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Misc The MAC The MAC Archive 25 Reasons Why the Ohio Bobcats Are Ranked in the Top 25
Written by Jonathan Knight

Jonathan Knight

For most college football programs, simply being ranked in the Associated Press top 25 isn’t all that big of a deal. And coming in at 25th is either an insult or an embarrassment.

Not at Ohio University.

When this week’s poll was released with OU at No. 25, it instantly became one of the hallmark moments in the history of the school - just above the foundation of the Northwest Territory and just beneath the day Matt Lauer enrolled.

To put it in perspective, the last time - and only other time - OU was ranked in football, Scooby-Doo was still in the brainstorming stage. Richard Nixon was the president-elect, and Led Zeppelin made its first live performance.

That was 44 years ago, when the 1968 Bobcats roared to a 10-0 record and an appearance in the Tangerine Bowl (adjust it for inflation and you get the Chick Fil A Bowl). Much has changed in the interim, particularly the rationale for the AP voters.

So, to better understand why those incredibly intelligent guys voted OU into this elite club after such a long sabbatical, here are 25 reasons:


1.The spud factor.

History has proven that whichever team wins the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl one year goes on to profound success the next.


2.Buckeye State representation.

Even though Ohio State tattooed its way out of national-title contention, the NCAA clearly feels the state should still be represented in the discussion. 

Plus, how bananas is it going to make Buckeye Nation that, for the first time in a half-century, the Bobcats are going to play in a bowl and OSU won’t?


obama athens 23.Obama approves.

OU has reached such a high level of national prominence that President Obama swung by Athens on Wednesday to congratulate the Bobcats on cracking the AP poll. (There are those who will argue he came to Ohio for other reasons, but don’t believe them.)


4.Halloween justification.

By making the top 25 just before the university’s epic Halloween block party, OU can now pass it off as a massive football pep rally. (Albeit one with pissed-off horses in riot gear and roughly 250 drunken arrests.)


tyler tettleton5.Their quarterback’s DNA. 

Ohio quarterback Tyler Tettleton is the son of former major-league catcher Mickey Tettleton, a two-time all-star. Which makes them the Archie and Peyton Manning of college football.

Only not really.


kool aid man6.The Kool-Aid Man.

The battle cry for these Bobcats is the often-repeated refrain “OU! Oh, yeah!” The roots of this statement can be traced back to 1978, when the comical marketing character for the popular kids beverage first crashed through a wall and similarly announced his thirst-quenching arrival.


7.OU’s first win as a program came against a high school.

Fun fact: After losing the only game of its inaugural 1894 season to Marietta College (ouch), Ohio bounced back in a big way the following year, winning its first-ever football game against, believe it or not, Parkersburg High School. They followed that up with a thrilling triumph over the Chillicothe YMCA the following season.

Some would say this is unimpressive at best, competitively negligent at worst. But as the Big Ten has taught us over the past 10 years or so, you gotta fight the fights you can win.


frank solich8.Fearless Frankie Solich.

He’s 5-foot-8 and 68 years old, but he could still totally kick your ass.

A scrappy fullback from Cleveland’s Holy Name High School, Solich was a star at Nebraska and later became the Cornhuskers’ head coach. Despite a 58-19 record in six years, he was fired, and Nebraska’s program has never recovered.

Meantime, he comes to Athens and 45 minutes later, shazam! A viable football program.


9.The Marching 110.

It turns out marching bands don’t have to act like anal-retentive Nazis with trumpets - they’re allowed to actually have fun once in a while.

The Marching 110 not only plays music you hear on the radio - “Party Rock Anthem” and “Gangnam Style” as viral You Tube examples - but they’ll occasionally toss their instruments on the ground and bust a move in the middle of a song.

It’s the Steve Jobs of marching bands. And for most of the last 44 years, it was the only thing worth a damn about Ohio University football.


10.The Bobcats once won a game 89-3.

True, it was in 1916 against Wittenberg. But that’s still pretty hard core. And probably landed a couple of votes.


11.They have their first criminal.

Just hours before AP voters turned in their ballots on Sunday, an OU redshirt lineman was involved in an incident that got him arrested and charged with felonious assault.

And with that, the Bobcats were officially a top 25 team.


12.Sports Illustrated has got Bobcat Fever.

The latest issue of the iconic magazine included a five-page story on the resurgent Bobcats and how they’re shaping up to be the next Boise State. Again, it comes back to potatoes.


ohio penn state13.They won at Penn State.

Granted, that doesn’t carry the weight it did in, say, 2011, but to waltz into Happy Valley and beat the Nittany Lions by 10 points before 100,000 over-the-top-supportive fans in an church-tent-revival atmosphere in the program’s first game since the sudden death of its fallen patriarch is maniacally impressive.


14.Since the last time they were ranked, the Bobcats endured eight seasons in which they won one game or less.

You start 7-0 after going through that many dumpster fires and you deserve to be in the top 25 on general principle alone.


15.It’s good for college football.

Honestly, who wants to see Arizona State or Washington or South Florida or any other bloated afterthought from a big-britches conference at No. 25 yet again? As long you didn’t go to Notre Dame, you can clearly see this as the best story of the college football season thus far.


16.The Bobcats have won a national championship.

Sure, it was long before the BCS or the mini-skirt, and technically it was a “National College Division championship,” whatever that means, but the Bobcats ran the table in 1960 and only allowed 34 points along the way. Unlike USC’s 2004 title, it’s valid.


17.It makes USA Today look even sillier.

We’ll save the discussion for another day about whether it’s a good idea to have the only other legitimate college football poll orchestrated by a newspaper that’s written at a pre-kindergarten reading level and is 85% bankrupt, but the latest USA Today poll only has the Bobcats at No. 27. That’s just so three weeks ago.


18.This primes the AP voters’ pump for basketball season.

Remember last March? All five starters back from a Sweet Sixteen team that almost beat North Carolina.

We’re Ohio University and we approve this message.


19.Their offense is called “The Pistol.”

Which is way cooler than their previous offense, “The Lady Wesson.”


20.They’re finally about to break even.

Over the past 118 years, the Bobcats have played 1,093 football games. One more victory and they’ll have won exactly as many as they’ve lost. That may not sound like much, but for a program that’s been underwater since the hula hoop, it’s a big deal.


21.America is the midst of a big MAC attack.

In addition to OU beating Penn State, this season has seen Ball State beat Indiana and Central Michigan beat Iowa, along with a handful of other near MAC victories over major-conference teams.

The Mid-American Conference is on the rise, and he who takes it lightly does so at his peril.


22.They play in the Wrigley Field of college football.

peden stadiumWhile most of the old-time stadiums at bigger schools have been remodeled to better resemble the soulless temples of the NFL, OU’s Peden Stadium - designed and built in 1929 by the same architectural firm that constructed Fenway Park - still looks almost exactly the same.

Instead of undergoing a personality retraction, Peden still allows you to look out onto the Hocking River, the inviting hills of southeastern Ohio, and, unfortunately, quite a bit of State Route 682. It seats less than most high school fields in Texas, but is still a magnificent place to watch a game.


rufus bobcat23.This replaces Rufus the Bobcat coldcocking Brutus Buckeye as the program’s high point of the 21st century.

It's a close call, but yeah.


24.It’s on par with OU’s other national rankings.

Yes, it’s been more than four decades since the football team was ranked, but the school itself has been high atop many lists in the interim. “High” being the operative word there.

This year alone, The Princeton Review listed it as the No. 17 school at which students study the least, No. 7 for hard-liquor drinking, No. 6 for beer-drinking, and, of course, the No. 1 party school in the nation. To be sure, these last four characteristics helped ease the pain of the 44-year AP drought.


25.They’re genuinely the 25th-best team in the country.

Admittedly, it’s a difficult concept to accept, like finding out your pet schnauzer is running for Congress. But take a deep breath. It's a crazy new world out there where this kind of thing is possible.



So there you have it. If you’re still not convinced in the wisdom of the AP voters, there’s not much left to say. Except to quote the Kool-Aid Man:


Oh Yeah!


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