One Game That Always Means Everything
Who plays better QB- Troy Smith is a winner, pure and simple. He needs to adjust to the best defense he's seen this year and not make any mistakes. Same for Chad Henne. They don't beat themselves, they need to be beaten.
2. Hart- Michigan's chances rest on him. He's durable and if he has a big day, he Wolverines will win. Another player that doesn't beat himself.
3. DEE-FENSE!- Which one forces the mistake? The turnover. The bad penalty deep in their own territory that leads to the botched punt.
They both are good and one will step up and win the game.
Who will win? Who's game will reign supreme?
My heart says Michigan and I stopped listening to my head Sunday. Interpret it for what you will.
Okay, so the stakes may be a bit higher this year, for the rest of you, but for those of us who have a dog in the Michigan-Ohio State hunt, this game means everything, every year.
Those of you who get all tingly over Auburn-Alabama, Georgia-Florida, USC-UCLA, Texas-Texas A&M, Pitt-WVU (this is part of my be nicer to the Big East thing, Ok, Charlie? :)), Army-Navy. You know what I mean.
0-10 going in? No problem, beat the rival and the season is salvaged. Need to earn a trip to a championship game, super sweet if done on their home field.
Which brings us to this year's game. Michigan and Ohio State for a whole huge bag of marbles, a trip to Glendale, and a winter full of bragging rights. Never in a million years did I think that this Michigan team would contend for a National title. I know how good Ohio State is. But for Lloyd Carr's boys to bounce back from that horrible last season, compounded by the bowl game that must not be named, is a very pleasant surprise.
Watching Ohio State transform under Jim Tressel has been like watching an ex-girlfriend slam dance some linebacker. She wouldn't do hat with you in private and now she's nearly doing it in public. Watching the John Cooper era in Columbus was like that because as a Michigan fan, you knew that they'd screw it up some how and we spent the better part of ten vyears getting high profile bowl games at the expense of Ohio State.
Tressel, to his credit and my chagrin, changed how Ohio State played the game. They don't make mistakes, except Maurice Clarette. They beat you playing their game. They may have been the luckiest National Championship team in 2002, think Purdue, but they certainly were deserving if that title, Miami fans are excused.
Ohio State has lost two games the last two seasons. Week 2 last year to Vince Young and the Longhorns, and to resurgent Penn State. Frankly, if they had dumped the co-starting quarterback routine, they might have won against Texas and they might have been the team that faced USC in the Orange Bowl.
They would be the overwhelming favorite to win Saturday, except they are playing the Wolverines. Still, they are seven point favorites.
It would be silly to think that Michigan is not under any pressure to win here, because it's THE Ohio State University. But, they have really nothing to lose. They will get a BCS bid, win or lose. They look fantastic for next year, Chad Henne has matured. Nobody had them pegged for a title run, yet they are. All the pressure is on the Buckeyes to fulfill their pre-season expectations.
(Don't get me wrong, there is a ton of pressure on Michigan.)
Here are the key points Saturday: