Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Careful...Upsets Happen!

I was looking for some raw data concerning the history of upsets in The Game that I could turn into a blog post when I found someone already had. This article is taken verbatim from the Cleveland Plain Dealer newspaper. Complete credit goes to Doug Lesmerises.

As you read, keep in mind each team's record going into The Game this Saturday:

10 OHIO STATE: 9-2 (6-1)
M*CH*G*N: 3-8 (2-5)


Since 1951, Woody Hayes' first year at Ohio State, OSU and Michigan have played 57 times. Eight times, the teams had the same record going into their rivalry game. One of those games ended in a tie, as did one other game.

Here's the breakdown on the other 48 games, in which the team with the better record has won 63 percent of the time. But since 1980, the team with the better record has won barely half the time.


Since 1951

Team with the better record: 30-18
Michigan with the better record: 11-8
Ohio State with the better record: 19-10

Since 1980

Team with the better record: 13-12
Michigan with the better record: 7-5
Ohio State with the better record: 6-7


Since 1951

Ranked team against an unranked team: 7-6
Ranked Ohio State against unranked Michigan: 4-1
Ranked Michigan against unranked Ohio State: 3-5

Since 1980

Ranked team against an unranked team: 3-5
Ranked Ohio State against unranked Michigan: 1-1
Ranked Michigan against unranked Ohio State: 2-4


Here are the biggest upsets since 1951, when a ranked team lost to an unranked team or a team in the top two ranked to a team ranked much lower.

1952: No. 12 Michigan (5-3) vs. OSU (5-3): Ohio State wins, 27-7
**1969: No. 1 OSU (8-0) vs. No. 12 Michigan (7-2): Michigan wins, 24-12**
1981: No. 7 Michigan (8-2) vs. OSU (7-3): Ohio State wins, 14-9
1982: No. 13 Michigan (8-2) vs. OSU (7-3): Ohio State wins, 24-14
1993: No. 5 OSU (9-0-1) vs. Michigan (6-4): Michigan wins, 28-0
1995: No. 2 OSU (11-0) vs. No. 18 Michigan (8-3): Michigan wins, 31-23
1996: No. 2 OSU (10-0) vs. No. 21 Michigan (7-3): Michigan wins, 13-9
2001: No. 11 Michigan (8-2) vs. OSU (6-4): Ohio State wins, 26-20
2004: No. 7 Michigan (9-1) vs. OSU (6-4): Ohio State wins, 37-21

**James' note: Denotes the biggest upset in the history of The Game according to Ohio State football historians and Big Ten sports writers.


Monday, November 17, 2008

A Little Ohio/M*ch*g*n History

I remember when I started hating that team up north.

I was living in Illinois, as I had since I was 5, so I didn't have the benefit of living in the 'Birthplace of Aviation' to have my OSU fandom nurtured. I had just started the seventh grade and my chemical science teacher was a smug, arrogant, feminist who insisted on making maize and blue references just about every day. I couldn't stand her in the least and she let me know that the feeling was mutual. So it was only logical that I hate the team she liked. You know, it's funny that hating M*ch*g*n felt so natural, so right.

Simply hating scUM wasn't enough, however. I couldn't deny the feeling of being virtually alone. I felt like an outsider undercover within the Midwestern kingdom of the Big Ten. All around me in the small farming community of Morton, IL were either hardcore Illini fans or had jumped on board Bo's bandwagon. About three months into school was when I realized that what I was missing was my own hometown team.

Champaign nor Ann Arbor could replace the city beside the Olentangy River. I realized I was an expatriate who longed to 'go back to old Columbus Town'. I couldn't be honest with myself and yell "Go Illini" and I certainly wasn't going to cheer on that team up north. So I embraced my Buckeyes, giving them my full sport-allegiance, and haven't looked back.

If you weren't born in these parts or if you haven't spent any time as a resident in the area, you probably don't know that the Ohio State - M*ch*g*n rivalry goes back further than American college football. It goes back beyond the War Between the States. It can be traced back to 1835 when a state/territory border came under dispute.

You can read a much more lengthy explanation of the Toledo War here but here is the basic storyline:

Both the state of Ohio and the territory of M*ch*g*n claimed this narrow strip of land from the Indiana line to the western edge of Lake Erie called the Toledo Strip. Depending on who you talk to, there was (according to Ohioians) or was not (M*ch*g*nd*rs) gunfire during the war but militia from both territories were mobile and active along the disputed ground. It took acts of Congress and President Andrew Jackson to force the territory up north to give Toledo to Ohio in exchange for the remaining land of what we now call the Upper Peninsula.

This was in 1836. It is now 2008 and I want my money back.


The first battle on the gridiron took place in 1897 between the perennial powerhouse M*ch*g*n Wolverines and an infant football club from Ohio State. The outcome was 34-0 in favor of the maize and blue. It wouldn't be until 1919 when Ohio State would get their first win in the series thanks in large part to the now legendary halfback Charles "Chic" Harley, who was Tim Tebow before Tim Tebow was Tim Tebow. The next two games also fell into OSU's win column again due in large part to Harley. This prompted the university to begin a campaign to build a football stadium near campus in Columbus. Ohio Stadium would be completed in 1922 and nicknamed, "The House that Chic Built".

The annual series, now known as The Game, hit the national spotlight in full force during a 10-year stretch of time when two men, who once had been assistant coaches for the same team, squared off in epic battles against each other to not only decide a conference championship but often a national championship. Woody Hayes and Bo Schembechler became the four-star generals who would lead their armies into battle every November from 1969-1978 in the 10-Year War. Bo would claim victory in the 10-year war; his record 5-4-1. 1978 would be the last year Woody would ever coach the Buckeyes. He stuck a Clemson player who had just sealed a Gator Bowl win over Ohio State with a fourth-quarter interception.


It's been 18 years since I found Ohio State and made it mine. I don't hate my seventh grade chemical science teacher (anymore) but I still loathe those winged-helmet wearing bozos from Ann Arbor!

And I love every minute of it!

The record for the previous 104 games is 57-41-6 in favor of the team up north. This Saturday will mark the 105th meeting of, what ESPN in 2000 called, the greatest rivalry in all of sports and coach Jim Tressel, who has won 6 of the last 7 years, is expected to add another notch in the win column for O-HI-O.

Here's to an Ohio State record fifth win in a row over M*ch*g*n!

Here's to another pair of gold pants for the Buckeyes!

Here's to 57-42-6!

Here's to OH-IO!

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Can He Really?

On the heels of a particularly historic evening in American history, I can't help but wonder about what the little-known, inexperienced, controversial Illinois senator turned President-elect Barack Obama is going to do once in office. 62 million of my countrymen think he is ready to occupy the oval office while 56 million would rather he prove he is ready for the job first.

How will a President Obama govern when it comes to tough issues? He has no record of governance on which to look back. When called upon to take a stand, Mr. Obama displayed an uncanny habit of voting 'present' therefore his voting record in the Senate cannot be drawn from confidently.

The future President of the several states has claimed, and even promised according to some of the pundits, a desire to work with both sides of the political aisle to solve America's problems. I hope that he makes good on his words because he's been in congress since 2004 and I haven't seen any substantial moves to the center.

Barack Obama has promised to scale down our military, especially when it comes to ICBMs, at a time when just today the President of Russia announces plans to place short-range missiles at the Polish border. Is this wise? Will he listen to the generals and commanders beneath him before he, a man with no military experience whatsoever, makes strategic maneuvers with our armed forces?

Barack Obama wants to personally sit down with leaders of rogue nations and discuss relations and other diplomatic exchanges without pre-conditions (but with 'preparation'...whatever the hell that means). While I appreciate that he wants to get his hands dirty in this face-to-face approach, I'm not sure I want both an executive and negotiating novice trying to 'talk down' a delusional mad-man with his finger on a nuclear hair-trigger? I'm not sure what Obama hopes to accomplish in so doing but I hope that for your sake and mine he is successful.

He has said time and time again that it isn't fair that the wealthy get to keep their money while there are those in this country who have to live without. He wants to 'spread the wealth' which means stealing money from those who have to give it to those who have proven they can't save or budget it. This is not about the well-off not being charitable, rather this is about the government taking money from the pockets of citizens against their will. Does that sound fair? I don't remember hearing this narrative as apart of the 'American dream'?

Mr. Obama claims that he has a better tax plan for the working families of America. However, I'm not sure he is square on what that means exactly. First he said that anyone making less than $250,000 will not see their taxes go up a single dime. Then, that figure changed to $200,000. Then Vice President-elect Joe Biden said that if you make $150,000 or less you would receive a tax cut. And who can forget Barack Obama's repeated statement, "under my tax plan, 95% of working families will get a tax cut"? Well, this too is suspect because Obama plans to do away with Bush's temporary tax cuts we are all enjoying right now. This means that in 2010, every one's taxes are going up. How is that good for America's working class?

Lest we forget Barack playing to the 'victim crowd" when he spoke of his grandmother's fear at being around young black men because she was a "typical white person". The portion of the black community that constantly feels victimized will chant about 'the struggle' for any reason at any time. However, now that a man of color has achieved the highest office in the land, is 'the struggle' over? I would think that most folks would say, "somewhat" or "largely so", but the truth is that as long as Jesse Jackson, Al Sharpton, Jeremiah Wright, et al. still roam the streets, Booker T. Washington's words will still ring true. Will President Barack Obama push the black community out of this mentality and toward true progress or will he coddle them for his political gain?

Yes, I could go on and on but I'm afraid my point is this:

I'm both amazed and bewildered that Barack Obama has being chosen as the 44th President of these United States. And for him and my nation I will pray.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Our Homecoming

It was a very warm summer morning. I didn't know it at the time but it was the dawning of a new era; a day that was filled with an unfamiliar excitement. My mom had tried to explain what "moving" was all about but my juvenile brain couldn't fully wrap around it.

Since rising earlier than usual, my brothers and sisters were frantically scurrying from room to room searching for items to secure in towering boxes that had been labeled with black marker. Every face wore the emotion of purpose. Everyone understood that there was work to be done before the movers arrived. Everyone but me. It was surreal walking around my house that morning and feeling an almost electric buzz in the air and not being sure of exactly what was going on.

Then the "Mayflower" pulled up to our front door. It was gigantic! To my bewildered eyes, the green and yellow 18-wheeler looked like a loose train car that had broken free from the track and rumbled to our house on Pepper Ct. As I stood with saucer-eyes and mouth agape, three guys dressed in blue jumpsuits hopped out of the truck and started into the kitchen. Slowly but surely, my house was emptying as the mayflower filled to the ceiling. Not long after they arrived, the moving crew had slammed the trailer door and my family piled into our two-toned brown suburban...it had been packed like we were going on a long trip. Two days later, I found all of my belongings in a new home, in a new neighborhood, in a new state.

It was 1983 when my family left Westerville, Ohio for Morton, Illinois. It wouldn't be until June of 2006 that I would return to the state of my birth. It would be two more years before I would really and truly come home to central Ohio.

Last Saturday, Amy and I successfully moved from NW Ohio to a suburb of Columbus, Ohio where family is just a few minutes away and my hometown is as close as it has been since I was 5 years old.

We are incredibly excited to move from what we've felt was a holding pattern in our life to the next step in growing as a family and as a married couple. And I'd be remiss if I didn't mention my ecstasy about being so close to my Ohio State Buckeyes, the only team in all of sports on whom my loyalty rests.

We look forward to what God has in store for us but we're hoping that my leaving meteorology and broadcasting after 7 years was a good decision. I've been trying to secure a new career in sales/advertising with little to no success. Please pray that my fortunes begin to align with God's plan for us!

Go Bucks!

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