BTN to air 1973 OSU-Michigan documentary

CHICAGO – BTN Originals will premiere Tiebreaker, the network’s first feature-length documentary, at 7 p.m. ET on Saturday, Nov. 16. Tiebreaker paints an indelible portrait of college football’s most storied rivalry and reveals a forgotten moment in college football history that helped shape today’s game.  

The 60-minute documentary examines the aftermath of the 1973 Ohio State v. Michigan football game that ended in a 10-10 tie. With both teams sporting identical 7-0-1 conference records, Big Ten Athletic Directors were left to vote on which school would represent the Big Ten in the Rose Bowl. At that time, only one Big Ten team could play in a bowl game. In a controversial vote, the Big Ten Athletic Directors voted to send Ohio State to Pasadena. Michigan head coach Bo Schembechler called the decision “the lowest day of my athletic career.”

Tiebreaker features rare archival footage and interviews with student-athletes, coaches and administrators. The film includes drama and excitement from the battle on the gridiron, featuring audio from legendary Michigan radio announcer Bob Ufer, as well as details surrounding the controversial vote.

The film also includes footage from an historic dinner BTN convened for key contributors from Woody Hayes’ Buckeyes and Schembechler’s Wolverines for each side’s perspective. Two-time Heisman Trophy winner Archie Griffin, 1973 Heisman Trophy runner-up John Hicks, Buckeye signal caller Cornelius Greene, linebacker Randy Gradishar, defensive back Steve Luke and offensive lineman Steve Myers represented Ohio State. Quarterback Dennis Franklin, co-captain Dave Gallagher, fullbacks Ed Shuttlesworth and Bob Thornbladh, kicker Mike Lantry and defensive lineman Don Warner represented Michigan.

Tiebreaker is directed by award-winning filmmakers Kevin Shaw (The Journey: Big Ten Football/ Basketball, The NFL Season: A Biography, The Street Stops Here, ESPN Films’ Goose), and Matthew Engel (The Journey: Big Ten Football/ Basketball, ESPN Films’ Depth Chart: The Wisconsin Badgers, ESPN Films’ Goose). Engel also narrates the film.

Fans can also tune in to ‘Tiebreaker Week’ on #BTNLive starting at 6 PM ET on Monday, Nov. 11. Each day during the show special guests and BTN talent will share their memories from the controversial game.

About BTN: A joint venture between the Big Ten Conference and Fox Networks, BTN is the first internationally distributed network dedicated to covering one of the premier collegiate conferences in the country. With more than 800 events, all in HD, the 24/7 network is the ultimate destination for Big Ten fans and alumni across the country, allowing them to see their favorite teams, regardless of where they live. BTN2Go is the 24/7 simulcast of BTN that delivers live and on-demand programming via the internet, smartphones and tablets to customers of participating video providers. Events include football, men’s and women’s basketball games; dozens of Big Ten Olympic sports and championship events; studio shows; and classic games. The network televises and streams more Olympic sporting events and women’s sports than has ever been aired on any other network. Original programming highlights activities and accomplishments of some of the nation’s finest universities. The groundbreaking Student U initiative provides real-world experience for students interested in careers in sports television. The network is in more than 52 million homes across the United States and Canada, including carriage by all the major video distributors, such as DIRECTV, DISH, Verizon FiOS, AT&T U-Verse, Charter Communications, Comcast Xfinity, Time Warner Cable, Cablevision, Cox Communications, Mediacom, RCN, WOW!, Rogers Cable, Shaw and Shaw Direct (Canada) and approximately 300 additional video providers across North America. For additional information, go to

About BTN Originals: BTN Originals (@BTN_Originals) is the Big Ten Network’s award-winning original programming that includes such series as The Journey: Big Ten Football, The Journey: Big Ten Basketball (@BTNJourney) and Big Ten Elite. BTN Originals is uniquely qualified to provide viewers with unparalleled storytelling and an all-access pass into the Big Ten Conference.


Your Opinion?
Show Comments (5 Comments)
Bob Maloogaloogaloogaloogalooga on 11/1/2013 @ 6:04pm EDT Said:

I think it would be great if BTN could obtain the entire video of this “roast” that took place in Columbus one week before Woody Hayes died. It features Bo, Archie, Lou, Earle and Woody. A 20-minute compilation clip of the 90-minute video can be seen on Youtube:

Strider on 11/2/2013 @ 1:21pm EDT Said:

Is it true that the decision by Michigan not to send their cross country team to national, for which they had qualified, figured in to the decision to send Ohio State? Rumor has it that Michigan’s athletic director said their harriers didn’t have much chance of winning at the NCAA championship meet. But he was shocked when the decision was made to send the Buckeyes to the Rose Bowl based on which team had a chance of winning.

R. O'Donnell on 11/11/2013 @ 7:52pm EDT Said:

Am I recalling correctly that the Michigan State A.D. cast his vote for OSU? Or am I making that up??

William McDaid on 11/12/2013 @ 11:57am EDT Said:

R. O’Donnell: You are correct. Michigan had done everything possible to prevent MSU from entering the Big Ten as well as well as lobbying against MSU achieving university status. Incredibly, Michigan somehow expected MSU to vote them into the Rose Bowl.

Dan Cutillo on 11/17/2013 @ 12:21pm EDT Said:

I believe to know why OSU got the Rose Bowl bid in ’73 you must go back to when the University of Chicago left the Big Ten conference ( ’50 or ’51 ? ) . Michigan proposed the University of Pittsburg in as the new member . OSU proposed MSU . The vote was put off for a a year ,the following year when it came to a vote OSU cast the deciding vote for MSU to be the newest member of the conference . Fast forward to 1973 ,guess who cast the deciding vote for OSU to play in the Rose Bowl ?
Dan Cutillo ,OSU 71-73