Why I Hate

By Michael Citro on November 28, 2013 at 3:00p
40 Comments
The hate. It was born in the 70s, nurtured in the 80s, and solidified in the 90s.

“I learned to dislike Michigan at a very young age.” – Urban F. Meyer

I hate Michigan.

That may seem like an obvious statement by an Ohio State fan and alum on this, the holiest of Hate Weeks, in a season full of them. But I assure you, I mean it — not in that overwrought, hyperbolic way, like when you say you hate Brussels sprouts or cleaning the cat box. This is more like something primeval, innate, and terrifyingly real.

I absolutely despise that school up north.

As most of us are, I am prone to feelings of negativity and, for the most part, I try to weed out and extinguish those dark thoughts that we associate with words like “hate” and “anger” and “suspicion.” But not so with this. No, I freely allow my hatred of Michigan to fly like a ballistic missile pointed straight at Ann Arbor.

Where did they come from, these feelings of rage and spite? What precipitated such scorn and vitriol? This wellspring of venom inside me must have a birthplace. I was born in New Jersey and lived my first four years on this planet there, so it is doubtful that I was simply born that way.

But was it one single action or circumstance that birthed this demon seed or an accumulation of misdeeds? A bit of self-analysis would indicate the latter.

My family moved to Heath, Ohio — about 30 miles east of Columbus — in 1970. The earliest recollection I have of Ohio State football is my father putting the Buckeyes on during their handful of televised games each year during the early 70s. At that time, the living room RCA console set was the only television in the house, and programming on that behemoth was confined to three major networks and the spotty reception of the local UHF channel.

While my mom cleaned or prepared something in the kitchen, my dad would put his feet up and watch Woody Hayes’ Buckeyes bludgeon team after team.  Common scores during those days had Ohio State on the winning side of tallies such as 47-7, 51-10, and 35-0.

But Michigan was different. When the Buckeyes and Wolverines tangled, the games were tight, with scorelines that reflected that. Scores such as 14-11, 10-10, 12-10 and 14-6 were the norm, and the good guys weren’t always on the winning side.

The blemishes were glaring. The tie in 1973 prevented a perfect season. The 1976 and 1977 losses prevented Rose Bowl trips. The feelings were starting to take shape. A very young version of me began to associate the Michigan Wolverines with imperfection and consolation games for my beloved Buckeyes. 

Art Schlichter before his downfall.One of my first heroes was Art Schlichter, which tells
you all you need to know about hero worship.

And they were becoming more and more beloved every year. I started missing fewer and fewer games and protesting vehemently if my parents dragged me out of the house on football Saturdays.

In 1979 I started a diary on regular notebook paper for no apparent reason. I still have it. One of the first entries mentions a discussion in home room of Art Schlichter and which NFL teams could most use his help. That was just an average weekday. Here is how the entry starts from the first recorded Saturday (Oct. 20):

“Well guess what. The Ohio State Buckeyes won 59-0 over Wisconsin. What a smear.”

Yes, we used words like “smear” back then.

Ohio State’s win was apparently the most important thing that happened in my life that day, taking precedence over going to see a local youth league game that featured two of my friends and a trip to spend the night at another friend’s house.

The Saturdays that follow are similar. I mentioned the 42-0 win over Michigan State the next week. And so on. Clearly Buckeye football was becoming a very real presence in my life, and one of the more noteworthy events of my autumn Saturdays. I lived with the wins and died with the losses — especially those in The Game. Those generally decided Big Ten supremacy and bowl placement. It was the difference between a successful season and a lousy one. One stinkin’ game in a schedule full of them.

It happened again my freshman year in high school. The Buckeyes dropped a horrible 9-3 home game to the No. 10 Wolverines, knocking Ohio State out of the Rose Bowl and into an eventual Fiesta Bowl loss to Penn State.  There were two blissful victories in the series and then a crushing 24-21 road loss to No. 8 Michigan, which relegated the Buckeyes to fourth in the conference and a trip to the Fiesta Bowl, which was not nearly as prestigious in 1984 as it is today.

That's why I hate Michigan.

My first Michigan game, and the second OSU game I ever attended, came in 1984. The Buckeyes won 21-6 to secure a trip to the Rose Bowl. It was exhilarating being in the Horseshoe for a win over Michigan to secure a berth in the ‘Grandaddy of them All.’ But it wasn’t all great news. The girl I went to the game with broke my heart that day, relegating me to the "friend zone" forever. I was already familiar with the notion of Michigan breaking my heart. Now this? The association of losing to Michigan and heartbreak stuck.

That's why I hate Michigan.

I became a student season ticket holder in 1985. The Buckeyes fell at Ann Arbor that year, and they lost at home the next season, with me in Block O, helplessly watching a game-winning field goal try go horribly wrong.  Then came the disastrous 1987 season, but at least I got to see a win in The Game on the road, traveling with Block O to the Big House for Earle’s final victory. That was a magical (and very cold) day.

The John Cooper years became a blur of outstanding talent and broken dreams, and those dreams were nearly always broken on the final Saturday of the regular season. This is where the roots from those seeds of hate took hold deep down in the lowest soil of my psyche.  The four straight losses, followed by a 13-13 tie in 1992.

Those were followed by the devastation of a 28-0 laugher in 1993, which was the difference between the Rose and Holiday Bowls, and a shot at an undefeated season (albeit with a tie against Wisconsin). Ohio State dropped three of the next four, too. Coop’s teams couldn’t get it done, and it was terrible.

That's why I hate Michigan.

RAGE....BUILDING...I was there when this happened, and it was the worst.

The 1998 win was at least a little bit of a salve for the choke job against Sparty that cost Ohio State a shot at a national championship. But 1999 and 2000 were losses again and mercifully he was replaced by Jim Tressel. The long national nightmare was over and Buckeye Nation has enjoyed a great deal of success in the series ever since, falling only once during the reign of the Vest and once more during the zombie season under Luke Fickell in 2011.

But the success hasn’t made me feel sorry for the Wolverines who have suffered at our hands. The rage and impotence of the Cooper years blackened and petrified something that originally became shriveled and raw at the look on Woody Hayes’s face when Bo’s teams got the better of him. There was something in the old man’s eyes on those occasions that ate at me and made me never want to see it again.

That look in Woody’s eyes…that’s why I hate Michigan.

The season’s defining game happens on the last week of the regular season. It’s only natural that the feelings it inspires, for good or ill, stay with you throughout the year. It’s the difference between feeling good for a full year or feeling unfulfilled. Now multiply that latter feeling several times over during the Cooper era and it’s easy to see why that’s how hatred is galvanized. No one wants to spend four straight years feeling bad. It’s only natural for that much torment to blacken the soul.

Those prolonged periods in the 1990s of a sour stomach without a purifying victory to relieve it…that’s why I hate Michigan.

It is those things and it is more. It is a lifetime of being foiled by the last obstacle in the way. It’s the difference between a Rose Bowl you care about and a lesser bowl you don’t. It’s the culmination of all of the great moments that were great because Ohio State beat Michigan and those that weren’t great only because the Buckeyes lost to the Wolverines.

Those ugly winged helmets…that’s why I hate Michigan.

John Kolesar…that’s why I hate Michigan.

Charles Woodson with a rose clenched in his teeth...that's why I hate Michigan.

Tim Biakabatuka…that’s why I hate Michigan.

Jim Harbaugh, making good on his guarantee to beat Ohio State...that's why I hate Michigan.

Elvis Grbac…that’s why I hate Michigan.

Being in Michigan Stadium when Desmond Howard did his Heisman pose…that’s why I hate Michigan.

But, above all, because they turned tears of joy into tears of pain on so many occasions….that’s why I hate Michigan.

40 Comments

Comments

buckeye_heart's picture

Great article! Go Bucks!

lamplighter's picture

Nicely done.  72-10 would be delicious

theDuke's picture

The Cooper years were the sole reason for my disdain of that educational institution and the reason that my confidence wanes as we get closer to The Game. There's no doubt that we are the better team on paper, as we were in so many years past, now let's go prove it on the field Boys!!! Win this one for the fans, the great state of Ohio, your own pair of gold pants, but most importantly, do it for your team mates, yourself and the Senior class! They are the ones that have shown and proven the resiliency of our beloved program! Send them out on top! 
 

theDuke

Seattle Linga's picture

Michael - great write up and thanks for the history. I used to be so scared to play ttun because of many of the factors that you mentioned. I feel so much better since Tressel arrived and it has continued with UFM. I am looking forward to Saturday's game.
A little payback is on the menu - this will be a nail in the coffin type of game

bishop072's picture

The Cooper years made Gollums of us all.

thirtytrap's picture

I honestly told people that Cooper wasn't the man when he said that Michigan was just another game. 

ScarletNGrey01's picture

Props for capturing the essence of The Rivalry as experienced by those of us that are a little older than most on this site.  It's a tribal thing.  I suppose a sociologist could write a dissertation as to why such an emotional response to kids playing a game, but as someone who has lived in Columbus all my life all I know is hating TSUN almost seems like a part of my DNA.  This could be a perfect storm for that team in Ann Arbor, number one want to get the W, but a beatdown / very lopsided score would be even better.

The will to win is not as important as the will to prepare to win. -- Woody Hayes

IGotAWoody's picture

All that PAIN thru the 90s just AMPLIFIES the JOY we've been experiencing since 2001! Go BUCKS, Meatchicken CLUCKS!!!

 - License to kill gophers (wolverines, badgers, etc) by the government of the United Nations

Brutus Forever's picture

hey how do you put the signature "license to kill" etc. in italics that shows up in your comments? I tried finding how to do it in the forums with no luck. thanks and go bucks.

"I learned to dislike Michigan at a very young age.” – Urban F. Meyer

ScarletNGrey01's picture

My account, Edit your profile, on Edit tab select Account, what you are looking for is called "signature settings"

The will to win is not as important as the will to prepare to win. -- Woody Hayes

Brutus Forever's picture

thanks bro +1 to you

"I learned to dislike Michigan at a very young age.” – Urban F. Meyer

cjmgobucks's picture

Exactly...

"When I look in the mirror, I want to take a swing at me."
Wayne Woodrow Hayes

MN Buckeye's picture

Michael, I was not certain from reading the article, but it sounds like you hate MI.

bukyze's picture

Michael, you absolutely smeared that article.  Fantastic job!  Couldn't have said it any better myself.  And on this day of Thanksgiving, I give thanks to my hatred of all that is TSUN, and everything remotely associated with it.  I HATE M!(hi&@N !!!!!!!!!

CentralFloridaBuckeye's picture

Excellent article Michael!  I was born in the 70s and grew up in the late 70s and 80s.  Went to OSU from 96 to 2000, so I can relate to just about all of this. 
Those painful memories from the 90s have fueled a lifetime of hate for me.  No matter how good the 2000s have been I will always think back to those days and let the hate flow!
Go Bucks!!  Beat TTUN!!!
 

Knarcisi's picture

Repeat post for me, but I have enough hate for each day until Saturday ...
I was born in '73 and was raised into it. My dad had an Ohio State - *ichigan party for 35 straight years. I grew up in Eastern OH in the Pittsburgh TV market. One year in the early 80s we weren't going to get the game locally. About a dozen of us drove to Zanesville and got 2 hotel rooms just to watch the game. I recall this game being a loss on a missed FG by Matt Frantz. That's the type of fans we are.
I don't remember the 70s, the 80s weren't that great, with the exception of Earle's last game. Then came the 90s. I was in school there 1991-97. I lived though Desmond's Heisman pose, Gee's "greatest victory", and 3 times getting beat by the, while undefeated ... 3 times. 1993 (10-0-1), 1995 (11-0), and 1996 (11-0). I saw the last two in person. Quite a run.
Lets just say my hate for them rose to an all time level. The past 10-15 years have been great, but scU* has fielded a lot of subpar teams. Still, it's been a great run.  But it hasn't erase the memory and does nothing to the dampen level of hate. We've beaten them the last 3 times we have been undefeated. Won em all, but they were all closer than they should have been. And I can't help but look back. My dad remembers 1969.
Records are erased, we take nothing for granted, and the flame of hate burns strong. Beat Blue!  Go Bucks!

joel121270's picture

I think for a lot of us and the Cooper years we have to remember that there was no respect for the opponent a lot of time (Terry Glenn and David Boston running their mouths comes to mind) IMHO. I think Tress and now Urbs lets the disdain for scUM be know but they also know anything can happen and don't lose focus of the task at hand. 
When the clock strikes zero and we are ahead is when I will be truly happy.
Go Bucks!!

BuckeyeVet's picture

Born in 1958. My hate blossomed in 1969, and grew steadily until the Cooper years where it became what Michael exactly describes. Well done, Michael.

"Outside of a dog, a book is a man's best friend. Inside of a dog it's too dark to read."          - Groucho Marx

 

kevdale86's picture

I was at the '86 game with the missed field goal. Absolutely heart breaking. I was also at the game in '92 for the tie. Those are the 2 games in this series that I've attended. Hopefully the 3rd time will be the charm....(whenever that might be).

Go Buckeyes14's picture

The first Ohio State michigan game I remember is the one in 1995. I've hated that team up north ever since with it only getting worse and worse ever since. I was lucky enough to be a student at tOSU from 09-13 and thankfully most of the games against michigan that I was a student for were blowouts. That one loss in 11' will always be a blemish on my heart though. GO BUCKS! Fu*k michigan!

BuckGnome's picture

Michael, that was a fantastic articulation of what it means to be a Buckeye fan, and why we HATE TTUN.   The Cooper years in particular were unspeakably cruel to Buckeye Nation. 
#LetTheHateFlow

buckskin's picture

Born in 72, really bought into the rivalry in the 80's; hate blossomed into a fever pitch during the Coop years.  I have nightmares knowing what Meyer could have done with that talent during the 90's.  That Desmond pose still pisses me off. 
I want Urban to do one thing on Saturday if when we win.  When the game is out of reach for the Wolverines, on a late TD, I want Urban to send out the kicking unit for the XP; call timeout; then send the offense back out for a 2 point try.  This would honor Woody, rub their nose in it, and add some missing flavor to the rivalry.
 

BuckeyeStrong2's picture

"I want Urban to do one thing on Saturday if when we win.  When the game is out of reach for the Wolverines, on a late TD, I want Urban to send out the kicking unit for the XP; call timeout; then send the offense back out for a 2 point try.  This would honor Woody, rub their nose in it, and add some missing flavor to the rivalry."
 
THIS.

cinserious's picture

I'm not opposed to that.

Life's daily struggle is choosing between saying F--ck-it, or soldiering on with your responsibilities.  

BuckeyeFreak4844's picture

You know what!  Fuck Them!

Michigan Sucks!

nm_buck's picture

Excellent memoir on the origin of The Hate.
Please tho... remove the reference to "cleaning the cat box."  Real men don't clean cat boxes.
Only a wine-sipping, cheese-eating "_ichigan _an" would willingly clean a cat box. 

Hovenaut's picture

It's on.

It's always on actually, but it's really on now.

cajunbuckeye's picture

Really, it's actually on now!

An angry fan...rooting for an angry team...led by angry coaches

Earle's picture

Literally, on.

Italics are for emphasis.

Urban Ohio's picture

Beat 'e_ when their bad, beat 'e_ when their good, beat 'e_ in their own hood.
#Go Bucks.

Newcomerstown Trojans between Woody and Beaver.

Blackbeards Delight's picture

The smog levels in CBUS have drastically declined since the nineties. The amount of blazing furniture and dumpster fires after all those losses in The Game was to blame.  Those fires were also rumored to have put the hole in the ozone over the South Pole. I'm glad those dwellers of the soil north of our sacred land have been able to experience the same agony, rage, and straight up pissed-offness through the 2000's. Let our mighty scarlet warriors and their large poisonous nuts choke the rat faced gremlins another decade.
Side note: if you have buckeyes on your chin what do call it ?

Crunchy Peanut Butter Bitches.

- Me

 

bucksfan92's picture

Great write up!  The 1979 game is the first one I have clear memories of - I can still remember that blocked punt.  I was a student during Cooper's years and the 2 home games I had to endure were the 1990 4th and 1 failed option play in a tie game that led to the losing FG, and of course the 13-13 tie.  My last game in the stadium as an OSU student was a f*$#ing tie. That was a whole lotta not fun, ugh...  I too will never ever be sad for that program up north and if they were to lose every game from now until the end of time I would be happy.  I don't think we need to lose a game here and there to keep the rivalry going.  Screw that, I want complete and total domination.  I want - no I NEED us to shut them out Saturday. I am still pissed that we didn't score in 1993, that was inexcusable.  We should have had at least 2 shut outs of them since then but they somehow managed 1 score, that needs to not happen this week.  Go Bucks, beat that team up north and beat them so far into the ground they can't get back up!

The Buck Guy's picture

Michael, you have picked at a huge scab on my heart. Oh how I despise everything about the skunk weasels! 
November 22, 1969. A day that will live in infamy.  I was crushed. I will never forget it and never forgive it because of the former Ohio turncoats who took so much pleasure from it.
Hate is a trite word that can never encompass how I feel about the skunk weasels. It is an abject loathing, incessant malice, and nauseating detestation that pervades my very being from the root of my DNA to the darkest shadow of my soul.
BEAT BLUE!!!

~ The Buck Guy
Go Bucks!!!!

NashBuckeye's picture

The helmets. I hate the UGLY HELMETS!  
There are games that I know I should be rooting for scUM, but when I start watching and see those helmets.......can't do it.
11 points is the biggest margin of victory for OSU in AA that I have ever seen.  I think we can double that this Saturday....maybe triple it?
GO BUCKS!  SCREW THE BLUE!

BeijingBucks's picture

Losses have mounted and yes there has been pain. But watching the fateful Heisman pose, surrounded by _iichigan scu_, has led to an inveterate, deep seated, seething hatred which can never subside!!  The feeling of slack jawed helplessness under a tsunami of derision -- this taint can not be merely washed from one's soul by simple victory.   Not even a decade of victory can quench the anger. 
Their house may be burning but I shall not stop to even piss on it... I would rather be the one throwing a few more molotovs to intensify the burn!
hate hate hate!

 

 

None can love freedom heartily, but good men; the rest love not freedom, but license. ~ John Milton

sir rickithda3rd's picture

the hate is valid

mark may wins douchebag of the year... again

ABrown07's picture

I love this article. I grew up during the John Cooper years and I can't even begin to describe the ways in which those games destroyed parts of my childhood. I'll never forget hoping and praying David Boston would knock Charles Woodson clean out when they got into their scuffles. #screwblue #almosttime #urbancomingforthatass

I don't like nice people. I like tough, honest people.
-Woody Hayes

Brutus Forever's picture

that gif of woody is hilarious!

"I learned to dislike Michigan at a very young age.” – Urban F. Meyer

OvalBeachBum's picture

My earliest memories of tOSU football came in John Cooper's last year, so generally speaking, I have been very blessed when it came to The Game under Tressel and Urban.  I always knew that they used to have our number, but I guess my mind would just block that out.  Great article on why *ichigan is the worst.  Muck Fichigan

"In the words of the late great Colonel Sanders, I'm too drunk to taste this chicken" - Ricky Bobby