Let's just get this out of the way: I'm a hardcore Michigan Wolverines fan.
Now, before you cast your stones, throw your hand grenades and whip our your pistols, please keep an open mind.
Brady Hoke and Urban Meyer have a lot in common in their first seasons with Michigan and Ohio St., respectively.
But before you say, "Wait a minute! Brady Hoke hasn't won any national championships like Urban Meyer did at Florida! What is this heresy, RJ?"
That's not what I mean.
Both coaches know what this rivalry means. It's the greatest college football grudge-match in the history of the game.
Rich Rodriguez didn't get it; Brady Hoke fully understands that beating "Ohio" is of utmost importance.
Jim Tressel understood how critical it was to beat Michigan and he did repeatedly.
Urban Meyer has now referred to the Wolverines as That Team Up North just as the great Woody Hayes did.
Both coaches inherited programs that got in trouble by the NCAA.
Michigan's on probation from Rich Rodriguez putting in too much practice time for the Wolverine players while Ohio St. begins the 2012 season with their one game bowl ban and reduced scholarships.
Both coaches also implemented new offensive schemes. Michigan mostly ran the spread last season with some pro-style sets here and there.
Ohio St. will inherit the spread offense ran successfully by Urban Meyer at Utah and Florida.
While Michigan's defense made major changes with Greg Mattison, Ohio St.'s Luke Fickell and Everett Withers are going to run the same defense for the most part with some minor changes here and there.
But the biggest benefit Brady Hoke and Urban Meyer have in their first seasons is eight home games.
The four non-conference games Michigan played last season were all at home (Western Michigan, Notre Dame, Eastern Michigan and San Diego St.) and the Buckeyes get the same advantage this season against Miami of Ohio, UCF, Cal and UAB.
The only non-conference game that was challenging for the Wolverines last season was Notre Dame.
Likewise, Ohio St. should have decisive victories against every team except Cal, who will prove more defiant.
It would be surprising if the Golden Bears came within 10 points of Ohio St. though.
Michigan had only four regular season road games last year. They were able to beat Northwestern and Purdue, but lost to Michigan St. and Iowa.
Ohio St. also has four regular season road games: at Michigan St., at Indiana, at Penn St. and at Wisconsin.
Last season, Michigan was the benefactor of an 8-0 record at home. There's no reason to think the Buckeyes can't go 8-0 at The Horseshoe.
Well, except that they play Michigan.
Michigan finished their 2011 season at 10-2 before the bowl game against Virginia Tech.
Even if the Buckeyes go 2-2 on the road this season, they have a legitimate shot of also winning 10 games despite not being able to attend a bowl match-up.
Whether you hate Michigan or respect them, the similarities between the Wolverines' program last season and Ohio St.'s program this year are difficult to dismiss.