Friday, November 16, 2007

Above the Fold - The Game, The Game, The Game

As someone who was lucky enough to come of age during the "10 Year War," forming my allegiance to the Wolverines and the Big 10 in general, along with a sense of utter disgust towards the Buckeyes, tomorrow is one of the biggest days of the year.

A little more than 24 hours from now, Michigan with take on Ohio State in the latest edition of the greatest rivalry in sports. Though tomorrow's matchup will not mean as much as it has in the past in regard to the national title picture (Admittedly, tOSU is still in the hunt to make the BCS title game as a long shot), it's still THE GAME. It'll always be THE GAME. In the Midwest, it's the only game that matters.

Thus, as you might expect, the MSM and Michigan blogosphere is atwitter with excitement...

At the Freep, the Little Fella, unable to control his overwhelming urge to drip his writing with an unbearable amount of sentiment, writes a love letter to Bo Schembechler. Get a room, Mitch...

Hey, Bo. There are still people talking about your funeral. I can't remember as many laughs and tears in the same place. Or as many large necks. Many of your old players are limping now, carrying big bellies, talking about hip replacements, but, man, do they love you. And do they remember every story, every mishap, every temper tantrum. I swear, there are more people on earth doing Bo Schembechler impersonations now than ever. Maybe because you can't hear us.

In fact, today's Freep sports section is a memorial to Bo, reprinting columns by Sharp, Rosenberg, and the Little Fella. Hey, we all miss Bo, but living in the past like this is so...Columbus-like...

Considering there are plenty of plot lines for tomorrow's game, especially regarding the future of Lloyd Carr, the Bo worship seems a bit over the top. I guess the Freep is saving all game preview articles and columns for their Saturday edition.

At the News, Wojo, in his Friday Big 10 pigskin picks column, thankfully stays away from memorializing Bo and actually sticks to his strong point, making jokes at the expense of the "Pickled eggs and moon pie" eating Bucknuts.

That stunner made Ohio State fans everywhere so happy, they loaded up on Appalachian State T-shirts and beer mugs while raucously debating whether Appalachian counted as a state or not. The Ohio State marching band even considered altering its famous routine to spell out script A-p-p-a-l-a-c-h-i-a-n but was told it exceeded the school's recommended daily allowance of syllables.

By the way, Wojo picks Michigan to win, 23-20.

The "Angel of the Big House," Angelique Chengelis, does the burning questions bit. Here's a question regarding CheatyPants McSweaterVest...

Q. Does OSU coach Jim Tressel have Lloyd Carr's number?

A. There is no doubt that since Tressel has been at OSU, everything has changed, and the tide has turned in Ohio State's favor.

The Buckeyes have won five of the last six, including the last three. With the exception of the 2004 game that OSU won 37-21, however, U-M's other four losses have been by an average of 4.5 points.

I know -- it's not about margin of victory, it's about who won.

At Mlive, being the home of the A2 News, it's Michigan mania this week. As the 4 Letter's "College Gameday" pregame show is rolling into town to cover Michigan-tOSU, there's an interview with former Bucknut, and foil to the misunderstood insane genius that is Lee Corso, Kirk Herbstreit. Herbie thinks the rivalry is getting "Out of hand."

It's a rivalry, he says, that has taken a turn for the worse. A showdown once built on mutual respect between coaches Bo Schembechler and Woody Hayes has gotten to be "out of hand."

"You get around the rivalry today and there's a lot of idiots when it comes to the fan bases," Herbstreit said. "It's gotten very nasty. It's gotten very personal."

Hey, Herbie lives in C-Bus, so he should know...

In the blogosphere, it's been a big week, especially for the daily must read MGoBlog, who broke the "Carr will retire" story. In today's "Unverified Voracity" catch-all post, Brian touches on Yahoo's Dan Wetzel column about the Carr retirement timeline, and Les Miles' will he/won't he dance regarding the Michigan job.

The only reason to hire a coach NOW NOW NOW is to keep Michigan's recruiting class together. Recruiting is important, but the difference between hiring someone three or four weeks after the OSU game -- probably about as fast as the process can go -- and eight is like, what, two kids? Three?

If you have a clear #1 coaching candidate (and unless Tedford says yes(!) to Michigan, Miles appears head and shoulders above all other available coaches) a couple of recruits is a piddling price to pay. Besides, if Michigan sits and twiddles its thumbs even after New Year's Day they've functionally named a coach already.

RBUAS eulogizes Lloyd, Hart, Henne, and Long...

Most of us spent the last six years negotiating with the universe to get Lloyd out of here. Only now, with one game left to coach, there is no rejoicing, there’s no relief, nor is there any immense sadness. In our heads, we know it is time for him to walk away. The heir to Bo’s throne is an old man now. But this game has never existed in places of reason; in our chest, none of this feels right.

Tomorrow, it is over for them all, it is over for this era, this dynasty, however plagued by the ability to let us down it might have been. The dynasty that won our hearts and little else, it is over for them.

As usual, MZone has their highly entertaining "Know your foe" Friday post. Obviously today's has everything you ever wanted to know about tOSU, but were afraid to ask...

Mascot – Brutus Buckeye. Brutus was born in 1965 and was the brainchild of Ray Bourhis and the student group Ohio Staters. At that time, most mascots were live animals and Bourhis proposed bringing a buck deer to the games but that proved too logistically difficult. The first Brutus costume weighed over 40 pounds. Through the years Brutus has had a number of face lifts – as well as some lipo evidently. But after the first incarnation, Brutus has appeared to be an angry, often drunk looking mascot.

In closing, I'm going to send you to the The Hoover Street Rag, which has a compilation audio clip of the only outright and unapologetic homer announcer I ever truly enjoyed listening to, the late, great Wolverines play by play man, Bob Ufer. I can never hear the term "Dr. Strangehayes" or his "Bo 'George Patton' Schembechler Scoring Horn" enough...

That's "Above the Fold" for Friday, 11-16-07! Go Blue!

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