It was a game Bo woulda loved. Protegée Jimmy -fielding his best-looking team since he got here – decided to attack the Huskies’ supposedly tough D by running it down their throats. It worked. 343 rushing yards, plus 9 minutes plus time of possession. Thunder Hassan Haskins carried 27 times for 155 yards and a touchdown while lighting Blake Corum needed only 21 carries to net more yards (171) and TDs (3, including a 57 yards speed beauty). Washington never really had a chance. They threw it around some, but didn’t see the end zone till halfway through the 4th quarter.
Different teams, different coaches, different times, but it was 20 Januaries ago against Washington that Bo’s boys won his first Rose Bowl after 20 years of trying. It merited a short video on the big scoreboards, with some glimpses of Bo smilin’ and being carried off by his players. He’d win one more, beating USC in his next to last season.
But that was all we’d see of Bo on those boards. I sensed he was missing after the opener, but decided to pay attention to see if it’s really true. Bo has been in the news way too much for the liking of the Athletic Department and University as he somehow was supposed to have reined in the behaviour of his team physician whose thorough application of certain aspects of what was the standard physical exam for physicians of his generation. Unlike Fielding Yost, the University Historical Committee hasn’t even finished weighing in on Bo’s sins. His statue is still up and his name is still on the football building, as those actions require assent of the Regents and the President. But you don’t need them to wash him clean from the scoreboard at football games.
A hype video featuring UofM grad James Earl Jones’ narration always runs right after the band finishes its pregame show. Here’s the 2017 version https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UqoJmSF235E. Pretty stirring stuff, especially for any Michigan grad. Bo makes several appearrances in this video. You see his statue early on, then toward the end several glimpses of him in action, including his gruff remarks “it’s gonna be Michigan again, Michigan!” None of those glimpses are there in this year’s version.
Another stirring staple of the video boards in the second half featured shots of Michigan athletes from many sports doing their thing while Bo’s legendary speech about “The team, the team, the team” played. That speech is stirring in any setting, but here it sure rose good feelings about those athletes in the “non-revenue” sports. I’ve been unable to find that particular video, but here’s one of the speech https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qjv2iDxiGBI
But I guess whoever choses content for those multi-million dollar scoreboards has decided no Bo for us.
I remember reading about the “memory hole” in 1984 back in high school. Items – events, people, memories – at odds with Big Brother were stuffed down it, never to be considered again. I’m hoping that my U’s memory hole is less like Big Brother’s and more like the Bentley Library, where uncomfortable memories – like the Fab Five’s final four banners – are stored away but still accessible should the time come that it’s o.k. to enjoy them again. In that way, Bo’s fate may end up being like the coach who recommended him to Don Canham, Joe Paterno. When things were white hot about the Jerry Sandusky scandal, Joe evaporated from everything at Penn State except for the library he paid for. Now that things have cooled down and Sandusky’s safely in jail, Joe Pa’s statue is back up and it’s o.k. to talk about him in Happy Valley. Bo might not even reach the statue tearing down stage. His report is not finished and when it is it will go up for public comment. Opposition to the historical committee’s recommendation that Fielding Yost’s name be stripped from the field house he built was so strong that that action’s been shelved. There’s a whole lot more people around who love Bo, and I’m sure we won’t be quiet. Damned shame he has to go through any of this, but I’m optimistic for a favorable outcome.