Michigan vs. Ohio State: As No. 1 Ohio State and No. 2 Michigan prepare to square off in a battle of unbeatens, we started wondering which school has the best team in the history of a rivalry that SportsNation voters ranked as the best in college football. ESPN.com senior college football writer Ivan Maisel narrowed the field to four teams from each school, but the rest is up to you. All this week, leading up to Saturday's game, your votes will determine which team is the best from each school, and ultimately, which team is the best in the history of the rivalry.
No. 2 Seed: 1954 Ohio State Buckeyes
After posting a modest 16-9-2 record in his first three seasons in Columbus, Woody Hayes launched his legacy in earnest by cruising to a national championship in 1954. Having beaten the nation's No. 1 team in both 1951 and 1952, the Buckeyes had some experience winning big games, and they needed every bit of it in beating six ranked teams on the way to the championship, including the Rose Bowl against USC.
While his Heisman Trophy wouldn't come until the following season, Howard "Hopalong" Cassady earned team MVP honors in 1954, joining end Dean Dugger and guard Jim Reichenbach as All-Americans. Cassady led the team with 701 rushing yards on 5.7 yard per carry and also caught 13 passes for another 148 yards. Behind Cassady, the offense averaged 24.9 points per game, more than enough with a dominating defense on their side.
With Jim Parker just emerging as an unstoppable force, the defense forced 35 turnovers in 10 games and allowed opponents to score just 75 points. No opponent reached double digits in the team's last five games, a stretch that includes the Rose Bowl against USC and two other games against ranked teams.
And Ohio State knew how to finish in style, forcing seven fumbles in the Rose Bowl, while limiting the Trojans to six first downs and seven points.