Posts Tagged ‘history



Have any questions about who to cheer for in the Super Bowl?

Alex Boone.

Alex Boone.

Larry Grant.

Larry Grant.

Donte Whitner.

Donte Whitner.

Ted Ginn.

Ted Ginn.


Now you know.


road trip.

Let’s see: I’ve been to games at Purdue. Indiana. Pitt, in buildings old and new. Miami (the one in Ohio). Michigan State. Cleveland Browns Stadium. And two miserable visits to The Big Hole in Ann Arbor.

With the exception of those two visits to AA, I’ve always enjoyed my college football trips.

But I can’t imagine what it would take to have a better trip than the one Mrs. Crappy and I took to State College on Saturday.

Our friends Kelly and John got themselves their first season ticket package at their alma mater earlier this year, and they immediately offered their extra two tickets to the Ohio State game to us. That’s not an offer we would turn down.

The plan: Head out to State College early — early — Saturday morning, see the town, eat, visit a couple tailgate parties, have our own, watch the game and catch some rest at a cheap motel in Altoona before heading home to Pittsburgh.

How’d we do? Here’s a look:

We got out of the car in our parking lot, looked to the south — and there is Beaver Stadium. Let me be clear about this: one of the things I was most excited about was sitting in this building during a white out. It’s always been one of the most impressive — and intimidating; just ask the 2005 Buckeyes who lost during a Beaver Stadium white out — displays of college football fandom I’d ever see on television, and I couldn’t wait to see it in person.

After a quick stop to see one of Kelly’s old professors, we headed to another lot to see Lauren — and The Bus. A friend of Lauren’s bought the old team bus on eBay — the first such retired bus to be sold that way by Penn State — and turned it into a tailgating machine.

They pay attention to every detail.

We were there early enough that the Blue Bus crew was just getting started. But even in the morning, the spread was impressive.

One of the stops on our campus tour was the Millennium Science Complex, a stunning L-shaped set of buildings joined by a triangular cantilevered roof, covering a courtyard. Penn State’s campus is dense and compact, especially for a school of its size, more like OU than Ohio State, but while it doesn’t feel crowded, the courtyard is a beautiful oasis in the middle campus.

The aforementioned courtyard. See?

We walked downtown to look for some Penn State gear — uh, for Kelly and John — and get some lunch at the Corner Room, which had this sign posted outside. The point? Everyone was nice. The entire day, I heard just one muttered shitty comment, from a student who was drunk enough at lunchtime that he was going to be passed out before the game started. Over and over, we were welcomed to Happy Valley by people who seemed genuinely happy we were there. We heard plenty of comments about the upcoming game, but all were good-natured, and once we set up our own tailgate party, we chatted with a guy from Pittsburgh that Kelly had met before a local half marathon. Old college football games, the Browns-Steelers rivalry (back when it was a rivalry) — great stuff to get in the right frame of mind for the game.

We walked back towards the lots, which were filling rapidly. Had some beer, some of the snacks that Mrs. Crappy brought along and an amazing beer-bratwurst-cheese soup Kelly had prepared. I’m hoping she’s going to get together a guest post about that soon, because it was too good not to share (a note — if you had the soup we made for last year’s Michigan game, you’ve had one of Kelly’s recipes. Good stuff, right?)

As we walked around the stadium to our gate we passed the corner where I left a buckeye at the feet of the Joe Paterno statue days after he died in January. I was expecting to see a crowd there; I wasn’t expecting to see a person, in bronze makeup from head to toe, posing as the statue. Very cool.

Inside. Teams are warming up. And the student sections, directly across the field, were already full. The building doesn’t look especially big — I guess I’m used to the concrete on the banks of the Olentangy — but there are a lot of people in there … 107,000-plus on Saturday.

That’s us, with Kelly and John. The fun is about to begin.

Ohio Stadium is loud. And while there may have been games in Columbus that were close — USC in 2009, Michigan in 2002 or 2006, or Penn State in 2002, which I still remember as one of the loudest games I’ve ever attended — I don’t think I’ve ever heard anything as loud as Saturday’s first half in Beaver Stadium.

And being in the middle of a white out is an awesome thing.

We’ll talk about the actual football in another post. Let’s say I was happy to be able to join in the postgame Carmen Ohio when it was over.

We were even close enough to see this.

We had an interesting night at our hotel in Altoona — I can’t say I’d recommend the Econolodge there for pretty much any reason — but we had an awesome breakfast at Tom and Joe’s Diner, a place Kelly found, before heading home.

It was a short trip, and a very long day — we were up at 4 and didn’t get to bed until late — and I wouldn’t change a thing. Kelly and John were great hosts, and I hope they don’t mind if I thank them one more time for a fantastic day. I hope we can return the favor in Columbus next season.

And. State College, you do it right. I hope we’ll be back soon.

I originally referred to the bus as one that took members of Penn State’s marching band to the stadium; Lauren pointed out that the bus was actually used to transport team members to Beaver Stadium. Sorry ’bout that.



sticking my neck out.

I had other buckeye necklaces before this one, but they were usually pretty simple ones, maybe a single buckeye strung on a piece of suede cord. Prior to the start of the 2002 season — yes, THAT season — I decided I wanted more. I went to a bead store and found a couple things that seemed like they would work. I also grabbed some buckeyes from the tree back home, drilled them out with my old yankee drill and put it together.

And Ohio State proceeded to have a pretty good decade — not to mention the national title the team won while I wore that necklace in Tempe.

Fairly early in his tenure, Jim Tressel made it clear that unlike his predecessor, he understood that the Michigan game was different. He did things differently for the final game of the season, and he made sure that everyone — the team and the fans in particular — knew that the Team Up North required a special effort from everyone.

Happy with this change from the Cooper era — when I had come to dread the Michigan game, for obvious reasons — I thought I’d make a special TUN-only necklace, to be worn on just one day every year. That was 2003, when I was still giddy both from the title the year before and two straight wins against the rival.

And then we lost that year.

I stuck with it, though, and it’s paid off. That buckeye necklace is 7-2* so far, and it’s not going anywhere.

And then came The Unpleasantness.

And prior to the start of the 2011 season, I knew there had to be a new necklace. The original had a great run, but I felt the need for a clean break from the bad stuff that left Ohio State with a new coach and a slew of players who had to sit out significant portions of the season while they contemplated their new tattoos.

I came up with this one, a combination of new buckeyes, some beads I found at a shop on Bethel Road and a few old ones I had in my bead bag.

To be honest: I’m not sure whether it was the season itself or something about the combination of beads, but the 2011 necklace never felt quite right. And once last fall’s Michigan game was complete — and once Ohio State hired Urban Meyer — I knew immediately I would assemble a new necklace for this new era.

Unlike the others, though, this one isn’t all new. The buckeyes and most of the beads return from last year’s model, and that’s OK. I view 2011 as a transition; Luke Fickell is still on the staff, and we saw glimmers — Braxton Miller, Jordan Hall, Ryan Shazier, for example — of what could be down the road.

We saw a lot of ugly football. We had more than our share of rough Saturdays. But we also saw reasons to hope.

So — I have a “new” necklace. We’ve broken from the previous era, we’ve acknowledged the sweeping changes of a year ago — and we’re ready for 2012 and what it will bring.

*Yes, I’m counting 2010. Bite me.


back away from the ledge.

UPDATE: No Posey, no Herron and (surprise!) no Marcus Hall against Nebraska.

On the Friday before the opener against Akron, I met my dad, James Bond and Fred at the Varsity Club, for a kickoff lunch and the renewal of a high-stakes bet based on our predicted records for the season.

I don’t recall everyone’s predictions, but I think that at 9-3, I was the pessimist of the group.

And after Saturday, I think 9-3 would feel pretty good.

Because it’s not all that hard to imagine Ohio State not winning again until it plays Indiana. In November. Ouch.

But I don’t think that’s what’s going to happen. There could be another five losses on the schedule — but I don’t think that’s going to be the case. This isn’t going to be a championship season — and it’s not even going to be close, boys and girls — but things aren’t as bad as they felt at 7 p.m. Saturday evening. Look:

The defense is what we’re used to seeing at Ohio State. After Saturday’s game, our Buckeyes still had the 10th best scoring defense in the country. It’s easy to lose sight of this after a loss, but holding a senior quarterback and his very good offense to 10 points is a great day.

Help’s on the way. Returning to the field on Saturday: left tackle Mike Adams. He may or may not be joined by tailback Boom Herron and receiver DeVier Posey (it sounds like we’ll find out more about that this afternoon). The return of the skill players is important (Posey in particular — we’re already seeing injuries among the receivers and having an all-conference guy back can do nothing but help the confidence of whoever’s playing under center) but getting Adams back will be the biggest deal. The offensive line has struggled; having its anchor back in the huddle — and moving the other guys back to positions that more naturally suit them — is going to help.

It’s all in their heads. In 2008, there was a crushing road loss at USC and a devastating loss to Penn State at home; the team improved after both losses and won a bid to a BCS game. I’m not seeing a BCS berth at the end of this season, but we will see improvement. I’m not ready to make any predictions about wins and losses, but I guarantee we’re going to see a better team on the field against Wisconsin than we did against Michigan State. The current seniors were here for that 2008 season; they know what it takes to recover mentally, and they will bring the other guys along.

Youth movement. Think about it — four seniors, all starters, all among the better players at their positions in the country — and all gone for the first five games this year. Could we realistically expect the same kind of performance from replacements who A) had been perpetual backups or B) are true freshmen? Not if we’re being honest with ourselves, no. Think back to 2008 again. We saw occasional brilliance from that season’s freshman quarterback — but more often, we saw him play like he was a freshman quarterback. Braxton Miller’s in the same boat. We’ve seen great plays from him already, and I think he has a greater upside than did his predecessor. But if Ohio State is going to realize that potential for the next two or three years, we’re going to have to endure some mistakes now.

(Caveat to the above: We need to play Miller. Joe Bauserman’s performance against Akron had less to do with his ability than it had to do with what Akron lacked. It’s going to be better all the way around to suffer through Miller’s mistakes while he improves than to hope for a decent season from a mediocre caretaker — and have to go through Miller’s learning process next year.)

We’re going to be fine, boys and girls. We have the same talent on this team as we’ve had in the last decade. We have a ton of young guys — not to mention a young coach — and they’re not going to react like veterans when things get tough.

But later this season, they will. And they’re going to need us behind them when they’re ready.

Photo credit: The Ozone.



I’m curious to hear whether any of the other KNTers remember a scoreboard video clip where the girl tackles the penguin in the back yard. It was kind of similar to this:


they also kick puppies.

I haven’t had many terrible experiences when I’ve traveled with Ohio State — I’ve had beer cans thrown at me in Michigan Stadium, and I know from a game at Purdue that marshmallows stuffed with pennies hurt more than you might imagine, but overall I can’t report anything overwhelmingly negative.

My folks, on the other hand, have been to games at nearly every Big Ten stadium — as well as a few outside the conference — and on a couple of occasions, they’ve reported some ugly days. I hope they can weigh in if I’m off-base here, but my recollection is that outside of a trip to Morgantown, their worst night would have been the one they spent in Madison, I think in 2003.

Playing Wisconsin on the road at any time of day is tough. The home team is usually pretty good, the fans are well-lubricated and the weather up north — even further up north than the home of the Team Up North — can be dicey as you get deeper into the season.

That’s sort of what mom and dad ran into on their trip up there — a cold, rainy night; a group of fans that had extra time for lubrication; and, if I’m remembering the year correctly, a Badger team that was bent on ending Ohio State’s winning streak that extended to the start of the previous season. There were also reports of freshman sacrifice, beer bongs extending from the top deck of Camp Randall Stadium and an uncomfortable amount of attention towards opposing fans, most of whom were huddled together to protect themselves from the pitchforks, torches and driving, icy rain.

The Badgers are something of a mystery this season; they looked a lot better on paper than they appear to be. But they will be up for a visit from the No. 1 team in the country, as will the fans that make Camp Randall the, uh, experience that it is.

And that forecast of clear skies and game-time temps in the 50s? I’m not buying that either.



Side note: I am so making Cincinnati chili for a tailgate party later this year.

Along the way to a 73-20 win over Eastern Michigan, Ohio State quarterback Terrelle Pryor accomplished something that hasn’t been done very often — he scored three ways, with a rushing touchdown, a passing touchdown (several, actually) and a pass reception for a touchdown.

Crappydad and I were talking about this after the game Saturday; we both wondered whether Prior might have accomplished the same thing in the Fiesta Bowl game against Texas a couple years ago, but I didn’t think he had.

Fortunately, the Dispatch’s Ken Gordon got help from the university in tracking down the answers. You’ll find a post about all the times a Buckeye has scored three different ways here, but the short answer to the run/pass/catch question is this: Gerald Krall did it in 1948 against Illinois, and Keith Byars did it in 1984 against Iowa.

And the most recent instance of an Ohio State player scoring three ways in a game comes with some Crappy Family trivia attached. In the 2004 game against Michigan State in East Lansing, Ted Ginn ran for a score, caught a touchdown pass and returned a punt for a TD in a pretty tight game that Mrs. Crappy and I watched at Buffalo Blues in Shadyside. But as exciting as that was, the capper was seeing Crappydad on TV near the end of the broadcast, standing on the top row in one of the end zones and waving that little Ohio State flag he likes sneaking in to road games.

That was a score for us.



A couple weeks ago, we talked about the fact that Nike wasn’t content to make my head explode with throwback uniforms for the Michigan game once. No, they had to go and do it a second time.

The pic that Eleven Warriors had up was actually close. Here’s what we get for this year’s Michigan game instead:

Thanks, Eleven Warriors.

Yeah. OK. This time we’re paying tribute to the 1942 national championship team, and the Nike version seems pretty faithful to the originals:

I just showed the picture of the new ones to Mrs. Crappy. She said, “Eh. The red helmets make them look like Alabama.”



save the game.

While Mrs. Crappy and I were lounging through our island vacation, the discussion over what would happen to Ohio State’s annual game against Michigan once the conference is split into divisions apparently bubbled over, with Gene Smith, Ohio State’s AD, and Gordon Gee, the university’s president, getting buried with emailed demands that we preserve not only the annual game but also its spot as the final game of the regular season.

When my friend Kelly and I wrote about conference realignment back in June, Kelly said she assumed that keeping the Ohio State-Michigan rivalry intact would be a priority of mine, and I said she was correct. I think I assumed at that point that we wouldn’t be talking about playing the game in, say, mid-October. Different divisions? Sure, as long as we’re still playing every season — on the final weekend of the year.

The detractors are saying they don’t like the possibility of Ohio State playing Michigan on consecutive weekends, in their regular-season game and then the championship game the following week. But that makes one very large assumption, that both teams are going to win their divisions with enough regularity that their title-game appearances would become monotonous — and I think Penn State, Wisconsin, Iowa or Nebraska might have something to say about that. And I seem to recall an awful lot of people suggesting that Ohio State and the Team Up North should have played a second time for the national championship after the No. 1 Bucks narrowly defeated the No. 2 Wolverines in 2006.

I can’t get through this post without writing cheesy-sounding stuff about “tradition,” but that’s what’s important here. It’s not just that we play every year, in a game that almost always has an impact on the Big Ten title; it’s that you can mark your calendar for the same time every year. It’s something that the players and the fans and the schools and both states gear up for — peaking in late November, for what is and, since the mid-1930s, when the game permanently took its season-ending spot, what always has been the biggest and most important game of the year.

Past players and coaches don’t want the date to change. The Dispatch’s Bob Hunter comes up with a good summation of what Woody and Bo would have thought of the proposal. And I don’t want it to change either.

Yes, change is coming. A new team. Two divisions. A championship game. Fine. But some things — and especially this one thing — is too big and too important to change.


they worked last time.

Around the beginning of last November, I had a mild conniption over at my other blog after finding out that Ohio State was going to participate in Nike’s marketing/sales scams, otherwise known as the throwback uniform. And they were going to do it for the Michigan game.

As I have stated before, I may have overreacted a bit. Ohio State won the game without too much trouble, and maybe with the exception of the socks, I kind of liked the unis. And my guess would be that the university and Nike made a bundle selling replica jerseys.

So, naturally, we’re going to do it again.

Thanks, 11W.

As was the case a year ago, Eleven Warriors seems to be first to dig up a picture of the 2010 Nike Pro Combat uniforms. I don’t know if this pic is accurate yet, but 11W nailed it last November, and I have no reason to doubt that they did it again.

What do I think? It’s still unnecessary. I’m still a little annoyed that we have to do it for the Michigan game, especially when we’re on the brink of making some pretty significant changes to the structure of the conference that could disrupt all the traditions associated with the Team Up North even further.

But. No conniptions this time. Hell, I might even buy one of those suckers myself.

2017 schedule

Aug. 31: vs. at Indiana, 8 p.m.
Sept. 9: Oklahoma, 7:30 p.m.
Sept. 16: Army, 4:30 p.m.
Sept. 23: UNLV
Sept. 30: at Rutgers
Oct. 4: at Maryland
Oct. 7: Maryland
Oct. 14: at Nebraska
Oct. 28: Penn State, 3:30 p.m.
Nov. 4: at Iowa
Nov. 11: Michigan State
Nov. 18: Illinois
Nov. 22: Indiana
Nov. 25: at Team Up North, noon
Dec. 2: B1G Championship, 8 p.m.

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