Thursday, November 15, 2007

Go Buckeyes!

It's the weekend of "The Game." You'll never convince me that there's a bigger rivalry in college football than Ohio State and Michigan. I realize that being a Buckeye alumnus makes me more than a little biased, but this game, more often than not, has one or more major implications tied to it.

Before last week's loss to Illinois, the game looked like it was going to figure into a national championship bid by Ohio State. But even now, the conference title and a Rose Bowl berth are at stake.

I started following the series in the midst of the "Woody and Bo Show," the years when legendary coaches Woody Hayes and Bo Schembechler were butting heads. In most years then and now, this game is the climax of the season and anything that follows is merely afterglow. Maybe that's because so many times the winner, and frequently the loser, too, have gone on to lose to some other conferences' top teams in bowl games.

The Wolverines lead the series all time, 57-40-6. Ohio State has had the advantage in recent years, taking the last three and five of the last six games. Last year's game was the first time the teams met holding the top two spots in the polls. The Buckeyes won in Columbus, with Michigan playing a day after the death of Schembechler. The Bucks then went on to get drubbed by Florida in the national title game (see previous paragraph).

No matter which stadium hosts the game, it's an experience you won't forget. More than 100,000 fans in either venue, non-stop screaming and shouting, two fabulous marching bands, every play capable of sending the place into a frenzy.

The most memorable game for me was in 1979. The Buckeyes that year, their first under Earle Bruce who had replaced Woody, were undefeated and ranked number 1. Yet they were underdogs going into the game in Ann Arbor. Michigan built up a lead, but Ohio State got a third-quarter touchdown. Then, with time running out, Buckeye linebacker Jim Laughlin blocked a Wolverine punt. The ball was recovered by DB Todd Bell, who ran it in for the score. Final - Ohio State 18, Michigan 15.

I still remember those names and moments. That's part of what's special about these games. Moments forever seared into the collective memories of fans of both schools.

As we were leaving the Big House after the '79 game, I remember seeing a Michigan fan, on his knees with head in hands, in the middle of the road. He was crying and bellowing, "Ohio State can't beat us in Michigan!" Well, yes we did. And yes we will.

Go Bucks!

Buckeyes

To get in the mood for the game, here's a bit of OSU tradition. These sinfully rich little candies look just like their namesake nuts, as you can see from the photo at the top of the post.

2 cups peanut butter (smooth or crunchy)
1 stick butter or margarine, melted
2 tsp. vanilla
2-1/2 cups powdered sugar

Mix all ingredients together. If mixture is too wet, add more powdered sugar. Roll into 1-inch balls and place on wax paper on cookie sheet. Freeze for at least 15 minutes.

1 package chocolate bark coating
or
1 package chocolate chips
1/2 cake paraffin

Heat in a pan until melted.

Stick a toothpick in the peanut butter buckeyes and dip into the chocolate, covering all but a small part of the peanut butter. Return to the wax paper-covered cookie sheet and return to freezer for at least 15 minutes.

Script Ohio

There's no better way to end this post than with "The Best Damn Band in The Land" doing Script Ohio.



Go Bucks!

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