Dear Ohio State,
It’s that time of year again where our respective student bodies cram into stadiums, bars, and living rooms across the nation. The air is peppered with smells of pizza, hot dogs, and the ever-present stale aroma of weeks old Natty Light. Ah yes, The Game, as it so condescendingly known to our lesser rivals, is upon us. No longer must we shake our fists to the sky and threaten each other from afar as if we were easily provoked world leaders on the brink of war. Now we get to meet face to face. Finally, our frustrations and joys from an entire year of football can be honed into three plus hours of drama right in the heart of our nation. Will we return to work with our shoulders hung low, or will we breathe new life once again as the victors for another 364?
Not actual photo of ScoreBoredSports office life
Aside from all of the animosity, however, it is also a time to be thankful. With Thanksgiving still close behind in the rear-view mirror, one can almost forget the things that we should be thankful for. So, Ohio State, while I savor the month’s worth of Thanksgiving leftovers scattered across my refrigerator like buried treasure, I would like to reach out my turkey-leg free hand and say that I am thankful for you. I know fellow Wolverines, I know. This doesn’t seem right and, frankly, writing it out on the page gives me pause but I have to acknowledge what the famed school down south brings to the table. For it is their presence on the other side of those hallowed sidelines that makes this rivalry worth it. Red vs. Blue. Woody vs. Bo. Slytherin vs. Gryffindor. No matter which way you slice it, we were meant for each other from the very start. By the way, that start in 1897 resulted in a 34-0 shellacking from Michigan, but I digress.
Ohio State vs. Michigan
Just think about all of the memories we have shared together. Who could forget Desmond Howard’s famed Heisman pose? Or what about the legendary #1 vs. #2 match up in 2006 where the Buckeyes barely escaped and advanced to the National Championship game? And you DEFINITELY can’t give thanks and remember all the good times without being reminded that we once thought these two jokers were good enough to coach our teams. But what truly makes the stories even better is the fans. Every Michigan and Ohio State fan has a story or experience related to The Game. I can tell you about the joy I felt rushing the field when Michigan finally won in 2011. I didn’t care that it was a supposed “off year” for Ohio State. I’ll never forget feeling the Michigan field underneath my sneakers. On the flip side, I can also tell you what it was like to hear the echoed silence of the Big House when Ohio State obliterated us during my freshman year. At that point (2008) we were pretty used to losing but that didn’t make it hurt any less.
This upcoming Saturday is just the next chapter in our story. Today, we find ourselves both coached by madmen. Men who represent their alma maters with an intensity and dedication to detail that will make the game itself into a massively televised chess match. We have the spirits of Bo and Woody back, with all the bells and whistles of old. We have our old rankings back. We have the fire of the greatest rivalry in football burning as bright as it has in years. We have pride, bowl games, and, yes, maybe even playoffs on the line. That is, of course, assuming that Christian Hackenburg plays like the 1st round QB a lot of us hope he is because a certain SOMEONE couldn’t beat Michigan State without their QB but, again, I digress.
Don’t let the smiles fool you. They’re both clinically insane.
See you Saturday Ohio State. I’m happy that it’s you guys I get to hate.