The always anticipated football game between Michigan and Ohio State is more than five months away, but quarterback Devin Gardner is already predicting a Wolverines victory.
I mean, we always have room for improvement, but this is definitely a championship-caliber football team that will win in the Big House, you know, against Ohio State. We don’t feel like we’re inferior to anyone in the country and we’re going to give it our all.
Gardner's comments reflect the confidence head coach Brady Hoke is trying to install back into the Michigan program.
Hoke took over after former coach Rich Rodriguez lost 22 of 37 games during his three-year tenure at Michigan (2008-10). The Wolverines surged in Hoke's first year, going 11-2 with victories over Ohio State (their first win over the Buckeyes since 2003) and Virginia Tech (a 23-20 overtime victory in the Sugar Bowl) to end the season.
Although Michigan went 8-5 last year, with his outstanding recruiting. Hoke has the program trending upward.
Still, giving Ohio State this kind of bulletin board material is unnecessary, especially at this point in the year.
As a coach, Urban Meyer is constantly looking for ways to motivate his team, and in most instances, he wants an angry group of football players. Meyer wouldn't have needed Gardner's quote to get his team riled up for their trip to Ann Arbor this November, but it's safe to assume he'll remind his players of it before the matchup.
Of course, Meyer himself is only seven months removed from giving Michigan some bulletin board material.
On the eve of Ohio State's matchup against Michigan last season, Meyer made this profane comment while speaking at the "Earle Bruce Beat Michigan Tailgate."
"There's a reason why you do what you do," Meyer told those in attendance. "Let's beat the s--- out of Michigan."
It wasn't quite the prediction Gardner made, but it was still severe enough to garner national attention.
Following Meyer's comment, the Buckeyes harassed Gardner into his worst performance as Michigan's primary quarterback. Gardner completed a season-low 11 passes for 171 yards, with one touchdown pass and one interception as the Buckeyes won 26-21.
Ohio State and Michigan fans will have to wait until November to see these teams on the field, but Gardner certainly grabbed the Buckeyes' attention with his comment.
After Gardner's prediction made waves on Twitter, Ohio State Director of Player Personnel Mark Pantoni tweeted this:
158 days #GoBucks— Mark Pantoni (@markpantoni) June 24, 2013
That, coincidentally, is the number of days until the Ohio State-Michigan game.
For fans and players on both sides, one of the greatest rivalries in all of sports can't get here soon enough.
David Regimbal is the lead Ohio State football writer for Bleacher Report.
Follow him on Twitter @davidreg412.