Golden age dawns for Buckeyes vs. Wolverines

Stop. Lift your head and look around. Take a moment to drink in what we are about to witness. This will be the first meeting between Ohio State coach Urban Meyer and Michigan coach Brady Hoke. And it’s the beginning of what I think will be a golden age for this All-American rivalry.

That’s saying a lot, I know. This is one of America’s greatest feuds. And it is defined by two names: Woody vs. Bo. But Brady vs. Urban has a chance to be special. Brady vs. Urban has a chance to be great. Brady vs. Urban has a chance to be historic. And it all starts on Saturday in the Horseshoe along the banks of the Olentangy River.

”If you need anything to get amped up more for this football game, then you don’t know college football and you don’t understand the importance of this great rivalry,” said Hoke.

[RELATED: Week 13 game previews | Week 13 reader mail | Week 13 scoreboard ]

Look at what the two coaches have done in a short period of time. Hoke led the Wolverines to an 11-2 mark in his debut last season, capping it with a Sugar Bowl triumph. In Meyer’s maiden voyage in Columbus, he has the Buckeyes on the precipice of the program’s sixth unbeaten season. This will be the 12th time Ohio State has taken a perfect record into the Michigan game, boasting an 8-3-1 record.

Ohio State Season Leaders
Passing Yards: B. Miller 1850
Passing TDs: B. Miller 14
Rushing Yards: B. Miller 1214
Rushing TDs: C. Hyde 15
Receiving Yards: C. Brown 574
Receiving TDs: D. Smith 6
Interceptions: T. Howard 4

And if you believe recruiting rankings, each coach is stock piling talent that exceeds the rosters compiled by their other ten Big Ten brethren.

Bottom line: Michigan and Ohio State may be priming the pump for an extended run of dominance not see by the Big Ten since the two schools ran roughshod over the league in the 1970s, an era known when the conference was known as the “big two and little eight.”
And it’s because of Brady and Urban.

Saturday’s ’s game vs. 8-3 Michigan and 11-0 Ohio State is Chapter 1 of Brady vs. Urban. And that makes me circle back to Bo vs. Woody.

“The one thing about this rivalry, you’re taught at a very young age who the enemy is,” said Meyer. “However, there’s a deep-rooted respect for the enemy. That’s the way I was raised. I remember from a very young age there was a lot of respect for Coach Schembechler.”

Hayes, too. The names are iconic and drip with power and prestige across the Midwest. No need for explanations–or last names. Bo and Woody embody schools and a region known for three-yards-and-a-cloud-of-dust sensibility.

Michigan Season Leaders
Passing Yards: D. Robinson 1319
Passing TDs: D. Robinson 9
Rushing Yards: D. Robinson 1044
Rushing TDs: D. Gardner 6
Receiving Yards: J. Gallon 617
Receiving TDs: D. Funchess 5
Interceptions: T. Gordon 2

Glenn Edward “Bo” Schembechler coached Michigan from 1969-89, compiling a 194-48-5 record and winning 13 Big Ten titles.

Wayne Woodrow “Woody” Hayes coached Ohio State from 1951-78, compiling a 205-61-10 record and winning five national championships and 13 Big Ten crowns.

The rivalry between the Midwestern monoliths never burned hotter than from 1969-78, an era known aptly as the “Ten Year War.” That was the only ten-year period that Bo and Woody went head-to-head, as the rivalry ended abruptly after the 1978 season when Hayes was fired after slugging Clemson’s Charlie Bauman into infamy in the Gator Bowl.

The final score of the “Ten Year War”: Bo 5, Woody 4 with one tie.

[RELATED: Watch these full Ohio State-Michigan games on BTN2Go: Nov. 23, 2002 | Nov. 24, 2001 | Nov. 21, 1981.]

Ohio State and Michigan has raged on since that white-hot ten-year run, with bursts of glory here and there. Some of the more memorable moments.

  • 1997. No. 1 Michigan met No. 4 Ohio State in a game with national championship and Heisman implications. The Wolverines took a 20-14 victory and went on to win a share of the national title. Charles Woodson ran back a punt for a touchdown, picked off a pass and caught a key pass to cement the Heisman.
  • 2001. Ohio State came in unranked with a 6-5 mark under first-year coach Jim Tressel. Michigan was ranked No. 11 and was 8-3. The Buckeyes didn’t stand a chance, right? Wrong. Tressel engineered a 26-20 victory, the first salvo in what would be a run of dominance that would see the “Sweater Vest” compile an 8-1 record vs. the Wolverines. Watch this game on BTN2Go.
  • 2006. Ohio State (11-0) ranked No. 1. Michigan (11-0) was No. 2. It doesn’t get any bigger. And the game was played against the backdrop of Bo Schembechler’s death. It all was surreal. The Buckeyes road the right arm of Heisman winning quarterback Troy Smith en route to a 42-39 win and trip to the BCS title game.
  • 2011. The Buckeyes’ run of dominance over the Wolverines had reached seven games. But Michigan finally ended its misery by taking a 40-34 decision in Brady Hoke’s first foray into the rivalry as Wolverines head coach.
  • 1993, 1995, 1996. You have to lump these three games together. In each case, the Buckeyes entered the game unbeaten and dreaming big. And in each case, Michigan won.
    • In 1993, the Wolverines took a 28-0 decision in a contest John Cooper called “one of the most embarrassing games I’ve ever been involved with.”
    • The 1995 tilt is known as the “Tim Biakabutuka” game, as the Michigan back ran for 313 yards in a 31-23 win over the No. 2 Buckeyes.
    • In 1996, Brian Griese took over for Scott Dreisbach and led Michigan to a 13-9 triumph that cost No. 2 Ohio State a share of the national crown. That’s how the rivalry typically went for the Buckeyes under John Cooper, who went 2-10-1 vs. Michigan from 1988-2000.

A new era begins Saturday.

“There always is more of a buzz this week,” said Hoke. “This is the 109th time we’ve faced each other, the rivalry, the excitement that follows with it, the passion people have – I think it spills over.”

***

GRID BITS: Michigan hasn’t won at Ohio State since 2000. … Wisconsin has lost four games by an average margin of four points. … Ohio State’s defense has yielded only five touchdowns in the past 13 quarters. … The Buckeyes’ 11-0 start is their best since the 2006 team went 12-0 in the regular season and then got smashed by Florida and Urban Meyer in the BCS championship game. … Last week, Michigan State RB Le’Veon Bell moved into seventh place on the school’s all-time rushing list with 2,935 yards. He needs 65 yards in the finale at Minnesota to become just the seventh back in MSU history to reach the 3,000-yard career milestone. … Ameer Abdullah’s 1,000-yard season gives Nebraska a 1,000-yard rusher for the third straight season and for the 32nd time in school history. … Braxton Miller needs one more game with 300 yards of total offense to set a school season record. Miller is tied with Joe Germaine with five games of 300 or more yards of offense. … Iowa has lost five games in a row for the first time since the 2000 team opened with five consecutive losses after ending 1999 with eight losses in succession … In the last 90 minutes, Purdue has committed 18 penalties. It had 10 in the second half at Iowa and got whistled for eight against Illinois. … Ohio State RB Carlos Hyde has 666 yards rushing and has scored 14 touchdowns in his last six games. … Penn State RB Zach Zwinak lost another fumble against Indiana and has now fumbled four times in the last six games. … Matt McGloin has set Penn State single-season records for completions (251) and passing yards (3,071). He also is the Penn State leader in career touchdown passes with 45. … LB Gerald Hodges has recorded 100 tackles for the second straight season and is just the sixth player in school annals to achieve the feat in multiple seasons. … Montee Ball moved into a first-place tie with Travis Prentice of Miami of Ohio on the NCAA’s all-time touchdowns list. Ball has 78 career touchdowns. He passed Ron Dayne for the Big Ten and school record for rushing touchdowns in a career with his 72nd. Ball passed the 100-yard mark for the seventh time this season and now has 4,727 career rushing yards.

About Tom Dienhart BTN.com senior writer Tom Dienhart is a veteran sports journalist who covers Big Ten football and men’s basketball for BTN.com and BTN TV. Find him on Twitter and Facebook, read all of his work at btn.com/tomdienhart, and subscribe to his posts via RSS. Also, send questions to his weekly mailbag using the form below and read all of his previous answers in his reader mailbag section.

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6 Comments

Your Opinion?
Show Comments (6 Comments)
Doug on 11/23/2012 @ 4:15pm EDT Said:

yeah tom real exciting, a team on probation vs a team who can’t even win it’s own division, yawn

Patrick Gibson on 11/23/2012 @ 5:43pm EDT Said:

I’m so tired of hearing about Ohio St. and Michigan. How about Nebraska winning the LEGENDS Division in the second Year in the conference. All I’ve seen this week on BTN and ESPN Classic is OHIO ST. and MICHIGAN games. Give me a break!!!!

    BTN.com staff on 11/23/2012 @ 5:56pm EDT Said:

    Yep, big win. Congrats to the Huskers.

Doug on 11/23/2012 @ 6:30pm EDT Said:

I’m with you Patrick, but you have to learn this: BTN is all about Michigan, all the time

ethansce on 11/23/2012 @ 8:38pm EDT Said:

Patrick, and Doug. if you read this post you would realize why there is so much focus on this series.

A2 on 11/24/2012 @ 12:40am EDT Said:

OSU wins by 24.

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