Mount Buckmore of the Decade: 1970s

By Chris Lauderback on May 14, 2012 at 10:00a
Mount Buckmore for the 70s features Archie Griffin, John Hicks, Tom Cousineau and Randy Gradishar.

Staring a long off-season in the face, it felt like a good time to reflect on dominant Buckeyes from years gone by. 

As such, last week kicked off a series in which I'll look at which four players, by decade, who would be most deserving of a spot on Mount Buckmore. 

Though the Buckeyes have been competing on the gridiron since 1890, racking up a filthy tradition including seven national titles, 34 conference crowns, 78 All-Americans, an all-time winning percentage of 72% generating 819 wins and seven Heisman Trophy winners, I decided to start our look back with the 1960s.

Selecting the 1960s edition of Mount Buckmore really wasn't all that difficult with Jack Tatum, Jim Stillwagon, Rex Kern and Bob Ferguson separating themselves from the pack. 

The 1970s, however, proved a little tougher to pin down though I feel pretty good about those carved in stone. 

archie griffin - running back - 1972-75

"Can I get one more of these plz? K thx bye." 

Where do you even start with this guy? I suppose reminding you he's the only two time Heisman Trophy winner is as good a place as any.

Archie's also one of just seven Buckeyes to rack up three All-American selections in addition to the obvious three All-B1G nods.

The Eastmoor product is still the NCAA record holder in most consecutive 100-yard rushing games with a ridiculous 31, accumulating 34 total career games with over 100 yards on the ground. Let that sink in for a second. 

Unsurprisingly, Archie has his own chapter in the Buckeye record books most notably as the all-time leading rusher with 5,589 yards via the best yards per carry average in team history at 6.0 a pop. Averaging 121.5 rushing yards per game over his career, he boasts three of the top 10 single season rushing efforts in Buckeye history with 1,695 on the ground in 1974 (3rd all-time), 1,577 in '73 (5th) and 1,450 in '75 (8th). 

A team guy that served as a captain in '74 and '75, Archie was much more focused on wins and championships and his Buckeyes went 40-5-1 in his four years, winning the conference each season. 

Elected to the College Football Hall of Fame in 1986, Archie is the one player from the 70's that is an absolute lock to be on Ohio State's all-time Mount Buckmore. 

John Hicks - Offensive Guard/TAckle - 1970-73

A freakishly dominant offensive lineman, John Hicks paved the way for Ohio State's vaunted rushing attack. 

The bruising blocker from Cleveland immediately seized a starting tackle spot as a sophomore and the Buckeyes racked up nine straight wins before falling to Stanford in the Rose Bowl but still managed to claim the national championship via the National Football Foundation.

With the '70 squad losing 17 starters, the '71 rebuilding effort became more daunting when Hicks injured his knee in camp forcing him to miss what became a dismal 6-4 season. With Archie arriving in '72 and Hicks back to full strength, the Buckeyes won the B1G and found themselves in the Rose Bowl once more, this time a 42-17 spanking at the hands of USC. Though the season ended on a sour note, Hicks picked up both All-B1G and All-American honors with a monster '73 season just over the horizon. 

As Archie found his groove running behind Hicks, the '73 Buckeyes went 10-0-1 winning their first nine games before tying Michigan 10-10 in Ann Arbor. In one of the most lovely decisions ever made, the B1G AD's voted OSU to represent the conference in Pasadena, mostly due to Michigan QB Dennis Franklin's broken collar bone, and the Buckeyes smoked USC in the Rose Bowl 42-21 to cap an undefeated season. 

Hicks was a beast as the Buckeyes tallied 320 yards rushing in Pasadena, following a season long trend of running downhill. Clearly not lost in the fascination with Archie's exploits, Hicks again picked up All-B1G and All-American selections but those took a backseat to his sweep of the Lombardi and Outland Awards in addition to finishing 2nd in Heisman balloting behind PSU's John Cappalletti. 

Hicks was also the first Buckeye to go to three straight Rose Bowls in addition to his three B1G titles. He was inducted to the College Football Hall of Fame in 2001. 

Tom Cousineau - linebacker - 1975-1978

At a school like Ohio State where linebackers grow like tree in NoCal, Tom Cousineau doesn't always creep into the conversation when fans look back on the truly elite players in Buckeye lore. It probably doesn't help that he played just a few years after Randy Gradishar was carving his identity as maybe the best LB in school history but that doesn't take away Cousineau's rightful spot on this decade's facade. 

Cousineau played on three straight conference championship teams from '75-'77 and was the MVP of the '77 Sugar Bowl but saved his best for last in 1978, serving as the biggest bright spot in what was an otherwise dreary season that saw the Buckeyes go 7-4-1 culminated by a tragic end to Woody's reign in Columbus. 

His season started off with a bang as he recorded a school record 29 tackles against Penn State and kept on smothering rushers from there racking up 211 tackles, a mark that still stands as the school record. That's a pretty lofty achievement when you think of the names that have patrolled Ohio Stadium from a linebacker spot. 

Cousineau's dominant '78 season earned him a third straight all-conference selection and a second consecutive All-American nod. He also parlayed the record breaking season into the #1 pick in the 1979 NFL Draft. 

Randy gradishar - linebacker - 1971-1973

Though the reasons are many, two in particular stand out as to why Randy Gradishar is a no-brainer selection for the 70's Buckmore:

  1. Woody tabbed Gradishar the best linebacker he ever coached. 
  2. Gradishar's left ring finger is shaped like a "7"

The Warren native was a three time All-B1G selection and a two time All-American for a team that went 19-2-1 over his final two years with a Rose Bowl crown capping a 10-0-1 senior season. 

Gradishar was the backbone of the '73 defense logging 134 tackles for a unit that allowed just 64 points all season with four shutouts. He was so dominant in '73 that he finished 6th in the Heisman voting giving the Buckeyes three of the top six vote getters (Hicks 2nd, Archie 5th). 

His 320 tackles were a school record upon his departure and still rank 11th today. In honor of his dominance, the Randy Gradishar Award is presented annually to Ohio State's top linebacker. 

Inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 1998, Gradishar also had a stellar NFL career winning the NFL Defensive POY Award in 1978 along with seven pro bowl selections, two Denver Broncos team MVP's and a spot in Denver's Ring of Fame. 

the notabables

Tom Skladany was the hardest choice to leave off the mountain as he's one of just seven three time All-American's in OSU history. Still, right or wrong, my decision to leave him off was largely the result of his position. In a decade featuring such ridiculous talent on both sides of the ball, there just isn't a strong enough case to put a punter up there. Skladany averaged 52.3 yards per punt in a lopsided loss to Michigan in '76, recorded the 4th and 5th best Punt Avg. seasons in OSU history ('75, '74) and ranks 4th in career Punt Avg. with a 42.7 mark. 

Pete Johnson was an impact player in every sense of the word. The Georgia native ranks 2nd in school history with 348 points and his 58 TDs are a school record. His 256 points in the '75 season are a school record as is his five TD effort that season against North Carolina.

Beyond Skladany and Pete, there are other names to toss around like Neal Colzie, Van DeCree, Tim Fox, Brian Baschnagel, Bob Brudzinski, Corny Greene and Chris Ward to name a few, but I feel good that Archie, Hicks and Gradishar are inarguable with the fourth spot a lot more debatable though I think Cousineau's body of work is the most impressive. 


Comments Show All Comments

costinjr's picture

Totally off topic, but what blog interface does use?

Jason Priestas's picture

LiveJournal :(

In all seriousness, we use Drupal.

Maestro's picture

Wow, All-Time Mount Buckmore.
Chic, Archie, Cassady, Pace
Good grief that is impossible to do.  Best of luck.

vacuuming sucks

rkylet83's picture

Chris Spielman
Art Schlichter
Keith Byars
Chris Carter
Eddie George
Joe Germaine
Antoine Winfield
Orlando Pace
Troy Smith
Michael Jenkins
A.J Hawk
Malcolm Jenkins

Maestro's picture

Hard to leave Boston off a 90's list.  Buckeye record book is littered with David Boston's name.

vacuuming sucks

rkylet83's picture

True, I think you could replace Germaine with him.  

Oakland Buckeye's picture

Def boston over Germaine - no braina!

johnblairgobucks's picture

Dan Wilkinson, Shawn Springs and Joey Galloway go on before Germaine.

Idaho Helga's picture

Ditto. Any of those three before Germaine. Not that Germaine was bad, but the other 3 were far more dominate. Especially Dan Wilkinson.

45buckshot's picture

i would keep Germaine. i know Boston deserves to be on the list, but Germaine was the best passing QB i ever saw for OSU. If he had started his Jr yr instead of splitting time with Jackson... we'll never know. but he was the heart of that '98 team, which was the most talented Buckeye team i've ever seen (starting '90). 
i'll never forget when he got hit by both defensive ends against FSU in the Sugar bowl and got up the next play and threw a huge pass down the middle to the TE. he was tough. And that last drive to win the Rose bowl... that was the stuff of legend. (and might i add, the only RB we won in the 90s...)

“The true soldier fights not because he hates what is in front of him, but because he loves what is behind him.”
—G.K. Chesterton

Oakland Buckeye's picture

Negatory to Art, Tomzcak had almost identical stats, Would say either Marcus Marek or Tim Spencer would be much better candidates, unless I'm missing a dominant lineman - which there seems to be 1 for each decade so far...
2000? Only Smith & AJ... both Jenkins would take a back seat to the Animal - 3 times consensus All American, & I would submit either Teddy Ginn or Beanie, even Donte Whitner over Malcolm....

rkylet83's picture

I had to put a member of the 2002 National Championship team on the 2000's and the only one I could think of was Jenkins or Doss.  I thought Malcolm Jenkins was the best player on those 2007-08 teams.  He always made big plays in nearly every game and rarely if ever disapointed.

gbm's picture

And over all of them would be Doss. Hard not to love him.

rkylet83's picture

Hard not to put him on the list too.  Leader of that amazing defense!  Man we had some players in that decade!!!

Idaho Helga's picture

I can't stand Art, I wouldn't want him to see his face on a mountain anywhere unless I saw him in the penal system up there mining salt, but to say he wasn't a fabulous player and the best of the best would not be the truth. Woody...Woody.... !!! let him pass and pass a lot. So I guess if the question is "do we put their face on the mountain or not" yeah, I'm in that camp. But I think he may have been the best QB we ever had to date. It hurts to say that given all the damage he's done.

I like Troy, but Art had a better arm. Troy had a better receiving corps.

3cent's picture

What!? No Kirk Herbstreit on the 1990's team?

NorthernOhioBuckeye's picture

I would have to put Andy Katzenmoyer on that list somewhere. While he didn't have a pro career, he was an AA and won the Butkus award. He was a phenominal LB at tOSU.

45buckshot's picture

the Kat is the 4th man on my list too; after getting Biakabattuka'ed the yr before, i don't think the Big Kat ever let anyone rush for over 100 yards on his watch? No way we win the RB without him his FRESHMAN yr and he held down a dominate defense for 2 more years after that... i'll never forget him eating Banks alive in that Iowa game and seeing him defense a pass on the sidelines against WV (how was he even over there? isn't he a MLB?)--not to mention the de-cleating of that Mizzou QB:
god! i'm guessing Jones is still feeling that one :)

“The true soldier fights not because he hates what is in front of him, but because he loves what is behind him.”
—G.K. Chesterton

sarasotabcg's picture

You know how Babe Ruth's status as baseball's greatest is unquestioned because guys like Barry Bonds might match his hitting production but they'll never match the Babe's hitting AND pitching numbers?
Well, in the early 1970's Bruce Elia led OSU in tackles one year, then led OSU in TD's the next. The guy played both ways on juggernaut teams and did so when two way players were considered a thing of the past. That's got to count for something.

hodge's picture

Willie Mays gets my vote, personally.  He was the more complete hitter, and one of the best fielders ever.  For what it's worth, Bonds was an eight time gold glover--but ironically won none after 1998, when his home runs started to become ever more prolific...
Good point, though.

BrewstersMillions's picture

Willie Mays and Babe Ruth are funny ways of spelling Ken Griffey Jr.
I jest of course as Jr falls into the "If only" category. But for the young man's injuries, I'd be hard pressed to think of a single player who did what Junior could do in his prime, better. If he had the 3 plus seasons of time he lost Bonds would never have sniffed anything but second place.  By my estimation, Griffey missed about 550 (factoring a 152 game season, assuming he'd get rest days) games from the strike shortened season of 1994 to his last year of missing any serious time in 2007. That is three full seasons. And Reds fans can attest that he was never the same after the 2002 and 2003 debacles. The Griffey that came back after those injuries was not the one that lit the world on fire for the decade prior to that. Really a shame. He could have been baseball's undisputed all time great. He'll have to settle for "one of the best".

hodge's picture

Agree there, if he could have stayed healthy, he could have easily been the best.

tennbuckeye19's picture

I'm not a Red's fan, but I'm curious how Red's fans look at the Cincy years with Griffey Jr. I know he was plagued by injuries, but he was there what 9 years, how do you guys remember his days in the Queen city?

thatlillefty's picture

it was very, very disappointing... felt terrible for the guy
-Cincinnati native and big time reds fan

nickma71's picture

I love Archie Griffin. Go on youtube to ourhonordefend channel and watch the push of the offensive line. Beanine would have had 2000 yards.

Idaho Helga's picture

Don't get me wrong, I LOVE Archie. Gets Geo. Washington's spot on the mountain. But, I always thought Archie owed at least 1/2 of one of the Heismans to Pete Johnson. He was a small bug hiding behind a walrus (uh, 1st article caught my attn) and I agree that Beanie would have had 2000 yds/season if Beanie had someone proportionaly to the Archie/Pete ratio in front of him. Which I think would have had to have been a Boeing 747.
Germaine was very good but does not belong on the list at all. I thought about Skladany, but no, not a kicker for that era. I would however, think seriously about Mike Nugent for his era. To me the test is "Most dominate player at position nationally and GAME CHANGER". Nugent for sure. Tresselball depended on him for field position game, so much of the plan. I realize he was a place kicker, but his ability to score from long range and consistency was phenom.

On a side note, see scUM stats for last of LLLLLLLoyd & RR years on how bad a piss-poor kicker can kill you. Can some even run outta the tunnel right??

AGL's picture

? ,  where does Marcus Merek fit in,  monster ILB for TOSU.
All time leader in tackles @ TOSU.


45buckshot's picture

Thanks for the article; great idea in the off-season to keep up sane. ;)
just my 2 cents; i'd take Cousineau out and put in Pete Johnson. He also doesn't get enough credit... that scoring stat alone should put him in.

“The true soldier fights not because he hates what is in front of him, but because he loves what is behind him.”
—G.K. Chesterton