This has been a dreadful season for the Buckeye Nation. We’ve seen our coach, Jim Tressel, resign under fire. We’ve dealt with an embarrassing NCAA scandal that cut out the heart of our offense. We’ve watched the Buckeyes give up big leads, fritter away games, and play like pretenders rather than contenders.
But all of that means nothing this week, because Ohio State is playing Michigan.
To be sure, this year The Game has a different feel. For one thing, it’s coming after Thanksgiving, rather than the weekend before. For another, Michigan is the favorite for the first time in years. But so what? This is a game where the records get thrown out the window. And if the Buckeyes can somehow beat the Wolverines, a dismal season will be salvaged.
The Wolverines are playing The Game at home, and everyone expects them to win. They crushed Nebraska last week, their offense is clicking, and their defense is dramatically improved. The Buckeyes, in contrast, have lost two in a row. Yet . . . how will Michigan react to the high expectations? They’ve lost to the Buckeyes six games in a row, and every Wolverine fan thinks this is the year for the Maize and Blue to get some serious payback. If Ohio State can score some points and keep the game close, the pressure may work to the Buckeyes’ advantage.
We’ll find out come Saturday — and until then we’ll enjoy the excitement and taunting that make Michigan Week so special.