- Ivan Maisel, College Football Senior Writer
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ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- Someone asked former Michigan coach Bo Schembechler on Monday morning about the Dead Schembechlers, a Columbus, Ohio, punk band that won't be on "Dancing with the Stars" anytime soon.
"I don't know what their thinking is," Schembechler said. "It's all right. Well, the one guy said, 'He almost joined us a couple of weeks ago,' which was true."
He walked into the news conference that kicked off Michigan-Ohio State week on Monday morning at a slow pace, but the fact that Schembecher walked in at all is a blessing. On Oct. 20, Schembechler, 77, suffered a cardiac episode that resulted in the implantation of a defibrillator/pacemaker in his chest.
He might have lost a step, but Schembechler hasn't lost his growl, his fierce belief in the maize and blue or the twinkling fire in his blue eyes.
On Woody Hayes, his college coach, his boss at Ohio State and his opponent in the 10-Year War (1969-78, when Michigan won five, Ohio State four, and they tied one): "He was the most irascible man that ever lived and the worst guy in the world to work for. But I wouldn't change that experience for anything in the world."
On the nature of the rivalry: "Up until late in my career, there were never games that were high-scoring. The defenses always dominated in this game. But the last few years that I [coached], there were five or six touchdowns scored. So that changed. I think it's more difficult to hold teams to low scores nowadays then when I coached."
On 1973, the last time these teams met undefeated. No. 4 Michigan tied No. 1 Ohio State, 10-10, but the following day, the Big Ten athletic directors voted to send the Buckeyes to Pasadena. The Wolverines, as did all Big Ten runners-up then, stayed home.
"They literally screwed us out of the Rose Bowl -- and I mean it just exactly the way I said it," Schembechler said.
The following year, the Big Ten voted to allow its non-champions to go to bowl games.
On how long it took him to get over it, which he called "his greatest disappointment": "You know the thing finally fades away. If anything, there was some good that came out of it. The No. 1 thing it did was take the athletic directors out of there and all their political b-------."
On Wolverines head coach Lloyd Carr, whom Schembechler hired as an assistant in 1980 and who hasn't left since, and who has lost four of five to Ohio State coach Jim Tressel: "I don't give a damn about Tressel, or Lloyd having to beat this guy or that guy. That's hogwash. Go back through the history of the Michigan-Ohio State series. There have always been [streaks] where somebody would win two or three. That's just the way it is. I think we should go back and look at Lloyd's record. I don't care whether he beats Tressel or not. He's done a marvelous job. Here we are 11-0. Our team from this year to last year is night and day."
On the possibility of a BCS Championship Game rematch: "I swear to you, I don't even think of that. I don't think of that as a possibility at all. They're not going to do that. Of course it [would not be] fair. Once you beat a team, it's over I would not be in favor of that under any circumstances."
As he left the room, Schembechler stopped and spoke to free safety Willis Barringer, who followed him at the podium.
"You better be practicing hard," said Schembechler, which is Bo-speak for, "Hello, son. How are you?"
"We practice hard every day," Barringer said.
"Every day," Schembechler repeated proudly, patting Barringer's midsection.
Ivan Maisel is a senior writer for ESPN.com. Send your questions and comments to Ivan at email@example.com.
Bo Schembechler hasn't lost his growl, his appreciation for the Michigan-Ohio State rivalry or his fierce belief in the maize and blue, writes Ivan Maisel.