Tuesday, March 18, 2014
Snapping the streak: Michigan-Ohio State
By Adam Rittenberg
The Big Ten is rooted in historic rivalries, but some of these series have been lopsided in recent years. We're taking a closer look at these games and whether things will change or remain the same in 2014.
So far, you and I think the status quo will remain in series like Wisconsin-Minnesota, Michigan-Michigan State and Minnesota-Michigan. The final rivalry under the microscope has no trophy at stake because it doesn't need one. It goes by a simple title: The Game. Ohio State and Michigan. Enough said.
Lately, it has been all Buckeyes.
Let's dive in ...
Series: First meeting in 1897. Michigan leads 58-45-6. Since 1951, Ohio State leads 33-27-2.
Last meeting: Ohio State prevailed 42-41 on Nov. 30, 2013, at Michigan Stadium after snuffing out Michigan's potential game-winning two-point conversion attempt.
The streak: Ohio State has won consecutive matchups, and Michigan has only one win in the series since 2003. The Buckeyes' 2010 victory was vacated because of NCAA violations.
Next meeting: Nov. 29 at Ohio Stadium
The skinny: Ohio State dominated Michigan during coach Jim Tressel's tenure, but the gap seems to be narrowing a bit since Brady Hoke took over the Wolverines' program. Hoke beat Ohio State in his first season, and his Wolverines nearly pulled an upset last year against a Buckeyes team that had won its first 23 games under Urban Meyer. Michigan's inconsistent offense found a rhythm against Ohio State, and Wolverines quarterback Devin Gardner and wide receiver Jeremy Gallon matched blow for blow with the dynamic Buckeye backfield of Braxton Miller and Carlos Hyde.
This year's game could come down to whether the Michigan offense or the Ohio State defense fixes its issues from 2013. Both units have new coaches, as coordinator Doug Nussmeier comes to Michigan, while Chris Ash and Larry Johnson take on key roles in Columbus. Ohio State and Michigan are in the same division for the first time, and The Game should have implications on who goes to Indianapolis. Michigan hasn't won at Ohio Stadium since 2000, a game that sealed John Cooper's fate as Buckeyes coach. Both teams return their quarterbacks and bring in decorated defensive recruits such as Jabrill Peppers (Michigan) and Raekwon McMillan (Ohio State).
The (very early) prediction: Hoke prepares Michigan well for The Game, and the Wolverines should be a bit steadier on offense. But I don't see Miller losing his final home game as a Buckeye, especially with postseason implications likely on the line. Miller rallies Ohio State late for a three-point win.