Blog Entry

Mailbag 8/14

Posted on: August 14, 2010 6:33 pm
Edited on: August 14, 2010 6:41 pm

This is an amazing story from Bill who grew up in Columbus, Ohio as Woody Hayes' paper boy. It is apropos of my Monday story on future Big Ten divisional alignment.

From: Bill

Dennis, I like your thinking on this. This has been one of my big worries about a Big Ten Championship Game. I have always worried it will make the OSU-Michigan game lose its luster. I know Michigan is down but they will come back in time. This seems to be a great way to make sure it doesn't. I also wanted to share a story about "The Game" and what it has meant to me over the years.

Growing up in Upper Arlington two streets over from where Woody lived was very special. I was also his paper boy for four years. Back then Columbus had two newspapers -- the Columbus Citizen Journal and the Columbus Dispatch. The CJ was the early morning paper and this was the one I delivered. Coach would be waiting for the paper every morning as I delivered it at 6. If the paper was late coach was not in a very good mood. It didn't matter if it was my fault or the paper's fault. His quote was always the same, "Damn it Billy, where is my paper?" I always got a chuckle out of coach bitching about the paper being late.

All through high school I still kept in touch with coach. I would stop by and say hello and ask about the team. Even after he was fired and I had left for college I would stop in and see him when I was home at break. Coach was a very big fan of military history. When I left for the Marine Corps he gave me an hour-long history lecture of the history of the USMC. One of his best friends was General Lewis Walt who at one time was commandant of the Marine Corps. Coach told me about his visits to Vietnam in the late 60s and 70s.
When coached passed away in March of 1987 I was stationed in Central America. My parents were still in Florida for the winter and Mrs. Hayes got a hold of my mom. Mrs. Hayes wanted to make sure I made it back for the funeral. My mom explained that I was overseas and she really didn't know how to get a hold of me fast.

 At the time I was doing drug interdiction missions all over Central and South America. I would be out for 30 days at a time and in for two weeks. Mrs. Hayes told my mom she would take care of that problem.

Another one of coach's best friends was Richard Nixon. In fact he gave the eulogy at coach's funeral. Mrs. Hayes called Richard Nixon, who called President Regan's office, who called the commandant of the Marine Corps Office, who called US Central Command in Tampa. I was in the field at the time and I received a radio message that my team was to be extracted. When my helicopter landed I was met by my commanding officer who told me there was a death in my family and I needed to be sent home. He did not know the details but in an hour they put me on a Navy jet to McDill AFB in Tampa. When I got off the jet a Marine full bird colonel was waiting on me.

Now, in the Marine Corps a full bird colonel is god. I could not imagine why a full bird was waiting on me. He came up to me and asked me how I knew Richard Nixon. I told him I didn't and that he must have me mixed up with someone else. I told him I was going home for a death in family. I still had no information on who had passed away. The colonel explained to me that coach had passed way and Richard Nixon had made some calls to get me home for the funeral. They put me on another jet and I flew back to Columbus landing at OSU Airport.

 When I landed there was a car waiting for me. The door opens and it's Bo Schembechler. The pilots of the Navy Jet get out of the plane and have him sign autographs. I am in shock. We get back to the Hayes house on Cardiff Rd. My parents aren't back from Florida yet and Mrs. Hayes wanted me to stop by. I am sitting at the kitchen table with Bo, Richard Nixon, and Mrs. Hayes. I am in uniform and Mrs. Hayes says, "Billy would you would like a glass of milk." Bo looks at me, then at President Nixon and says to Mrs. Hayes, "Ann, I think Billy needs something stronger than a glass of milk." I thought Richard Nixon was going to have a heart attack right there on the spot.

That is my connection to "The Game". I have not shared this story with one soul. Can't tell you why, I guess I wanted to keep it for myself. I know you're a reporter but I would appreciate if you kept it to yourself. I wanted to share it with you because covering the Big Ten you know the history and meaning of the OSU-Michigan game.

From: Scott

I like your plan, except for the division names. Given the manner of Woody Hayes's departure, and the fact that he was always viewed as arrogant and abrasive by the rest of the conference, there is no way the Big 10 will name a division after him. Bo is an acceptable choice, more respected around the league but I think they will choose to go with players. Unfortunately for greats like Archie Griffin, I also think they will go for pre-war players. Grange is a shoo-in, and the other division will likely be named for someone like Nagurski or Kinnick.

Divided We Stand:

Forget that, how about the Harbaugh Division and Kern Division?

From: Tad

Dennis, I have one issue with your Big 10 divisional alignments. In my opinion, there are 16 college football blueblood programs. A few could be argued, but for the most part, the following programs are the cream of the crop:

USC, Notre Dame, Ohio State, Michigan, Texas, Oklahoma, Miami, Florida State, Virginia Tech, Georgia, Florida, Tennessee, LSU, Alabama, Nebraska and Penn State.

 Every one of these programs has a primary rivalry with another school within this group. While some schools have bigger rivalries (Alabama-Auburn). they still have a huge rivalry with another school on this list. In Alabama's case, LSU is an annual rivalry game. Nebraska and Penn State have no real rival, let alone a rival within this list. Nebraska lost their primary rival to Texas at the inception of the Big 12. I contend that Nebraska and Penn State deserve each other as huge year-end rivals. The Big 10 could stage a Michigan-Ohio state and Nebraska-Penn State doubleheader every Thanksgiving weekend.

 Contrary to your statement, Ohio State and Michigan playing the final weekend has no more bearing on who would play in the BIG 10 Championship game than if they played earlier in the season. The main point is that every other school on this list has a primary rivalry with someone else on the list, except Penn State and Nebraska. They deserve each other....1982 and 1994 are the foundation on which the rivalry has begun...all we need to do is add a little wood to the fire.


I've heard about this Nebraska-Penn State thing and I don't get it. There is no rivalry there, plain and simple. There is lingering anger from Nebraska fans for having lost a close game in Happy Valley years ago but that doesn't constitute a rivalry. As for lumping those two games together on the last weekend of the season. That's the last thing you want to do. There's a chance that one or both games might make a difference in the Big Ten championship game, but what happens when neither game means anything?

What you want to do is spread out your good games to keep fans (and TV networks) interested. Putting two "rivalry" games (again, Nebraska-Penn State doesn't do anything for me), on the last weekend of the regular season is not the way to do it.

From: Tony

Please stop with the suggestions of calling the future Big Ten divisions the Bo and Woody divisions. Why do you keep on insisting in honoring these two? Hayden Fry won with a fourth of the talent that they did, and he had to win in a more competitive Big Ten when scholarship reductions would have shown that Woody and Bo weren't the end-all, be-all. The '70s are over - and so should the Bo-Woody lovefest.

Ten Year Bore:

Fry Division? Sounds like the people in charge of researching potato quality at McDonald's corporate.

From: Tom

Mr. Dodd- more is not necessarily better. I suspect I'm older than you are, and can remember when baseball decided that two All-Star games per year would make things twice as nice. And that didn't last very long- four years, to be exact, because the second game didn't garner the expected interest. If Ohio State-Michigan is so important, then don't dilute it. Don't ask the Big 10 to repeat MLB's mistake of 50 years ago. Christmas is great. How would it be if we had it twice a year? Thanks for reading this.

Santa Pause:

Christmas twice a year? All for it. More socks and underpants from grandma!

From: Paul

Why are these big BCS schools afraid to play against Boise State? Are they scared they're gonna lose against a mid-major school at home? What is your professional opinion?

Paulie Bronco:

Part of it is the big boys not wanting to play Boise. The other part is Boise refusing guarantee games for the most part. AD Gene Bleymaier says plenty of teams will play the Broncos in non-conference games but only at their place. For example, Boise is traveling to Ole Miss next season but not returning the game. Not only does Bleymaier believe his program is beyond having to play those one-and-done games, but he plans to introduce NCAA legislation to mandate return games.

Paulie, the quality of your question has rated explanations from Bleymaier and Boise president Bob Kustra ...

"We're doing a study of non-conference scheduling in Division I football. There is a fairly compelling case to be made that the Big Ten, Big 12, SEC and Pac-10 over the years have controlled the scheduling. All the large conferences ... What Gene will tell you, there's an overwhelming number of home games for the big guys but no home-and-home. We've been able to get a home-and-home with Oregon and Oregon State. We want to propose to the NCAA a mandated home-and-home scheduling arrangement for I-A non-conference football games. Why should Boise State go to Georgia, but more than likely they're not going to return it?

"I think we've really dropped the ball as an organization. The NCAA could mandate this at any time. Oregon, Oregon State are return games. Ole Miss (next year), Washington, Arkansas and Arizona State are not. It's so simple to legislate.

"We'll play anybody in the country home-and-home. You've got to do a better job of scheduling. You want us to go play three non-conference games on the road and they don't have to come here. Texas isn't going to do that, Oklahoma isn't going to do that, USC isn't going to do that, Florida isn't going to do that, Ohio State isn't going to do that, nobody's going to do that."

By the way, Bleymaier looks at the opener against Virginia Tech as a road game even though it is being billed as a neutral site game in Landover, Md. "I'd rather play a neutral-site game than a guarantee game like we're playing the following year at Ole Miss. I'd rather play Ole Miss in Atlanta, than Oxford," Bleymaier said.

Another reminder that Virginia Tech is the "home" team. It is getting $2.6 million in guarantee money from the game. Boise is getting less than half that, $1.25 million.


Dennis, I have been reading you for years and respect your outlook on a lot of aspects of college sports. However, I find little excuse as to why the West Virginia University Mountaineers were left of your Super Schools list for Best Football/Basketball schools. I was a little alarmed that Pittsburgh made the list over the Mountaineers, then completely shocked to find the Wisconsin Badgers at No. 4?!? Under what credentials do the Badgers possibly outmatch WVU in this scenario? The Mountaineers have done more in the last 5 years in both sports than Wisconsin has done in the last ten. Those two schools aren't even comparable, and it's a shame the nod didn't go to WVU.

Country Roadie:

It was close, real close, between West Virginia and Pittsburgh. I could argue either way, but I couldn't, like you, say it was a slam dunk in West Virginia's favor. In the biggest game in its history, West Virginia lost to Pittsburgh 2 1/2 years ago. At home. Pittsburgh has won a national championship. Yes, it was more than 30 years ago but there is something about a program that has won a championship. It hopes and plans and recruits to win another championship. OK, so it's taken Pittsburgh a while but when you think of the school you think of both football and basketball. I can't say that's the case at West Virginia.

Remember also that the criteria not only were recent success, but future outlook. Even though he has won 19 games in two seasons (plus a bowl game), I think anyone would agree that Bill Stewart doesn't have the program at the same level as Rich Rod did. Meanwhile, Pittsburgh is reaching a high point under Dave Wannstedt.

As I said, it was close. Call it Pittsburgh 5A and WVU 5B.



I still can't believe u think the call in the Ohio State-Miami game in the 2002 title game was legit. What have u watched to change your original opinion? And better yet, what drugs do u smoke in order to think a penalty should have been called on Glenn Sharpe. Dude, open your eyes and watch the footage...u and your stupid opinions suck...sorry, but it's true, you are a homer...


There was definitely a call there to be made. If you read my story from seven years ago, there was holding off the line by the Miami defensive back. A reasonable person could have called pass interference (or not). Your argument is with the mechanics of back judge Terry Porter. He threw the flag extremely late. I'd say at least five seconds late because I remember the fireworks going off celebrating an Ohio State win. Then, Porter signaled both holding and pass interference. While Porter might have right about both, he didn't look like he knew what he was doing because he waited so long. Keep reading. I've got an interesting story coming on Porter during the season.

From: Brian

I just don't get it. Urban Meyer had a fake heart attack, told everyone he was retiring for his family, only to come back THE NEXT DAY because he liked the way his team practiced. Damn the family all of the sudden. He threatens and bullies a reporter who did NOTHING WRONG, and has a team that has had over 25 arrests on his team since his tenure and yet another media member kisses his a--.
UNREAL!!! You must have been threatened by him too. Please someone expose this moron!! I guess just because he has won he gets a free pass. If they were 8-4 or worse every year, NO WAY you are writing such fluff for this clown. Does any reporter have any balls anymore????

Tennessee Fan:

I've taken my shots. We've all taken our shots. I've called Meyer a diva. I've called him out for trying to intimidate that Orlando Sentinel reporter. I've tried to shame him for all those arrests.

However ... the series was about the best football and basketball schools. Florida wouldn't be on the list without Urban Meyer.

From: Billy

Dennis: I am amazed at your media guys with rankings. LSU has been recruiting in the top 5 the last 5 years and you are ranking them 4th in the West. Funny, but the guys that really know are the (SEC) coaches and they are ranking LSU as 2nd ahead of both Auburn and Arkansas. I think ya'll just get caught up with the fact that Arkansas has a big name QB and Auburn had a good recruiting class for a change so you chose to disrespect LSU just 2 years removed from the BCS Championship by ranking them 4th.

I can flat guarantee you are wrong and I hope you and your associates have the nerve and honesty to stand up and admit your wrong when this season is over.

Tiger Fate:

It's not about "disrespect" or being wrong. It's an opinion before the season. Using your logic, you owe me an apology if LSU finishes below third. I'll take mine straight up with olives. Make it Ketel One, please.

From: Barret

Hey Dennis, I don't know what kind of pull you have, but if you could send a message up the ladder that the CBS telecasts have way, way too many commercial, I'd appreciate it. LSU has 5 CBS games this year and I don't think I can survive that many 6- and 12-hour marathons. This is really a serious issue they need to address. It kills the game.


You could have stopped after the first sentence: Hey Dennis, I don't know what kind of pull you have.


Love your writing and your tweets, but I have one complaint. Can you please put an image of some sort up on your twitter account? It looks bush league with the generic green twitter logo. C'mon Dodd, you're better than that!


Trust me, for the children's sake, you wouldn't want to see that.






Since: Oct 4, 2010
Posted on: October 4, 2010 9:49 am

Mailbag 8/14

The secret story from Bill is an interesting one.  I grew up on the same street as Woody and Anne, and after years of living away have come back still live on the same street again.    When we were kids we would tee pee their house after we won the Michigan game and Anne would invite us in for hot chocolate, my only interaction with the coach was seeing him drive his El Camino to work, then after his heart attack he used to walk down our tree lined street to campus.  I don't remember Bill, he would have been around my age, or the age of my siblings... it all seems a little suspect to me.  Old friends from the neighborhood are scratching our heads after reading this story.    

Since: Sep 16, 2010
Posted on: September 16, 2010 9:00 pm

Mailbag 8/14

Thank you Mr. Dodd for sharing that great story. I wish I had that paper route!

Since: Dec 1, 2008
Posted on: August 17, 2010 12:44 pm

Mailbag 8/14

 Sorry jgrever.  I'm not necessarily a Dodd proponent, however, I have a different take on this story.

One... I gather from the language of the story, and the way that it was written, that Billy and Dennis are not close friends or associates.  If that assumption is correct, then why in the world would a person, who has kept such a personal and epic story absolutely confidential, suddenly send it to a CBS sports writer with whom they are not personally connected?  What was Billy's motive?  Would you do that jgrever?  If you had a very personal and confidential experience, would you send it to a random sports or news journalist?  If so, then why?  If I were ready to disclose such a personal story, I can think of hundreds of people I would share it with before a random journalist.  If I don't want it published, then I can think of a few million people I would share it with before a random journalist.  

Two... I am one of the most non-skeptical persons you can imagine.  I wish I knew for a fact that such a great story was absolutely true, however, I hate to say, that I have some reservations regarding this story.  There are too many things that just don't add up.  Mrs. Hayes, in the middle of her trauma, calls Billy's mom, then calmly takes charge of finding Billy by contacting Richard Nixon, who contacts Ronald Regan, who contacts the Marine commandant, who contacts Billy's commanders, who extract Billy out of the middle of the jungle, fly him to Florida, assign Navy pilots to fly him to Ohio, where is is picked up by Bo Schembechler himself, driven to Mrs. Hayes home where they all calmly sit around in the kitchen drinking milk or something stronger.  We have the resources to extract a marine out of the middle of the jungle, but we don't have communication resources in 1987 to inform him of which family member has passed away?  It’s 1987.  Not 1897.  

Three... If such an epic event did occur, what is your motive for keeping it absolutely private, and how do you keep it absolutely confidential.  If you just dealt with a full bird marine, had been flown around by your own personal Navy pilots, picked up by one of the greatest college football coaches of all time, taken to Coach Hayes home, then sat in the kitchen with a bereaving Mrs. Hayes and an ex-President of the United States, would you be keeping that to yourself once you got back to your unit?  What do you tell your field command when they ask you who passed away and what happened.  Do you just shrug your shoulders and say "Oh it was nothing much"?  

I'm afraid this story sounds a little "Forrest Gumpish" to me.  Don't get me wrong.  I thought "Forrest Gump" was a great movie, but that is what it was.  A movie.  If someone can confirm this story, then I will gladly stand corrected.  But for the moment, I'm not fully buying in, and I am not holding Dodd fully responsible the this story's disclosure.  If "Billy" genuinely wanted this story to remain confidential, then he should not have sent it to a random journalist, and if he needed to confide in someone, I am certain there are individuals closer to him than Dodd.  

Someone please let me know if I am wrong here.
;     &nbs
p;     &nb
sp;     &n
bsp;     &

Since: Aug 17, 2010
Posted on: August 17, 2010 10:22 am

Mailbag 8/14

Mr Dodd,

I disagree on the potential rivalry with Penn State.  There are three events spanning the last 30 years that build towards a rivalry.  First, your mention of the series the teams played in the late 70's early 80's culminating in Penn State eliminating Nebraska from the National championship based upon on incomplete pass .  Second, Nebraska's national championship in the 90's when Penn State went undefeated but did not get a share of the title.  And third, the two teams have played a series over the past 10 years that resulted in a tie for both teams.  The only other team in the big ten with that much history with Nebraska is Michigan, and they clearly have bigger rivalries at the moment.    A Nebraska-Iowa rivalry would purely be based upon location and not history.  The only other team Nebraska has any significant history with is Minnesota which they played regularly, but was very lopsidded and haven't played in over 30 years.

Since: Aug 16, 2010
Posted on: August 16, 2010 9:07 pm

Mailbag 8/14

Dodd - At a minimum, you owe Bill an apology. I'm not a journalist so I don't know if you violated any ethics here but what you did here after he asked you to keep it to yourself seems wrong to me. Pretty sure Woody would have seen it that way too.

Since: Nov 5, 2006
Posted on: August 16, 2010 6:34 pm

Mailbag 8/14

I don't think I violated any ethics.

You obviously have no ethics.  The man stated that he had never shared the story before!  You should have felt privledged that he shared it with you. 

Why he shared it with you on the other hand is beyond me. 

Shame on you.

Since: Aug 7, 2008
Posted on: August 16, 2010 5:21 pm

Mailbag 8/14

I know you're a reporter but I would appreciate if you kept it to yourself.
You write to me, you're in the public arena. Plus, it was a great story from a great man. I don't think I violated any ethics.
You publish something like this, you're in the public arena.  I hope you're prepared for the backlash from this.

What did it being a great story from a great man have to do with your belief it would be ok to print it?  How does that make it ok?

How, exactly, did you NOT violate any ethics?  A man asks you to keep something to yourself and you publish it.  What ethics are you talking about?  I'm sure your lame excuse is that it's your "right" to publish this as he sent it to you. 

Even if you somehow convince yourself that you did not violate any ethics, it's apparent you have no morals. 

Since: Nov 4, 2007
Posted on: August 16, 2010 4:56 pm

Wow, now that was sleezy.

I was really enjoying the story until I read " I would appreciate if you kept it to yourself."

So you make the excuse that the man should have known better than to trust a reporter?   Yeah, you are right Dodd.   He should have known better than to trust you.   Some people would have honored his wish, some wouldn't.   You definitely proved yourself to be in that group not to be trusted.

It was an enjoyable story most definitely, but then again, I would really enjoy a seafood dinner until I found out the person paying for it had stolen the money.   Then it kind of ruins it for me.

I guess I wouldn't put anything past you now in order for you to gain another notch in your professional career.   Way to spit on one of our military men.    In the Marines he's gotten too used to being around people who hold honor dearly.   He trusted you to have a little bit of honor but the story was just too juicy for you not to break, eh.

Since: Jun 9, 2010
Posted on: August 16, 2010 4:21 pm

Mailbag 8/14

Bill's story is incredible.  And, Bill, if you are reading this, thank you for your service.  Mrs. Hayes, President Nixon and Coach Schembechler were in good company with you there.

Mr. Dodd, I don't care if you are a reporter or not, if someone tells you something in confidence and asks you to keep it to yourself you should.  Shame on you for not following Bill's wishes.  I doubt that anyone that reads Bill letter will trust you enough to share private information with you in the future.  I don't care how wonder a story is, if you're asked to keep it to yourself, keep it to yourself.


Since: Sep 23, 2006
Posted on: August 16, 2010 1:07 pm

Mailbag 8/14

that was a d*ck what you are saying is that when someone says 'off the record' or something of the equivalent that you are incapable of keeping it to yourself?  I believe that means that you did exactly that, violate the ethical rules of journalism. If you would take advantage of a person because they didn't say the exact terms 'off the record' - well then that is unethical in the truest sense of the concept. should your mother not write to you about personal family business then? she might get published on

The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or