When it comes to rivalries, we have the best. There's no game like The Game. There's no feeling like the joy of watching the team in scarlet and gray get the win, and nothing hurts quite like watching them fall short. I love it. It's the best. Sure, we have some other little feuds with some other teams/the entire SEC, but we all know which one really matters.
Part of what makes it so great, though, is location. Ann Arbor isn't in Ohio, and that's a good thing. An in-state rivalry wouldn't be as fun as our out-of-state one. I'm glad we don't have an in-state rival.
Let's look at some facts. First off, having an out-of-state rival gives us a sense of unity. We, the good people of the great state of Ohio, can all gather together in our hatred of another school and state. It doesn't matter if you're from Cleveland, Columbus, or Cincinnati, we can all joins hands and sing Carmen Ohio together. It brings us together. (Yes, a lot of people from Toledo seem to favor the team up north, but I hear the jury's still out on whether or not Toledo is actually part of Ohio.)
Imagine having a divided fan base. Sure, we have fans of BGSU, Ohio University, UC, etc., but most of them are also Buckeye fans. Hell, we're called The Buckeye State. It's part of our identity. You don't hear people talking about "the Wolverine/Spartan State," do you? Of course you don't; that'd be ridiculous.
Travel with me now to the future. It's a bleak, dystopian future, like The Hunger Games or Divergent. President Tressel of YSU and their head coach, Bo Pelini, have built the Penguins into the powerhouse of the Missouri Valley Football Conference. The team is so good, they've left the MVFC for greener pastures. We play them. They win. We face them in a rematch. They win again. The state is torn apart. Youngstown starts stealing our recruits. They win games that we should have won. LeBron moves his honorary locker room to Beeghly Center. I told you it was a dark future.
Another reason not to have an in-state rival is that it lets us focus our anger outside. What's your favorite hate-filled unofficial school song? Let's all sing it together: We don't give a damn for the whole state of Michigan. Those are powerful words, people. We are professing a complete lack of damns given for an entire state! I don't care for the University of Wisconsin, but I have no ill feelings towards the state itself. (Well, except for the one time Matt Brown and I spent what a week that felt like a year trapped in a small town in BFE, Wisconsin, but that's a different story.) I enjoy thrashing Penn State, but I am actually quite fond of Pennsylvania. Michigan, though? It can go to hell.
Now, what would we sing if we felt that way about Miami of Ohio? "We don't give a damn for the whole country of Butler" just doesn't have as much oomph, does it?
Right now, the Buckeyes get to dominate the recruiting for an entire talent-rich state, we don't risk our own families getting torn apart as much over a rivalry, and we still get to enjoy the best rivalry in all of college football. Sounds like a pretty sweet deal if you ask me. Having to share that with a school like say, Cincinnati, would cheapen everything.