Buckeyes

Know Your Opponent: Bowling Green Falcons

TOLDEO BLADE/ANDY MORRISON

Welcome back to Know Your Opponent! Each week during the season we shed some light on the Buckeyes’ opponent, examining their record, traditions, mascot, famous alumni and anything else we think is worth making fun of. This week — the Bowling Green Falcons! I know you all are as excited as I am for another Buckeyes football season, especially for the traditional opening game against a small Ohio school.

There’s nothing more amusing than texting my alumni friends of this school to talk shit about the game, and discovering they aren’t even aware of it. Must be nice to have picked a college just for an education. You’re not better than me.

Here’s the Falcons’ hype video from 2013, which is the last one they’ve released:

FBS Stats: 93/128, per CBS Sports

Points per Game: N/A

Points Allowed per Game: N/A

Yards per Game: N/A

Yards Allowed per Game: N/A

No stats yet, folks. Makes my research, already sub-standard, much easier. Every single national sports outfit has their own rankings, so I went with CBS’s because we need to start somewhere. The Falcons come in at 93 of the 128 FBS teams, which is not too shabby. Granted, no one pays attention to anything out of the top 25, but it’s nice to be able to say you’re one of the top 100 football programs in the country. I guess.

Mascot: Freddie and Frieda Falcon

BGSU is one of the only schools with a male and female pair as mascots. I did not research what other schools may have a gendered-pair mascot team; Wikipedia didn’t say so you’re on your own there. The peregrine falcon was chosen as a mascot by the sports editor of the local newspaper in 1927. He read about falcons and arbitrarily assigned the name to the school’s sports teams because falcons are strong and well-trained, just like BGSU’s athletes were at the time. This is no longer the case, but the name is here to stay.

I continue to be surprised how many college team names and mascots are picked arbitrarily. I know it’s because of the age of the college system in this country, that in our perspective all these schools have been around forever so their names seem like storied traditions built upon a deliberate choice, but that’s often not the case. It’s nice to know people just made shit up back in the day as much as we do now. In this way, Donald Trump is an inherently American phenomenon, an heir to the random sportswriters of yesteryear, throwing shit against the wall and seeing what sticks. As a nation, we’ve been winging it for centuries. It’s what we do best.

In the BGSU mythos, Freddie and Frieda are brother and sister. The students portraying the siblings are kept a secret until a “beheading ceremony” at the end of the basketball and hockey seasons, which sounds very grim. I imagine they use a giant, fiberglass and rubber guillotine that sends the falcon head flying across the court in spray of corn-syrup-and-red-food-coloring blood, as the student slithers from the bird carcass like a chest-burster in Alien. Like the phoenix, the giant falcon must die to birth the student, signifying the changing of the seasons and humanity’s continued frail existence on the earth, and our reliance upon the sacrifice of our elders to perpetuate the human race. The rictus grin of the falcon head, frozen in shape for eternity in the manufacturing process, alludes to the death’s head symbol made famous as a warning to the uninfected during the Black Death, highlighting in painful detail the ultimate frivolity of BGSU’s mission to mold children into contributing citizens, as college is just a waypoint on the road to inevitable oblivion. Or, maybe it’s just harmless fun to see if one of your friends was secretly the school mascot all year.

Other Freddie and Frieda trademarks are throwing bubblegum into the crowd and wearing orange Chuck Taylors. The Chucks have been replaced by large, cartoonishly exaggerated tennis shoes with the BGSU logo on them. Essentially, the Steph Currys with an orange and black circle on the side. Bubblegum is a nice, safe change of pace from the unopened cans of Keystone Light traditionally thrown by NW Ohioans at outsiders and minorities.

2016 Record: 0-0, Mid-American Conference

Again, first game of the season, nothing to report, so here’s a quick look at Bowling Green’s nightlife. I am very excited to visit Bowling Green on my next trip to Ohio.

 

Coach: Kenan Thompson SNL character, Mike Jinks

Rookie head coach alert! This season marks Jinks’ first year as a collegiate head coach. He previously served as the running backs coach/associate head coach of Texas Tech, his first college coaching job. He coached high school in Texas from 1998 to 2012, ending as the head coach of Steele High in Cibolo, where he finished with a record of 76-18. He’s the Mike Pettine of Texas. Jinks is a Texan through and through, playing high school football and college there as a quarterback. It’s a fair assumption he wears a giant belt buckle and carries a Colt Peacemaker. Jinks replaced Dino Babers, who left BGSU to coach Syracuse. Though unplanned, this switch is a definite win for the school, replacing a coach with 32 years of college experience with one with three years. I could not find anything controversial in Jinks’ past, most likely due to his short college coaching career. He’ll get there soon enough, they all do.

It’s got to be a stressful situation to have your first game as head coach be against Ohio State in Columbus. Here’s the obligatory mention that Urban Meyer received his first head coaching job at Bowling Green, jumpstarting the career that eventually led him to Ohio State, one OSU national championship, and perpetual contender status. For this reason alone, I’ve got a soft spot in my heart for BG. Everything is like, connected, man.

Silly Traditions

Bowling Green has hosted the annual American Legion Buckeye Boys State since 1978. High school juniors from across the state attend the nine-day event every June where they establish and run a “fully functioning” government modeled on Ohio’s state government. Full disclosure, I am a Buckeye Boys State alumni. I credit BBS for much of my aversion to state-level government everywhere. I was given a mid-level job pretending to run the state licensing office, where other boys pretending to run businesses had to come to get permits. I spent most of my time trying to find absurd pictures online so the office door placards got a laugh, and the rest of the time fleecing the applicants for bribes. No actual money changed hands, but if an applicant happened to bring in some fresh-baked cookies his mother sent him, well, let’s just say his application was approved more efficiently.

My clearest memory of the event, besides my efforts to avoid any real work, was of the floor resident advisor. We stayed in BGSU dorms and each floor had an adult advisor, a program alum. Our advisor was very motivated. He had a picture of his wedding party in his wallet, which he showed us as he explained he had met his best man and every groomsman through BBS. He cried. I found this insane then, and still do. I’ve got plenty of friends I remain in touch with from short events, be they summer camp, two weeks of Army training, whatever. However, this is during the social media age; it’s very easy to find someone on Facebook and then stay friends forever. This guy made his BFFs from a nine-day fake government experiment run by a proto-fascist group, in 1992. I shudder when imagining what his home life was like as a teenager if he made all his friends at faux-government summer camp. Fun fact: Cleveland native and TNA wrestling superstar Ethan Carter III, or EC3, is also a Buckeye Boys State alum.

Famous Alumni:

BGSU has produced a shitload of professional hockey players, of which I’ll only name Ken Morrow from the 1980 “Miracle on Ice” U.S. Olympic hockey team, and Brian MacLellan, the current GM of the Washington Capitals. Former Cavaliers and Indians owner Nick Mileti is an alum of both BGSU and OSU. Retired MLB pitcher Orel Hershiser attended Bowling Green, and played for the Indians during both World Series runs in 1995 and 1997. NBA hall-of-famer and one of the “50 Greatest Players in NBA History,” the late Nate Thurmond, called BG his alma mater. He played most of his career with the Warriors, but he was traded to the Cavs in 1975 and replaced Jim Chones on the “Miracle at Richfield” team that lost to the Celtics in the 1976 Eastern Conference Finals. An Akron native, he passed on a scholarship to Ohio State to avoid being a backup to a high school rival. Scott Hamilton, Olympic gold medalist figure skater and prototypical American male figure skater/midget, grew up in Bowling Green and is a graduate of the school.

Emmy award winner Tim Conway of McHale’s Navy and The Carol Burnett Show fame is a graduate. Born in Willoughby and raised in Chagrin Falls, Conway was a regular Ghoulardi guest during the show’s early years and frequently guest starred on Big Chuck and Lil’ John even after he achieved national stardom. He also did the Dorf comedy films, which I vaguely remember as my dad used to watch the golf one, because old men like to watch other old men make jokes about old men sports.

Ric Ocasek of the band The Cars attended Bowling Green briefly in the 1960s, before dropping out to pursue his musical career. Originally from Baltimore, Ocasek is a graduate of Maple Heights High School. Cleveland native James Pickens Jr. graduated from BGSU in 1976. Pickens played Medgar Evers in Ghosts of Mississippi, was in Dead Presidents, Nixon, Sleepers, Menace II Society, The Practice, The X-Files, JAG, NYPD Blue, Six Feet Under, and Curb Your Enthusiasm, among many other TV series and movies, but he’s best known for portraying Dr. Richard Webber on Grey’s Anatomy. I’m not a Grey’s Anatomy fan by any means, but many people (old ladies at the grocery) tell me I look like show actor Kevin McKidd, so I feel a special connection to Pickens.

Last, but certainly not least, is one-time Bay Village resident, Mr. T-1000 himself, Robert Patrick. Though he dropped out of BG before graduating, I could not pass up including one of the most iconic actors of his generation. Besides playing the villain in Terminator II, one of the greatest action/sci-fi/any genre movies of all time, there’s the Cleveland connection. Every time the movie came on TV, or we watched our VHS copy, my old man was sure to remark how Patrick grew up in Cleveland. Always a homer, this instilled in me a lifelong Robert Patrick fandom. I was fascinated that this badass robot chasing down Arnold and killing Sarah Connors was from Cleveland, just like me. If he could do great things in his chosen field of terminating, why couldn’t I? Also, I don’t care what anyone says, Agent Doggett > Fox Mulder.

Falcons currently in the NFL (6 total):

  • Jude Adjei-Barimah, CB, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
  • Zach Colvin, DT, Los Angeles Rams
  • Chris Jones, DT, Miami Dolphins
  • Roger Lewis, WR, New York Giants
  • Kory Lichtensteiger, C, Washington Redskins
  • Gabe Martin, LB, Arizona Cardinals

Usually I recognize at least one NFL player from each Buckeyes opponent, but I am not familiar with any of these gentlemen. Colvin, Lewis and Martin are rookies. Jones is in his fourth year, having played for the Patriots the last two. He is from Columbus, so that’s cool. Adjei-Barimah played last season, but nothing special. Lichtensteiger doesn’t have any stats showing up on ESPN, but I do know he’s in his eighth year in the NFL and is from Van Wert, OH. I’ve never hear of Van Wert before this. It’s in western Ohio, just across the border from Fort Wayne, Indiana. I bet there’s a lot of Colts fans there. I inherently don’t like it. Van Wert sounds like it belongs in Pennsylvania Dutch country, where the Amish Mafia gained a foothold from unpasteurized cheese distribution, the illegality of which makes it an extremely lucrative trade. We have learned nothing from Prohibition. It’ll take a loose cannon U.S. Marshall with ties to the community, who was so eager to leave behind his humble roots, who is sent back to his hometown by the pissant bureaucrats at headquarters to avoid embarrassment from his constantly bending the rules, to finally clean up Van Wert.

Noteworthy Players:

None. I’ll be honest – I did find an article listing 10 Falcons to watch for in 2016, but it’s a MAC school – who the hell reading this is going to recognize any of them? There’s really no point. Instead, why don’t you learn about Bowling Green resident life!

Prediction:

This will be our first chance to see if the Buckeyes have reloaded, not rebuilt, after their historic draft class from last season. I don’t exactly know what “reloading, not rebuilding” means, but it’s motivating, if nonsensical. This is par for the course for football platitudes. “Play like a Brown,” comes to mind here. Hopefully Huey Jackson kept that gem from Mike Pettine’s ignominious run. Anyway, I predict the Buckeyes take it 43-7. The Falcons only pick up a touchdown in garbage time after Meyer takes out the starting defense halfway through the fourth quarter, but I can also see the Buckeyes shutting the Falcons out. Or they give us a run for our money, and it’s a close game. How the fuck should I know? I can’t see the future.

That’s it for this week, Buckeyes fans! Come back next week when the Buckeyes take on Tusla, the first of seven Oklahoma teams we play this season. Please leave any suggestions for what you want to see from future iterations of KYO in the comments, along with the inevitable threats and insults. Stay safe, have a good time, and go Buckeyes!