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Buckeyes' win feels like home

November 26, 2002|by TIM KOELBLE

If you noticed last Thursday's sports pages of The Herald-Mail, there was a new mug in place of Big Sydney in our Fearless Forecasters segment. One of my predictions that was accurate, of course, was Ohio State beating Michigan.

Why is that of importance you ask?

Along with my wife, we moved to Maryland in mid-July picking up roots from the Cleveland area. Therefore, I am an Ohio State fan, although the Buckeyes rank second in my personal favoritism only to Notre Dame.

I can see everyone now. Oh no, another Buckeye to go along with colleague Bob Parasiliti and our executive editor Terry Headlee. Yep, we're scattered everywhere.

Yes, I'm a Cleveland Browns fan too. And yes, we still hate Art Modell.

Like all Buckeye fans, we can't stand to mention that name "up North' (sorry Mark Keller), even though I do recall Bo Schembechler was brought in from Barberton, Ohio to coach that team for many years.

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Saturday's victory, putting the Buckeyes 38 days away from a Jan. 3 date for the national championship in the Fiesta Bowl, is no doubt the greatest since OSU steamrolled everyone toward the 1968 national title under Woody Hayes. The Buckeyes have had many opportunities since then to win national titles but were squelched by "that team up North."

We were ruined in 1969, winners of 22 straight, and were beaten 24-12 with all the scoring in the first half. I vividly remember the outcome of that game because I was sitting in South Bend, Ind. that afternoon watching the Irish.

In 1995 the Bucks were 10-0 and ranked second - and lost. A year later, the same scenario across the board and then in '97 OSU was No. 4 and lost to those guys, who won the national title.

There's a big difference in Columbus and it started two years ago with the hiring of Jim Tressel, who now has a 2-0 record against the Maize and Blue. It took John Cooper 13 years (2-10-1) to win that many.

There are other noticeable differences, thanks to Tressel. Players really care what happens, they have Maurice Clarett and they have a quarterback (Craig Krenzel) that is truly capable. (Thank goodness Steve Bellisari is gone). And yes, I realize that Krenzel is from "up there."

Tressel simply is a good football coach and he is a teacher of moral ethics on and off the field. He brought along a proven track record from Youngstown State. His values were entrusted in him via his father, Jim Tressel. He's already started to keep Ohio talent in the state.

The last time I really showed an interest in the Fiesta Bowl was 1988 when Notre Dame won the national title with its victory over West Virigina and Major Harris.

I'd like to see Miami win its last two games and to feel the wrath of the Buckeyes. Granted, OSU was not a juggernaut the last five weeks of the year, but found ways to win.

Saturday was a great day for Buckeye fans and I can just imagine what went on around High Street after the game. So, any of you Buckeye fans (and Notre Dame, too), feel free to say hello. I know you're around.

The only downer watching the game was having to listen to Brent Musburger.

Tim Koelble is a staff writer for The Herald-Mail. His column appears every other Tuesday. He can be reached at 301-733-5131, ext. 2311 or by e-mail at

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