Buckeyes: Know your enemy – That Team Up North

Location:
Ann Arbor, MI

Driving Distance from OSU Campus:
184 mi – 3 hours 17 mins per Google Maps

Founded:
1817 – The university was founded in 1817 in Detroit as the Catholepistemiad, or University of Michigania, and moved to Ann Arbor in 1837.

Number of students:
27,407 Undergrad
15,309 Post-grad
(Per Wikipedia)

hitwolverine

Nickname:
Wolverines. They don’t have a mascot, per se. They used to and their names were Biff and Benny. They were live Wolverines. They grew to be angry little beasts, so Fielding Yost decided they probably shouldn’t bring them onto the field anymore.

Things to do in Ann Arbor:
Ann Arbor Hands On Museum – It’s an interactive museum, obviously

Kerrytown – Shopping area

Main Street – Your standard College Town street of things to do

Notable TTUN Alumni:
Gerald Ford – 38th US President, only person to be both Vice-President and President without actually being elected

Herman Webster Mudgett – One of the first documented American serial killers

Theodore John “Ted” Kaczynski – The Unibomber

Conference:
B1G

Record Vs. OSU:
58-45-6

Current Line:
OSU -14

Returning Starters:
6 offensive, 6 defensive

Outlook:
The Game is one of the most bittersweet weeks of the year. On one hand, it is arguably the greatest rivalry in sports and the events leading up to it only fuel the fire of the day. Though, moving to Thanksgiving week has taken a bit off of the week’s festivities, notably the shift of the Mirror Lake jump from Thursday.

On the other hand, it is the last game of the regular season, which means the College Football season is coming to an end. That makes me sad.

In its current edition, the rivalry is a showcase of two teams heading in rather opposite directions. On the one hand, you have Ohio State. The Buckeyes have managed to rebound from sanctions that could have crippled the program for years with relatively minimal impact. A lackluster 2011 that some saw as the beginning of a dark period led to the hiring of one of the hottest names in coaching, an undefeated 2012 season, 23 consecutive victories, and their first trip to the B1G Championship game. Recruiting is also going well and depth is building to set OSU up to maintain success for some time.

On the other hand, there are the Wolverines. TTUN was the team one would have expected to benefit the most from OSU’s misfortunes of the post-2010 brouhaha. The decided to ditch Rich Rod and start anew. Their coaching search didn’t end up exactly as they were hoping as most boosters, alums, and fans had Jim Harbaugh at the top of the list. When that didn’t pan out, the Les Miles rumors started again, much as in 2007, and he also shunned the Wolverines. So, they ended up with Brady Hoke. Many felt it wasn’t such a bad thing. After all, they were getting their Michigan Man that they felt was needed after the departure of a very much NOT Michigan Man in Rich Rod.

At first, it seemed like it was going to work out. They beat OSU in Hoke’s first year, stopping a 7 game skid against The Buckeyes, earned a Sugar Bowl bid, won the Sugar Bowl, and took the momentum into recruiting. They had a QB in Denard Robinson that many were anointing as the next Heisman winner, and they also had Devin Gardner waiting in the wings after that. Yes, the future seemed bright for the Wolverines.

Instead, they have reeled off two consecutive mediocre seasons, there are rumblings of transfers and unhappiness with broken promises, they might miss a January bowl game if they lose this weekend, there are still no B1G title game berths, and, in spite of the hype, all Robinson and Gardner ever accomplished was Heisman buzz that died in the first week of October. The Wolverine faithful were selling off tickets to The Game at a shocking rate and they were doing so at a cheap price that was a far cry from the 250-500 per ticket that have been seen in year’s past. Hoke called the fan base out for this earlier this week in a move that likely won’t endear himself any further to a restless and frustrated bunch. Don’t be surprised if this doesn’t happen again. If it does, it will happen in front of some recruits and that might not end well for UM.

That brings us to November 30th. It’s worth stating this game is a rivalry that has sometimes ended with unexpected results. I may as well just say “The Cooper Years.” I can be even more specific and say “1995″ when referring to OSU laying an egg against a sub-par Wolverine team. For that reason, and that reason only, I still get anxious about this game. This is Michigan’s championship and a win will take some heat off of Hoke.

Having said that, Urban Meyer is not John Cooper. Cooper downplayed the rivalry while Carr reveled in it. Meyer is cut from the Tressel/Bruce/Woody cloth and will not let his Buckeyes have a letdown. The coaches get it, the players get it. Also, even though Michigan is down, a whipping of the Wolverines will give OSU some desperately needed style points.

The UM O-line gives up a lot of sacks. Ohio State gets a lot of sacks. I’d expect Spence, Bosa, and Shazier will feast upon Gardner as The Buckeyes apply some heavy pressure. UM will get some big plays in the air, though. I would bet on it. Funchess and Gallon are two impressive threats and will cause some issues. Of course, Gardner has to get them the ball. That is hard to do when lying on your back.

My foot is planted firmly in cautiously optimistic territory. Like I said, the Cooper years scarred me. But I have to say this match-up looks rather favorable for Urban’s 24th win.

Prediction:

OSU – 48, TTUN – 27

Leave a Reply