Only twice at Ohio State has Urban Meyer lost in the regular season: last year against Virginia Tech, and last week against Michigan State. The Spartans—the only team to have beaten Meyer's Buckeyes more than once, thanks to their 2013 win over Ohio State in the Big Ten Championship game—capitalized on a sluggish, struggling offense to win 17-14, nearly clinching the Big Ten East title. After the loss, many people, including some of the players, were openly critical of the coaching staff and the play calling, and both Ezekiel Elliott and Cardale Jones strongly implied that they will not be back in the 'Shoe next fall. The season is far from over, though. The Buckeyes will have to pull together if they want to get a road win against the Wolverines.
After losing their opening game to Utah, the Wolverines have been almost perfect, their only other loss this season coming to Michigan State on the last play of the game. Whereas the Buckeyes have only managed one shutout this season, the Wolverines have had three. BYU, Maryland, and Northwestern were all kept out of the end zone in three consecutive games; BYU and Northwestern were ranked at the time of their games. While Ohio State is coming off its first loss since the beginning of last season, Michigan is coming off a 28-16 win at Penn State. As most Ohio State fans know, a win against our rival is enough to redeem any season.
There's more on the line here than the usual not giving a damn, though. Today is Harbaugh's first game against the Buckeyes as a coach. The last time he was involved in The Game was back in 1986, when the Wolverines defeated the Buckeyes 26-24 with an offense led by starting quarterback Jim Harbaugh. There's also the implications The Game has for the Big Ten East standings. While Michigan State will most likely win the division, they do have to beat Penn State today to do it. Should the Nittany Lions pull off a shocker of an upset, the East title will belong to either Ohio State or Michigan, depending on who win's today's chapter of this storied rivalry.
With so much on the line, you know you're going to want to talk about it, so join us in our Ohio State-Michigan GameThread in the comments below. The only thing we know for sure going into this game is that it'll be intense, so come talk about it with us.