Tomorrow, at high noon, The Game, the most prolific rivalry in sports history, if not in the history of the world is renewed in Ann Arbor as the 9th ranked Buckeyes roll into town with a spot in the Rose Bowl already secured. Michigan is playing for respect as they started the season going 4-0 before dropping 5 of six down the stretch. They NEED to win this game against my beloved Ohio State to become bowl eligible.
From the ten year war between Woody Hayes and Bo Schembechler to the Lloyd Carr and John Cooper years to the Tressel Era in OSU, the two teams have a rich history of battling each other to the last play to determine Big Ten championships, Rose Bowl berths, BCS bids and National Titles.
One of my favorite stories about Ohio State-Michigan is from the Woody Hayes era. Legend says that Woody told someone that if his car ran out of gas north of the Ohio-Michigan border, he would push it across the border rather than spending any of his money in ‘that state up north’. (One thing that got me was, why was he up there unless he was driving back from a game. Hmm…)
One of my favorite quotes, (paraphrased a little) was from Jim Tressel when he was hired as head coach: “I can assure you that you will be proud of our young people in the classroom, in the community and, most especially, in 310 days in Ann Arbor, Michigan, on the football field.” Don’t you love it Buckeyes? And he was telling the truth because since he took the helm of the program OSU is 7-1 against Michigan. It sends a tingle down my spine.
Tomorrow’s game will be played against a sad backdrop of the knowledge of Chris Spielman’s wife Stephanie passing at the hands of the cancer she fought so long and valiantly against. I’m sure that every Buckeye fan, player and coach alike are thinking of and praying for Chris and the whole family as they suffer this tremendous loss.
But no matter what happens tomorrow, we Buckeyes will always be Buckeyes. We will always cheer “Time and change will surely show, how firm our friendship O-HI-O!!!” and we will always thrill when Le Régiment de Sambre et Meuse is played when the I is dotted in Script Ohio. We will always remember Woody, Earle, John and someday we will always remember Jim, we recall the only two-time Heisman winner Archie Griffin, we take pride in our national championships in ’42, ’54, ’57, ’61, ’68, ’70 and 2002. I personally have been watching the Buckeyes only for about 7 years being a youngster in comparison to the older fans around me like my dad. But I know our history, and I cheer when the Best D*mn Band In The Land does Fight the Team or Hang on Sloopy. I sing to myself Carmen Ohio and do the O-H-I-O at the end. And I HATE MICHIGAN! So let’s go Buckeyes and beat that team from ‘up north’!
FINAL PREDICTION: 42-13 OSU.