Saturday November 19th, 200511:59am
With the Ags having their bye week I thought I'd give a brief history lesson.
I've been reading a book called The 100 Year War by Greg Emmanuel and I thought that this morning would be a good time to share a little bit of it with you.
The book was written based around the 2003 Michigan/Ohio State game which was the 100th time the two teams had met. Over the last couple of years I've become more interested in college football and I have added several non-Aggie football books to my personal library in order to catch up on the histories of the schools that I watch on Saturdays.
I'm only about 45% of the way through the book but so far it has given histories of each of the storied programs. So what did I do? I took some notes of the really interesting stuff to share with you all.
That's all I've been able to get through in the book so far.
- In 1919, Chic Harley scored a 42 yd. TD run, kicked an extra point, picked off 4 passes and punted 11 times as he led the Buckeyes to their first ever victory over Michigan bringing the series record to 15-1.
- Former TCU head coach, Francis A. Schmidt, took over OSU's program in 1934 and said, "I want you to remember it from now on: we're going to beat Michigan this year. Yes, beat Michigan. Why not? Those guys put their pants on one leg at a time, same as us." And they did, 34-0. The students rushed the field and tore down the goalposts....apparently that isn't a trait/problem that was started by my generation as all the media implies.
Up until that point Michigan had pretty much owned the series winning 24 of their first 30 meetings.
As a result of the victory a club was formed by alum called The Ohio Pants Club and they held a banquet for the team and gave out a miniature metal pair of golden football pants engraved with the date and the score to each OSU player. That tradition continues on even today.
In 1938 Michigan HC, Fritz Crisler created the now famous Michigan helmet. It was originally designed to help the QBs find their receivers. The design was just tracing the seams of leather that were sewn together - remember they all just wore brown leather helmets up to that point
- In 1950 the two teams squared off in a miserable game with the temperature hovering around 5 degrees with terrible snow and 40 mph winds. Still, it was "The Game" and 50K people showed up to watch a defensive coordinator's dream. There were 45 punts between the two teams and 10 fumbles. Michigan finished the day with 27 yards rushing, 0-for-9 passing, and not a single first down. OSU rushed for 16 yards and was successful throwing the ball 3-of-18 for 25 yards. Michigan won 9-3 on a safety and a blocked punt in the end zone.
- OSU's HC Paul Brown (namesake of the Cleveland Browns) is known to have popularized the 40-yd dash because that was a typical distance of a punt. High School recruiting websites Rivals.com & Scout.com would like to thank Mr. Brown for providing them with a job.
- Bo Schembechler v. Woody Hayes.
This head coaching rivalry is what truly brought the MU/OSU rivalry to the nation's attention. Interestingly, Woody coached Bo at Miami-Ohio then brought him to coach at Ohio State. Bo left to take the HC job at Miami-Ohio and then went on to take the head coach job at Michigan.
- 9 times in the 10 year span the two coached against each other (from 1969 to 1978) "The Game" decided who went to the Rose Bowl as the Big 10 Champions. It got to the point where the conference was known as the "Big 2 and Little 8".
- The series was so heated that Woody & Bo seemingly only cared about beating each other. They started planning for the next year's "The Game" the day following the current year's "The Game". When it was all said and done Schembechler finished with a 5-4-1 record edge over his mentor.
- In 1972 Michigan had an opportunity to tie the game with a FG but Bo wanted to beat Woody so he went for the TD and lost. All the Wolverines needed to win the Big 10 and go to the Rose Bowl was a tie. That's amazing.
The two teams kick off today at noon (right now) on ABC for the 102nd take of "The Game".
A couple other big, big games today are Penn State at Michigan State and of course, The Iron Bowl featuring Alabama at Auburn, which has received much less publicity than I think it should. PSU@MSU is on at 3pm on ESPN & the Iron Bowl is on at 2:30 on CBS.
November 18th, 200512:09am
November 18, 1999
Early morning on November 18th marks the the date that Texas A&M suffered it's most tragic event. Six years ago the Bonfire stack collapsed with approximately 70 students on it and with many more inside the perimeter of the Bonfire area. Twelve students lost their lives that night or in the following days due to injuries sustained.
I was a senior in high school that fall, but I had already made my decision that Texas A&M was the school that I wanted to be a part of...or more so, I wanted to be a part of me.
The following fall I was very upset that there was to be no Bonfire, but I kept hope that the following year I would be able to experience, what I believe to be, Texas A&M's finest and most important tradition.
I remember going out to the Polo Grounds in the freezing rain at 2:00am with all of my friends to participate in the Memorial Ceremonies. I remember seeing Reveille VI being carried by her handler out to the location of the tragic event because all of the grass had been worn away to mud after thousands of students had walked over it in the rain on their way to remember the fallen Aggies of a year ago.
This was one of my first experiences with the true Aggie family. I remember people embracing others, comforting strangers who could not keep all of the emotions inside of them. I say stranger, but there were no strangers....everyone out there that night was part of a 44,000 person family in mourning.
People shared umbrellas as the rain kept coming down, which was very fitting in describing the mood and feelings that went through the crowd. I remember that I could not see what was actually going on with the actual ceremony because there were too many people in front of me and I was so far back. I remember people passing flames from candle to candle....thousands of little lights across the Polo Grounds. I remember hearing the beginning of "Amazing Grace" being hummed softly, and hearing it grow louder and louder....and I remember not being able to control my emotions any more and hugging the person next to me.
That night, I learned what it meant to be an Aggie, and I knew then and there that I had missed something very special. I know that if there was a Bonfire stack being built, I would have been on it in a heartbeat.
I was not given the opportunity to participate in Bonfire the following year, and I don't think any future Ag will with the consent of the school. Since I arrived here on campus in the Fall of 2000, I have seen the true spirit of this great University slip away year-by-year, as the unity brought to our campus by Bonfire slips further and further away with each graduating class. Even though I never saw Bonfire burn, and never took part in building it, I will always remember that night out in the cold rain my freshman year.
Please keep the twelve fallen Aggies in your thoughts today and do not ever forget about them or their love for their school....
- Christopher David Breen
- Jeremy Richard Frampton
- Jamie Lynn Hand
- Christopher Lee Heard
- Lucas John Kimmel
- Bryan Allen McClain
- Chad Anthony Powell
- Jerry Don Self
- Nathan Scott West
- Michael Ebanks
- Miranda Adams
- Tim Kerlee
The Bonfire Memorial has been erected and was dedicated last year. During the dedication Chip Theil, who was injured in the collapse, gave a speech that brought tears to the eyes of even those who had never experienced Bonfire.Five years ago I stood on top of the world perched atop 4th stack with 3 dear friends of mine watching Aggies build what is one of our greatest traditions. Suddenly, in some unforeseeable twist of fate, my life changed, the life of every Aggie that came before and after me changed. Texas A&M changed.
As a natural result Texas A&M has to adapt to a life without bonfire on campus. As we celebrate the memories of 12 Aggies whose lives were cut short as they willingly participated in this university's greatest tradition, I would like to reflect on the contagious spirit of a tradition left behind.
My favorite time of year comes in the fall, when the northern air arrives to push the humidity down to a reasonable level, to turn leaves brown, and to remind me and Ags everywhere that it is bonfire weather.
Many current students do not know the meaning bonfire weather and many former students have let the memory fade. Bonfire weather is the time of year when Aggies unselfishly sacrifice time, grades, and everything in between to cut, load, transport, unload, and stack a forest full of trees to create the largest bonfire in the world.
It was bigger than necessary and defied reason and possibility, but we would not have it any other way. While it would have been more efficient to use modern technologies and equipment, we chose to do it as it was done for 90 years; with sweat, blisters, grunts, groans, teamwork, axes, machetes, ropes, chains, wire, over-sized nails, pliers, steel toed boots, carhartt jackets, generous donations, left handed sky hooks, FFE semis, muddy pick-ups, muffler less tractors, scarecrows, and perimeter pole fires.
Then just before the fightin Texas Aggie football team squared off against the ladies from Austin, we burned it in an arrogantly flamboyant ceremony that said, "We are the Aggies, the Aggies are we." While 10s of 1000's gathered annually to witness the big fire, the cadets, non-regs, O.C. hogs, brownpots, yellowpots, butt-pots, crew chiefs, centerpolepots, pink pots, redpots, bonfire buddies, blacks, women, asians, men, whites, latinos, and randoms who had invested 1000's of hours of sweat equity in that stack of wood knew that the only reason we burned it was to clear the Polo Fields so that we could do it all over again next year.
I would now like to take you back to a day prior to Nov 18, 1999 to enjoy what many Ags enjoyed...a common day at bonfire. Not to diminish the memories of the fallen, but to burn into your memory why they were here that night. If you would like, go ahead and close your eyes and take a nostalgic journey back to the good ol days.
As you make your way to the polo fields, first you hear it. It's dark outside and you are walking across a sleeping and studying campus. Steel toe boots clunking along the sidewalk. A chain jingles at your side that is taped to your pliers. Your pot rattles a little. The first sounds from the field emerge as the buzz of chainsaws, tractor engines, and then some faint music. A nearly worn out Jerry Jeff tape moans out "desperadoes waiting for a train..." Then you can hear the shouts and your pace quickens. "1-2 halfway up, I need a log right here, gimmie some wire, I want my chain back, headache!, I need a heave." all mixed with the proper expletives.
Then you can see it. A home made flag waves atop an oppressive hulk of a structure lit by old beat up gas lights atop leaning perimeter poles. A chill of Aggie pride runs down your spine. A mass of people are there; some working, some watching. A huge crane lifts another log and swings it gently into place.
Then you can smell it. Smoke from perimeter fires, mud or dust depending on the year, chainsaw mix, cigar smoke, stale coffee, non-reg's grodes, sawdust and fresh cut hardwood.
Then you can taste it. You flick a dead bee off an old donut and wash it down with coffee that tastes like it was made last week. On your way to the stack, you put in a dip of Copenhagen...no less than a third of the can.
Finally you can feel it. A chilly north wind, oaky bark, cold wire, metal pliers, a 2x8 for a seat in a swing on third stack, perimeter ropes nearby. You survey your quadrant and agree with your ground man where you need to concentrate. You spy a penny nail a few logs in. You get it and stick it through the hole in the sleeve of your jacket so you can use it later. Then you shout with all of your might I NEED SOME WIRE AND A LOG UP HERE RIGHT NOW!!! Again sprinkled with expletives.
At the end of the shift, the sun is peeking up over the oak trees. You work your way down the stack. Your voice is spent. You walk back to the dorm joking with your friends...probably your friends for years to come. All of you tired, but proud to be Aggies and united by the fire.
That is the Bonfire I knew, that is the Bonfire I miss.
God Bless America and the Soldiers that defend her.
Gig 'em Chip Thiel '00
Bonfire Links of Interest1999 Aggie Bonfire
Bonfire memorial video (DL)
Bonfire Memorial Site
Official Site of the Bonfire Commission
PicturesClick THIS LINK to see the archive I'm putting together for pictures that I have come across of past Bonfires. I've got lots more I just haven't had the time to put in.
I completely forgot to submit my ballot over at the BlogPoll this week....ooops.
With 4 losses being simply too many to crack the Top 25 I did my voting a little differently this week because of the huge congestion of 2 and 3 loss teams.1-Loss Team's Losses Team Opp Score Marquee Win(s) ==================== ====================================== Miami @FSU 10-7 @VT 27-7 LSU Tenn 30-27 @Fla 21-17, Aub 20-17, & @Bama 16-13 PSU @Mich 27-25 OhioSt 17-10 VTech Miami 27-7 @W.Vir 34-17 'Bama LSU 16-13 Fla 31-3 Ore USC 45-13 Cal 27-20 & FrSt 37-34 WVirg VT 34-17 Louisville 46-44 FreSt @Ore 37-37 Toledo 44-14 UCLA @Ariz 52-14 Cal 47-40 TCU SMU 21-10 @OU 17-10 UTEP @Mem 27-20 Houston 44-41?? 2-Loss Team's Losses Team Opp Score Opp Score Marquee Win(s) ============================== =========================== OSU tu 25-22 PSU 17-10 Minn 45-31 ND MichSt 44-41 USC 34-31 @Mich, & USC (impress.loss) Aub GT 23-14 @LSU 20-17 @Georgia 31-30 UGA @FLA 14-10 Aub 31-30 S.Car 17-15, @Tenn 27-14 tt @tu 52-17 @OkSt 24-17 TAMU 56-17 Louis @SFla 45-14 @WV 46-44 UNC 69-14? or OreSt 63-27? 3-Loss Team's Losses Team Opp Opp Opp MarqueeW ============================= =========== S.Car @UGA Bama @Aub Fla Mich ND @Wisc Minn PSU Fla @Bama @LSU @SCar UGA BC FSU @VT @UNC UVA Colorado @Mia @tu @ISU Mizzou FSU @UVA NCSt @Clem Miami Wisc @NW @PSU Iowa Mich OU TCU @UCLA tu @Neb Minn @PSU Wisc OSU MiSt ISU @Neb Bay @Miz Col GT @VT NCSt @UVA @Aub CentFla @PSU @Mia @Pitt Lou UVA @Mary @BC @UNC FSU BoiseSt @UGA @OrSt @FrSt Nev Toledo @FrSt @CMich NIll WMich LaTech @Fla @Kan @Nev ???? WMich @WVir @Tol BallS ????
For the most impressive wins I looked at where the opponents are now as opposed to when they won the game, which is a debate all to itself. Like when Iowa State beat Iowa it was HUGE but now it's not that big of a deal. You can really look at it either way.
I ranked each team within it's own bracket (up above) and then mixed the results from that for my ballot (down below).
Here it is....TAMABINPO's Week 12 Rankings Rk. TEAM (LW; Record) LW Results ============================ ================ 1. Southern Cal (1; 10-0) W 35-10 @Cal 2. texas (2; 10-0) W 66-14 Kansas 3. Miami (Florida) (3; 8-1) W 47-17 @WF 4. Louisiana State (5; 8-1) W 16-13 @Bama 5. Penn State (8; 9-1) <----DNP----> 6. Virginia Tech (6; 8-1) <----DNP----> 7. Ohio State (7; 8-2) W 48-7 NWern 8. Alabama (4; 9-1) L 16-13 LSU 9. Notre Dame (9; 7-2) W 42-21 Navy 10. Oregon (13; 9-1) W 34-31 @WSU 11. Auburn (17; 8-2) W 31-30 @UGA 12. West Virginia (14; 8-1) W 38-0 @Cinci 13. Georgia (10; 7-2) L 31-30 Auburn 14. South Carolina (NR; 7-3) W 30-22 Fla 15. Michigan (19; 7-3) W 41-14 Ind. 16. Fresno St (23; 8-1) W 27-7 BoiseSt 17. UCLA (18; 9-1) W 45-35 ASU 18. TCU (20; 10-1) W 51-3 UNLV 19. Florida (12; 7-3) L 30-22 @SCar 20. Boston College (21; 7-3) W 30-10 NCState 21. Colorado (22; 7-3) L 30-16 @ISU 22. Florida State (11; 7-3) L 35-14 @Clem 23. Wisconsin (15; 8-3) L 20-10 Iowa 24. Oklahoma (NR; 6-3) W 36-30 TAMU 25. Minnesota (NR; 7-3) W 41-18 MichSt OUT: 16. texas tech (16; 8-2) L 24-17 @OkSt 24. Georgia Tech (24; 6-3) L 27-17 @UVA 25. Northwestern (25; 6-4) L 48-7 @OSU
Wow, there are some pretty big leaps and drops in there compared to my previous ballot.
South Carolina is the obvious big jumper. After looking at the teams they've beaten and the teams that they've lost to I was actually a bit suprised that I hadn't put them in my poll sooner....their only losses are to Georgia, Auburn, & LSU and they've beaten Florida.
Florida State was another big mover but in the other direction. Their only significant victory was over Miami but it was in the first week of the season so it loses some of it's luster.
I put OU in because their only losses are to TCU, UCLA, and texas who have a combined record of 29-2. While we're on the topic of OU:
NAME DROP OF THE DAY: Go check out My Opinion on Sports....
I've been waiting all season to drop texas tech out and they finally slip up BIG time against the worst team in the conference so they get the boot. Every single year they blow one game that really should be a blowout victory.
A&M has an off week this weekend in preparation for the big game against texas. Part because I finally have a slow week school-wise and part because I want to, I'm planning on having a nice big week of stuff next week in preparation for the Lone Star Showdown so keep tuned in.
I know I don't talk about our girls often enough but I definitely need to give them some love.
#10 Kat Krambeer & #9 Melissa Garey
For those of you completely sealed off from the NCAA soccer world, the Fightin' Texas Aggies are well on their way to national powerhouse status under Coach G Guerrieri. We've been crowned the Big XII regular season champions in 3 of the last 4 years and have won the Big XII Tournament 3 times in the last 5 years.
In both 2001 & 2002 we lost in the Elite Eight to powerhouses Portland & North Carolina. In 2003 we lost in the Sweet 16 at Penn State and last season were upset in the second round by Illinois. This season (after winning both the Big XII regular season & tournament titles) we have advanced once again to the Sweet 16 after a weekend sweep in the first two rounds.
This coming weekend our #9 ranked girls will face #3 ranked Penn State up in State College, PA to see who gets to keep moving on....hopefully revenge will be had for 2003.
Our girls earned 4 of the 11 spots on the All-Big XII first team (Kati Jo Spisak, Laura Probst, Ashlee Pistorius, Melissa Garey) and freshman Laura Grace Robinson was named to the Big XII All-Newcomer Team.
If the girls can advance past Penn State this weekend and then get through the Elite Eight they will come home for the NCAA Semifinals and Championship which are both being held at the Aggie Soccer Complex (December 2nd & 4th, respectively).
How huge of home-field advantage would that be? The Ags have led the nation in home attendance for the last 3 years and have finished no worse than 4th in the last 5 years.
I just wanted to make you all aware so you can keep up with what's going on and so you can make plans to get your tickets for the Semifinals and Championship in Aggieland. If you've never been to an Aggie soccer game I highly suggest it. Our fans are rowdy, our girls are good and it's really a heckuva lotta fun.
Go Girls....B.T.H.O. Penn State! WHOOP!
It was certainly a crazy game. It sure looked nasty in the first quarter as OU went 70 yards in 1:49 for a TD, we went 3-and-out, OU went 68 yards in 1:32 for another TD, we threw an interception, OU went 81 yards in 2:57 for a TD, we punted.....THEN....we forced a fumble and scored a TD two plays later.
It was 28-14 when the Ags got the ball on what would be the last possession of the first half. We got the ball on our own 20 yard line and marched down the field converting 4 1st downs. From the 27 yard line with 18 seconds remaining on the clock Reggie went to Jason Carter with a pass.....
....that JC just couldn't quite gain control of while he was in the air before he crashed down in the end zone. We brought out the kicking unit to attempt a 45 yard field goal and missed wide left.
I thought it was strange that Layne Neumann was the man brought in to kick that FG but I figured it must have been out of Pegram's range....so I looked it up. Since the start of his sophomore year Todd is 6-for-8 from outside of 40....but his long is 45 and he's only hit that once. I can't really argue with the logic there considering that Neumann is on the team as the long range kicker.
We got to start the second half with the ball but went 3-and-out. We forced OU to punt but they downed the ball on our 4 yard line.
On the first snap of the drive Reggie had his left ankle rolled from behind causing a fumble that was recovered by one of our players in the end zone for a safety. Reggie had to be carried off the field and was not seen again until he came back to the sidelines in street clothes on crutches. He said in the press conference that it was just sprained and that he should be back for the texas game....we'll have to wait and see.
Stephen McGee, the future at QB, came in to replace Reggie and was quite successful in an unusual way. He was 0-for-6 passing but he rushed 10 times for 67 yards and moved us down the field pretty much running the option the whole way. Unfortunately we missed a 42 yard kick on the first drive (Pegram kicked this time) but after a Marquis Carpenter interception we had 3 big C-Lew runs and one little J-Train runs for a TD. Next time we moved the ball down the field (with a big 21-yd J-Train rumble in there) and converted a FG attempt from 34 (Pegram). We held OU again and with another short field kicked a 27-yd FG to bring the game to 36-30 with 3:28 remaining. We just couldn't stop'em quite quickly enough as they converted a 3rd-and-12 and just ran out the clock.
I was quite happy with McGee, and I've said on a couple previous occasions that I think he will step in nicely next season. I'm sure he didn't mind having some of the best field position we've had all season....that sure takes some pressure off the offense....Field Position with McGee FP Result =========== TA21 -- OU38 TD TA31 FG OU32 FG
I should point out, simply for the sake of completion he hasn't completed a pass in his last three games (0-for-6 against OU, 0-for-1 passing against tt & 0-for-2 against ISU)....but in his first three games he was 15-for-21 (3-for-3 against SMU, 9-for-15 against Colorado, & 3-for-3 against OSU) so I'm not really too concerned.
Keeping with the positives....
We were able to put up 292 yards rushing on the previously #2 ranked rush defense (they were averaging 69.2 ypg). Courtney Lewis was incredible picking up 146 yards on 15 carries (9.73 ypc). In the last three games he has 30 carries for 329 yards (10.97 ypc) and he took the team lead in rushing yards with 687 on 105 carries (6.5 ypc).
Jorvorskie Lane didn't have a poor day either with 8 carries for 48 yards plus that 42 yard reception. After his TD on Saturday he only needs 1 more rushing TD to tie the freshman record of 12 held by Greg Hill & Courtney Lewis.
Not to be lost in the running game, Reggie passed Corey Pullig to become the All-Time A&M Passing leading. I hope that the extra week off allows his ankle to heal because I would really feel badly for him if he didn't get to play on Senior Day against texas in what will be his final day at Kyle Field.
Another senior who I hope has a big going out game is Jason Carter. He had 35 yards receiving giving him 767 on the season which passed my boy, T-Murph, for the 4th most in a season by an Ag. He needs 118 more yards to catch Robert Ferguson's 2000 season. I also saw a stat during the game that surprised me....Jason is the only player in Big XII history to record a pass, rush, reception & return for 4 consecutive seasons.
Justin Brantly, our true freshman punter, had yet another nice afternoon with punts of 46, 44, 47, & 44. His season average is now at 43.6....0.3 ypp away from having the best punting season any Aggie not named Shane Lechler has had. Just think of what our defense would have to go through if he wasn’t helping them out pinning opponents further back.
I think that the defense played much better than what many expected. Adrian Peterson still ran for 135 yards and 2 TDs and Bomar had a nice day passing (and rushing) but we were finally able to make some stops in the 3rd and 4th quarters that allowed us to stay in the game. I really don't think that AD is human....he is genetic creation in human form.
Jaxson Appel had his 34 games started streak come to an end after not making the trip due to broken ribs. Justin Warren also did not make the trip as a result of a separated shoulder. It was only the third game ever missed by Jaxson in his career and only the second game missed by Warren. They both started as freshmen in the first game of their freshmen seasons.
I took a look at our defensive starters and noticed that our second most experienced starter is a Red Bryant, a sophomore.Today's defensive starters: DE C.Harrington 10 DT J.Jolly 34 DT R.Bryant 21 DE J.Jack 17 LB A.McDaniel 17 LB R.Greene 11 LB L.Foliaki 14 DB R.Jones 18 (6 as CB) DB Bullitt 11 DB Newton 9 DB Gorrer 3
We're so decimated by injuries that John Ray, the 12th Man, was playing in the first quarter.
I really, really like Devin Gregg. He is going to be really good.
Johnny Jolly already is really good and he showed it on Saturday. He wasn't supposed to play due to a bum ankle but with Warren & Jaxson out he played and led the team in tackles with 11, 2 for a loss and 1/2 of a sack. So is Red Bryant who only had 3 tackles but two were for a loss (he got the other 1/2 of Jolly's sack) and one was a big 7 yard loss on an AD carry that forced them to have to convert that 3rd-and-12 at the end of the game....he forced a fumble.
Now for the highlight reel plays....You can watch them all over at AgClips.com. 1) Howard Morrow flips for a first down on the big drive just before halftime (clip #4); 2) Great play-action by Reggie who finds Jorvorskie wide open down the sideline (clip #2); 3) Jorvorskie rumbles over, through, and carries a couple of defenders (clip #9).
It would have been a huge win rewarding our boys with a bowl birth for a never-say-die performance but it wasn't to be. We've got one more shot....