It’s easy to look at Saturday’s game and come to one conclusion — Ohio State should win. And win big.

But if you’re familiar with the rivalry — especially if you’re looking at it from the Ohio side of the border — it’s almost as easy to come up with a few instances when sure things did 180-degree turns right after kickoff.

A couple of quick examples:

1993: A win in Ann Arbor would have meant Ohio State earned a trip to the Rose Bowl. Michigan waxed us 28-0 instead, and we got to beat Brigham Young in the Holiday Bowl instead.

1996: The Future Wife and I had awesome seats at the game in Columbus — we were sitting right in front of where Shawn Springs fell down and allowed Tai Streets to score Michigan’s only touchdown on the way to a 13-6 win.

There’s another game a little bit further in the past that reminds me an awful lot of this year’s situation.

1969: Ohio State was coming off a national championship season, and had gone through the year undefeated. Michigan had a new head coach, hired in part because the Buckeyes buried the Wolverines 50-14. The new guy brought change to a stagnant Michigan program, and a bunch of players left before the season began, because the new guy was too tough.

The new guy was Bo Schembechler. And, famously, he told his players in the preseason, “Those who stay will be champions.”

As it turned out, Bo was right. By beating a heavily favored Ohio State team in Ann Arbor 24-12, they tied the Buckeyes for the Big Ten title, and earned a trip to the Rose Bowl.

New guy? A fundamental shift in the culture of Michigan football? Does this sound familiar to anyone else?

I’d be willing to bet RichRod has told his players the story of 1969. And while Michigan’s 2008 team clearly isn’t as good as the one that upset Ohio State 39 years ago, I’d think Rodriguez has sold his players on the notion that Saturday’s game is their best chance to redeem themselves after a tough season.

Ohio State should win. And win big. But if Ohio State isn’t ready to take Michigan’s best shot, we could see 1969 all over again.


  1. Uncle Crappy,

    Not much to say this year due to the 3-8 record.

    Typically a rivalry game is tough to pick. The 2006 game was unbelievable and one of the most exciting games in the recent history of the series. I am sure it was very exciting for those of you who were in “The Shoe”.

    The question is: Can OSU put it together for a full game to make it a “big win” or can Coach Rod and his boys keep it close? I would have to believe that OSU will win by 17 points. I would also have to believe that the tide is getting ready to turn and give the “Coach Up North” about 2-3 years and things will become very interesting.

    Good Luck Nuts…….and have fun at the tailgate!


  2. CB: A 20-point spread is insane. A two-touchdown win is possible, but there’s no way Ohio State’s going to cover on Saturday.

    And I saw enough of West Virgina in the past few seasons to know that once Rod gets his guys in place, that’s going to be a scary freaking team.

    Fun at the tailgate? Yes we will. Thanks for checking in.


  3. i became even more nervous about this game after michigan knew they would not be bowl eligible and then after they lost their 8th game of the year. what do they have to play for? what do they have to lose? i just keep thinking that they have only been practicing for this game the last 4 weeks…with that being said, i do think “the vest” has always embraced the game and while rich r might be talking ’69, i bet “the vest” is talking ’69 even more. plus, i like our running back and quarterback and wideouts and defense and stadium and crowd.

    sorry i did not post earlier in the week: 1st f-ball memory is the “immaculate reception” and the 2nd memory is the ’73 loss to cleveland in cleveland. i remember the IR because it was weirdly warm and the game was not on tv. yes, the steelers did not sell out in time to lift the local blackout. i remember being in someone’s driveway trying to figure out what the F was going on: we lost, but no, something happened and maybe we won…the cleveland memory is g pruitt scoring late in the game and breaking our hearts because we thought we would finally win in cleveland, but the steelers could never win in cleveland…this is beginning to sound like an episode of the x-files.

    finally, ethel and i have just tested the sausages…john at weiland’s really helped me this year and they may be the best from link-to-link that i have ever made. how did john help? he made sure i was well stocked with beautiful, delicious FAT.


  4. Fred: The radio guys probably didn’t tell you that the immaculate “reception” didn’t actually happen, did they?


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