Friday, November 21, 2008

Michigan - Ohio State

Yes they can! Yes they can! The Wolverines can beat the Buckeyes. Yes, they can beat the Buckeyes tomorrow in Columbus, Ohio at the Horseshoe. Even under the most uneven conditions, the Washington Generals could upset the Harlem Globetrotters. Yes, they can; the University of Michigan can beat The Ohio State University in football tomorrow, but will probably have to wait till next year.

Ignore the 20 1/2 point spread. Toledo did, and see what happened!

The weekends of the great rivalries begin. Great national powers as well as local institutions exult in these games. The Harvard-Yale game is as significant for these great academic schools as any other rivalry.

Marriages are rescheduled around these weekends and births delayed. The bitter, hard fought rivals meet at last in a paroxysm of great hatred, hopefully for four hours, and then the schools can return to sanity and mutuality of respect for each other, along with pride and bragging rights. Such are Cal-Stanford, Army-Navy, UCLA-USC.

Victories bring contributions to the school, coronaries to the excitable losers, and unemployemnt to losing coaches.

Great national rivalries where teams meet once a year in a game meaningful only because it is played, but is totally irrelevant to the daily lives of the alumni and students. Such is USC-Notre Dame.

Some rivalries have names for the battles: The rotten Apple Cup(0-10 Washington against the 1-10 Washington State), the Border War (Kansas/Missouri), the Civil War (Oregon/Oregon State), Red River Classic (Oklahoma/Texas).

Alabama and Auburn met in the Iron Bowl, and if Bama wins this time, then Coach Tuberville of Auburn will be in trouble. Roll Tide.

If only the University of Pittsburgh had not upset West Virginia in the Backyard Bowl last year, then WVA would have been in the BCS Title game and Coach Rodriquez would not have left the Country Roads of West Virginia for the gently rolling hills of the Lower Michigan Peninsula, and this year's game might seem competitive.

Prizes are awardable. The winner of the Big Game, be it Cal or Stanford, gets an axe. Mississippi and Mississippi State play for a "Golden Egg" except when they're both losing. Indiana and Purdue have the Old Oaken Bucket, from which they can drink off their pain.

Michigan-Ohio State; that is the one; universally exclaimed the greatest college rivalry. But not this year. The biggest question is if Coach Tressel can hold the game under the point spread. Of course, that's what they were saying last night when Michigan upset UCLA in basketball.

I have nothing to say about his game except 1-6, 3-8, and 9-2, the meaning of these numbers being well known to the cognoscenti.

What does Michigan have to do to win this game?

Simply follow Michigan's great football tradtion. The record of the 12 Michigan football coaches in this series is 10-1-1 the first time they play Ohio State. The last six have all been winners, and Michigan needs the Magnificent 7.

Maybe Ohio State will get arrogant at home, and play like Florida in the Capitol One Bowl last January. Wouldn't that be great?

Just remember Sweater Vest, every Ohio State coach, including the great Woody Hayes, over the past 75 years has been fired.

No comments: