COLUMN: Buckeyes may have perfect season, but imperfect fans

By CHRIS ZADOROZNY, Sports Editor

The oldest rivalry in sports exists between two fantastic academic schools, the University of Michigan and The Ohio State University.

Wolverines. Buckeyes. Pick one, and only one, because you cannot be in between. The hatred both sides share for each other can be misconstrued as love, (yeah right!), because as the old saying goes, “…keep your friends close, but your enemies closer.”

Fans, parents, teachers, and students alike share a mutual hate for the other school. Whether it’s “That School Up North,” or “That team in Ohio,” the rivalry continues, even with new coaches on both sides.

Brady Hoke, now in his second season with the Wolverines, and undefeated at home, has yet to beat a ranked team on the road, and traveled to the Horseshoe for the first time, into a sea of scarlet and gray.

MORE: Turnovers cost Michigan, fall to OSU in ‘The Game’

Urban Meyer, in his first season with the Buckeyes, has completely turned the program around, not even a year after being sanctioned by the NCAA all while losing famed coach Jim Tressel.

Driving down to Columbus for the first time was an experience all in itself. The closer you get to Columbus, the more scarlet and gray you see, and the more hostile the environment feels if you’re a Michigan fan.

I have heard many stories, a few from my uncle who was involved in a few fights back in the day when he went down there, instigated by Buckeye fans, or so how the story goes.

I expected to have beer thrown on me, drenched with liquids of all sorts, and rotten eggs all over my car. That didn’t happen, and for one good reason…because we parked in a structure.

Before we arrived in Columbus, Tommy Alexander (photographer extraordinaire) and I stopped at a McDonald’s about an hour outside the city to grab a bite to eat before driving the rest of the way.

While there, we briefly chatted with an older woman, who was very respectful and nice to us, even though we told her we were from Michigan. She was worried that Tommy would be too cold on the field because he didn’t have an extra coat (it was in the car).

I was very happy our first encounter down there, was nice, but the nice-ness went away seconds after the game ended.

The clock ticked down, second-by-second, and as I stood there in disappointment, really hoping the Wolverines would come down to Columbus and ruin the Buckeyes season, state police troopers started lining up to block the students from rushing the field.

I felt relieved because it’s obvious they would storm the field, as this was their last home game, and they just won, “The Game.”

The police did nothing and let the students rush the field, prematurely nonetheless, so quickly, that the coaches couldn’t even shake hands, something Brady Hoke loudly said after the press conference, that “it’s not a big deal….it’s not a story.”

As the Wolverines slowly jogged off the field to the locker room, one last time as a team this season (of course we have a bowl game), students and fans alike ran “past” them. While jumping with joy onto the field, they just couldn’t resist the urge to flip off many of the Wolverines, attempting to tackle them, shouting “f*** you,” in their face, and the obvious, pushing and shoving them. They even went as far to push and shove me for their own pleasure.

They didn’t care, their team just capped a perfect season, with an asterisk by beating their arch-rival. Turnovers cost the Wolverines. The Buckeyes capitalized and won fair and square. Instead of just celebrating the win, the fans decided to be asses, jerks, idiots, and downright stupid.

I walked away from the experience hoping Michigan would win, hoping for a great experience at OSU, only to be disappointed in the fans more than the team I was there to cover. There’s a reason that Ohio State is chasing Michigan, not only historically in football (Michigan 58-44-6), but academicallytoo.

Michigan is ranked #29 in the country by the National University Rankings, while Ohio State University is ranked #56.

The Buckeyes have no class, no manners, they cheer for a cheater, and even had no idea how to spell. Michigan first started the Ohio script spelling in the Horseshoe in 1932, even though the Ohio StateLibrary says different.

So enjoy your perfect season, as you thanked Jim Tressel for his 2002 National Championship during a timeout on Saturday, yet he’s the entire reason you aren’t going to a bowl game. In the meantime, Michigan will enjoy a bowl game in sunny Florida on New Year’s Day.

To read the original post that appeared online only in The Michigan Journal, on Tuesday, November 27, 2012, go to www.michiganjournal.org

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