As many of you know (since many of you write me on a weekly basis…), I receive lots of mail and also peruse lots of weird and wacky media (in addition to your mail, I mean…). I thought I would dedicate most of one column to those things that caught my attention, for whatever reason. In that way I can 1) Plagiarize without feeling guilty or worry about being chastised and 2) Actually have something interesting in this space for a change!
Let's try out that thesis:
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And now from that state of entropy…I mean, Michigan…
This tasty tidbit came to us from "The Daily", right there in Ann Arbor. Ya really gotta feel some pangs for those folks, don't ya?
programs inferior to Ohio State's
To the Daily:
Now that Ohio State has surpassed Michigan in nearly every major sport, what is Bill Martin going to do to change it?
Lloyd Carr, the worst game coach in the Big Ten, has single-handedly driven the Michigan football program into the ground in recent years. I do not even want to hear about how much of a classy guy he is. He is a great person but a terrible football coach. When are we going to stop losing on the quarterback draw, eh coach? It goes without mentioning that OSU has dominated us in football.
Tommy Amaker, despite all of the injuries to the basketball team, did a horrific job of getting his team ready to play for last nine games of the season. Good finish, coach! OSU has us dominated in this regard, and the future looks grim for Michigan with OSU's incredible recruiting class next year.
The hockey team is having a rough year, and split with a terrible OSU team. Michigan has looked outmatched by nearly each member of the WCHA and east coast opponents it has faced in the NCAA tournament in recent years. As a four-year season ticket holder, I saw first-hand losses to Boston College, Minnesota (many times) and Colorado College (huge collapse). We were clearly outclassed in these games.
OSU's baseball program is in much better standing than Michigan's. Let's not even talk about our women's basketball team, but OSU's is one of the best in the nation.
People can tell me that I am just whining, but I know that I am not alone in getting fed up with Michigan's continuing mediocrity in every sport. Ohio State has it figured out, and as a lifelong Michigan fan, it is sickening to see us on the losing end in most everything.
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Keep those cards and letters coming…I get lots of e-mail. Some of the stuff doesn't fall into the hate mail category or look like fan mail from 5 year-olds. Here is a sample from a fan that still wasn't satisfied with my explanation that there simply weren't surveys back in the "old days" when OSU could have had a #1 prospect in both football and basketball. His points are well made…
Dear Mr. Nuts:
No, there were no lists in 1959. But I think most any coach north of the M-D line would have taken Bob Ferguson in a heartbeat. The Troy Tank did lead the Buckeyes to at least one Big 10 title, made All-American a couple of times and was second in the Heisman Trophy voting one year. And he enrolled at the same time as Jerry Lucas. I think that parlay might have been the best ever, at any campus, at any time.
Perhaps next year's kids will do it, though it will be a shame if the would-be accountant, Greg Oden, stays at the great university for only one year or two. The best years of our lives.
Regards and go Bucks,
Los Gatos, Calif.
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From a Buckeye Mom…And I get lots of mail from people related to the program. Most of it is private and needs to be kept that way. Those will all be posted in my next column. One less private back-and-forth was held with Amy Moeller, Tyler's mom and a real sweetheart, looking out for her son and eagerly looking forward to next season. When I remarked on the number of recruits in this upcoming/incoming class that spurned Michigan in order to come to OSU, she sent me this:
Tyler would most likely be embarrassed if he knew I was e-mailing you, but I couldn't resist setting the record straight. In the future, you can include Tyler Moeller in on the list of recruits that OSU got over Michigan. Tyler talked to Michigan about an hour before he committed to Coach Tressel. They said they had a spot for him and wanted him to come up that weekend. He said thanks, but that he was going to be a Buckeye! We couldn't be happier, I might add J
Have a great day!
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Some sort of urological disorder…And then there was the careless quoting (by me of myself) poking fun at the Bucknuts name; asking how could a site with a name like "Bucknuts" ever be successful? I received a lot of responses to that (mostly colorful and unprintable). One of the shorter responses that pretty well caught the flavor of the others was this:
A funny story about the website's name:
I taught the last two years at a high school in Maryland. After school one day colleague of mine (a Tennessee fan) came by the computer while I was pulling up "Bucknuts.com". When he saw that, he said: "What kind of sick porn site are you going to?" We laughed about that for a while.
Keep up the great work.
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It's objective if someone else says it…If I said that the Buckeyes will win the national championship next year, a lot of you would probably object. But if a big time nationally recognized expert place like CBS Sportsline says it? Well, Dennis Dodd must be a hell of a smart man. That's what I think. Here's what he said about the Buckeyes and some other on-point stuff:
Spring Top 25:
Pass the Kool-Aid; Ohio State's tops
By Dennis Dodd
CBS SportsLine.com Senior Writer
Will Jim Tressel and Troy Smith be all smiles after the Fiesta Bowl?
It's the annual (more or less) CBS SportsLine.com spring Top 25. There will be more poll dancing before September, but for now our No. 1 hasn't changed. Be warned, though. College football is a moving target and, with apologies to the vice prez, we've got the shotgun.
1. Ohio State: The Kool-Aid has been distributed. Everybody ready? Drink. Troy Smith is this year's Vince Young. Ted Ginn Jr. will be better, at least more consistent. A new killer defense starts being assembled March 30 when spring practice starts. Besides, who else are you going to put up here?
It's still early but ... the Texas game (in Austin) looms large. The Bucks are aiming at this even more now that the Horns are defending national champs. Texas will be favored. Ohio State must avoid going all in emotionally. There's a long season ahead.
[Mr. Bucknuts here again]…That's a pretty nice perspective from a guy (Dodd) that has dissed Ohio State in general and Tressel, specifically, in the past! Now, who did Dodd rate #2, #3, and #4? That's pretty interesting, as well:
2. LSU: RB Alley
Broussard has a knee. Quarterback JaMarcus Russell is nursing a shoulder. Sugar
Bowl hero Justin Vincent is hobbled by an injury. What are we going to learn
about the Tigers this spring? If nothing else, even more is expected after last
year's hurricane-ravaged 11-2 season.
It's still early but ... don't assume that the spring battle between Matt Flynn and Ryan Perrilloux is merely for No. 2 behind Russell. Also, LSU finally has run out of all-star defensive tackles. Replacements must be found for Claude Wroten and Kyle Williams.
3. West Virginia: Everybody's sexy 2006 pick. Why not? The Mountaineers went 11-1 and beat Georgia at "home" in the Sugar Bowl with a young roster that will only get better. The only schedule concerns are Thursday night games at Louisville and Pittsburgh. Can you spell F-i-e-s-t-a?
It's still early but ... remember how coach Rich Rodriguez came from Tulane and Clemson with a reputation as a spread offense guy? The truth his, he adjusts his scheme to his personnel better than anyone. Pat White threw only 114 times last year.
4. Auburn: A true SEC power, the Tigers are 26-4 in their past 30 games. Tommy Tuberville needs only to tinker with the offensive line to get ready for 2006. Auburn was an overtime loss to LSU away from playing in the SEC Championship Game. Shades of 2004 -- let's hope the preseason schedule isn't too weak just in case (and by that we mean just in case Auburn goes undefeated). The Weakling Four are Washington State, Buffalo, Arkansas State and Tulane.
It's still early but ... the Tigers might have to go to a two-tailback set because of a spring injury to fullback Mike McLaughlin. Tuberville has done it before with Cadillac Williams and Ronnie Brown.
Wait…what about Notre Dame? Glad you asked:
5. Notre Dame: The
defense must get better. The memory of Ohio State rolling up a Notre Dame
opponent bowl-record 617 yards in the Fiesta Bowl can't be pleasant. Everybody
knows Brady Quinn will compete for the Heisman. It would be great for the
defense to break into the top 50 in total defense. (It was 75th last year,
allowing almost 400 yards per game).
It's still early but ... we can't stress enough the defense needs lots of work. The secondary was porous but isn't that a product of a front seven that can't put pressure on the quarterback? Take away the seven sacks against Stanford and ND averaged only two per
Oklahoma is #6 and then
comes…Texas and USC:
7. Texas: Save your e-mails, Orangebloods. There is a reason Oklahoma is ranked higher. Call us heretics but we're thinking your guys might lose at least one this year, and one of them might be to OU. The Sooners will have had a year to think about the thrashing last year in Dallas.
It's still early but ... this ranking is very tentative. Colt McCoy doesn't have to be a superstar at quarterback. If the Horns beat Ohio State and everything falls right, they could be back in the national championship game.
8. USC: Still the class of the Pac-10. And there's no reason to believe there will be much of a drop off at quarterback (John David Booty) or running back (tailback Herschel Dennis has 968 career rushing yards). Six starters return on defense, the weak spot in 2005. This team could easily win 10 games.
It's still early but ... the linebacking corps of Oscar Lua, Keith Rivers, Brian Cushing and freshman All-American Rey Maualuga could be the best in the country.
From a Bucknuts perspective, you can't finish out this fishing trip without throwing a line in about Penn State, Michigan or the fallen-from-grace Miami Hurricanes. Luckily for us, Dennis has them all rated in a clump together as follows:
19. Penn State: Anthony Morelli has the receivers but does he have Michael Robinson's leadership qualities?
It's still early but ... the best thing that happened to the defense was the knee injury to Paul Posluszny. It kept him out of the NFL and in State College where JoePa will need him badly.
20. Michigan: What can the Wolverines do for an encore? Hopefully nothing much worse. They are coming off their worst record since 1984.
It's still early but ... this is a pivotal year for, Lloyd Carr who must get Michigan back among the elite. A top 10 finish and victory over Ohio State wouldn't hurt.
21. Miami: Let the hate mail begin. Twenty-first? You bet. Upheaval in the coaching staff. Not quite top flight that Miami is used to. Plus, the ACC has proved to be a witch.
It's still early but ... No. 21 for the Canes is about right. The No. 21 team in the final AP poll was Clemson. The Tigers finished 8-4.
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Half-wits and half-breeds…One of my favorite thefts of all time was the letter I received (when I went off on my half-witted rant about mascot names), that detailed the pride Alaskans felt in their team, the Halfbreeds. Well, my buddy, Chris is back with an update on one of Mr. Bucknuts' favorite teams:
Hey Mr. Bucknuts,
Imagine a sport as popular as football in Columbus in Autumn. That's basketball in the Bush Alaska villages in winter. It's almost a religion…
Here's a recent story on the now-famous Halfbreeds. Enjoy…and GO BUCKS
By Andrea Gusty, CBS 11 News Reporter
Basketball in Bush Alaska is a way of life: a way to unite communities and a way to keep kids out of trouble during the long winter months.
But players say some outsiders don't understand their passion or their mascot.
Basketball is the sport in Bush Alaska. You don't need much space to play. There's hardly any equipment needed, and all the school really has to buy is a ball and hoop. In a place where everything must be flown to the village--the less to ship in, the better.
"It was first introduced to the kids out here in the Bush- basketball. And it just stuck and grew everywhere. Basketball is the sport," said Wayne Morgan, Aniak basketball coach.
"There's nothing else really to do," said Niki Brown, Aniak Lady Halfbreeds.
And the alternatives aren't always healthy. In the villages, there are no movies to go to, or malls to hang out at--leaving kids with little to occupy their time.
"Basketball keeps these kids out of trouble- keeps the kids involved with the school, keeping their grades up," said Morgan.
Almost just as important as the sport is the mascot: the Aniak Halfbreeds. While the term, Halfbreed, may seem derogatory to some, to the people on the Kuskokwim, the Halfbreed is more than just a mascot: it's an identity.
"Everyone is mixed-breed, like my dad is white and my mom is Eskimo; it makes sense," said Harvey Hoffman Jr., Aniak Halfbreeds boy's basketball.
And with Indian mascots being attacked nationwide, especially with the recent NCAA ruling against them, people in Aniak often find themselves defending the term, and logo.
"It may seem offensive to someone hearing it for the first time--for the people not knowing us, but it's who we are," said Morgan.
Basketball is so big that during the season, Fridays and Saturdays are devoted almost solely to basketball, with entire villages turning out to watch the kids on the court.
"Communities really stand behind the kids and support them wherever you go," said Morgan.
"I watched my brother Michael play, and I watched a lot of people here play when I was younger: you, Rainy, Dana, and all of them. And I just fell in love with it watching you guys play," said Brown.
And if one of their teams makes it to the state tournament in Anchorage, almost the entire village spends over three hundred dollars apiece on plane tickets to cheer them on.
"They always cheer loud and its fun to watch," said Hoffman.
"Basketball is king out here and always will be forever," said Morgan.
"Halfbreed power!" said the Aniak Halfbreeds boys' basketball team.
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And did Xerox ever come up with anything original?...One final thought that is mostly my own (so that those residual checks can keep flowing in)…
Next year, Ohio State is scheduled to play the feared Cincinnati Bearcats in basketball. When this game was scheduled, I think we really did fear the Huggy Bears and feared that we couldn't match up with Bob Huggins and his famed work-release program at the time. My, how that worm has turned, eh?
Believe it or not, this is the first time that the two teams have met since the 1962 NCAA finals when Lucas, Havlichek et. al. went down to defeat at the hands of Tom Thacker, Paul Hogue et. aller. And, yes, I remember it well.
Just 44 short years ago as I sat in front of a big living room TV set that only got two stations in Dayton. Channel 2 was ABC and Channel 7 was CBS. Yes, those were simpler times, folks…With the 1962 NCAA national championship on CBS (Channel 7); I hunkered down to watch my Buckeyes get even with the Bearcats for their intrusion into the previous year's championship process. But – wait – my father wouldn't let me sit in my lucky chair! He scoffed at the idea and wanted to teach me a lesson about superstition. I begged and pleaded and told him that all of Buckeye nation counted on me and my lucky chair. That made him angrier (and probably more disappointed in his nerdy son…) and he refused to move.
Well, the rest is history. Yes, I am personally responsible for that championship loss. I finally talked to my father again – about six weeks later – but I'm not sure I ever really forgave him. He's 89 now and can't remember a lick of that event.
But, 44 years later, I am eager for some revenge!
If you have an equally insipid story, or simply want to pound Mr. Bucknuts (verbally, that is…), contact him at MrBucknuts@yahoo.com