There is nothing quite like the Ohio State/Michigan game at the end of November. You have two programs with so much history and a game where rankings don’t matter.
A game where you could have a horrible season, but this one win can make the season a whole lot better.
In the last decade there has been some close games between the two schools, unfortunately for Michigan fans, Ohio State has came out on top nine times out of ten in the last decade.
The last time the Maze and Blue beat the Scarlet and Gray was in 2003 the year after the Buckeyes won the National Championship.
It doesn’t mean that Michigan has been horrible the last couple seasons, but Jim Tressel has been dominant over the Wolverines.
Despite the electric game in 2006, Michigan hasn’t played well against the Buckeyes the last two seasons.
In the last ten years Ohio State the Buckeyes have had another rival that has been trying to derail their seasons, and that team is the Illinois Fighting Illini.
It started in 2002 when the Illini tried to mess up the Buckeyes perfect season, in which they came very close.
When you think of the Buckeyes 2002 season they won the National Championship against a highly favored Miami (FL) team.
But before they made it to that game they had a tough battle against Illinois. This was the first overtime game the Buckeyes ever played, and the experience may have helped them win the National Championship.
Maurice Clarett was injured in the game and back-up running back Maurice Hall took his place along with Lydell Ross. Hall ended up scoring the game winning touchdown, after a Jon Beutjer pass was batted down at the goal line on fourth down.
In 2006 Illinois wreaked havoc on Heisman Trophy winner Troy Smith holding him to a mere 108 yards passing, 13-23 passing, and one interception.
The Buckeyes came out of the game a victor of a 17-10 game, but they won the game on a great defensive effort.
That was the only game up at that point of the season that the Buckeyes won by under 17 points.
The next season the Buckeyes didn’t get so lucky, and were victims of a 28-21 upset that should have knocked them out of the National Championship game. Fortunately for the Buckeyes there was a lot of upsets the following weeks that had the Buckeyes back in the Championship game.
So the question is for this season is which team should the Buckeyes be more afraid of derailing their season?
Illinois has been a tough contender in these games, but like Michigan they have fallen short accept for in 2007.
Even though Illinois has came close they will be playing the Buckeyes too early in the season to really damage the season.
The Michigan game is the last game of the last game of the season, and if the Buckeyes were to lose this game they can kiss national title chances goodbye.
Illinois vs. Ohio State will NEVER be as exciting as The Michigan/Ohio State game for the fans or the players, because players come to these schools just to play in this game.
However Illinois has beaten Ohio State in the past few seasons and that has been something that Michigan hasn't been able to do in six seasons.
I don't think that Michigan or Illinois will beat Ohio State, but the Fighting Illini definitely have a better chance this season with Juice Williams being their quarterback.