Thursday, November 15, 2007

Bo and Woody

Bo and Woody will forever be linked in every one's mind because they were at center of the best rivalry in sports at perhaps its most intense era. For ten years they ruled the league, winning ten big ten titles, and going a combined 184-35-6. The ten games between them were epic, with only two real blowouts in the ten years, and Michigan holding the slimmest of margins, 5-4-1. It is only natural that when you think of one, you think of their rivalry with the other.

But I have a real problem with people who try and equate the two and say that they were similar people, of similar character. Last year all you heard from Buckeye fans was how the two were one and the same. The truth is that Woody wasn't half the man that Bo was. Woody was a classless bully who would push his own mother in the mud if she put on a blue sweater. Yes Bo had a temper, yes he yelled at referees, and was grumpy with the media. But he never punched an opposing player. He never slugged a sideline camera man. He never tore up sideline markers, or attempted to start a fight with opposing team's marching band. He would never purposely denigrate an opposing team's traditions. Woody was pathological in his hatred of "That team up north", and acted like a spoiled child when he lost to them. He was Bobby Knight without the soft underbelly.
It was Woody's erratic behavior that formed the basis of the general tenor of the OSU fan base towards this rivalry. If Woody wouldn't even acknowledge the name of his chief rival, it's ok for the fans to act like third graders. Respect? Woody never respected the game or his rival enough to control his behavior so why should the typical fan show any restraint in dealing with opposing fans? It's the reason why Michigan fans fear for their safety when they go to Columbus. It's why the former president of OSU refered to "drunken orgies" on football Saturdays.
So when you are watching the game Saturday, and you here them talking about Bo and Woody, remember that though the are forever intertwined in our memories, they are not together watching the game. Bo is in heaven, Woody, well...