Today is a holiday for every Ohio State fan. The day of the Ohio State – Michigan football game. I am very excited to be going to the game in Ohio Stadium this afternoon. I have had the good fortune to go to this game on two other occasions.
I’ve had an interesting discussion with a couple of other people this week about the state of today’s game and whether you would like to see Ohio State win by 3 or 30. While I think the natural inclination is to say 30, I would rather have a competitive, close fought game for a number of reasons.
1. It’s more fun to watch. I was in attendance during the 2008 route where Ohio State beat Michigan 42-7. I grew up during the John Cooper era where wins against Michigan were rare. The ’08 game was surreal, because seeing Ohio State belittle Michigan the way in which they did was honestly something I thought I would never witness. Once in a blue moon, it can be fun. 2008 domination and the 1968 50-14 route where Woody Hayes famously went for two because he couldn’t go for three are good – once in a generation – type beatings.
But in general, I feel like you should want a good game. In general, would you rather watch a 42-7 game or, say, a 27-21 game that’s close?
2. It’s bad for the rivalry. Ohio State and Michigan is not considered the best rivalry in college football (best in all of sports according to some people) for games in which one team dominates the other.
If Ohio State crushes Michigan this afternoon, seeing a good team beat up a bad team does nothing to advance the rivalry.
Don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying that I want to see Ohio State lose. I just want to see them win a close game.
I know that some Ohio State fans like to root against Michigan just because it’s Michigan, but if you appreciate this rivalry, and know anything about football, you should want Michigan to be good.
2006 was a prime example. Both teams went into that game undefeated, ranked 1 & 2. By halftime, it was clear that Troy Smith had wrapped up winning the Heisman trophy and the Bucks won 42-38. Now that’s a game! Would you take a five or six touchdown shellacking of Michigan over that?
Michigan has had a three year stretch that is as bad a three years as they have had in the history of their program. Their defense has shown an ability to stop advancing offensive assaults about as affectively as the Maginot Line.
This is bad for the rivalry.
My hope for this game is that even though this isn’t a very good Michigan team, I hope that they can salvadge some of the tradition by playing a good game.
I’m not saying I want Ohio State to play bad. I’m saying I want Michigan to play better than they have all season.