The Ohio State rivalry with Michigan has been and always will be one of the best rivalries in all of sports.
Before 2011, however, the rivalry seemed to be fading in the eyes of some fans. Ohio State had won seven straight versus the Wolverines, who were going through a down period in their program.
Then came the hiring of Brady Hoke in early 2011.
Say what you want to about the new Michigan coach, but he understands the meaning of the rivalry. Hoke installed a countdown clock for the next game against the Buckeyes—he will not wear red (scarlet), and he referred to Ohio State simply as “Ohio.”
Urban Meyer was born and raised in Ohio, so he also understands the importance of “The Game.”
He has countered Hoke’s “Ohio” gaffe by not referring to Michigan by their name whatsoever. On the schedule located in the team meeting room, the opponent listed for the November 24 matchup reads “that team up north.”
Name-calling aside, the main reason the rivalry is on the upswing is the respect these two coaches have for each other as well as the upward trend both programs are showing. Michigan went 11-2 last year which included a BCS bowl win over Virginia Tech, while Ohio State hired one of the most successful college coaches in America. Also, both programs assembled top five recruiting classes for 2012 according to Scout.com.
Look for these two powerhouse programs to be competing with one another for future Big Ten championships and more importantly, bragging rights.