“[Ohio State] only beat the Wolverines twice in the ’90s, but they started to fight back in the few years before I arrived in 2006. One of my goals was to help Ohio State dominate the rivalry once again.”
– Chris “Beanie” Wells, The Players Tribune
In a piece penned to The Players Tribune, Chris “Beanie” Wells talked about the magnitude of The Game, as well as creating a legacy against the Buckeyes most bitter of rivals.
Wells reminisces on a moving speech by OSU quarterback Troy Smith in 2006 that propelled Wells to bust out a huge run against UM for a touchdown in the highly anticipated ‘Game of the Century’ when both schools were ranked as No. 1 and No. 2. From there, Wells breaks down going to The Big House the following year, the coincidences of the toilets and electricity not working in the visitors locker room and then rushing for two touchdowns in a 14-3 win in 2007.
The memories last with Beanie, but the moral of the story rings for those who are playing, and will play in The Game: As a Buckeye, you are defined by what you do against the Wolverines. Wells rattled off a 3-0 record against the maize and blue, which puts the pressure on current and future Buckeyes to do the same.
Everything from senior tackle to playing with the band are memories etched into every Ohio State football player’s memory. The biggest memory being how they did against The Team Up North.
"It was just like, great timing, I guess, that it came together when they were playing Michigan in the biggest game of the season,"
– LeBron James on having his signature shoe being worn by the Buckeyes before Saturday’s game, as reported by the Associated Press (via ESPN.com)
The hoopla surrounding OSU-UM will bring the hoops biggest star to Columbus tomorrow. LeBron James, whose shoe was designed for the Buckeyes to wear on the gridiron, will be in attendance at The ‘Shoe to see his shoe be worn by the Scarlet and Gray. It also helps that this game was one on his “bucket list”.
On the opposing side, the Wolverines will be rocking the Jordan brand jerseys. In a way, the basketball world has spilled onto the college football arena, thus creating an indirect Jordan v. James matchup.
For James, running down to Columbus to catch the game will be smack-dab in the middle of a weekend that involves two NBA contests. Either way, it should be a busy weekend for the King of Hoops.
“For the first time in 10 years, a top-five team is guaranteed to lose this game.”
– Bill Connelly, SBNation
Fanfare for The Game hasn’t reached this level of a fever pitch since the 2006 meeting. Wells talked about making a big play (and did) in the Buckeyes 42-39 victory that sent them to the national championship game.
Since then, the luster for the rivalry has shown signs of oxidation, but in the form of Michigan not living up to Michigan/Schembechler standards. The last time both these teams met each other in a top five contest that featured both teams in the national championship picture was in 2006 – which is way too long for this rivalry.
Connelly goes more in-depth, specifically in the late 1960s, and looks at the Bo Schembechler-Woody Hayes dynamic that lifted the rivalry to where it is today. In the times of the ‘10 Year War’, the Wolverines and Buckeyes were practically playing each other in de facto Big Ten title games.
Since the departure of Lloyd Carr after the 2007 season, the Wolverines have spent most of the time trying to get into a decent bowl game, while the Buckeyes were the ones fighting for Big Ten title and BCS championship aspirations.
With the reinvigoration of Jim Harbaugh, a Schembechler pupil, at UM, The Game has finally got back to where it was supposed to be. Now, we wait and see what the outcomes will be.
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