(Woody Hayes coached Ohio State from 1951-78, compiling a record of 205-61-10. He died in 1987. Bo Schembechler coached Michigan from 1969-89, compiling a record of 196-48-5. He died last year. Both dominated the Big Ten by relying on a conservative, up-the-middle approach, which is why their shadows loomed especially large at Michigan Stadium last Saturday as the Wolverines beat Penn State 14-9.)
"Welcome to Heaven's Call Center. If you know the number you wish to reach, you can dial it now. Otherwise, press zero."
"Operator, could you please ring me Woody Hayes' room?"
"Whom should I say is calling?"
"Bo Schembechler. I'm an old friend.'
"I remember you. Boy, you and Woody really used to go at it. I'll see if he's busy. He watches a lot of film, you know, when he's not hitting the heavy bag. Let me get him. 'Woody!''
"Woody -- Bo Schembechler. How the hell are ya?"
"Well, if I don't live and breathe ... good to hear from you, Bo. I heard you were up here."
"Yeah, I died last year, taping my TV show right before our game with you guys. You know how I used to get fired up for that rivalry."
"Sorry about that, Bo. But you'll get used to it here. We watch a lot of football. In fact, just last week I saw Penn State play you guys, and I could not believe that old Paterno is still coaching. Doesn't look much different, either."
"Yeah, I saw it. You know, Woody, he just doesn't know when to get out. Plus he's still telling people [Michigan athletic director] Don Canham offered him the job before they hired me in '69!"
"Oh, I don't know, Bo. I think he's doing a good job. That game Saturday was great. 7-3 in the third quarter -- my kind of football, our kind of football. Plus I saw where he punted from your 31. That takes more guts than throwing there, Bo. And I loved your tailback -- what's his name, Hart? -- carrying all those times. He reminds me of Archie Griffin."
"Yeah, Woody, but everybody wants to spread the field these days. That's how we lost to Appalachian State and Oregon."
"I know how Joe thinks, Bo. You didn't play them, but we had a series in the 70s. He likes to do it his way. Somebody faxed me the stats, and I was impressed how many times they ran early in the game on first down; it was almost as much as I used to."
"Woody -- it doesn't work anymore. We're 10-3 against him. Beaten him nine times in a row. I watched him come off the field, and I actually felt bad for the guy."
"How old is Joe anyway?"
"80; they call him JoePa now."
"Heck, Bo. I've been here since '87. I'd be 94 today. Can you picture me on the sidelines?"
"Only if you coached at Penn State, Woody."
"I hear Penn State's stadium is really something, Bo."
"It's a real palace -- a lot more leg room than our stadium has, that's for sure. And he's got a lot of talent; he just doesn't want to use it."
"That's a shame. Hey, it's been great hearing from you, Bo. Thanks a lot for calling me. Let me know when you want to come over to watch a game or play golf. A lot of the guys here would like to meet you."
"You're welcome, Woody. Just one more question."
"Sure, what's that, Bo?"
"Do you get the Big Ten Network?"
Rudel can be reached at 946-7527 or firstname.lastname@example.org. He’ll chat PSU at 11 a.m. today at chat.altoonamirror.com.