A quick update of sorts: Sorry for the sketchy coverage over the past few days; we’re having an ongoing debate with the owners of the intertubes.
Actually, we’ve got a couple of big things we’re working on that should make your Buckeye experience a lot more enjoyable. Thanks for being patient with us…
Here’s the first announcement- tBBC is growing yet again, with another great member of the team. Wrapping up our “all J starting lineup” for this year’s Buckeye hoops tournament, we welcome Joe Dexter to the squadron. Formerly lead editor for Scarlet and Game, Joe brings a background in journalism that will certainly be welcomed here amongst us amateurs. Check the rest of his info in the “About Us” section, and look for an article from him tomorrow (if the server gods deem it so).
Couple of “in house” notes today-
27 days left until kickoff:
Two days before kickoff. 48 hours. Are you ready?
In keeping with the tradition of our countdown format, we bring you a player who has worn #2 for the Buckeyes. But Jeebus, who to pick???? Oh, the hell with it…..let’s just do a series of our #2 legends!
Part 3 belongs to a guy from Canton, Ohio – Mike Doss.
When the 2001 season ended, Ohio State had compiled a 7-5 record and lost their bowl game. Junior defensive back Mike Doss was already hearing the NFL calling his name. Nobody would have said boo if he declared himself eligible for the draft.
But he saw something in the Buckeyes that the rest of the NCAA didn’t. He saw the realistic potential for a National Championship the following season. So he stayed. A rookie coach with a 7-5 squad, and he wanted to stay and win a title….damn, THAT is pride!
“My one goal, it was to win a National Championship. I won a championship on every level since I was 8 years old, and to come back and to get it done, I give all glory to God, and I thank the best damn fans in the land.”
A simple request to any Buckeye fan who ever runs into Doss – make sure you THANK the man for that. He stayed on and you know what happened….he didn’t lose a single game in his senior season, and that 14-0 Buckeye squad won the whole enchilada down in Tempe.
One last note – go back and look at the picture at the top of this post again….look at the faces on the sidelines behind Doss. Ever seen Eddie George and Kirk Herbstreit look so happy?
Do I need to say anything else?
Raymont Harris graduated from the Ohio State University in the Top 5 of all-time Buckeye running backs. His 2,649 yards were mostly from bowling over defenders, and generally proving the cliche’ about “running downhill”.
Since his departure from Columbus, five more backs have since passed him on the all-time yardage list (Eddie George, Pepe Pearson, Michael Wiley, Antonio Pittman and Beanie Wells), but his rank among the Top 10 will likely be untouched for some time (unless Terrelle Pryor rushes for 1k each of his sophomore and junior seasons).
Harris was the starting tailback during an era of incredibly talented backs at Ohio State. Before he got the starting job, Robert Smith, Carlos Snow, and Vince Workman were the starters. After Harris left, it was Eddie George, Pepe Pearson, and Michael Wiley. That’s one hell of a history to be a part of.
Today, we raise our glass to you, Raymont Harris!
34 days until kickoff!
Nearly three years ago, I began this blog for multiple reasons, all of which had to do with my love of Ohio state football. One of those reasons, as I stated in my inaugural post, was a quarterback from the 50′s named John Borton.
In the mid-to-late 80s, I became friends with a wonderful person named Mary Borton. She was (and still is) brilliant, energetic and beautiful, and I considered myself lucky to have her as a friend. Plus, she was a Buckeye fan, so she pretty much had it all. I don’t even recall the conversation, but one day I learned that her father had played QB at Ohio State.
A few years later, I was a sports correspondent for a small newspaper in Massillon, Ohio. One day in the early 90s, I asked Mary if her father John would be interested in being interviewed for a feature story, and the answer was a resounding “yes”. So I went to the Borton house and stayed for hours. Borton sat in his reclining chair and gave a warm smile as he told countless stories about everything that we Buckeye fans adore. It was like I had a taste of heaven, hearing all these intricate details about Hopalong Cassady, Dave Leggett, and a man named Woody Hayes.
His warmth was astounding. I had often wondered how Mary Borton could be such an amazing person….sitting in front of me was the answer to that question. That’s how she was raised.
Later that fall, the Ohio State University was honoring their 1954 National Championship team, of which Borton was a senior QB. Injury kept him on the sideline throughout the season, and Leggett led the team to the title. Borton was not healthy enough to attend the festivities, which included a halftime ceremony during the Purdue game. My newspaper arranged a press pass for me, and Borton asked me if I would please send his love to all his former teammates.
Like I said, it was heaven.
Standing on the sidelines at Ohio Stadium, I was a guest among the heroes of the early years of Woody Hayes. The men who actually saved his job by going 10-0 back in 1954, when alumni and boosters were less than thrilled with Hayes’ 16-9-2 record over his first three years. I shook hands with the best of the best, each one of them with huge rings on their fingers. Then I got to meet Anne Hayes, a frail but sweet woman who was there to represent her late husband. The rest of the day was a blur, and I went home with the task of sending love to John Borton from so many people that I couldn’t even keep all their names and faces in my starstruck brain.
I have been in attendance for dozens and dozens of incredible games at Ohio Stadium and around the Big Ten. I saw Earle Bruce’s last game. I saw Eddie George play. Same thing for Cris Carter, Beanie Wells, Archie Griffin, Troy Smith, and a long long list of the greats.
But all of the amazing things I saw in Ohio Stadium? None will ever compare to the gift that John Borton gave me on that fall afternoon.
In April of 2002, Borton passed away. I still believe that a lot of those “miracle wins” in the 2002 season was the result of Borton and Hayes finally convincing God to intervene and help out their favorite university. Hayes wore God down, and Borton finally sold the deal.
Last Friday night, Borton was finally inducted into the Stark County High School Football Hall Of Fame. After a record-setting career at Alliance High, Ohio State University, and a short career with the Cleveland Browns, he was given his due here at home. It is a fitting tribute to a man who loved the sport and taught that love to his family and friends.
The Buckeye Battle Cry wishes to congratulate the entire Borton family on this wonderful honor.
One additional story, not widely known. On January 1, 1955, Ohio State won the National Championship by beating USC 20-7 in the Rose Bowl. Late in the game, Hayes decided to empty his bench and give more of his players a chance to smell the Roses. He called on Borton, who had missed the entire season with an injury.
Borton declined, and asked Hayes to send in the third-string QB. Borton asked Hayes to do it because the kid’s father had played at Ohio State and was in attendance watching the game.
When asked to take snaps in the Rose Bowl for a National Championship, Borton gave up the opportunity so a teammate’s father could see his son play.
How great of a man do you have to be to give a gift like that?
This morning, our old friends at Eleven Warriors published a brilliant piece on John Cooper and his recent induction in the College Football Hall Of Fame.
Of course, you can’t write a Cooper-based piece with using the numbers 2, 10, and 1. 11W did that. Sprinkled around the article is a list of Coop’s accomplishments, and The BBC will not argue with the fact that these feats qualify our former coach for the HOF.
But our disagreements about Cooper end there. I haven’t yet forgiven Coach for many of his failures and perhaps I still hold too much of a grudge….but my frustration with him hasn’t faded.
My freshman year at The Ohio State University was 1987. Earle Bruce had a team with minimal talent and he caught a few horrible breaks that year (seriously, a TD on 4th-and-23 to Iowa….in The Shoe). But four days after the administration fired Bruce, his team went up to Michigan Stadium and beat Bo Schembechler. With Greg freaking Frey taking snaps, no less.
My sophomore year was Cooper’s first year, and the season hadn’t even begun before Cooper’s heart was being questioned. I recall an article in The Lantern in which Cooper was openly mocking students who had casually reminded him that he shouldn’t be wearing a blue blazer around campus. Rather than run to complain to the student newspaper, he should have pulled aside any one of his assistant coaches or players and asked them why it was so important to ditch the blue (and/or maize) colored apparel.
When the season began, the first three games would tell you all you needed to know.
The Buckeyes were schizophrenic under Cooper and when they finally captured some sort of consistency, it wasn’t the type of consistency we wanted to see.
John Cooper, during the off-season, was a brilliant recruiter and nobody could ever (and possibly will ever again) put together a team like he could. Every amazing player you saw in the 1990s was brought to Columbus through the charm and brilliance of John Cooper. Eddie George. David Boston. Orlando Pace. Shawn Springs. Joey Galloway. Etc, etc, etc.
But where we may have been the most talented team on the field every single Saturday, that talent was often wasted with poor coaching decisions time and time again. Let’s not forget…..
I could actually go on and on for a long time. I’m sure you could too. Cooper’s issues are a novel waiting to be written.
Eleven Warriors closes their article with “if you can’t at least bring yourself to recognize and appreciate the good that Cooper did at Ohio State, then you’re either clueless, or hold irrationally long grudges. Neither is healthy.”
11W is right….Cooper deserves to be in the Hall Of Fame. But let me be the first to stand up and say that while I recognize and appreciate the good that Cooper did, I am not at all prepared to forgive him for the shame and humiliation brought upon us by him.
To this day, I still can’t figure out why we haven’t hired him to be a recruiter for Ohio State, and then put a restraining order on him every Saturday afternoon in the fall to prevent him from showing up at Ohio Stadium.