It’s Oh*o State week, and yes I refuse to spell out the name completely.
In 1897, the rivalry began. Over one hundred years later, in 2000, it was named by ESPN as the greatest North American sports rivalry.
This is not just a game. This never was just a game. Because on 22 occasions, Michigan and Oh*o State played to decide who would be B1G Conference champions. It’s affected the determination of the conference title an additional 27 times. From there, roses are on the line.
Photo courtesy of www.sportsillustrated.com
The “Ten-Year War” began in 1969, when Woody Hayes’ former Assistant Coach, Bo Schembechler, was hired as The University of Michigan’s head football coach. The Buckeyes brought in a 22-game win streak that was deflated by a defensive battle and a 60-yard punt return to set up a touchdown, and in turn, a Michigan win. In 1973, both teams entered undefeated. Four times during the War, Michigan and Oh*o State were both ranked in the AP top five. Six times the teams shared the B1G title. Oh, and there was that infamous quote by Woody Hayes… it had something to do with filling up for gas.
Photo courtesy of www.bleacherreport.com
Then there was the Carr/Tressel era. When Tressel took over, he beat Michigan twice in a row; the second of which was decided on the last play of the game. Michigan struck back at the 100th meeting, winning 35-21 in Ann Arbor. In 2006, each team entered with an 11-0 record. The day before the matchup, the legendary Bo Schembechler died. The Buckeyes won the game, that could have been called an offensive battle, 42-39. There was a brief moment where the possibility of a rematch for the BCS title game was possible and even a reality… but then something happened with the state of Florida.
Photo courtesy of www.michigandaily.com
All in all, there’s a history. This year, it’s two schools and two new coaches. As history has shown, there really is no “offensive” or “defensive” battle. It’s all out war. Oh*o State enters this match-up undefeated. Michigan, despite three tough road losses, has shown the ability to switch things up when needed. The good news is that there’s another set of two this year: Devin Gardner and Denard Robinson. Or as I like to call it, double–trouble. If the Iowa game was any foreshadowing: Al Borges has a few tricks up his sleeve with these two. Will the Buckeye defense be able to stop Denard playing as a slot receiver? Will they even know which one is going to get the ball on the snap? Guess we’ll have to wait and see how well their football players are at reading. And if I remember right, Cardale Jones wasn’t too fond of classes.
Enjoy your rivalry week Wolverines,
Bust a nut. Beat a buckeye.