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Got Blue?

No game, but NO game, matters as much as Ohio State/Michigan. In fact, ESPN ranked it the best rivalry in sports.

When Ohio Stadium opened in 1922, Michigan spoiled the party with a 22-0 victory. The rivalry was heated in the early days as both have been long-time college football powers. But it got even hotter in 1969, when Bo Schembechler took over as Michigan's coach and upset Woody Hayes' No. 1-ranked, undefeated Buckeyes. Four times in the next six years, both teams were ranked in the top five when they met. In 1970 and 1973, both were undefeated (they tied 10-10 in '73). From 1970 through 1975, Michigan entered without a loss every year. The Wolverines won just once. Ohio State was 9-0-1 in 1993, 11-0 in 1995 and 10-0 in 1996. The Buckeyes lost each time. That is rivalry.
Yes, nothing pleases the other team more than ruining the other teams chances at a national champtionship. In the words of Michael Moore, "Once again we are reminded that the buckeye is a nut, and not just any old nut - a poisonous nut." And today, the nut poisoned Michigan's hopes for the Rose Bowl, 37-21. (Go Wisconsin - we did our part. Your future is in your hands...) 16 points. Three scores.

I have to admit, I was a bit nervious going into the second half when we were up by only 3 points, especially when we had seven tries from the one yard line and ended with only three points at the end of the second quarter. Especially when Michigan has looked stronger in the second half all season long. (Michigan has outscored opponents, 192-108 in the second half this season, while Ohio State has been outscored, 93-92 in the second half.)

There is so much tradition in 101 years. Bo Schembechler and Woody Hayes (1969-1978). From 1968-1980, the winner of The Game went to the Rose Bowl as Big 10 Champion. From 1995-2003, the game carried national championship implications 6 of those 9 years. Even the marching bands get into it: Script Ohio (first performed in 1936) with the dotting of the "i." The last game of the season (ok, that tradition began in 1936). But it's a thing of beauty.

How important is this game? There is a saying that Ohio State can lose every game of the season, and as long as they beat Michigan, it was a good season. Ok, not that's not quite true, it's a slight exaggeration. But it's true that it is the MOST important game of the season. As the book One Game Season: Ohio State vs. Michigan says:
The "Big Game" is much more than just winning:The 'Big Game' has decided the Big Ten championship 32 times since the contest was moved to the last Saturday in the season in 1935; on 18 of those occasions, Michigan and Ohio State settled the title between themselves. The throne atop the Big Ten, as well as a trip to the Rose Bowl, is usually the reward for a victory in this contest.
One Game Season, p. 356.

Personally, I would have loved to run the score up on Michigan. But I'll take a 16-point win. This years seniors (of which Nugent is one of them - perhaps the best kicker in college football ever, and I'm not just biased b/c I've spent four years praying to him: "please make this, please make this, please make this...") went 3-1 against Michigan. Three and one. Congrats, kids. Let me say once more: three and one.

Someone compared this game to three years ago (at the Big House) when Ohio State came in with a 6-4 record and shocked number 11 Michigan. And let me remind you what happened TWO years ago... ;-) Amazing what a 7-4 season does for one's spirits as long as the Michigan game is in that 7 and not in that 4... (In other words, yeah this season is better than last season where we only lost 2 games.)

Say whatever you want about Tressel, but he understands the importance of Ohio State Michigan in a way that Cooper never did.

And let me give a shout out to a former Ohio State player. Craig Krenzel has won the first three starts of his NLF career with the Bears. Perhaps one can argue that the Bears are winning despite him, but at the end of the day he is 3-0 as a starter.


  • At 1:21 AM, Blogger Sarah said…

    What a beautiful game. I'm so proud of our guys for stepping up and playing, by far, their best game this season. We needed the win, and the season just went from "mediocre" to "pretty good".

    I just LOVE beating Michigan.


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