oh, the suspense.

What I saw as I watched the two Bowl Championship Series selection shows Sunday night. The “official” show was on Fox, which holds the television broadcast rights to all the games except the Rose Bowl; the unofficial show was on ESPN, which is where college football’s most important games should be. I had the sound up on the ESPN TV in the newsroom, because I can’t stand the asshats on Fox.

7:56 p.m. The Fox show is due to start in a few minutes, but they — Barry Switzer, Jimmy Johnson, Charles Davis and that twerp host dude — are already one-upping their own broadcast by showing us the Rose Bowl matchup: Penn State vs. Southern Cal. God, I’m already annoyed to death with these guys — please, let the ESPN show start soon.

8 p.m. Ahh — There’s Rece Davis. It’s kind of dumb for me to be this excited, because we’re already 99 percent sure of who’s going where, but seeing it on ESPN sort of makes it seem official. Rece has the dreamy Kirk Herbstreit, Big Ten hater Mark May, Lee Corso and Saint Lou (Holtz) on the set.

8:01 p.m. ESPN has to wait on Fox to announce anything — and the Fox show hasn’t started yet — so The Leader is showing highlights of Saturday’s games. Why do coaches still insist on looking surprised by the Gatorade shower?

8:03 p.m. The Big 12 trophy looks like a fishbowl. Complete with a goldfish. Inspiring.

8:05 p.m. Hey, look — Fox is finally ready to begin. Thanks for joining the rest of us, guys.

8:06 p.m. Live shot from Cincinnati’s gym. Fans look excited. Hope someone told them this has nothing to do with basketball. Orange Bowl: UC vs. Virginia Tech. The Cincy fans go nuts. I’d suggest they act like they’ve been there before … but, oh yeah, they haven’t been there before.

8:07 p.m. Just noticed ESPN’s way around having to wait on Fox — they have helmets from all the BCS teams sitting on the front of the set. And yeah, there’s my Buckeyes…

8:08 p.m. Fox interviewing UC’s Brian Kelly. He is so gone after that game. Which will be seen by about two dozen people.

8:09 p.m. Fox is going to commercial. ESPN has announced the Orange and is still dissecting the matchup.

8:11 p.m. ESPN’s still going; Fox is back, but not really — this is a review of the Pontiac Game Changing Performances, which amounts to another commercial.

8:12 p.m. Fox went from the “commercial” back to commercial. At least they’re making money. ESPN’s BCS guy, Brad Edwards:

“Florida is going to play Oklahoma (in the title game) — there’s no question in my mind.”

And he’s almost never wrong.

8:13 p.m. Another ESPN highlight reel. Another Fox commercial.

8:14 p.m. ESPN announces the Rose. And Mark May starts in on crushing the Big Ten. Where’s your alma mater playing, Mark? It’s the Poulan-Insight-Continential Tire Sun Bowl, right? Have fun with that.

8:15 p.m. Fox decided it needed to wedge a couple minutes of selection show in between its blocks of commercials. Surgar Bowl — Utah against … a question mark? No, it’s Alabama. Shocker.

0103fiestabowl8:16 p.m. Fox: Fiesta Bowl — Ohio State and … more question marks. Texas, maybe? Yep. Whoooooo! I’m going to be grilling Bevo on Jan. 5. On ESPN, Saint Lou is telling us why USC won’t destroy Penn State. Hm.

8:17 p.m. After two minutes on the air, Fox is going back to commercial. Jeebus — Fox’s BCS contract can’t expire soon enough. Jackasses.

8:18 p.m. ESPN is still talking about the Rose Bowl, and Saint Lou just evoked the name of Woody Hayes, for whom Lou was an assistant. MM says USC owns the Pac 10;  I think he forgot about Oregon State.

8:19 p.m. ESPN announces the Fiesta. Please don’t let MM get the first comment in here. Nope, Herbie goes first.

8:20 p.m. Actually, MM says the Fiesta will be the best matchup outside the title game. Something sort of nice about Ohio State, Mark? That’s the biggest surprise of the night.

8:21 p.m. Fox is back, announcing the championship game: OU and Florida. A shot of the Oklahoma band in the Barry Switzer Center; a shot of Tim “I’m Not Winning The Heisman This Time” Tebow.

8:22 p.m. ESPN announces title game. Fox is showing Switzer interviewing OU head coach Bob Stoops. Bet that’s some great journalism right there. Barry’s throwing more fat softballs than Norm in a YinzTeam game.

8:25 p.m. My break is over, and I have a story to finish. I suppose I could listen to the Fox guys talk a little bit more between commercials, but I’m irritated enough already. Note to College Football: Once the Fox contract expires after next season, please don’t let them anywhere near my game again. Please.


29. ouch.


Another season, another successful YinzTeam sporting venture.

And another reason to eat Advil like they were M&Ms.

I actually felt pretty good upon completion of the first-annual YinzTeam Turkey Bowl, a flackle football game held Saturday at Bellevue Memorial Park. I caught one touchdown pass, made another reception, defended a pass intended for Papuga (this may or may not have involved what technically could be called “pass interference”), and was in on a couple of other stops.

I also suffered under the delusion — just once, mind you — that I could pressure Woy while he was playing quarterback. I didn’t know — until that very play — that Woy could also run like Barry Sanders. Ahem.

Want some additional photographic evidence? Check Jennie’s Flickr set; I’m the fat old guy.

A bunch of the players headed back to the new house for samples of The Wife’s excellent chili and tortellini soup and some Keystone.

And then we died.

No, not really. That’ll come tomorrow morning.

20. history.

It’s easy to look at Saturday’s game and come to one conclusion — Ohio State should win. And win big.

But if you’re familiar with the rivalry — especially if you’re looking at it from the Ohio side of the border — it’s almost as easy to come up with a few instances when sure things did 180-degree turns right after kickoff.

A couple of quick examples:

1993: A win in Ann Arbor would have meant Ohio State earned a trip to the Rose Bowl. Michigan waxed us 28-0 instead, and we got to beat Brigham Young in the Holiday Bowl instead.

1996: The Future Wife and I had awesome seats at the game in Columbus — we were sitting right in front of where Shawn Springs fell down and allowed Tai Streets to score Michigan’s only touchdown on the way to a 13-6 win.

There’s another game a little bit further in the past that reminds me an awful lot of this year’s situation.

1969: Ohio State was coming off a national championship season, and had gone through the year undefeated. Michigan had a new head coach, hired in part because the Buckeyes buried the Wolverines 50-14. The new guy brought change to a stagnant Michigan program, and a bunch of players left before the season began, because the new guy was too tough.

The new guy was Bo Schembechler. And, famously, he told his players in the preseason, “Those who stay will be champions.”

As it turned out, Bo was right. By beating a heavily favored Ohio State team in Ann Arbor 24-12, they tied the Buckeyes for the Big Ten title, and earned a trip to the Rose Bowl.

New guy? A fundamental shift in the culture of Michigan football? Does this sound familiar to anyone else?

I’d be willing to bet RichRod has told his players the story of 1969. And while Michigan’s 2008 team clearly isn’t as good as the one that upset Ohio State 39 years ago, I’d think Rodriguez has sold his players on the notion that Saturday’s game is their best chance to redeem themselves after a tough season.

Ohio State should win. And win big. But if Ohio State isn’t ready to take Michigan’s best shot, we could see 1969 all over again.

19. news flash.

ANN ARBOR, Mich. (AP) — Officials with the athletics department at the University of Michigan are reportedly concerned that Michigan’s annual football game against Ohio State, scheduled for noon Saturday in Columbus, might have to be canceled.

A source in the UM athletics department said on Wednesday officials in Ann Arbor were worried about travel — specifically about the football team’s inability to get past Toledo.

(Thanks, Kristi…)