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November 19, 1998 - Image 13

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The Michigan Daily, 1998-11-19

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The Michigan Daily - Thursday, November 19, 1998 - 13A

"

Backing he

ur,,

Two opposing columnists square off in a battle of wits

Experience
wit/h rivahy
leaves mark
en I entered my cousin's kitchen
on Thanksgiving Day 1996, I knew
something was different. The
three-hour ride from Ann Arbor to suburban
Cleveland had frustrated me immensely, as I
feared a flurry of comments about Ohio
State's supposed superiority.
Yeah, that's how it is between my imme-
diate family and my cousin's family. We
wear blue with pride and trash the Bucks,
they wear red in shame and take pot-shots at
o scandalous athletic program.
ut upon passing through the threshold
of their home, surpris-
ingly, no venomous
comments came our
way.
In a dramatic
moment of understate-
ment, the only item on
their kitchen table was MARK
a simple, clear bowl,
filled with water and a SNYDER
er's head floating Mark My
* op. Words
A rose bowl.
Of course, being a Michigan student, I
ould never have dreamed Ohio State could
ctually go to the Rose Bowl, so the symbol-
sm of the gesture was initially lost on me.
But Shawn Springs bailed me out. Just a
ew days after Turkey Day, the Buckeyes'
1l-America cornerback did his best chicken
mitation, watching from the grass as Tai
ts blew past him into the endzone.
Vindication, in the form of Michigan's
3-9 victory over the previously undefeated
uckeyes, satisfied me for yet another sea-
on.
And so my cousins, one of whom gradu-
ted from The Ohio State University, and
thers who consider themselves true
hioans, maintain their team will triumph
ne of these years.
But now, with my four years coming to
d - we only spend four years in
X 01 at Michigan - the 1998 Michigan
eam is poised to become only the second
eam since the pre-Woody era to sweep the
ucks.
The problem with this annual clash is
at, although Michigan always comes away
rom Columbus with a victory, the state as a
hole ends up causing problems.
Four years ago, several Michigan Daily

Despite loss, beating Blue
would be sweet redemption

ichigan. If you're a Buckeye, the word
alone causes anxiety and apprehension,
hatred and loathing.
The numbers - coach John Cooper's record
against the Wolverines -
cause embarrassment, with-
every one of the eight losses
a bitter reminder of opportu-
nities lost and humiliations:
suffered.
a1998.
The year Ohio State was
x { supposed to win it all, a CHRIS

wire-to-wire dream team.
Loaded with talent and filled
with expectations, the
Buckeyes looked unbeatable.

Ir E T
Ohio State
Lantern

a-half point spread in the Bucks' favor only puts a
jinx on them.
The Bucks are, more or less, in a must-win situ-
ation this year. While it won't be for a bid in the
national championship game, it will be for
arguably more important things.
Pride.
Redemption.
Sanity.
It may mean Cooper's job.
It probably will mean the Rose Bowl.
But most of all, it will be for the fans.
The alumni and students who have sat through
loss after disappointing loss deserve this one.
The Bucks aren't playing for a trip to the Fiesta
Bowl, and a win doesn't even assure them of a
Rose Bowl. They're not playing for those little
golden pants, or even for bragging rights.
They want a win to chase away the Michigan
demon that follows the program; they're playing to
shake the title of choke artists.
Getting back into the national championship is a
near-impossibility - too many things need to hap-
pen. Yet a lot of Ohio State fans really don't seem
to care much about that this week.
All they want is one victory against the hated-
but-grudgingly-respected Wolverines.
A record of 2-8-I really won't look so bad.
- Chris Tribbey is a junior journalism major
and editor for the Lantern, who plans a looting
spree if Tai Streets breaks loose for another
touchdown on Saturdav.

Being No. 1 from start to finish didn't look so
improbable.
Then they were blindsided by Michigan State.
Now it's the last game of the season again, Ohio
State vs. Michigan, Scarlet and Gray vs. Maize
and Blue.
Forget Army vs. Navy. Southern Cal vs. UCLA
pales in comparison. Yale vs. Harvard isn't real
football and Stanford vs. Cal is a joke.
This is real rivalry, where fans have no-holds-
barred hatred toward each other, where a sellout is
a given and you can pay for next month's rent, bills
and groceries by scalping your ticket. There
shouldn't even be a line on this game and a 10-and-

MARGARET MYERS/Daily
careers undefeat-

Clarence Williams and the rest of the Michigan seniors could end their college
ed against Ohio State with a win on Saturday.

reporters were pulled over in their car -
with Michigan plates - and given citations.
Two years ago, the Daily reporters returned
from the game, violently ill after food poi-
soning struck at a Columbus meal.
But neither my family feud, the sur-
rounding media's antagonistic tendencies nor
the local dining establishments' vendettas
against Michiganders will determine the out-
come of the game.
This one's about the players.
This season, just as in past years, it
appears that Ohio State may have an edge in
talent. Lloyd Carr called this Ohio State
team the best group of Buckeyes since he
came to Michigan in 1980.
Michigan offensive lineman and captain
Jon Jansen said Ohio State is "the best team
in college football" and Sedrick Irvin said,
well, you already know what Irvin said.
The talkative Michigan State tailback
announced the Spartans were going to shock
the world by beating the Buckeyes. He accu-
rately predicted the inevitable Buckeye col-

lapse, just a few weeks too early.
So now, three months after John Cooper
announced Ohio State's goal of Fiesta Bowl-
or-Bust, the Buckeyes are facing the bust.
The best-case scenario of a Buckeye win
combined with a Wisconsin loss sends them
to Pasadena. But for Cooper, it doesn't seem
that anything less than a national title is
good enough.
Michigan's traditional role of spoiler
shifted slightly last year as the Wolverines
- without the benefit of paying their dues
- won the elusive national championship.
Cooper's paranoia is a bit ridiculous. By
postponing Senior Tackle, a late-season tra-
dition in Columbus since 1931, he's sending
the message that he's scared of the past (1-8-
1 against Michigan) repeating itself. He bet-
ter hope it doesn't scare his players and fans.
He already lost one.
My cousin's son enrolled at Eastern
Michigan in September.
- Mark Snyder can he reached via
e-mail at msnyder@urnich.edu

WARREN ZINN/Daily
Tal Streets has broken loose - and broken Ohio State hearts - before. This Saturday he can try to
make his own personal record 4-0 against the Buckeyes.

Clash with Titans could be
nightmare for men's basketball

4)
I . _

By Andy Latack
Daily Sports Writer
Michigan men's basketball coach
Brian Ellerbe is having a recurring night-
mare. It is one that has haunted him
throughout both of the Wolverines' loss-
es to open the season.
Everything starts out normal enough.
All pregame indications suggest that
nothing is out of the ordinary.
Even a glance at the lineup card does
not hint at the terrible fate that is about to
befall the Wolverines. The opponents'
starting five looks standard, with two
guards, two forwards and a center.
But shortly after the ball is tipped -
and this is where it gets scary -
Michigan's foes start to play a nasty
trick. ! They peel off "Mission
Impossible"-style masks, revealing
themselves to be ... a team made entire-
ly of guards.
Gulp.
Such a lineup has given the
Wolverines (0-2 overall) fits this season;
they have lost twice to teams with short,
quick lineups that favor finesse rather
than brawn in the post.
Florida International and Ball State,
each of whom have handed Michigan
defeats in the young season, didn't have
a player over 6-foot-9. But they had
quickness in the paint, something
Michigan has had difficulty defending.

And things might not be getting any
better for the Wolverines.
Michigan hosts Detroit Mercy (1-0)
tonight, a team that relies on - you
guessed it - speed and quickness.
This combination proved problematic
in Monday's loss to Ball State, which
saw the Cardinals' tiny guards pose
matchup problems for larger Wolverines.
Ellerbe said he expects to see a similar
game plan from Detroit.
"They've got really good guards who
are small and quick," Ellerbe said.
Yet there is one major difference
between the Cardinals and the Titans.
While Ball State entered the season lack-
ing a proven scorer, Detroii Mercy has a
few of them.
And with the Titans returning four key
players on a team that went 25-6 and
made it to the second round of the
NCAA Tournament, Michigan will have
its hands full with last year's Midwest
Collegiate Conference co-champs.
Pacing the Titans' offensive attack is
guard Rashad Phillips, who was last sea-
son's Midwest Collegiate Conference
newcomer of the year. Phillips scored 26
points in Detroit's season opener, an 84-
50 win over Bethune-Cookman on
Tuesday.
And the Titans' guards-disguised-as-
post players - 6-4 Jermaine Jackson

and 6-5 Bacari Alexander- will present
a challenge for Michigan big men Josh
Asselin, Peter Vignier and Chris Young.
"Their post guys are in the 6-5, 6-6
range," Ellerbe said. "They'll be tough
matchups for Josh, Pete and Chris.
They're more like small forwards than
they are post guys."
Ellerbe intends to adjust his attack
when former Michigan assistant Perry
Watson brings his team to Ann Arbor,
but he isn't giving away any secrets.
"We're going to change a few things
and give ourselves a chance to be suc-
cessful," he said.
Care to elaborate on that, coach?
"I'll let Perry figure that out when he
gets here," Ellerbe said.
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Iowa

WARREN ZINN/Daily
eter Vignier and the rest of Michigan's post players will have to counter Detroit
lrcy's quick guard play tonight. The Titans basically have a four-guard lineup,
arting just one player taller than 6-foot-5.
Name Game
Detroit's speedy guards might have the Wolverines' heads spin-
"ng. As if that weren't enough, there are two Titans whose names
Fight cause an identity crisis. Jermaino Jackson, who, as far as we
know, has no relation to Janet, Tito, Latoya, or even the King of Pop
himself, scored 14 points in Detroit's first game.
The other Titan who might have the Wolverines doing double takes
when they look at the roster is 6-6 sophomore Michael Jordan, from
Livonia. So far, "His Airness" is 6-for-2 from the floor with one

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