Published: Saturday, November 17, 2007
OSU ROUNDUP | News and notes
Buckeye buzz: To the winners go the spoils ... and a valuable trinket. Each time the Buckeyes beat Michigan in the annual regular-season curtain-closer, all team personnel are given a $25 gold charm in the shape of a pair of football pants, engraved with the date and the score of the game. The tradition began in 1934 when first-year Ohio State coach Francis Schmidt told those wondering how Ohio State would do against the mighty Wolverines, "They put their pants on one leg at a time just like everybody else." Schmidt then led the Buckeyes to four consecutive wins over Michigan, all by shutout. It's a pretty big deal to have the special piece of jewelry. So big a deal that in 2003 when a pair were put up for sale on eBay, fans, players and coaches were all incensed. No one ever found out who it was who tried to put a price on a small object with such big sentimental value. Now a group of Ohio State players can actually collect four gold pants charms. Marcus Freeman, a fourth-year junior LB, is going for No. 4. He reflected this week on what the charms meant to him. "Growing up, I heard about it, and I thought you get a real pair of gold pants, I didn't know what it was," he said with a laugh. "Then when I got here and got my first pair you see it's a little charm, but then you learn what an important tradition it is. My first pair I gave to my mother, my second pair I gave to my father, and my third pair I gave to my brother, so I hopefully have to get another pair to keep for myself."
Slate-gray skies: The weather report for Ann Arbor, Mich., is a high of 44 degrees and a low of 30 under cloudy skies with a 10 percent chance of precipitation.
Doesn't travel well: "The Game" isn't exactly the game in Johannesburg, apparently. Kicker Ryan Pretorius explains what it's like trying to explain American football and Ohio State-Michigan to his friends and family back in South Africa: "They think the Rugby World Cup is the biggest event in sports. I just tell them how big the game is and how every single day when you come to football here all they ever talk about is the Michigan game. Since I've arrived, I've known that this is the biggest game of the year. A great season or a bad season depends on that game regardless of who you beat or lose to."
Barton update: It's hard to go a day without a smidgen of the wit and wisdom of RT Kirk Barton, so here's today's salvo. A reporter asked Barton if the acoustics at The Big House were such that you don't hear too much of what the fans say or yell. "Well, we're not going to an opera, so that's a good thing with the acoustic thing," he said, laughing. Still cracking up, he added, "Acoustics? During football? They'll be loud and they'll be armed with four-letter words the whole game, so I'm excited to hear that. I can't wait to hear the sweet things that will come out of their fans' mouths this time."
A biased prediction: Considering that Eddie George played at Ohio State, winning the Heisman Trophy in 1995, he can't necessarily be considered an objective observer of Saturday's contest. But here's what he has to say about who'll win (guess who!): "Ohio State wins. I believe we have the athletes to get it done. We have the motivation. But it'll be tough. It'll be a very hard game to pull off," he said. "Michigan, if they win this game, will feel like all is erased Appalachian State, Oregon, Wisconsin. They win the Big Ten title and get the Rose Bowl. Think of all those seniors have been through, and they have one more chance to get Ohio State. It's going to be hell to go in there and get a victory. But I like Ohio State, I like our chances. We're coming off an embarrassing loss in the national championship game, and that was our motivation this year. I like our defense. We've been very stout. Our running game has been great. And as long as we don't get behind, if we control the game early, we'll win."
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