Dave Thurman (9:27 am)

It's Michigan week!  Call them what you will - scUM, Meatchicken, the ugly helmets, or, that school up north - the fact is we need them to get good again.  Say what?  You heard me right! We need our chief rivals to recapture their mojo and start playing like a big time program.

Before you dismiss me as crazy allow me to explain.  We need Michigan to regain their swagger for the following reasons:

1) To reinstate the rivalry to its rightful position as the best in college sports - Many sportswriters have gone on record saying that Ohio
State-Michigan is the greatest rivalry in sports (ESPN recently ranked it #1 among all rivalries - college and pro!)  But if the Bucks keep winning every year, and if there are more 42-7 games, then the contest will lose a great deal of its relevance and might go the way of Army-Navy or the Packers-Bears. 

2) To help the Big Ten restore its luster and silence the critics - Has any conference been under fire as much the past few years as the Big Ten?  We (and I use that word as a lifelong Big Ten fan) have a black eye right now and even a healthy dose of Tammy Faye Baker's makeup can't cover it up.  What is needed are some victories over highly ranked opponents.  But as long as Michigan is down and Penn State mediocre, then there's little hope of the conference impressing the nation or winning a majority of its bowl games.  The last time people spoke Of the Big Ten with awe and respect was 2006, when #1 Ohio State met #2 Michigan.  We need more of those "gold old days."
3) To force Tressel and company to take it up a notch - Everyone seems upset with the conservative "play not to lose" philosophy of the Sweater Vest.  But why change when you can win the Big Ten year after year and reach BCS bowl games with your present system?  That 42-39 victory in "the game" back on November 23, 2006, was far from conservative as the play calling was wide open.  When you have to open it up to win, its amazing what happens.   And when your chief rival is doing a great job recruiting five star talent, and winning lots of games, you can't afford to rest on your laurels.  I contend that the coaching staff will work a little harder when Michigan returns to form. 

4) To help the Bucks reach another national championship game - That's right.  Let's say we had defeated Purdue (like we should have) and then came into this game with only one loss.  Would we have a chance to beat Michigan and be rewarded with a ticket to Pasadnea for the BCS National Championship Game?  No way.  But if Michigan were ranked in the top ten, and considered a top notch team, then a victory over them might just secure the needed votes.  Right now the only chance to get to the big game is to go undefeated, and we all know how difficult that is. 

So, when the Maize and Blue get back to their accustomed spot as a national power, it will really benefit the Buckeyes.  Go figure!  We need to actually root for good old scUM to rise from the dead.


11/17/2009 07:36

Umm.. The biggest reason the Big Ten is being dragged through the gutter is because of your beloved Buckeyes. Wisconsin, Penn State, and even Michigan have beaten SEC teams in their respective bowls so blame last season's dismal bowl record all you Buckeye fans want. But the cold reality is that Ohio State began the Big Ten's downward spiral way before that on the national stage.

11/17/2009 07:39

Steve...there is some truth to that. But the rest of the conference has to get better. The bowl record was awful last year, and the Buckeyes have had little challenge in the conference. If the Buckeyes were in battles week in and week out like teams in the SEC or even Big 12 (last year), then they and the other Big Ten teams would be much more prepared to face the tougher competition.

11/17/2009 08:14

Steve, I see where you are coming from, but that's like comparing apples to oranges. Since 2000, Wisconsin beat Auburn and Arkansas in back-to-back Capital One bowls, Penn State beat Tennessee in the Outback Bowl, and Michigan beat Florida and Auburn in the Capital One Bowl, and Florida in the Outback Bowl. How many of those games were BCS bowl games? None.

Ohio State, on the other hand, lost to Florida and LSU in back-to-back BCS title games. There is a big difference in playing a BCS-bound SEC team, and a Capital One/Outback Bowl-bound SEC team.

It's no secret that the Big Ten has "regressed," and my hope is that Ohio State is the only BCS-bound Big Ten team this year. That would help with the Big Ten's bowl potential this winter.

I still believe that any team can get up for one big game. Boise State proved that against Oklahoma 2 years ago. Utah proved that against Alabama last year. Ohio State proved that against Miami in 2002. Would Ohio State benefit from a much more competitive Big Ten. Absolutely! However, great coaching and preparation are still powerful weapons against a "superior" opponent. Florida's domination of OSU in the 2006 BCS title game is proof of that.

11/17/2009 10:30

Whatever Steve. At least we lose to the top SEC teams. Get to BCS game once in a while and you won't care about those mid-level SEC teams anymore than we care about your team. Lately, I have seen Wisky get blown out the water by Florida State. I watched Penn State get beat down by USC. Michigan didn't even get to a bowl last year but yea, it's our fault. Sorry. :(

11/17/2009 13:23

Guys don't waste your time. One team should never have to carry the image of an entire conference. The 11 teams that make up the conference collectively need to take things to the next level. The postiive thing is that there is a lot of youth all around the conference, so things should be looking up!

Buckeye Bobo
11/17/2009 17:17

Nothing hurts the Big Ten more than having one of the perennial champions struggle like Washington State University!

11/18/2009 05:46

Despite what the nation thinks, Michigan still holds a 15 game lead on OSU in the head to head rivalry. Until we catch up, the need to win will still be there in my mind. Regardless of how good or bad Michigan gets.


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