I can imagine nothing better than the sound of 110,000 Michigan fans shoehorned into that awful stadium on a freezing late autumn day and watching their team get dominated.
It was funny enough when Notre Dame swept into Michigan Stadium on an unusually warm September afternoon and kept the Big House quiet. Charlie Weis’s boys were so good that you Wolverine fans had almost nothing to cheer about. It was even funnier when the fans started throwing things onto the field when things didn’t go their way.
It was even better that October afternoon when Minnesota went into your house and left with the Little Brown Jug. I can only imagine with glee how quiet the stadium was after watching Gary Russell and Laurence Maroney run over the Weasels.
Saturday, the sound of silence will return, and I cannot wait to see it myself.
All right, maybe I shouldn’t be so confident. The last time OSU traveled to Ann Arbor, Buckeye fans were supremely confident. We had a national title-winning quarterback, a dominating defense and a coach that could seemingly outwit Lloyd Carr with one frontal lobe tied behind his back. In case you don’t remember, that did not end so well for us.
No matter. We might not have a national title-winning quarterback, but the defense is just fine, Tressel is just as smart and Carr is, well, Lloyd Carr. Down here in Columbus, the ethos about this game goes back to one Wayne Woodrow Hayes. No one hated Michigan more than Woody, and no one did more to make the rivalry what it is today.
Still, I never understood the hate until I actually took a trip to Michigan. The roads? Awful. Construction? Awful. No left turns? Brilliant. The people? Look a little weird. Anyone related with U-M? Pretentious beyond belief. Detroit? What an awful smell.
It lent a real reasoning behind the rivalry, as opposed to “They keep beating John Cooper, and is maize even a color, anyway?”
The weird thing is that I’ve met some great people from the state of Michigan down here. Apparently the smart ones come to OSU. So although my general inclination is to hate the entire state (unlike Woody, I’ll buy gas in the state), maybe I should just focus my energies on U-M.
And why is it U-M anyway? Is the dash really necessary? Or would UM sound too much like one of Carr’s press conference answers?
“Why did you keep kicking the ball to Ted Ginn Jr. when chances were that he would eventually return one for a touchdown?”
“UM, well, UM, why would you go and ask a question like that?”
In addition, Carr has continued to harp on the security problems his team faced when entering Ohio Stadium a season ago, almost placing blame for the team’s loss on bomb-sniffing dogs. The dogs didn’t even do their job – the Wolverines bombed from the opening kickoff.
It is almost laughable that Carr would continue to discuss the fiasco that he started in the first place. Was he not expecting a little gamesmanship in America’s greatest rivalry?
Therein lies the difference between the two teams: the coaches. Tressel has reached mythic status down here, almost entirely because of his success against Michigan and in bowl games. For my youth, OSU was grouped with John Cooper’s failures. No longer. Now, the upper hand is in Columbus thanks to Tressel, and come Saturday, the Wolverines will be schooled once again.
Jeff Svoboda is the sports editor of The Lantern and a senior in journalism and political science. He knows you won’t like this column, so please don’t send hate mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.