better cars? Does Coke want Pepsi to win a few taste tests now and then? Will Hillary Clinton's team be upset if the Republicans nominate an unelectable candidate? Of course not!

Even in the world of sports, this love of your team's rivalry, as opposed to love of your team, seems to be unique to Ohio State fans. I have never heard a Pittsburgh Steelers fan wish that the Cleveland Browns would be good again for the sake of the rivalry. Same thing with Auburn-Alabama, Packers-Bears, Yankees-Red Sox, Harvard-Yale, and every other heated rivalry you can think of. Army-Navy might be the only exception, but those guys will eventually shed blood for each other, they're all...
1. The 21st Century has not been kind to Michigan, especially in The Game. When Ohio State fired John Cooper after the 2000 season, his replacement, Jim Tressel, immediately "guaranteed" a Buckeye victory in the 2001 Game. Although Tressel's guarantee was a bit squirrelly (his actual quote was "I can assure you that you will be proud of your young people in the classroom, in the community, and most especially in 310 days in Ann Arbor, Michigan"), it was proven true, as unranked Ohio State did in fact beat #11 Michigan, 26-20.

2. In 2002, #2 Ohio State once again entered The Game with a perfect record, this time a program best 12-0-0. #12 Michigan held a 9-7 lead at halftime, and Buckeye fans were saying, "Here we go again...." But Ohio State scored the only points of the second half on a Maurice Hall touchdown run, and safety Will Allen preserved the 14-9 victory with an interception at the goal line as time expired. The Buckeyes would go on to win the BCS National Championship with a 31-24 double overtime victory over the #1 Miami Hurricanes in the Fiesta Bowl.

3. #5 Michigan got a measure of revenge in 2003, with a 35-21 victory over #4 Ohio State in The Game. Michigan would lose to Southern Cal in the Rose Bowl, 28-14, while Ohio State would defeat Kansas State in the Fiesta Bowl, 35-28.

4. During a rebuilding year, unranked Ohio State knocked off #7 Michigan in the 2004 Game, 37-21. The game was the coming out party for Buckeye quarterback Troy Smith, who had 386 yards of total offense. Buckeye wide receiver Ted Ginn, Jr. had an 82-yard punt return for a touchdown.

5. Ohio State had a come from behind victory in the 2005 Game, thanks to a last-minute touchdown drive by Troy Smith. The drive is best remembered for Anthony Gonzalez's circus catch in the red zone, but running back Antonio Pittman scored the game-winning touchdown in the final seconds to propel the Buckeyes to a 25-21 win.

6. 2006 was a Game to remember. Both teams entered The Game with...
1. In 1951, Woody Hayes became the head coach of Ohio State and quickly returned the program to prominence. Hayes won three national championships in his first eleven seasons (1954, 1957, and 1961) and also produced a Heisman Trophy winner (Hopalong Cassady in 1955), an Outland Trophy winner (Jim Parker in 1956), and a Maxwell Award winner (Bob Ferguson in 1961). Perhaps more importantly, Hayes was 7-4 in The Game, including a 50-20 blowout in 1961. After Michigan scored a late touchdown to cut the Ohio State lead to 42-20, Hayes ordered his team to play on. The Buckeyes scored a touchdown of their own with 5 seconds left in the game, and Hayes elected to go for a two-point conversion. The conversion was successful, and the 50 points scored by Ohio State remains a team record in The Game.

2. Neither team was very good from 1962 to 1967, with Ohio State posting an overall record of 35-18-1 and no Big Ten championships, and with Michigan posting an overall record of 28-28-2 and a Big Ten title in 1964. Ohio State held an edge in The Game, 4-2.

3. With a young team in 1968, the Ohio State Buckeyes were not expected to compete for a Big Ten championship, much less a national title. However, the Super Sophs went a perfect 10-0-0, including a 50-14 victory over #4 Michigan in The Game (Hayes again went for two late in the game because he "couldn't go for three") and a 27-16 victory over #2 Southern Cal in the Rose Bowl. The Buckeyes won both the AP and coaches poll titles for 1968, the first unanimous national championship for Ohio State.

4. In 1969, the Super Sophs were one year older and one year better. The #1 Buckeyes cruised through their first eight games by a combined score of 371 to 69 (46.4 to 8.6 on a per game basis). Then came The Game. Led by rookie head coach Bo Schembechler, the Wolverines pulled off one of the most stunning upsets in the history of the rivalry. Although the total yardage was essentially dead even (374 yards for Michigan, 373 yards...
Michigan Sucks!

That would probably suffice for most Buckeye fans, but for the rest of you here is a more complete history of the rivalry:

1. Ohio State and Michigan first met on October 16, 1897. Michigan won that contest by the score of 34-0, but that was just par for the course for the 1897 Buckeyes as the team was outscored 168 to 18 on the season, with seven shutouts, en route to a program-worst 1-7-1 record.

2. The teams next met in 1900, and appropriately tied 0-0.

3. The teams played each year from 1901 to 1912, with Michigan compiling a record of 11-0-1 and outscoring Ohio State by a combined score of 321 to 21 (27 to 2 on a per game basis) with eight shutouts. The lowlight of Michigan's historic run was an 86-0 shellacking in 1902, the most points ever surrendered and the worst defeat ever suffered by the Buckeyes.

4. From 1901 to 1912, Ohio State was a fairly good team, with an overall record of 78-32-11 (.690 winning percentage) and a winning record in each season. However, while Ohio State was building a respectable program, Michigan was creating a football powerhouse with an overall record of 88-9-7 (.880 winning percentage).

5. From 1901 to 1905, the Wolverines, under legendary head coach Fielding "Hurry Up" Yost, posted a record of 55-1-1, outscored their opponents 2,821 to 42, and were awarded retroactive national championships for 1901, 1902, 1903, and 1904. In 1905, Michigan began the season at 12-0-0, with each win coming by shutout. In the 13th and final game of the season, Michigan faced the University of Chicago, coached by the equally legendary Amos Alonzo Stagg, who entered the game at 10-0-0 with nine shutout victories. Chicago had the only score of the game - a safety - and won by the score of 2 to nil, thereby securing a perfect record and the only national championship in school history.

6. Michigan was a founding member of the Big Ten in 1896, but the Wolverines took a hiatus from the conference from 1907...
The beginning of the season coincided with BuckeyePlanet’s front page refresh, and at that time Clarity put a call out for people who were interested in writing things for the front page. For those of you who have been around for a decade or more might remember that there was a pretty strong team of volunteer bloggers who wrote previews, recruiting updates and special features for the front page. I had always wanted to contribute in that capacity, but I didn’t have the expertise, insider access, or interest in diving deep into statistics that those other folks had and never really had an idea of what I could bring to the table.

In the time that has passed between BuckeyePlanet front page 1.0 and 2.0, the landscape of college football coverage on the internet has changed a lot. Nowadays if you want to write something it doesn’t all have to be news and statistics and interviews. There is room for fun. There is room for irreverence. There is room for somebody who enjoys college football the way I do to have a voice. So, when Clarity brought the new front page to life I wanted to be a part of it.

Making picks for games is just a natural sort of thing that you’d have somebody write if you were launching (or relaunching) a front page like BuckeyePlanet’s. In writing it, I didn’t want to come across as something from a position of expertise, authority or seriousness. There is way too much seriousness in college football. That’s really where the idea to make picks against Poobert came from.

Hopefully you all realized this from the start, but Poobert doesn’t actually make picks. While we do spend a lot of time together in front of the TV on Saturdays, his picks are made by coin flip - heads for home team and tails for the away team. It’s trope that’s not uncommon in picks column - test the experts against randomness, and see if the people who purport to be experts really are experts or if they’re doing not better than guessing.

CollegeFootballNews - a site that used to be awesome ten years ago called their coin flip Clucko the Chicken. Clucko wasn’t really given a voice or a personality - he was just a column in a table - a clever name for a control group in a year-long experiment. Poobert on the other hand is real, he has a personality, and I wanted to expand on that by bringing a bit of that to the column.

As I talked about the idea at the beginning of the season, a lot of people had ideas for things to try. Some of the BuckeyePlanet staff that I discussed this with suggested creating videos and a Twitter account for Poobert. Showing him making picks by having him choose to eat from one team’s food bowl or another was a possibility. My wife wanted to dress him up topical costumes. I started off simply by adding a little dialogue - I would be the half-sincere, half-smartass that I normally am on the forums and Poobert would be alternately naive and condescending toward my picks and explanations. As I mentioned before, I didn’t want to come off as an expert and he was to be my foil. I was fully prepared to lose to him if not overall, then at least occasionally, I was fully prepared to make an ass of myself in the process, and was kind of hoping it would happen. There’s entertainment in that.

It didn’t take long for that strategy to go out the window...

1. With the 17-14 loss last night, Ohio State's overall record against Michigan State is now 29-15-0 (.659 winning percentage).

2. The loss marks the fifth time that a Michigan State team has ruined a perfect season (at least 7-0-0 start) for Ohio State: 1972; 1974; 1998; 2013; 2015.

3. What we can kiss goodbye after last night's loss:

a. A perfect season
b. A national championship
c. A Big Ten championship
d. Ezekiel Elliott's Heisman Trophy (12 carries, 33 yards)
e. Joey Bosa's Lombardi Award (3 offsides penalties, 0 TFLs)
f. Cameron Johnston's Ray Guy Award (5-yard punt)​

Silver lining: With the loss, Urban Meyer is now in contention for the Big Ten Coach of the Year Award.

4. This loss had been brewing all year. We all noticed that something just wasn't right with the offense, and we blamed the play calling, the offensive line, the erratic quarterback play. In reality, I believe that the problem went much deeper, namely that the coaching staff never developed a comprehensive strategy for this offense. Or an identity, if you prefer that term. The Buckeyes never emphasized what they were good at, and never used their strengths to impose their will on their opponents. All year long, it seems that the philosophy (if you will) has been: "Call a play, let the athletes make something happen." In other words: Win with tactics, not strategy. That might work against MAC teams and Big Ten bottom feeders, but other good teams with other great athletes will shut you down if you don't have a strategy and can't impose your will by implementing that strategy.

5. You've probably heard the saying: "If you have two quarterbacks, you really have none." That old saw is just as valid if you have two championship caliber quarterbacks or two bums. Urban Meyer's inability (or unwillingness) to pick a starting quarterback and stick with him through thick and thin was the root cause of the offense's inconsistency and...
1. Ezekiel Elliott has 3,565 rushing yards for his Buckeye career, which is third best in Ohio State history. Zeke needs 204 yards to surpass Eddie George (3,768 yards) for second place.

2. Zeke has 1,425 rushing yards on the season, which is already the 12th-best single season in school history. If Zeke hits his season average of 143 yards per game, then he will move into 7th place.

3. Zeke is averaging 142.5 yards per game in 2015, which is currently third best at Ohio State. Eddie George leads the way with 148.2 yards per game in 1995 (1,927 yards in 13 games).

4. Eddie George set the Buckeyes' single-season rushing record in 1995 with 1,927 yards in 13 games. Zeke needs to average 167.3 yards per game over the next three games to match Eddie's mark.

5. Elliott is averaging 99.0 yards per game for his career (3,565 yards in 36 games), which is currently second best in Ohio State history behind Archie Griffin (121.5 yards per game).

6. Zeke now has 36 career rushing touchdowns, tying him for fifth place at Ohio State with Harold "Champ" Henson and Tim Spencer, and leaving him one behind Carlos Hyde for fourth place.

7. Michael Thomas has 1,482 career receiving yards, which is 18th-best at Ohio State. Thomas needs 196 yards to pass Terry Glenn (1,677 yards) for 17th place.

8. Thomas has 102 career receptions, which is good for 17th place at Ohio State. He needs 5 receptions to pass Doug Donley and Ken-Yon Rambo (106 receptions each) for 15th place, and 7 receptions to pass Joey Galloway and Billy Anders (108 receptions each) for 13th place.

9. Thomas has 17 career receiving touchdowns, which ties him with Terry Glenn for 9th best in Buckeye history. He needs two touchdowns to tie Joey Galloway and Dane Sanzenbacher (19 TDs each) for 8th place.

10. Joey Bosa has 48.5 TFLs for his Buckeye career. Bosa is currently in 5th place on the career TFL list, behind Andy Katzenmoyer (50.0), Jason Simmons (56.5), Matt Finkes (59.0), and Mike Vrabel...
We are in the midst of the stretch run of the college football season. For the Buckeyes, that means the biggest games are at hand and the stakes are as high as can be. We are also in the stretch run of BP's Pick'em contest on Yahoo and for some the stakes are also very high.

There won't be any funny, cutesy cat stories this week. Just cold hard facts. @cincibuck has been clamoring for updated standings, so that's what this week's post will be about.

First of all, I went back and tabulated the results from the featured picks for each week all the way back to the beginning of the season. I'm happy to report that I'm not losing to Poobert. When I started this thing I was fully prepared to make a complete ass of myself and get beat by him regularly. Through eleven weeks though, having featured picks for 99 games each in this column, I have managed to pick 54.5 correctly while he has only been correct for 44. The half-correct represents a push - there have been a few of those throughout the season so far.

On one hand, it's kind of depressing to think that I've only managed to be one pick better per week (on average) than a housecat. On the other hand, 10.5 is a pretty significant margin for this point in the season, and I'd have to commit an all-timer of a choke job to relinquish my advantage.

The other angle that we can look at this from is the overall standings from the Pick'em group. In that group, I currently sit at 5th while Poobert is 22nd out of 47. That's a little misleading though. Yahoo's standings are a simply gross points total - they don't give a way to sort by number of correct picks per week, so participants who forget to submit or run into some other kind of snafu really get punished with no way to make up for it. Once you take out the participants below Poobert in the standings who posted a score of zero in at least one week, we can effectively say that Poobert is placed 22nd out of 26.

That begs the question, who are the unlucky four who are losing to Poobert?...
1. Michigan State was the last of the "original" members of the Big Ten to join the conference. The Spartans joined the Big Ten in 1949 but did not play a full conference football schedule until 1953.

2. Now for a brief aside on the history of the Big Ten. The conference was formed in 1896 with seven members: Chicago, Illinois, Michigan, Minnesota, Northwestern, Purdue, and Wisconsin. Indiana and Iowa joined in 1899. Michigan withdrew from the conference in 1908, only to return in 1917. In the meantime, Ohio State joined in 1912. When Chicago permanently withdrew in 1946, Michigan State was recruited to become the new tenth member of the conference that for four decades had been informally known as The Big Ten. (The conference was originally incorporated as the Intercollegiate Conference Athletic Association, and did not officially obtain the name "Big Ten" until 1987.) Of course, subsequent expansion has seen the addition of Penn State (1993), Nebraska (2011), Maryland (2014), and Rutgers (2014).

3. Ohio State leads the series 29-14-0 (.674), with a 29-12-0 (.707) record in Big Ten play. Ohio State has outscored Michigan State 1,101 to 721, or 25.6 to 16.8 on a per game basis.

4. The teams first played on November 28, 1912, a game which Michigan State won by the score of 35 to 20. The teams would not play again until the 1951 season.

5. Michigan State has 8 Big Ten championships, the most recent being the...
1. The Ohio State Buckeyes (10-0; 6-0) remained perfect on the season with a dominating 28-3 win over the Illinois Fighting Illini (5-5; 2-4). The Buckeye offense sputtered at times, but running back Ezekiel Elliott kept his Heisman hopes alive with his 15th straight game of 100+ yards rushing (27 carries, 181 yards, 6.9 ypc, 2 TDs) and wide receiver Michael Thomas hauled in 6 receptions for 76 yards and a touchdown. Quarterback J.T. Barrett, fresh off a one-game suspension, had 224 yards of total offense and 2 total touchdowns, but also committed 2 costly turnovers. But the offense's inconsistency didn't really matter, because the Buckeye defense held the Illini to 261 total yards, 20 yards rushing on 25 carries, 3.6 yards per play, and 5/20 (25.0%) on third and fourth down conversion attempts. Defensive end Joey Bosa led the way with 7 tackles and 3 TFLs, while middle linebacker Raekwon McMillan had 14 tackles, 2 TFLs, and a fumble recovery. The only bright spot for Illinois was wide receiver Desmond Cain, who had 10 receptions for 102 yards. While the Buckeyes won a national title last year with an overwhelming offense (44.8 ppg), this year they are relying on a top-10 defense (9th total defense, 2nd scoring defense) to get the job done. If the Buckeye defense can stay stout against a pair of mediocre offenses - Michigan State (61st total offense, 44th scoring offense); and Michigan (71st total offense, 49th scoring offense) - then a return to the Big Ten Title Game is a virtual certainty. Illinois, on the other hand, must beat either Minnesota (a hard luck 4-6) or Northwestern (a surprising 8-2) just to gain bowl eligibility.

2. For the third time in four games, the Michigan Wolverines (8-2; 5-1) played a contest that came down to literally the final play. After losing to Michigan State on a botched punt and beating Minnesota thanks to botched clock management, the...