The college football questions of the day got me thinking this morning, and some of the responses got me pissed, so I'm going to throw my own thoughts out there and you can do with them what you will.1. Who are your rival(s)?
Let's see... who does Ohio State get fired up to play every year... hmm... I'm going to say Minnesota.
Okay, maybe Michigan, Michigan, Wisconsin (more because of recent struggles and the fact that their fans are assholes than anything historical), Michigan, Penn State, and Michigan.2. Size up your chances in your rival games this year.
The Bucks don't play Wisconsin (and now it looks like Barry Alvarez is retiring, so that should help in the future) so that's out. The other two (Michigan and PSU) are on the road, so neither is anything close to a sure thing.
I like the fact that the OSU-UM rivalry did a complete 180 when Tressel took over. Now the Bucks come out confident, prepared and ready to kill and it's Michigan's
coach who looks lost and perpetually upset on the sidelines. The fact that OSU has throttled superior Michigan teams twice in the last four years (23-0 at the half is flat-out getting your ass kicked) means this is probably at worst 50-50. The fact that it's in Ann Arbor means at best it's 50-50. So I'll say it's 50-50.
As for Penn State, remember the old axiom that you can only "get up" for about three games each year? This is one of Penn State's three. This is not one of OSU's three. PSU has been dogshit the last few years, but this is a dangerous, dangerous game.3. If you could start up a new rivalry with another team, who would it be?
Off the top of my head, I'd obviously love to see OSU kick the shit out of Notre Dame every year. That's really the only team that makes sense from both a regional standpoint and a "theoretically still relevent nationally" standpoint.
Pitt? No thanks.
Kentucky? No thanks.
West Virginia? Maybe if they put together a string of 10-win seasons for five years or so and really took over the Big East, but it hasn't happened.
Louisville? Maybe if they show that they can compete on the BCS level on a consistent basis.
Really, I think you need to go outside the region. In no particular order, I'd love to see home-and-home series with: Oklahoma, Nebraska, Southern Cal, Miami (FL), Florida, Tennessee and Florida State. If there was a way to get some of those southern boys up in the Horseshoe late in the season, that would be awesome. But it probably won't ever happen.4. Overall, what do you think the best rivalry in college football is?
The question stipulated that you can't pick one involving your team, but really there's only one answer to this question.
However, to follow the rules, I will say that Army/Navy is incredible to see in person (I've been to two of them).
I really like the atmosphere at the games where it's 50/50 (Georgia/Florida, Texas/Oklahoma), but I guess that really wasn't the question.
I guess Notre Dame-Michigan is the only game that makes me say "I really want to see that game" every year.
Alabama/Auburn, Florida/FSU, USC/ND, etc just don't have that annual pull.5. Lastly, game trophies. What are the best and worst rivalry trophies out there?
Best: The Axe (Wisconsin/Minnesota) is sweet. I like the Old Oaken Bucket (Indiana/Purdue) too, just for the fact that they put a new I or P link on a chain to show which team won.
Worst: The Paul Bunyan Trophy (UM/MSU) is pretty bad. There are some really crappy ones around including a shovel (UTEP-NMSU), a boot (BYU-Utah), and an egg (Ole Miss/Miss. State)
I've seen a bunch of Michigan fans calling OSU a penal institution and ripping Tressel for not punishing guys, putting winning ahead of anything else, blahblahblah.
The tone is generally reminiscent of someone who does the "LOL LOL!!!111!!" thing. Just a reminder...
Like... remember the time one of the Buckeyes got arrested for being a serial flasher around campus? He, like, totally terrorized a bunch of girls and might have to register as a sex offender! LOL!!!!! (Oh, wait... that was Larry Harrison)
Like... and remember that time OSU's all-American corner broke a bottle over some dude's head at a party and the coach said he was totally suspended for months, but when the guy got done picking the glass out of his scalp he didn't press charges and their star only sat out one game against a terrible MAC team and they let him back for the big rivalry game! What a bunch of phonies who only care about winning! (Oh, wait... that was Marlin Jackson)
LOL! And remember the time that offensive lineman got drunk at a bar, pulled out his bird and started whizzing on stuff! And that thug coach let him play in the Rose Bowl!! (Oh, wait... that was Adam Stenavich)
And the Michigan football program is so clean that it squeaks.
Sure, they've had major NCAA violations in baseball
and men's basketball
, but the highest profile program on campus with the biggest fanbase has never broken one rule. Not just that they haven't gotten caught... they've never broken one
Even the most ardent Michigan fans would have to admit that basic logic would dictate that's not true.
OSU's got the same problems as everyone else, and it's incredibly disingenous to pretend they only happen at certain places.