Posted: Sunday September 11, 2005 5:32PM; Updated: Tuesday September 13, 2005 4:46PM
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History? This foursome is as successful as any you'll find. In terms of both all-time winning percentage and all-time wins, Michigan and Notre Dame are Nos. 1 and 2, respectively (.746 and .744, and 843 and 803). Texas is 4th and 3rd in those same categories (.711 and 788) while Ohio State is 6th and 5th (.709 and 766). No school outside those four ranks in the top six in both those categories.
Tradition? The Wolverines have Hail to the Victors! and arguably the sharpest uniforms in football. The Irish have The Notre Dame Victory March and inarguably the most self-righteous fans in football. The Longhorns have The Eyes of Texas while the Buckeyes' marching band dots the "i" in "Script Ohio." Michigan is home to the Big House. Ohio State is home to the Horseshoe. South Bend is home to the College Football Hall of Fame and Austin is home to the current cast of MTV's The Real World.
Studs? The Longhorns have Heisman candidate Vince Young at QB. The Buckeyes have Butkus Award candidate A.J. Hawk at linebacker. The Wolverines have yet another in a long line of wideout/returner burners in Steve Breaston, and the Irish have ... well, let's just say that right now, the other three teams have a few starters who will play on Sundays, while my alma mater has a few starters who will pray on Sundays. But maybe that's about to change ...
Dave and I arrive in Ann Arbor on a sublimely beautiful Friday evening. As our rental SUV creeps up State Street, a men's soccer match between Louisville and Michigan is taking place under the lights to our right. To our left, in the front yard of an off-campus house, is a just as hotly contested game of Cornhole. If you're over the age of 28, you may not have heard of Cornhole. It is the latest craze in competitive drinking games. When I was in college, it was "Quarters" and "Thumper." Then in the '90s "Beer Pong" (a.k.a. "Beirut"), which remains popular, took hold. Now "Cornhole." In fact, only a month ago the Buckeyes' Hawk had told me that Cornhole is one of his favorite pastimes.
Cornhole is like horseshoes, except that instead of aiming for a spike, you aim for a hole cut out of a slanted plank of wood. And, instead of tossing horseshoes, you toss beanbags. In theory, you could play Cornhole without any alcoholic involvement. But then again, in theory, you could attend college without any alcoholic involvement, too.
For the second installment of John Walters' three-part "Best Weekend Ever," check back Monday on SI.com.