From now until preseason camp starts in August, Land-Grant Holy Land will be writing articles around a different theme every week. This week is all about what we would do if we were in charge of our favorite position group, team, conference, or sport. You can catch up on all of the Theme Week content here and all our “Unpopular Opinion” articles here.
Ohio State vs. Michigan (gross, will be TTUN throughout the rest of this piece) is the greatest rivalry in college football and arguably all of team sports. I don’t say that as an OSU homer, but as a fan of just about every game played with a ball or puck. I have also read the books and watched the documentaries, which are still being written or made – by HBO! – about this rivalry. It is the crème de la crème of contentious competition.
Part of the mystique of The Rivalry is The Game, which has been played in November since 1934... Except for in 2020, when TTUN cancelled the game to avoid embarrassment while also attempting to screw Ohio State out of a Big Ten Championship Game appearance.
While I can’t speak to motives held a century ago, current scheduling of The Game allows for season-long buildup of hype, excitement, and animosity. And because it is the last game of the regular season for both teams, its outcome has often influenced or decided the Big Ten and/or NCAA national championship(s). The latter less frequently and to a far lesser extent. But go ahead, SEC fans, try to convince me that the Iron Bowl is just as important or influential because Auburn was good that one time.
One of the reasons this game – The Game – means more than any other game (that’s a lot of games) is that both TTUN and Ohio State win a lot. Like, a lot, a lot. TTUN is currently the all-time winningest program in CFB, while OSU is tied for second. This means, more often than not, that the November matchup between these two bluebloods is competitive and fiercely contested. Sure, one or the other will go on a winning streak or emerge victorious in 17 out of 19, but it is relatively rare to see a four-quarter beatdown.
Most fans, casual or invested, enjoy close, competitive rivalry games. And while I certainly have an appreciation for those played by other teams, my little secret, which likely doubles as an unpopular opinion, is that I kiiinda want Ohio State’s rival to be in shambles come November.
That’s right, give me the sh*tty version of TTUN each and every season, even if it leads to The Game losing some of its luster. Why? Because I would love for the Buckeyes to just embarrass the Wolverines, thus preventing yours truly from experiencing heart palpitations and major anxiety. Sorry, not sorry.
But I have attended The Game in both Columbus and Ann Arbor, rushed the field inside The Shoe, watched No. 1 defeat No. 2, and experienced both the thrill of victory and the agony of defeat. So I’m all set. I don’t need anything else from this rivalry. I just want my beloved team to enjoy the path of least resistance on their way to championship after championship!
I realize that having and stating this opinion might lead to others questioning my overall fandom. To those people, I would say... well, nevermind. But I feel this way because I am too emotionally invested! My level of fandom cannot get any higher. It is beyond reproach. I just want to win championships, baby. And those stupid Wolverines are an obstacle in the Buckeyes’ way; one that I could live without.
My unpopular opinion simply stems from the fact that I am not a masochist, ok? That’s really what it comes down to. I want OSU to run roughshod over all their opponents, including TTUN. If they experience no resistance whatsoever, that would be perfect. Sign me up. Because I prefer to feel dead inside. And then if I ever need a shot of adrenaline or want to experience football-induced euphoria, I will turn on the 2006 version of The Game and cry crocodile tears of joy.