#TheTop25 #’s 2-5 which cover Brian Bosworth, Tommie Frazier, Ohio State vs Michigan, and EA Sports NCAA Football video game series. These are the people, moments, and things that made me love college football.
As a Miami Hurricanes fan, most would find this strange but I think #Canes players and fans have a respect for The Boz. If anyone should have been a Miami guy that wasn’t, Boz is #1, Deion “Prime Time” Sanders is #2. The Boz may have flopped for the Seahawks in the NFL but he was a star at Oklahoma. The SI cover story, the hair, the 20 tackles when it mattered the most… Brian and The Boz were always up for big games. As a matter of fact, in a rematch game in 1986, The Boz had 22 tackles against Miami in a 28-16 loss.
You can watch The U and Brian and The Boz from ESPN’s 30for30 series for even more insight on Boz vs #Canes. Being a fan of the ‘Canes you wanted the mouthy controversial stars. You loved them. It made liking pro wrestling easy too- who doesn’t like Stone Cold? He’s basically The Boz and I wanted to be both!
Tell me I didn’t want to be The Boz back in the 80’s
After a stunning college career that included a national title and an SI cover, Brian lasted only three years in the NFL. He started 24 games and like that he was gone. Shoulder injuries (steroids?) shut him down. He wasn’t fast enough, wasn’t explosive enough for the league.
The EA Sports NCAA Football Video Games
I’ve already talked about this a bit for StateoftheU.com here. The article is called “How EA’s NCAA Football grew my love affair with the #Canes and college football.” And had a Coachspeak ep about the games too (click here).
I started with Bill Walsh College Football and left off with the last iteration of the game EA’s NCAA Football 2014 which I still play. Back in the days of Bill Walsh you just played a playoff style tournament, then in BW 95 you played a regular season and a bowl title game. By College Football USA 96 rosters, the amount of teams, and the process of the game expanded. Soon you would have a Heisman Trophy and eventually every award, All-American lists, a coaching carousel, many different recruiting structures, a spring game, etc.
The game wasn’t just about playing a football game- it was how you got knowledge and obsession. Before Football Coach Twitter the way you learned was through EA Sports. I knew formations, plays, assignments, and coverages from a video game. I knew history, tradition, Heisman moments that way too because I didn’t have YouTube to lean on back in 1994.
It was a way to play out your rivalries too. If you had a Gator or Nole friend- fire up NCAA and let Ken Dorsey and Ed Reed do their thing. Bored in the coaches office? Play some NCAA football. I passed a lot of bored time in my dorm at 1am playing NCAA as UCF and building them up from losers to national champs. Those dynasty seasons got me imbedded in the process and I knew every team and every star player around the country.
Between Tecmo Super Bowl and NCAA- I definitely have played both far too much.
“Touchdown” Tommie Frazier
I should hate Touchdown Tommie. He’s a Florida guy that went to Nebraska and beat Miami. However, Tommie was the Quarterback I wanted to be when I was a kid. I wanted to be Touchdown Tommie. I wanted to be 45-4 overall and 33-3 as a starter with two national titles. I wanted to be a Heisman runner-up (snubbed in 1995 for Eddie George!). I wanted to score 79 touchdowns.
Tommie overcame adversity physically by battling blood clots in his legs. A guy that left high school with a 4.50 in the 40 and put up only ok numbers at the NFL Combine because of pneumonia and more blood clots. Tommie could do things no one else could, but he couldn’t overcome fate. He had a one year pro career in the CFL then turned to coaching and announcing.
Had Frazier sat the entire 1995 Orange Bowl, Miami would’ve won its 5th title in 12 years and given Dennis Erickson his 3rd at the helm. But Frazier came back in and led the team. Brooks Bollinger had to be the starting QB during the regular season because of Frazier’s blood clots but he got Nebraska off to a 10 point deficit at the end of the first.
“A couple of third-down plays we talked about, I just said I want the ball in Tommie’s hands,” Osborne said. “He’s a great runner and he’s a good thrower. With him, you don’t have to rely on structure, where you look at this receiver or that receiver. He’s gonna do something. He’ll make a play.”
By 1995, Tommie had his health under better control and in the 1996 Fiesta Bowl Frazier went off on the Gators. Tommie finished the game with 199 rushing yards and 105 passing yards including 2 total TD’s and the MVP award. Tommie has to be on the greatest college football players of all time lists. He has to be.
“How many tackles can one man break?!”
He finished up at Nebraska with 4000+ passing yards and 2200+ rushing yards, and played for three national titles over the four years. Watch a highlight reel below:
This game has been known for its coaching rivalries: Bo Schembechler vs Woody Hayes, John Cooper and Jim Tressel vs Lloyd Carr, and now Urban Meyer vs Jim Harbaugh. Carr got Cooper fired and then Tressel pushed out Carr by going 9-1 against the Wolves. Hayes had a .589 win % while Bo had a .548. Cooper finished 2-10-1 and Carr finished 6-7 losing most of those to Tressel. Right now… Meyer is 4-0 while Harbaugh is 0-2. Winning or losing OSU vs UM is keeping your paycheck or not. Rich Rod and Hoke combined to a 1-6 record… both were fired.
Then there’s the helmets. The Wolves iconic winged helmets which have had on again off again helmet stickers (Harbaugh brought them back).
Picture those against a really plain when you’re a freshman but more and more decorated as time goes on OSU helmet. The thick red stripe on the gray helmet with the buckeye stickers is iconic.
How about the players and big games? Orlando Pace, Charles Woodson, Tim Biakabatuka, Eddie George, David Boston, Chris Spielman, Andy Katzenmoyer, Desmond Howard, Jarrett Irons, and even Maurice Clarett. In a game that’s been played since 1897 anything can happen and has on the road to the Rose Bowl.
2006 1 vs 2:
Tim Biakabatuka ran for 300 yards in an upset over the Buckeyes in 1995:
Desmond Howard’s punt return in 1991:
Charles Woodson’s Heisman return in 1997:
The all around crazy 2016 game: