Sure, it's been an off-season that Ohio State fans want to forget about and move on from, but that does not mean Michigan is all of the sudden the favorites to win College Football's most heated rivalry game—and these are the 10 reasons why.
Michigan fans may think they can finally sleep at night without having nightmares of a certain sweater-vested coach roaming the sidelines on game day— but the Wolverines are not in the clear, not one bit.
Yes, things will be different at the Ohio State University next year—but the outcome of the final game for Big Ten game for each team won't.
Yes, I'm going to throw the band into this discussion. No matter what negative banter is being tossed Ohio State's way, they still have the best damn band in the land.
If there is one College Football team in the country that loves their band about as much as the actual team, it's Ohio State.
Michigan fans, you guys have a good band. In fact, I might even say you guys have a great band, but no matter how good your band is, Ohio State's is better.
Is the Ohio State March Band going to help Ohio State beat Michigan this year and the years to come? No, but the Ohio State marching band will always out duel the University of Michigan marching band.
This years game will take place in the Big House, though that really has failed to matter as of late.
Every player on the Ohio State roster that has been with the Buckeyes the past couple seasons knows what it's like to not only play in Ann Arbor, but win there to.
Not one player on the entire Michigan roster has ever felt what it's like to beat Ohio State, not at home or on the road—advantage Ohio State.
I'm not saying Ohio State will win because over half of the team has played and won there before, but they won't fear or be the least bit intimidated by what the Big House has to offer.
Obviously if I'm listing University of Michigan Head Coach Brady Hoke on this list, I'm not a a believer in Hoke—In reality, why should I be?
He has a career coaching record of 47-50, including a record of 4-9 with San Diego State just two seasons ago, and a 9-4 record in 2010. For a coach that has only had one double-digit win season (2008 Ball State) in eight tries, Wolverine fans are sure high on the man.
Ohio State may have uncertainties with head coach Luke Fickell, but at least the Bucks' hired a coach who was born and raised in Ohio, whereas Michigan grabbed Brady Hoke was born in Dayton Ohio and graduated from Fairmont East High School in Ohio.
I guess I'm missing something here.
If two decorated and coveted coaches like Les Miles and Jim Harbaugh didn't want to come back to coach at their alma mater, there must be a reason why.
How does a two year Letterman in Les Miles who played and assisted under the great Bo Schembechhler, turn down what should be his dream job?
How can Jim Harbaugh who was raised in Michigan and played four years at quarterback for Michigan not want to come back and coach at Michigan?
It's quite simple really—they both knew Michigan was, and still is a few years from being a relevant team again. Why put themselves through that mess?
Enter Brady Hoke.
Michigan fans act excited about Brady Hoke, but it has to irk them that two of the top college coaches in America spurned the team they had such deep roots at.
I know, I must be crazy for naming a Head Coach who is yet to coach his first college game ever but...
Luke Fickell was born and raised a Buckeye. He knows the importance of beating Michigan, and he assisted under the best coach ever at Ohio State in terms of overall record against the Wolverines—Jim Tressell.
Fickell has coached at Ohio State since 2002, where he started as a special teams coach that worked his way up to linebackers coach in 2004, before being named the co-defensive coordinator in 2005. In 2010, Fickell earned the AFCA assistant coach of the year award.
It doesn't hurt that Fickell was a four year starter for the Buckeyes at nose-guard and currently holds the Ohio State record for most consecutive starts during a career with 50 strait.
We may not know a ton about Luke Fickell, but he bleeds scarlet and gray and that's enough for me to feel confident in him leading the Buckeyes in 2011.
Let's finally get to the gridiron here.
If defense wins games, then Michigan won't be beating Ohio State anytime soon.
The Wolverines fielded the nations 110TH ranked defense, giving up over 450 yards per game—Ohio State one the other hand was ranked fourth, giving up roughly 260 yards per contest.
I'm fully aware that Ohio State will need to fill in big holes on the defensive side of the ball, but they will have no problem doing just that. When you have guys like Curtis Grant and Etienne Sabino filling in for graduated seniors like Brian Rolle and Ross Homan, life isn't to bad.
As a Buckeye fan, I'll admit Denard Robinson is fun to watch—though I must also point out that if your planning on having a 6'0'', 190 pound quarterback run the ball 25 times a game, you won't make it far.
Denard Robinson put up great numbers during the non-conference stretch of the schedule but once conference play came around reality set in. Michigan started off 5-0 in 2010, before losing six of their last eight when the competition stiffened.
Does anyone forget Denard's benching during Ohio States' 2010 dismantling of the Wolverines?
I'm sure Brady Hoke will protect his star quarterback better then Rich Rod did, but his strength is clearly in his legs, not his arms.
Michigan's two main backs, Vincent Smith and Michael Shaw are quick shifty backs but I must point out once again that those kinds of backs don't survive against Wisconsin, Penn State, Ohio State and now Nebraska.
Vincent Smith (5'6'', 180) and Michael Shaw (6'1'', 187), will wear down as the year goes on. Ohio State on the other hand has multiple backs that live for contact—Dan Herron (5'10'', 205), Carlos Hyde (6'0'', 238), and Roderick Smith (6'3'', 220) are all built for the Big Ten.
Sophomore Stephen Hopkins could get in and do some damage for the Wolverines in 2011, but the battle of the backfield goes to the Buckeyes.
Will Braxton Miller be the reason Ohio State beats Michigan this year? Maybe.
If he's not this year, he will be next year, and the year after that, and the year after that.
I could run-off a bunch of Braxton Miller's High School stats, but let's just say remember the name "Braxton"Michigan fans.
I couldn't go through a 10-page slideshow without speaking of the resent dominance Ohio State has displayed over Michigan. You know it's been bad when Ohio State fans are now wishing the Wolverines could assemble at least a competitive team to get this rivalry back to where it should be.
It's been 2,811 days since Michigan has beaten Ohio State, which is well over seven years. That would make this seven-year stretch the longest winning streak ever for Ohio State. The last time Michigan took seven straight from Ohio State, gas was $0.08 a gallon and the average car cost just 500$—better known as 1918.