I woke up Wednesday morning and the first thing that popped in my head was "I can't wait for Saturday, Michigan-Ohio State." (please save the insults...yes I'm a dork). I think what makes this year feel like years past when this game was "The Game" is that for the first time in what seems like a lifetime, is that both teams and both fan bases believe they will win the game. Last year, I think everyone felt that OSU was down and Michigan was going to win, they did. Throughout the Rich Rod era, I'm not sure there was a person alive (even me) that thought Michigan would beat the Buckeyes, they didn't. Now, everything has changed. Two new coaches, both of which doesn't particularly like the other school, and both teams are playing for something. Ohio State is playing for an unbeaten season and the Wolverines are playing for what they hope is a trip to the Big 10 Championship Game (Go Iowa, Beat Nebraska!)
What makes rivalries special, and why this game is the best in the country, is because more often than not, a championship is on the line. These two teams have met 107 times, in 76 of those meetings (77 if you count 2010) a Big Ten Title has been on the line for one or both schools. And in years when the other guy has a chance to win a championship, there is nothing sweeter than to ruin their year. Since 1980, Ohio State has come in unbeaten 10 times. Michigan has ruined their year 5 times. This year Ohio State is once again.
When I was a freshman at Michigan, it was the Monday before the game. I forget what class it was (I don't remember much from college...but that's another story for another day haha). I do remember it was in a lecture hall though and when the Professor walked in, he started to write something down on the projector, I'll never forget it! "Knock them from their Ivo-ry tower, send them crash-ing in-to the shower. I hate O-hi-o State, their a know-noth-ing, par-ty school." He played the Ohio State fight song theme, and we all sung along. That was the entire class.
In the new Big Ten (or Big 14 or Big 16 or whatever it will become), Michigan and Ohio State MUST be in opposite divisions. If they were in the same division, they would never again meet for a Big Ten title. That's what made this conference, Michigan and Ohio State (sorry MSU fans). They can't take that away. And so what if they played on back to back weeks. Let's face it, that scenario won't happen a lot. In 2006, I think a lot of Michigan fans would've loved to see a rematch on a neutral field. In 2011, I'm sure Wisconsin won't apologize or return the Big Ten Championship, after all, MSU has beaten Wisconsin in football 3 of the last 4 times. The one time the Badgers got it done against the Spartans was the only time it really mattered, in December in Indianapolis with a trip to the Rose Bowl on the line.
That being said, ((cue the Ohio state fight song music)) I HATE O-HI-O STATE, THEIR A KNOW-NOTH-ING PAR-TY SCHOOL.