It always matters. It’s not just another game on the schedule.
On the final weekend of the regular season in Big Ten college football, the Michigan Wolverines and Ohio State Buckeyes meet to continue a holy war that gives mild-mannered folks a legitimate reason to lose their vocal chords on an Autumn Saturday.
Split in a 3-way tie on top of the conference, the Buckeyes can still win the Big Ten if they beat Michigan. Ask anyone in Columbus and they’d rather see their boys end up with a pair of gold pants.
Since 1934, a Buckeye win over the Wolverines gave each player and member of the staff a pair of gold-plated pants. It’s a simple charm on a chain that’s very complex. It signifies a win against Michigan. That’s the kind of stuff that makes grown men cry.
Michigan enters Saturday’s game fresh off a thrashing by Wisconsin in The Big House. It’s a united community right now in Ann Arbor. They hate their head coach and love their quarterback. Beating a rival means you let a lot of things go, even if that includes rooting against Rich Rodriguez.
The Wolverines have a losing record in conference play, but never overlook a down team in a rivalry game. After all, they’ve put in so much practice for this game over the last three seasons or so.
Michigan, on the surface, isn’t as good as Ohio State. They have no defense. That hurts in division one football. Actually, that hurts in Pop Warner football. The Wolverines give up 33.5 points per game. That’s 99th in FBS play. Ohio State gives up 13.9 points per game. That’s 5th in FBS play. It’s the most important statistic in this matchup.
Let Auburn and Alabama decided who the best team in the country is on Friday afternoon. But make sure not to miss the most important football game of the season.
In the words of the immortal Buckeye coach Woody Hayes, “Do you know who we are playing this weekend? My God, it’s Michigan. It’s Michigan.”
Enjoy the collective venom on Saturday afternoon.