From Cooper to Brandon: The Cyclical Nature of Malaise

By Nicholas Jervey on July 19, 2014 at 6:00a
John Cooper wasn't a bum, even against That Team Up North.

John Cooper's first victory over Michigan in 1994.

88 Comments

John Cooper was 2-10-1 against Michigan.

That's not a novel or exciting statistic, but any discussion of John Cooper must start there. 2-10-1 came to define his time in Columbus, and it was the biggest reason for his firing. It's why he's Michigan's favorite Ohio State coach. 

From the start, the theme was pressure. "I feel pressure, but not pressure that people put on me," Cooper said. "I put pressure on myself. I have a strong desire to give these people what they want. There`s no doubt that we will win."

By the time Cooper was fired in 2001, he had an extended rap sheet. He was an outsider, somebody who didn't get Ohio State. He was successful but not when it counted; his teams were great until they weren't.

Did You Know: John Cooper started off with a decent head of hair.
John Cooper, pre-malaise.

Cooper's reputation has gone through rehabilitation since then. Cooper was a much better coach than he was given credit for and a fantastic talent developer. With his induction to the Buckeye Hall of Fame, he has begun to receive a proper appreciation.

2-10-1 is something Buckeye fans just can't forget, no matter how good they are towards Cooper. It's not because of the record; it's because of the malaise.

It might have been Cooper's hands-on management, which bothered his assistants. It was certainly a lack of discipline, with arrests and academics ruining the Buckeyes' reputation. When Jim Tressel was hired, many questioned Ohio State's place among the national elite.

2-10-1 is seared into the brains of Buckeye fans everywhere. What fans may not realize is that 2-10-1 is where Michigan stands right now.


Ohio State and Michigan have played 13 times this century. Since 2001, Michigan's record in the game reads two wins, ten losses, and one vacated loss: 2-10-1. Michigan is in a slump every bit as dire as Ohio State was in 2000, and the malaise that plagued John Cooper is starting to affect That Team Up North even more.

There are some odd coincidences between the end of Cooper's time and Brady Hoke's run in Ann Arbor. The 1998 OSU team went to the Sugar Bowl and won; the 2011 Michigan team went to the Sugar Bowl and won. Cooper went 14-10 in the two seasons following that; Hoke is 15-11 in the same time frame. But unlike Cooper, Brady Hoke isn't the source of the malaise; that comes from Michigan's athletic director.

Michigan AD Dave Brandon is not very popular right now. All the things that made him an exciting hire when he left Domino's Pizza in 2010 are working against him. His corporate expertise, first seen as innovative, is now seen as a drain on the stadium atmosphere by alumni. His objectivity as a non-sports fan has left him looking out-of-touch.

To fix Michigan's attendance problems, Brandon announced plans for a wicked sweet fireworks show that would deliver the spectacle necessary to draw fans back in. The problem: when Brandon presented his proposal to the Board of Regents, they set it on fire.

Regent Laurence Deitch was the first to speak out against the fireworks displays. He said that the plan's risks outweigh its rewards and the gimmick would be inconsistent with the university's tradition.

"I am a fan. I have religiously attended Michigan football games for 50 years. I can honestly tell you that I have not been wanting due to that lack of fireworks," Deitch said.

"What I, as a fan, want, is tough, exciting, winning football. That's it...Somehow this doesn't feel right to me."

Another board member:

"We are not Comerica Park or a Super Bowl or Disney World or a circus. Enough is enough. It should be an experience – a place that resists the excesses of our culture. The fact that it's not (a pro sports spectacle) is what I love about our culture. The fireworks should be on the field, not above it."

As you can probably guess from the criticism, this isn't just about fireworks. Michigan's Board of Trustees almost always meets off the record, with unanimous votes and no public discussion. That they're willing to be this critical of Dave Brandon shows what they think about him and the football programTo understand how bad things have gotten, compare Brandon to Ohio State athletic director Gene Smith. 

Three years ago, Smith and Brandon were in opposing positions. Brandon was fresh to the job and well-regarded, while Gene Smith was mired in the unending Tatgate saga. Smith's shambolic press conference with Jim Tressel and Gordon Gee to announce Tressel's suspension went horribly, and when OSU received a bowl ban he assured Urban Meyer was not coming, there were loud cries for his head.

Ohio State, a decade removed from the Cooper malaise, stuck with Gene Smith. Now the consensus is that Smith has done a serviceable job at worst as athletic director.

Michigan, which was flying high on the promise of its new CEO, squandered years and decades of goodwill until we arrived at this point. The malaise didn't start with Brandon – blame Lloyd Carr, Rich Rodriguez, and former AD Bill Martin – but it has never been worse.

People tend to assign symbolic value to the leaders of an organization. At present, Brandon represents Michigan's lack of identity. Either he will change his approach to deal with the program's malaise, or Michigan will move on without him.

The national powers always recover. Eventually, Michigan will hire the right administrators. They will build an identity beyond "we don't know what we want to be", and when they do they could eliminate their own malaise. Now, however, they're deep in the mire.

The success of the last 13 years has neutralized mental scarring from the Cooper Era. It remains to be seen when Michigan will recover from the Brandon Era.

88 Comments

Comments

Crumb's picture

May they be stuck in the Brandon Era in cement until the horrid weight of it shatters and crumbles on itself like a chair under Brady Hoke. That they're a raging dumpster fire and that we're beating them is what kept me warm this past winter when it was 30 below. The only phrase that is uttered in my family almost as much as 'Go Buckeyes!' is 'Screw Michigan!'

"The only good thing about it is winning the d*** thing" - Urban Meyer on The Game The War

+17 HS
DaveStephens's picture

Maybe this speaks to my level of reading, but I just read the word "malaise" more times than I had previously in my life.  Strong use of the word "mire" as well.  This is why I don't bother reading Bleacher Report articles anymore.

The Dude abides.

+2 HS
NitroBuck's picture

Dave, you must not have been around during the Carter administration.  The Skunkweasels can be referred to as the Malaise & Blue.

Ferio.  Tego.

+5 HS
BME_Buckeye's picture

Remember when Michigan celebrated Cooper on 2/10/2001. Them walvies.

Hopefully we can extend our success against them and beat them into the dirt to even up history.

Look closely, because the closer you think you are, the less you will actually see.

 

+2 HS
Rob Reese's picture

 even up history.

The day is quickly approaching. 

tOSU class of 2009, College of Arts and Sciences

+1 HS
bucndc's picture

Nice writing. I once met Cooper at a Galyans Store (now Dick's). We were both in the gun section looking at shot gun shells. Coop picked up a box of shells and asked me, " Are these the shells you use for duck hunting". He thought I worked there. I quicky said, "No, those are the shells we use on coaches that can't beat Michigan".

We both had a good laugh when he realized I didn't work there. I've felt bad about that exchange, after realizing what a nice man he seemed to be.

+25 HS
FitzBuck's picture

If this story isn't true I don't want to know.  So good.  

Fitzbuck | Toledo - Ohio's right armpit | "A troll by any other name is still a troll".

+9 HS
Bucks's picture

I see Coach around once a week. A few points:

1) That punchline you gave hime is rated g, compared to some of the things said to him.

2) He doesn't shy away from knowing there are a few games in the series we should have won & puts it on himself.

3) He and around 30 other former coaches have tried to get to a playoff/edit the BCS since its inception.  Those guys absolutely have a hand in the final push.

4) One of the more thoughtful person(s) I have ever met.

5) I run a construction division. There are 20 year old guys who couldn't hold a candle to the level of activity this man has. He never stops.

6) He handed the Pitt job to Luke on a silver platter. The story on how Fick screwed that up is hilarious.

southernstatesbuckeye's picture

"We are not Comerica Park or a Super Bowl or a circus..."

Hmmm. Well, two outa three aint bad.

+16 HS
blocko330's picture

I can hear the circus music playing in the background as their FG gets blocked by App St

“Things may come to those who wait, but only the things left by those who hustle.”

- TruthTeller

+10 HS
johnblairgobucks's picture

I may have heard the same music, during the weeks after the Appalachian State loss, as my friends that are Michigan fans kept saying that "they would beaten you guys too, but probably worse.".   

Denial is pure Michigan.

+7 HS
whiskeyjuice's picture

"Championships are not won on Saturdays in November. Championships are won on Tuesdays in August." -- Kerry Combs

+2 HS
mtrotb's picture

Cooper was a great coach the  first 11 games of the year.  I remember one year-96 we beat ND and State Penn on back to back weekends when they were ranked #3 and #4 in country and we crushed them both.

mtrotb

+15 HS
Chestnut Ridge Buckeye's picture

And I gotta emphasize for the record what a fantastic accomplishment that was. I was as frustrated with Cooper's "malaise" as anyone, but I have been vexed throughout the intervening years that people seem to have forgotten how utterly dominant OSU appeared during the '95 and '96 seasons. Of course that made the season-ending train wrecks all the more outrageously unacceptable, but I those were some really sweet victories you mentioned there...

+7 HS
mtrotb's picture

As well as 93 and 98.

mtrotb

+1 HS
bigtenspeed's picture

I hope scUM stays bad forever. I don't think beating them ever gets old or less meaningful. Especially for fans like me who grew up in the 90's.
I watched 5 minutes of the game from 97 on BTN this week. I remembered immediately how much I "sports" hate Charles Woodson and it got me really fired up for this year's game.

+4 HS
Bucksfan's picture

If there's one thing Michigan is good at, it's not-fixing Michigan.

+22 HS
buckeyedude's picture

The latest thing I heard on WJR in Detroit is that the citizens are refusing to pay their water bills(but yet they have money to pay their cable bill and cell phone bill - go figure), and so the city is now going to stick it to the suburbanites to pay for the water in SE Michelin. It's a very big problem, in addition to the blight like the picture above, that is all over the city.

 

 

+3 HS
GlueFingers Lavelli's picture

that picture makes me sad. What a waste of a potentially amazing house.

Dustin Fox was our leading tackler as a corner.... because his guy always caught the ball.

+6 HS
Baroclinicity's picture

Totally thinking the same thing.  I bet it was spectacular new.  Any house with the turret-type feature grabs my attention, however.

When you're holding a hammer, everything looks like a nail.

+1 HS
MN Buckeye's picture

Leadership starts at the top; the culture created permeates the organization. I believe this is why certain football franchises have been historically strong and relevant (Packers, Steelers) and others (no names mentioned here) have not. Ultimately, this begins with the ownership/trustees, as they need football people in place along with the support structure to make it work.

Urban understands this.

+5 HS
Hovenaut's picture

If only the interwebz and 11W had been around during those dark years. I may not have even needed to touch alcohol.

Ok...well, maybe not as much alcohol.

Not only have they slipped into Cooper-esque results in the rivalry, the boys up there are off the grid nationally (much like OSU was in the late 80's/early 90's).

At least Coop brought the program back to national relevance, not seeing the Hokester (and Brandon) doing the same.

I am not very smart, but I recognize that I am not very smart.

+5 HS
buckeyedude's picture

I got my first PC, a Compaq, in 1995. LOL.

 

 

+2 HS
Hovenaut's picture

Like an ancient relic these days...I can hear the dial tone in my head now.

I am not very smart, but I recognize that I am not very smart.

+1 HS
Baroclinicity's picture

And the resultant busy signal you got if trying to connect on campus...

When you're holding a hammer, everything looks like a nail.

+1 HS
ISURVIVEDCOOPER's picture

At least Coop brought the program back to national relevance, not seeing the Hokester (and Brandon) doing the same.

As much as this helps to put a better light on what happened during the 90s, and I agree - but losing a whole decade to a team that we were better than, on many different occasions, was beyond unbearable then as it is now.

"I don't apologize for anything.  When I make a mistake, I take the blame and go on from there." - Woody Hayes

+2 HS
Hovenaut's picture

"...was beyond unbearable..."

And an 11W user name was born.

I should've called myself Natural Lite (other assorted flavors mixed in from time to time).

I am not very smart, but I recognize that I am not very smart.

+2 HS
ISURVIVEDCOOPER's picture

LOL - I grabbed for anything I could find to numb the pain. ;)

"I don't apologize for anything.  When I make a mistake, I take the blame and go on from there." - Woody Hayes

+1 HS
New alum's picture

That is an excellent point. Though Cooper always struggled against Mich, he definitely returned the program to national prominence after the dip in the late '80s, early '90s. After down periods, programs like ND, Neb, etc, haven't made it back. Still waiting for someone to get Mich back there.

+1 HS
BrewstersMillions's picture

I met Cooper at the only OSU basketball game I attended during my 4 years at OSU-just so happened to be against Illinois. Matt Sylvester did something of importance, I don't exactly recall.

Anyway, he was sitting behind my dad and I and I kept looking back to see if it was him, finally my dad (always the subtle one) just asked-Are you Coach Cooper? He responded "That's what they tell me but don't say it too loud around these parts!". He offered his hand and he talked with my dad and I for a good 15 minutes before the game. He was high fiving, participating in O-H-I-O's and was an all around cool guy.

I felt pretty bad about all the awful things I said about him years prior. He's a pretty decent dude from my only dealings with the man.

Do I come off as arrogant? Shame on me, I was hoping it would more obvious.

+13 HS
Mortc15's picture

FYI, Sylvester sunk a 3 to end Illinois' undefeated season on the final day of the regular season that year, I do believe. 

Buck-I4Life

bucksfan92's picture

As others have said there is one HUGE difference between OSU-TTUN in the Cooper days and the current times.  At least 8 of those 10 losses were upsets.  After Coop's second year we were always the better team just had a mental block in that game.  OSU has continued on the overall high level of play while they have not.  The last Carr year and all 3 Rich Rod years were complete blowouts.  In 2008 we could have won that game 70-0 if we had wanted to. The one year blip in 2011 has to be discounted, and even then it took a miracle for them to beat us at their place.  I don't see Hoke being able to rally the troops - they are having shootouts with Indiana and Illinois and the like.  It's not just a mental lapse up north like it was down here in the Cooper years, their program is on very shaky ground right now.

I may be incorrect about this, but I also might not be - they could be headed for a longer period of irrelevancy than most people might think.  Think Nebraska - which was a better program in the 90s than Michigan has ever been.  They are still trying to recover, and the similarities are there - neither state is very talent-rich at the high school level - most of their impact players are from elsewhere.  I can't see the attraction of a top player leaving his home state and going up there to the clown show.  They also have the added pressure of another in-state school with a much better coach, and (I can't believe I am getting ready to say this about Sparty) a more solid program in East Lansing. If I were going to leave the state, or if I were a native of that god-forsaken land up north (shudders!) MSU would clearly be the better option now.

+7 HS
New alum's picture

I disagree that OSU always had the better team after '89. I think UM was clearly better in '90 and '91, '99, and '00. It was a toss-up in '92 (tie) and '97. Only games Cooper clearly should have won and didn't were '93 (28-0), '95, and '96.

bucksfan92's picture

I probably shouldn't have used "always" but more often than not we were, and aside from the '91 game, they were all close.  I disagree with your '90 and '97 opinion though.  We were better in '90, although both teams had taken some strange losses (ours to USC in the storm shortened game, and to Illinois on an illegal forward pass that would be overturned in today's rules).  In '97 we held them to 40 yards rushing, and if it weren't for a turnover in the end zone late in the 4Q we could have won that one as well.  We were favored in '90, they were favored in '97, but both games would probably have been pick-em on a neutral field.

+1 HS
New alum's picture

Points well taken. With regard to '90, I was thinking of UM being ranked No. 1 at time Sparty came to the Big House, and won late a controversial no-call when Desmond Howard was tripped in end zone late resulting in incompletion. Also, Bucks needed late heroics from Bobby Olive to get past Iowa. That, coupled with OSU's final record probably caused me to underrate them. '97 was a complete toss-up, both teams were fantastic.

New alum's picture

I do, however, agree with your assessment re no guarantee Mich makes it back to national prominence. 

OnlyOne's picture

I have been visiting this site for a month now.  The hate for *ichigan is clear, but so is the need for *ichigan.  *ichigan is part of the the glue that holds 11W together.  My guess is about 50% of the discussions on here revolve around *ichigan, if not more.  A good *ichigan is good for tOSU, it is good for The Game and the B1G.  Maybe this is why we want Brandon gone.  He is bad for *ichigan, bad for the B1G, and thus bad for tOSU.

GO B....  (I'll be down voted for that,)

-5 HS
buckeyedude's picture

*ichigan is part of the the glue that holds 11W together.

LMAO. Dude. You don't know what you're talking about. Sorry. Yes, many of the conversations are about the Skunks, but if you think this website wouldn't survive without bitching about them, then you don't know 11W very well. Just my opinion. Sorry if it's overly critical. I just think you're way off. There are many articles about recruiting, basketball, and other sports, the players the coaches, etc.

We don't need Michelin for anything. They suck right now, and Sparty has picked up the "other TTUN" banner just fine. I hate when I heard OSU fans saying "WE need them to be good." Bullshit. OSU doesn't "need" anything from them. Just keep winning, Buckeyes. Everything else will take care of itself. Even the dumpster fire in AA.

 

 

+4 HS
Tater_Schroeder's picture

I also disagree that we need Michigan to be good. What we need is to continue beating them every year. Sure watching us defeat a #2 ranked Michigan team in 2006 was awesome, but pissing on a TTUN dumpster fire is just as great. And besides, now that we have a B1G championship game, we don't need Michigan ranked to finish the last game before bowl selection with a "quality win". Sparty will provide us with that opportunity now.

How Firm Thy Friendship

+1 HS
Todd-Not Boeckmann's picture

Hate?  Check.  Need?  Epic Fail.  We don't need the weasels to be good.  We need the B1G to be good.  If Indiana were to go 44-4 the next 4 years, beat an SEC team in their bowl game while the weasels went 0-48, I would be happy, happy, happy.

On the wall guarding the North Coast from all Weasel invasions.

TraptnMI's picture

Your right on the money. The biggest rivalry in all of sports and they say we don't need the wolverinees to be any good? That's just some kind of special edwardo thinking, If that IS thinking at all. If they suck, what does that say about us after LUCKILY squeaking out a one point victory? Easily could have ended up 23 and 3. P.S. I miss Urbana.

" It's real good whatcha done Anthony, real good ! "

+4 HS
GlueFingers Lavelli's picture

I think we need them to be good. Look at Bama-Auburn. It's becoming the most popular rivalry in college football.... why, because the past 6 years it's pretty much decided the national title picture. I want to beat my rival when they are at their best. So I ask those who want Michigan to meddle in mediocrity for years to come.... Would you think it's better for Ohio State to continue to beat Michigan while Michigan is an average 6-8 win team, or would it b better for Ohio State to beat Michigan every year when Michigan was a constant 10+ win team???  I can't believe people want us to settle for our biggest rival not playing a factor into our success.  I'm sorry if it makes me a bad fan to think like this, but I want our wins to really HURT them. Right now this isn't killing them the way it would if they were borderline BCS contenders and losing to tOSU would. I'm in favor of better strength of schedule moving into the playoff area, and destroying mu rivals dreams. We have already demoralized them with Tressel to the point where they are losing fans.

Dustin Fox was our leading tackler as a corner.... because his guy always caught the ball.

+3 HS
TraptnMI's picture

Nice, says it all. Let us hope the future is competitive.  Without heartache there is no ecstasy, unless you call your dealer of course.

" It's real good whatcha done Anthony, real good ! "

buckeyebfd's picture

I figured 50% of the discussions on here were Torrance Gibson

+2 HS
PapaBucks's picture

Not to be a stickler but opponent losses are not vacated. So M*ch*g*n is still 2-11 vs. the Bucks since 2001.

+7 HS
Mortc15's picture

True, but no one technically won that game so thus the "tie" 

Buck-I4Life

-2 HS
rock flag and eagle's picture

That's not being a stickler. That is just having a basic understanding of how college football works and how the NCAA operates.  You don't have to be a stickler to understand the basics.  Thanks for the correction.

+2 HS
kholmes's picture

This isnt the most popular view on the internet but I think Brandon has alot more support than many realize. The support and reasons for it have been drowned out by some of the noise to criticize Brandon which obviously creates more noise and funny zingers than the other side. This happens when you have places like mgoblog that have lost any objectiveness on the topic as it turns it in to a place where the "in" thing to do is to find a reason to criticize anything Brandon does.

While Brandon certainly has made some missteps, he has done a good job in many areas whether it be improving the experience of all student athletes, running athletic budget at a profit (not something that has always happened at Mich), good overall athletic performance (#13 in this past years Directors Cup which equally weights all sports) leading a huge $250 investment program solely for nonrevenue facility upgrades, and what are regarded by virtually all as some good recent hires (womens basketball, baseball). While many think he is only focused on generating more revenue, he has showed a huge increase (relative to his predecessors) on improving the facilities for nonrevenue sports (main thing being a $250mm program to upgrade/reconstruct all existing nonrevenue facilities over a 5yr period). If all you cared about was revenue and profits, you wouldnt be spending it on improved softball, volleyball, and water polo facilites.

The heart of the controversy lies in the football VS. other sports debate. Essentially what he has done is look for ways to raise revenue from football primarily while spending it heavily in the nonrevenue sports so the experience is improved for all student athletes (not just football/basketball). The impact of this is that lots of fans are touched by the football ticket prices/revenues so complain about while the nonrevenue spending affects fewer since many dont care about. If you are like Brian at mgblog (who last week said he could care less if there was more support/resources for those other sports), then you are aggravated by the revenue increase needed from football to pay for the other sports. If you are a fan/supporter or an athlete for nonrevenue sports, then Dave Brandon has huge support as he has raised the value placed on these relative to his predecessors. In general, he has huge support from the student athletes.

But if you argue that football is all that really matters, then you have probably have complaints about Brandon because of both the results on the field this past year and the general appetite to increase football revenue.

Just as a technical note to article above, Brandon did not make the presentation to the regents and was not there. The vice president of the school made the presentation to request fireowrks for the games. The only reason I point it out is this distinction might have some impact on how much of a dissing you interpret the decline of the fireworks proposal to be,

Hopefully this just gives you a bit of a perspective on why there is some support for him despite the headlines from football blogs like mgoblog. Im not trying to say he hasnt made some mistakes and Im not trying to argue against article above...as when it comes down to it, these comments would be received more negatively on a place like mgoblog given their views on this.

+7 HS
osu07asu10's picture

Thanks for some insight on Brandon at TTUN.

It sounds to me that Michigan athletics is currently going through an overhaul that tOSU experienced beginning with Geiger in the mid 90s and continued through Smith in the early 2000s with Jesse Owens, the tennis center, Bill Davis upgrades, the softball stadium and planned Covelli Center.

Nicholas' article draws comparison to the end of Cooper's Era and potential for Brandon/Hoke and that makes me think they are only a solid hire from National prominence.

After your explanation, I realize that Michigan is undergoing a fundamental change throughout the department and on shaky ground with the alumni base while undertaking it. They are a good decade behind tOSU as it relates to athletics. This pleases me greatly!

"They don't know what they don't know." - Coach Mick

+1 HS
buckeyedude's picture

Hopefully this just gives you a bit of a perspective on why there is some support for him despite the headlines from football blogs like mgoblog

Hopefully this just gives you a bit of a perspective on why there is some support for him despite the headlines the dumpster fire in Ann Arbor from football blogs like mgoblog.

Fixed that for you KHOLMES. Just teasing, brah. I do appreciate your input.

 

 

Nicholas Jervey's picture

Thanks for the insightful reply. Something I left out because I don't want to get into it much: there are some party politics at play with Brandon in the board. Brandon is one party, and a couple of the critical board members are of the other. How much of it is political, and how much of it is dissatisfaction with Brandon? I don't know, but I bet it's more of the latter.

Something MGoBlog is big on that I to a lesser degree concur with is not caring about profit. The Big Ten schools have more athletic revenue than they know what to do with, and because they don't increase compensation for athletes they have nowhere else to put it than in buildings. There are prestige elements to having non-revenue sports that make sense for Michigan, whether the football team earns $80 million or $85 million.

Ceci n'est pas une signature.

Hovenaut's picture

Also appreciate the details KHolmes. I was under the impression he too was on the hot seat, especially after recently reading the John U. Bacon commentary here not too long ago (sorry I don't have the link handy).

I am not very smart, but I recognize that I am not very smart.

kholmes's picture

I dont think there is any way to really gauge whether his seat is hot. Im just trying to make the point that the loud voices of the writers at mgoblog and John Bacon are far from showing the full picture.

 I guess the main thing is there arent many complaints outside of the football issues...and when it gets down to it its hard to know if its just a function of the poor record this past season coinciding with a poor home schedule for 1 year at the exact same time (which is somewhat a function of B1G forcing them to switch the MSU game to a road game for a second year in a row).

+1 HS
bucknut94's picture

Earl Bruce didn't get much better treatment than Cooper. Bruce was called 9 and 3 Bruce during his tenure as coach. I don't believe he should have been fired.

+1 HS
IBLEEDSCARLETANDGRAY's picture

Bruce was at least 5-4-1 vs. TTUN. It did take him getting carried off the field in Ann Arbor for me to truly appreciate him and that still makes me sad. Every scarlet-blooded Buckeye fan out there would've gladly traded 2-10-1 for 5-4-1. Earle's problem was Andy Geiger, who ironically kept Cooper around longer and who did much worse vs TTUN.

Food for thought, Coop equals Bruce and goes 5-4-1 vs. TTUN are we even having this conversation and does JT (and Meyer) even get hired? Strange how things work out I guess.

"Sherman ran an option play right through the south" - Greatest Civil War analogy EVER.

+1 HS
buckeyedude's picture

Food for thought, Coop equals Bruce and goes 5-4-1 vs. TTUN are we even having this conversation and does JT (and Meyer) even get hired?

"If 'ifs' and 'buts' were candy and nuts, wouldn't we all have a Merry Christmas?"  -----Don Meredith.

 

 

+1 HS
mtrotb's picture

One could have been hired as Cooper is 77, so he would have retired a few years back if his UM as well as bowl record was better and he wasn't kicked to the curb.

mtrotb

PapaBucks's picture

Geiger wasn't the AD when Earle coached at Ohio State, it was Rick Bay. Bay resigned rather than fire Earle.

mr.green's picture

Bruce was 5-4. No tie.  

OscarSierraUniform's picture

Coach Bruce's problem was not Andy Geiger.  Andy Geiger was not the AD.  Rick Bay was the AD.  Earle's problem was Edward Jennings who was the President of The Ohio State University.  Jennings fired him.  Subsequently, Bay resigned in protest of Jennings' termination of Earle Bruce.

See ball, get ball.

BuckminsterFullback's picture

Bruce deserves some credit; he and his staff did a great job leading the 79 team to the Rose Bowl; they were within seconds of an undefeated season and a national championship. That first season set expectations that they were unable to meet in subsequent years.

When Earle was fired, the team was 5-4-1 and had just lost 3 straight. His recent recruiting classes weren't highly regarded, and 8 Buckeyes were taken in the '88 NFL draft. Recall that, prior to John Cooper's first season, he said that some of his Tulsa teams had more talent than OSU; that's probably an exaggeration, but the overall talent level was down. There were also rumors that he and his staff had alienated many of the high school coaches in the state, so future recruiting, in state, was likely to be difficult. Had Bruce been retained, I doubt he would have been able to get them back to 9-3 anytime soon.

+2 HS
whiskeyjuice's picture

While this article is interesting as it points out similarities between the two eras. They miss on 1 big difference. It was called the Cooper er because it was one man as the head coach for all those 2-10-1 games. On the other side, I would argue that *ichigan maybe in more of a downward spiral than what the this article suggests. *ichigan went through at least 3 head coaches that I can think of, not to mention that outside of "The Game" Cooper won quite a bit, whereas *ichigan has been struggling. 

If Hoke doesn't turn things around with the program, he will be forced out and that will just build on their downward spiral as it has been coach after coach after coach that has been unsuccessful. As a Buckeye fan, I am ENJOYING the way things are turning out.

"Championships are not won on Saturdays in November. Championships are won on Tuesdays in August." -- Kerry Combs

+2 HS
whiskeyjuice's picture

*ICHIGAN SUX!!

"Championships are not won on Saturdays in November. Championships are won on Tuesdays in August." -- Kerry Combs

-1 HS
buckeyedude's picture

What goes around comes around.

I just hope that this cycle last a lot longer than the 1990s. I look forward to the day when OSU surpasses TTUN on the "all-time vs." list that their fans always go back to when they have nothing else.

I went to a party at a country club last night, and most of the people were dressed nicely, except for a couple of morons that were wearing TTUN attire. It nauseates me. I hate that team/school, and their fans can go pound sand. Consider yourself lucky to be a Buckeye fan and not have to live in NW Ohio.

 

 

+1 HS
Tater_Schroeder's picture

I too look forward to the day we pass TTUN on the all time record. I suspect it will take at least two decades to do it since we need a net 14 wins (Michigan leads, 58–45–6). I assume they will right the ship somewhat in that time, although Ohio State football's future looks brighter than any program in the country right now. It sure is a fun time to be a Buckeye fan!

How Firm Thy Friendship

johnblairgobucks's picture

Cooper's 3-8 Bowl game record never helped his image at Ohio State, either.  Sure the Rose Bowl win vs Jake Plummer was his tenure summit, and the Sugar Bowl win vs Texas AtM was a fine feather in the cap, but the other years not so good.  All that was left was an exciting performance by Raymont Harris vs BYU to outweigh a disappointing show against Airforce, and the feel of being out coached as OSU brought equally talented teams to the field against Georgia, Auburn, Florida State, Tennessee, Syracuse, Alabama and South Carolina.

Always carefull not to say Michigan is worse off than OSU was during the end of the Cooper era, because it only to a coaching change a couple of special recruits mixed into recruiting classes coming together in a matter of 2 years to win a National Championship.  Carroll at USC, Sumlin at Texas AtM, Saban at Alabama, Tressel at OSU...... A proud program can bounce back quickly if the right coach is brought in to steer the ship.

+4 HS
CTBuckeye's picture

How can David Brandon keep mentioning his corporate experience as a positive when Domino's was near bankruptcy when he left, and it's now up over 1000% since.

I hope continues that corporate success at Michigan for a long, long time.

"Because we couldn't go for three"

kholmes's picture

Im not trying to troll or anything (believe me its more controversial to support Brandon these days on a Michigan site than it is over here)...just trying to answer the question as to why some, including Brandon himself, view Domino's turnaround as actually a success for him.

-First, Dave Brandon remained the Chairman of the Board at Domino's after he left for Michigan and is still the Chairman at Domino's today. Therefore, its safe to conclude, while absent from day to day operations, that he has had a large voice in the strategy of Domino's since he left. The CEO since he left still credits Brandon as his "most important business mentor" he's had.

Finally, the big turnaround for Domino's was when they totally revamped their pizza recipe and started from scratch to improve the product. This entire redesign was under Brandon and the new recipe and marketing campaign was introduced in the 4th quarter of 2009 (he left CEO position in Jan 2010). The success that followed and increase in the stock price was largely a function of this even if he was no longer the CEO at that point.

In fact, I think he takes the success of this redesign and change as proof that sometimes organizations have to change even things that are core to their organization...which sort of gets a main issue around his changes at Michigan.

+3 HS
johnblairgobucks's picture

If Brandon gets credit for proving that organizations have to change even things that are core to their organization....... Some may get confused why Rich Rod wasn't given more time, and Hoke was brought in because he understood the Michigan Way.  Rich Rod may not have had time ( granted may not have had the ability) to build a viable defensive unit/scheme, which led to his early departure.  However, watching Michigan amass negative rushing yards in back to back games, something almost unheard of in the past 40 years of Michigan football, only to met with unwavering support for the Coach from Brandon, seems to speak, to an outsider, as some sort of a clueless factor.  If Brandon saw failure from Rich Rod before he was given a full 4 years to change things, I'm not sure what he is not seeing from Hoke's attempt.    Bowl game records, games against Sparty and the Buckeyes, plus dwindling student attendance seem to bee strong signs of an issue that need addressed.

+2 HS
rock flag and eagle's picture

Perhaps his "unwavering support" is actually stubborn, predetermined, intransigent patience.  Do you recall when Peppers was wavering in his commitment, Brandon released a statement of support for Hoke to quell hot seat rumors?  In that statement, he mentioned recruiting a couple of times, and also mentioned the role that Carr's seniors played in Michigan's Sugar Bowl team. 

Brandon is a very hands on AD.  He probably knows roster and recruiting details inside and out.  I suspect his statements of gratitude to Carr's recruiting were a backhand at Rodriguez's roster management and the extremely high levels of attrition which took place under Rodriguez's watch.  Why else go out of your way to praise Carr's recruiting and not the whole team?  I suspect he is being patient with Hoke because he and Hoke already agreed (or Hoke convinced him) on how much time is necessary to change the roster.  It would be consistent with Brandon's oddly involved position vis a vis recruiting. (I mean, he basically wrote a recruiting pitch directly to Peppers.)
 

kholmes's picture

I think alot of his initial changes that he faced resistance to were "tradition" type things where he had to deal with the nonsense of "This is Michigan. This is how we've always done it". Remember as crazy as it sounds Michigan hadnt ever played a night home game until Brandon came and changed that.

I wasnt trying to argue anothing football related with the data about Domino's but since you ask it, Ill at least try to give some response as to what Brandon could be thinking. Clearly there was a large step back for on the field performance last year and so your point about what he can see in Hoke has some validity. As a result, there have been significant changes. I think both he and Hoke realized there needed to be changes so alot have been made in the offseason from firing Borges, hiring Nussmeier, switching up the assignments for all of the defensive staff, moving to separate safety/CB coaches (as OSU has done), changing to more aggressive press coverage (as OSU has done). So from this standpoint I would say that they have been trying to address the on the field performance...whether it is successful obviously we dont know yet.

Also, I think its important to note that Brandon has additional criteria in judging Hoke than only the simple W/L record. Under Hoke, the team's APR (which is 4 yr moving average) has moved to 4th in B1G after being as low as last place last year as the RR years roll off the moving average. Brandon values this even if most fans only look at W/L and he also values that the roster has stabilized so there is no longer the massive attrition that kept occurring during previously.

On an interesting note regarding judging coaches, he did make what was considered surprising changes in a couple sports this offseason so he has shown he is more than willing to make changes...womens water polo and mens tennis were two notable ones. The new hires were considered to be outstanding ones but the ones he got rid of did not have awful records by any means. I know UM's men's tennis is way behind OSU (as is the rest of B1G) but the coach that was let go had finished in top 4 of B1G for 8 out of his 10 seasons so wasnt exactly scraping the bottom of the B1G (but obviously never won a title since OSU was racking them up).

+1 HS
Habu71's picture

Played in a golf outing with Cooper a few years ago, post his coaching stint. He was actually in the foursome behind us, but when playing behind me you tend to encounter me a lot (due to my frequent left/rightness). He was friendly, so I never mentioned his record against TTUN. While enduring that terrible stint against *ichigan, I doubt you could have convinced me that some day they'd duplicate it. It's good to be on the other side of it. 

+1 HS
Seattle Linga's picture

Nice article Nicholas - you mention it's cyclical but this is one of those streaks that I hope you're wrong about. I realize we will not always be so dominant decade after decade - I just shudder to think what it would be like to go through another losing spell of 2-10-1. 

One the bright side in 1994 our oldest was born the day the Buckeyes beat the team up north, one of the two victories in Coopers era. 

+1 HS
OnceaBuckeye's picture

November 21, 1992... My Freshman year at tOSU.  Yes I experienced some of of the greatest game experiences and athletes in OSU lure during my collegiate years.  Some of my fondest memories stomping ND and Penn State.  Complete blowouts of conference opponents.  The jubilation of finally beating the scUM.  I also witnessed the lowest of lows with Cooper at the helm.  Of course we can't forget Cooper's complete failure to understand the importance of The Game, until at least it cost him his job.  Which by the way his record, Ohio State won-loss record: 111–43–4  would be something the scUM would love to have their current coach come close to.

Out of all the losses, upsets, and frustrations, November 21, 1992 and 13-13 has been etched in my mind forever.  I have walked out of the Shoe feeling the highest of highs and the lowest of lows, but that day was nothing I have ever felt before.  I can't even put words to what the stadium, campus, and of course High St. felt like after 13-13.  I might describe it like actually walking through a Zombie movie.  No one knowing quite what to say.  We didn't lose again, we didn't win (unless you listened to Gee who said the tie was one of our greatest victories).  We all knew that it meant Cooper would be back another year.   To this day, I search for the words to describe Nov. 21, 1992.

And when we win the game we'll buy a keg of brew

bucked up's picture

2-11* Vacated wins are nonsense

+2 HS
Eph97's picture

I became a Buckeye fan in '83 when my family moved to Ohio. Earle Bruce had the Buckeyes mired in mediocrity and they were never a contender for a national championship besides his first year with Woody's players. My high school years were the first 4 years under Cooper and they sucked because the talent level was lacking and UM had a lot of talent. However, I'm grateful for Cooper because from '93 on he brought OSU back to national relevance by significantly upgrading the talent. During  that period he pretty much beat everyone in the Big 10 other than UM, with huge OOC wins over Notre Dame when they were actually good. Those OSU teams during that 6 year span from 93-98 were some of the best OSU teams ever. I'd take the '96 and '98 teams over the '02 team under the current playoff format.

+1 HS
ELJTSA76's picture

I believe that UM's record is actually 2-11 during the time period discussed. I do get the point of making the numbers parallel to tie the story together however. 

When we vacated our wins from 2010, that does not effect the official records or the teams we played. Our opponents kept those wins and losses. 

Nicholas Jervey's picture

From a Michigan perspective, you are correct that it's technically 2-11. You're also right that 2-10-1 makes a better parallel. Could you go along with Michigan fans believing it's 2 wins, 10 losses and an asterisk?

Ceci n'est pas une signature.

MauricXe's picture

everyone usually remarks that his biggest reason for being fired was going 2-10-1.

i don't think that's true.

in his last year (2000) he was 2-10-1. (1999) he was 2-9-1. (1998) he was 2-8-1. (1997) he was 1-8-1.

he lost his first four games against TSUN...including a 31-3 rout in (1991). that was followed by a tie and another blowout loss. his first win came in (1994). he was hired in (1988).

if it was that important to the ohio state powers that be, he would have been canned well before 2000. losing to TTUN did weigh in on his performance evaluation but less so than his final years. He missed a bowl game in 1999, they lost to a very mediocre program in South Carolina 24-7, and iirc, there was some off the field issues. The team was trending downwards with no past national title appearances (much less wins) and no indication there would be any in the future with his most recent coaching record.

+1 HS
hit_the_couch's picture

Technically Coop' was 3-10-1 if you count that ASU Rose Bowl he coached.

And then I told her...i'm no weatherman, but tonight's forecast is calling for several inches!

Go Buckeyes14's picture

If Coop had won a national title but still had the same win loss record against michigan, would he be more revered within the Buckeye community?

Nutbuck1959's picture

It has been wonderful  to witness this latest stretch for the Buckeyes. When we were in the Coop era, I never popped off to a Michigan fan. i can't say the same is true for a lot of those that I know. They seem to get more obnoxious with each loss. They remind me of the people who post on Mgoblog after a loss!

740Bucks's picture

The coach's record against Michigan matters... A LOT!! It's how it is... and I hope how it always is... even if the AA dumpster fire rages for years and years (that we can thank JT for starting).

There are 2 games that stick out to me (and really hurt). First was the 93 game - OSU was 10-0 & lost 28-0. 1995 the icing on his cake - the Biakabutuka game... Eff that game!?!?!?

For Cooper - it wasn't just those turds up north. Lets not forget that it was Sparty that took down the best team Cooper had (and arguably the best OSU team ever) in '98. Cooper's teams were 3-8 in bowl games & even missed bowls in '88 & '99. 

Nice guy - glad he is still involved, but just didn't win the big games... but he did get that sweeeeet Rose Bowl win!!! 

"My idea of a good hit is when the guy wakes up on the sidelines with train whistles blowing in his head." - Jack Tatum

New alum's picture

Another parallel I see in periods of malaise for two schools: (1) Woody Hayes dies in spring of '87, OSU has a bad stretch of games that fall, and Bruce is fired before the end of the season. Bo Schembechler dies on the eve of The Game in '06, Mich opens '07 with embarrassing home losses to App State and Oregon, and Carr retires (perhaps in lieu of firing) at end of '07. (2) After being fired, Bruce leads underdog Buckeye team into Ann Arbor and beats Mich in his final game. Players carry him off the field. After announcing retirement, Carr leads Mich into Capitol One Bowl to play UFM's Gators, and comes out with an upset win in his final game. Players carry him off field. (3) The era of an outsider, John Cooper, begins in '88 with a losing record, including a 45-7 loss to a good Indiana team. The era of an outsider, Rich Rodriguez, begins in '08 with a losing record, including a loss against Toledo.

Of course, there the narrative changes. Cooper remained in Cols for 13years and did return the program to national prominence, even if that was slipping away again in '99 and '00. Rodriguez was gone from Ann Arbor after three years, with a losing record, no less.

Still, I see parallels. Bo and Woody were associated as heavily with their programs as any college football coaches I can think of. Still, their programs were running on fumes when their disciples were removed and replaced by outsiders with new ideas, and both programs struggled for awhile thereafter.

+1 HS
Hockey Buck's picture

Thank goodness the internet really did not exist during the Cooper years. Oh, and thank it for existing in its current incarnation. Go Bucks, keep pouring it on the wolverwienees.

airbuckeye's picture

It still pisses me off to this day with Cooper in the fact if he at won half those games 6 or 7 either way the all time lead would be either be tied or a 1game  lead for TTUN. But becasue of Cooper it put JT on a catch up mood just to get it back to where we at before Cooper was hire.

We are now back to being 13 games behind them and correct me if im but i even think at one point we were single diget numbers back before Cooper. I may be wrong on that though but for some reason that just popped in my head after typing what i had said before.

Im sure someone on here will know for sure about that damn i hate getting old because things like that i should remember easy and use to remember. So please feel free to correct me if i am wrong about being only single digets behind them before Cooper.

Because that would really change the the 45-58-6 mark we are at now with the 10 wins we had to make for the 10 lose's from Cooper.

-1 HS
osuisnumber1's picture

Somethings are cyclical, went to Osu from 80-83. I will never miss Cooper when it comes to any big game. I remember when we played the outback bowl in Tampa got our butts handed to us, players were late to the game. The atmosphere/attitude was not good for winning the big games including ttun.

-1 HS
PortlandBuckeye45's picture

As painful as it is to say this, But i want TTUN to be dominate again. I want "The Game" to turn back into 1 vs 2. Something to boost our strength of scheduel. Sure i want to keep winning. but i want to live in a era where we have a real war. Urban Meyer is a Ohio man! Hoke (although grew up in Ohio) Is a *ichigan guy! We need TTUN to start becoming a tough team again. That we will beat but have national Championship implications.