The Michigan vs Ohio State football game is arguably the greatest rivalry in all of sports. The rivalry is referred to as “The Game”.
“The Game” has a lot at stake this year, including the Big 10 East Division Championship, and the winner will be the favorite against Northwestern in the Big 10 Conference Championship game next weekend. The Big 10 champion has a great shot to be one of the four selected in the College Football Playoff, giving them a chance to play for a National Championship. A loss for either team will eliminate them from being in the Final 4, and the winner keeps their hopes alive.
This game has always been a heated battle, creating tension and hatred between the two teams and fan bases. This year it is even greater because both teams are contenders and in the hunt for being selected to the college football playoff.
Harbaugh and Meyer were both born in Toledo, the city on the border of these two states, and each one has the same competitive edge to their style of coaching. The fire and energy that these two bring to their team and to all of college football is what sets them apart from everyone else and makes them Top 5 coaches in the country. They may act calmly in front of the media, but everyone knows they don’t like each other, and the two of them going head-to-head is always going to be a classic.
Harbaugh was brought back to Michigan to win big games like this against their rival south of the border. This hasn’t been the case since he arrived in Ann Arbor in 2015. He is 0-3 against the Buckeyes. He has been taking heat from the media locally and nationally, and on the streets, recruiting.
The Wolverines are the favorite heading into this game and Harbaugh knows he can’t go 0-4 against the Buckeyes. His reputation for winning big games has been questioned and his quiet demeanor at the preseason Big 10 media day showed he has been humbled since his first season when he was on top of the world. A win will put him right back to the same confidence level as his first day on the job, and a loss will have the critics back in his ear.
Urban Meyer, on the other hand, has done nothing but take care of business against the “team up north”. His 6-0 record against Michigan has been dominating. However, this season he has was suspended for the first 3 games, his team looked horrible losing to Purdue, and gave up 50 points to Maryland in an overtime win last week. The defense looks in disarray and hasn’t been able to slow down opposing teams.
The Buckeyes are still 10-1, but it hasn’t looked pretty in the last 5 or 6 games, and even with a win, they will be a longshot to be one of the four teams selected in the playoff. There is also talk that this will be his last season in Columbus, due to health issues and reverberations from the scandal over the summer.
All these issues for both coaches are thrown out the window when the opening kickoff takes place at noon on Saturday. Rankings, favorites, underdogs, scandals, winless record against their rival and undefeated record against their rival doesn’t matter. “The Game” will be settled on the field.