As we all know, the University of Michigan Wolverines will take on the Buckeyes of Ohio State University on Saturday at high noon. According to my close personal friends Merriam and Webster, a rivalry is “: the act of rivaling: the state of being a rival: COMPETITION”. But is Michigan still a rival? Let’s break it down:
The Wolverines are certainly rivals in “the act of rivaling”. Any time the Buckeyes win anything of meaning (games, recruiting, internal investigations) it is like a small knife stabbing all Wolverines in the heart. Michigan wants to beat OSU in every single thing that involves 100 yards and a leather ball. So, rivaling is an act that Michigan not only does, they excel in it.
Part two of the definition, “the state of being a rival”. Everything that was said in the paragraph above can be said for Ohio State. They hate us, we hate them. Hell, the entire state of Ohio tries to get rid of the letter “M” for an entire week. I’m willing to put ownership of this lowly frequented blog down that if you ask 100 Ohio State fans who their biggest rival is, 99 of them will say the University of Michigan. To question if Michigan is in the state of being Ohio State’s rival would almost be as dumb as shortening your alphabet to 25 letters for almost 2% of the year.
Competition. If you’ve read to this point and expected me to argue that Michigan had won games that they haven’t, you can probably close out the window. I know the statistics. Michigan has won two of the last seventeen contests against Ohio State. Even Ohio State fans are smart enough to tell you that isn’t very good. An unacceptable amount of wins that Michigan fans have no choice but to accept. It is our reality. We have been flat out dominated by Ohio State and the likes of Jim Tressel and Urban Meyer. Sometimes the good guy doesn’t always win. When push comes to shove, Michigan hasn’t been a rival in terms of competition. It doesn’t matter how close the games have been, who the quarterbacks have been, or where the spots on the field were; Michigan lost.
While meeting two out of the three prongs for being a rival, Michigan misses out on the most important one. But, a rivalry isn’t decided by what’s written in the history books. It’s not what arbitrary electronic numbers are shown on a scoreboard one Saturday a year. It is in the hearts and minds of a fan base. When a stunningly gorgeous baby boy is born at 3:13 am in Saginaw, Mi and raised in Standish to despise anything related to Columbus, Ohio, that is a rivalry. When an Ohio State graduate delivers his last pizza of the night, backs his ’91 Civic into a parked car, and then decides not to leave his information because that Lamborghini has a Michigan license plate, that is a rivalry.
Now, we come to the year 2018 of our Lord. The B1G East title, a spot in the B1G Championship game, and a shot at the College Football Playoffs lay in the balance on Saturday afternoon. While the competition aspect of the rivalry has been dead for 10 years or so, it doesn’t matter on November 24th. This is the biggest game in Michigan’s history since the same teams met in 2006. Not only is all the aforementioned on the line, but this is also a legacy game for Jim Harbaugh. There is absolutely no reason Michigan should lose this year when looking at this game on paper. Michigan has a clear advantage at every position except wide receiver and, maybe, quarterback. But, as I said before, this game isn’t played on paper. At the end of the day, this is THE Game. Both teams will be fired up and should need no extra motivation outside of the game and what’s at stake.
This game is everything for Michigan fans. Well, it is everything for me at least. If Michigan ends up losing this game, I may never be able to care about anything ever again. I will be broken mentally and, quite possibly, physically. I have already seen my passion for sports wane down over the past couple of years. Whether it be getting a job, having more important things to worry about, or simply just getting older, I just don’t get as excited as I do for sports anymore. Yes, I still get juiced up while watching the games. Wins are still sweet and defeat is still bitter, but not like it used to be. Until this season, this season of Michigan football has restoked a competitive fire inside me for events that I’m not even competing in. If Michigan loses, I may never be able to recover. I’m sure there are some sick bastards out there who would love nothing more than to see me and millions of other Maize & Blue fans have their collective hearts ripped out. While I understand the hatred of Harbaugh because he is bombastic, unabashed, and honest, I just can’t simply wrap my head around not wanting Michigan to win unless you’re an OSU fan. Some people would rather see a coach who enables and silently endorses repeated domestic abuse to come out on top again. They would rather see someone who actively harbors murderers on their team win this game. They would rather see someone who fakes health scares in order to draw sympathy when his teams are playing poorly win the B1G East again.
Pause a second for me to get off my high horse…
BUT, I have a message for the Ohio State University and all who cheer for them or Michigan’s downfall. This year is a new year. For Michigan to start a dynasty over the B1G East, if not now, when? The time is high for Michigan and Jim Harbaugh to do what he was brought in do. Dominate. A victory Saturday may not only usher in a new era of Michigan reign, but it may also end the coaching career of the conveniently-forgetting Urban Meyer. His time is up. The bell tolls for thee, Urban. To quote the great Buhdist monk Bodhidharma, “Still others commit all sorts of evil deeds, claiming karma doesn’t exist. They erroneously maintain that since everything is empty, committing evil isn’t wrong. Such persons fall into a hell of endless darkness with no hope of release. Those who are wise hold no such conception.”. When karma catches up to Urban, he must address it by name. Karma has a name on November 24th, its name is Michigan.
PREDICTION: Michigan 28- Ohio State 17
(These 1000+ words would be pointless if I didnt predict Michigan to win)