Wednesday, February 27, 2008
Ohio State Football All 1970's Squad
It is quite probable that in no other decade has Ohio State produced more talent than during the 1970's. The combined record of these ten teams reflects this, as they compiled an incredible 91-20-3 mark. But at the same time that Buckeye fans were enjoying nearly uninterrupted success, they were dealing with the frustration that comes with coming close to, yet never achieving, championships.
On new fewer than three occasions, Ohio State went to the Rose Bowl undefeated and untied and, with a win, would have won a national championship. Each time they lost, to Stanford, UCLA and USC. On one other occasion they made it to the Rose Bowl undefeated and pummeled USC, but an earlier tie with undefeated Michigan, in Ann Arbor, left them in the #2 spot.
The decade started with the senior season of the Super Sophs. After avenging a los to Michigan the previous year, they lost to thrice defeated Stanford in the Rose Bowl and lost a national title. Four years of Archie Griffin followed soon after, but in three of those years, despite defeating Michigan, they lost the Rose Bowl. The one year they did defeat the (then) Pac 8 team, they tied Michigan. A promising 1977 squad came up just short against the Sooners and Wolverines and then, inexplicably got pounded by Alabama in the Sugar Bowl. The 1979 squad, the first coached by Earle Bruce, started slowly but, by the end of the season, was rolling over opponents and found themselves ranked #1 in the nation in the AP poll before falling by a single point to Charles White and the USC Trojans.
The decade was a study in contrasts. For the first time since the 1930's, a decade would pass without an Ohio State national title. Perhaps the greatest decade of talent ever assembled, led by two-time Heisman winner Archie Griffin, failed to bring home a national title, despite being so close for so long. Finally, an aging Woody Hayes, whose teams were beginning to underperform - especially the immensely talented 1977 squad - lost his cool one last time and got himself fired for an embarrassing punch to the face of an opposing player. The resurgence of Buckeye football in the late sixties had yet been tinged with the tragic loss to Michigan in 1969, the last game of the decade. Perhaps that fateful game hung over the team in the coming decade.
Nevertheless, the All 70's Squad might be the best that Ohio State, or indeed any college, has ever offered.
QB Cornelius Greene - Probably the best scrambler in Ohio State history, he developed into a decent passer with more experience. Won the Big Ten Silver Football award the year Archie won his second Heisman.
FB Pete Johnson - Combined power with speed, his legs never seemed to stop chugging. Led the nation in scoring and, the year Archie won his second Heisman, ran for over 1,000 yards!
TB Archie Griffin - Any questions?
WR/WB Brian Baschnagel - A utility man, he ran the ball and caught the ball and, in the pro's, even played some DB. An underpraised but integral part of the middle 70's juggernauts.
WR Doug Donley - Woody's teams did not pass much, but when Schlichter arrived receivers started getting some attention. The best of them was Doug Donley.
TE Doug France - A first round draft pick, he went on to be a tackle in the NFL, in case there is any doubt as to what sort of TE Woody looked for. Not often used to catch passes.
OT John Hicks - Woody went so far as to say that John Hicks was the best lineman he ever had... better even than Jim Parker. In 1973, despite teammates Griffin and GRadishar finishing 5th and 6th in the Heisman voting, and despite playing offensive tackle, Hicks finished 2nd in the Heisman balloting! Case closed.
OT Chris Ward - Some would argue for Schumacher in the second spot. Both were imposing tackles; we'll give the edge to Mr. Ward.
OG Ted Smith - An All American and member of Woody's most beloved class, 1975.
OG Ken Fritz - Another All American offensive lineman from the 1970's. When multiple All American lineman don't make the All Decade team, you know it was a good decade for talent.
C Tom DeLeone - Another toss up with Steve Myers, from what we have seen, DeLeone might have had a small edge.
DE Bob Brudzinski - Some of Woody's assistants insisted that Robert was as good as Jim Houston. This All American sure lasted a long time in the pro's.
DE Van DeCree - All American and member of that 1973 defense. Was there ever a better one?
DT Pete Cusick - Injuries cut his pro career short, this All American was part of the immovable 1973 defense.
DT Aaron Brown - Another All American and sack specialist from the 1977 team.
LB Randy Gradishar - They just don't come any better. Finished 6th in the Heisman balloting in 1973, considered by many to be Ohio State's all time greatest linebacker. 7 time All Pro.
LB Tom Cousineau - #1 pick in the draft, he preferred to play in Canada at the start of his career. One of the best conditioned athletes ever and a tackling machine.
LB Rick Middleton - Patrolled on defense with Randy Gradishar, a first round draft pick and possible oversight for All American honors.
DB Tim Fox - A long career in the pro's awaited this All American Ohio State safety. Prominent member of the 1973 and 1975 teams.
DB Ray Griffin - Archie's brother and another All American. Some said he had more talent than #45.
DB Neal Colzie - Also a wonder on special teams, this CB intercepted passes when QB's dared throw in his direction.
DB Mike Guess - Overlooked for All American honors, he started four years and was named All Big Ten three times. Helped the 1979 squad to an undefeated regular season.