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With each passing year, Ohio State not only inches closer to passing Michigan when it comes to all-time wins, but also catching the Wolverines in the head-to-head series. A fun question to ponder is whether Ohio State will pass Michigan in all-time wins first, or in the all-time series?
Currently Ohio State sits second all-time in wins with 931 wins, while Michigan’s 964 wins is the most amongst FBS teams. The Buckeyes are rapidly closing the gap, though. Since 2010, Ohio State has 112 wins, while Michigan registered 87 wins during the same period. In just the last 10 years of college football, Ohio State has gained 25 wins on the Wolverines.
The gap could tighten up even more if the wins from Ohio State’s 2010 season are reinstated. Currently, the Buckeyes are credited with no wins during the season despite winning 12 games on the field. The vacated victories are part of the punishment that is associated with the “Tat 5”, Lately there has been a push from Terrelle Pryor and other Buckeyes to reinstate those wins, and it feels like only a matter of time before the 12 wins are returned to Ohio State’s all-time record.
If Ohio State’s 2010 victories are eventually reinstated, it will close the gap significantly on Michigan. If we add 12 more wins to Ohio State’s all-time total, it cuts the gap to just 21 victories, as the Buckeyes would have 943 wins to Michigan’s 964 victories. There has been nothing over the last 15 years that would make anyone think that Michigan is going to increase the gap on Ohio State in the near future.
Since 2010, Ohio State has eight seasons in which they have won at least 11 games, and that isn’t including the 2010 season that saw the wins vacated. The only seasons in which the Buckeyes didn’t win at least 11 games came in 2010, the 2011 where they won just six games, and last year’s shortened seven win season. During the same span, Michigan only has four seasons of at least 10 wins, and one season with 11 wins.
As long as Ohio State gains 2-3 games on Michigan per year (and the 2010 wins are reinstated), it’s not crazy to think that the Buckeyes could move past Michigan by the 2030 season. That timeline could be moved up if Michigan finally decides to move on from Jim Harbaugh and bring in a new head coach, which could result in the Wolverines winning even less games than anticipated.
The all-time series
Ohio State has been moving closer to evening up the all-time series with Michigan. Currently the Wolverines hold a 58-51-6 edge against Ohio State. The Buckeyes have dominated the series of late, going 16-3 against That Team Up North since 2000. The all-time series record doesn’t include the 2010 win over the Wolverines, which is currently vacated, but could possibly be reinstated in the future.
Even if the 2010 win isn’t reinstated, it’s likely we see Ohio State at least tie the series up by 2030, if not a little before. While The Game was close for years, Ohio State has left Michigan in the dust over the last 15 years. There was some hype that Jim Harbaugh might be able to restore the rivalry to how it was in the past when it was one of the most important games on the college football schedule, but Michigan is still looking for their first win over Ohio State under Harbaugh.
So where does Ohio State pass Michigan first?
I feel like the Buckeyes are going to pass Michigan first in all-time wins, under the condition that Ohio State gets their 2010 wins reinstated. If the Buckeyes gain 12 wins with that, they’ll only need to win 21 more games than Michigan before they’ll have to beat the Wolverines seven more times to take the lead in the all-time series between the two schools. If the wins aren’t reinstated, then the Buckeyes have to win 33 more games before beating Michigan head-to-head eight times.
Ohio State has a lot more wiggle room when it comes to the all-time wins mark over Michigan. You could see the Buckeyes gain at least two wins in a season, and if Michigan is really down, then maybe we see Ohio State close the gap by 6-7 wins in a year. While in the all-time head-to-head series, you only have one crack at the Wolverines every year. Maybe by some miracle, the Wolverines beat Ohio State, then it sets you behind schedule and it could take a few more years than originally anticipated to gain the edge on Michigan in the series.
No matter what happens, it’s quite apparent that Ohio State is trending up, while Michigan is trending down. It’s a shame that’s the case since college football is better when both teams are at the top of their game, but a win’s a win over Michigan and I’ll take them however Ohio State can get them. There’s no question who the better team in the rivalry is right now, so what better time to stack those wins up and make things look better on paper.