…and blog comments at their finest. Here’s a bunch of encomia to Bo Schembechler, including a lot of classy ones from fans of other schools, including Ohio State:
Bo Schembechler not only revived college football’s winningest program, he also revived this rivalry.
In the mid-sixties Michigan wasn’t even the best team in the State of Michigan. Michigan State was the team that played “the game of the century in 1966, a 10-10 tie against Notre Dame. And the Nat’l Champion Buckeyes beat U-M 50-14 in Bump Elliott’s final game.
Bo not only shocked the college football world a year later when his underdog Wolverines beat the heavily favored, unbeaten, and top-ranked Buckeyes 24-12 in his first try against Woody, he restored the winning tradition to Michigan Football and put the emotion back into what is now considered the sport’s greatest rivalry.
He also ran an airtight program. No rules violations, no favors, no cheating. Period. And his teams were held to a much higher standard of sportsmanship than the norm. No trash-talking and no cheap shots by Michigan football players were tolerated.
Bo gets a bad rap on his bowl record. Bo always had a reputation for being such a tough guy that the nation never knew that he considered a bowl trip to be a reward for his players and thus didn’t crack the whip for those games quite as hard. That, combined with the tougher competition led to a .500 bowl record.
Bo’s stubborn, run-oriented offensive schemes may have cost him a few games, but that same stubbornness re-established and maintained a superior level of play on the field and conduct off the field that is the essence of Michigan Football.
And here’s an example (and a sadly prophetic one) from a fan of tOSU:
Bo came to Ohio State and spoke at Woody’s memorial at the OSU Stadium. His words of his love for Woody made me cry. Today I cried again at the news of his death.
Someone sent me an interview comment where Bo was asked what he would like the most and he said to watch the game with Woody. I guess he got his wish.
Rest in Peace Bo.
Jim Tressel has a hell of a job getting his players up for this game tomorrow. My advice to him for a pre-game speech:
Men, you know that with Coach Schembechler’s death yesterday, those Wolverines are going to be even more fired up than they were before. They were already motivated, and now they’re going to be even more so, to “win one for Bo.”
And Bo sure would want them to win. But he’d also want them to win against the best Ohio State team they could, because he could never stand a cheap win. In fact, the last thing that he’d want is for his team to win just because he died the day before the game. He’d want his team to play their best, but he’d also want you to play your best, and let the best team win.
There’ll be more than one team on that field today who want to win one for Bo Schembechler. Let’s go out there and do it for him.
[Update a few minutes later]
I hadn’t thought about this, but as the 1968 Tigers healed a wounded Detroit, still reeling from the riots the year before, Bo also healed a war-torn and fractious late-sixties Ann Arbor (a place I knew, and loved, well, from visiting my sister who was attending college there at the time). John Papanek explains.
And for those who still don’t understand the significance of this game to college football, here’s some interesting trivia: