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This Saturday, Ohio State and Michigan will play for the 107th time. Since Michigan won the first meeting 34-0 in 1897, Ohio State fans have had a disdain for “That Team Up North,” and often times, its fans.Ohio State fans can be obnoxious sometimes, as evidenced by the raucous behavior in the HBO documentary “Michigan vs. Ohio State: The Rivalry.”
That’s a familiar sound to Matt Stout, a downtown Columbus attorney and proud Michigan fan. Maybe the PROUDEST Michigan fan. His office is floor-to-ceiling maize and blue.
“This is probably the prize possession right here – it’s a three-foot tall Bo Schembechler bobble head doll. It’s probably my favorite thing in the entire office. And every now and then I’ll cue up the tape where he talks about the team…”
Ohio State fans will of course point out that Schembechler learned to give his famous speeches from the great Woody Hayes, his mentor at both Miami University and Ohio State.”
Hayes would surely be disappointed in Stout. Even though he grew up in Upper Arlington, he went north to U.M., where he starred as a wrestler and where he now does press box announcements at Michigan Stadium. Stout doesn’t hate Ohio State…he just gets a little tired of the school and its fans, who he says often go too far.
“The hatred for Michigan is much, much stronger than it is for Ohio State. And one of the reasons is that Michigan has a natural rival in Michigan State,” Stout says.
Just a few miles north of Stout’s downtown office, Andy Chapekis takes a little lighter approach.
“I always remind them that you’re going to burn couches whether you win or lose.”
That’s of course a play on the riots surrounding some OSU football games in recent years. Chapekis is a Detroit native and Michigan alum now working as a cardiologist at Riverside Hospital. His office isn’t quite as decked out as Stout, but he does have several doctored photos of Maurice Clarett, the former Ohio State running back who led the team to the 2002 national championship but later served time in prison.
“And I keep reminding them that Maurice helped them win the national championship, and you can’t have both: you can’t say he’s a bad guy and you don’t want him in the program and then celebrate the national championship. So if you don’t want to have Maurice then you have to give the national championship back.”
A thought that makes Ohio State fans shudder.
Like Stout, Chapekis will be in Ohio Stadium for the game on Saturday, just as he’s been for the last 20 years. Also like Stout, Chapekis says he’s ready for some insults and a tough time from OSU fans. But he calls it all part of the joy of being a college football fan.