5 Reasons Why Ohio State-Michigan Will Remain the Greatest Rivalry in Sports
There is no better rivalry in sports than The Game. For years Ohio State and Michigan have fiercely competed for recruits, conference championships and just plain old bragging rights. No rivalry has a deeper tradition or more captivating moments.
Recent dominance by Ohio State over Michigan has left the rivalry feeling uneventful and less meaningful. Since 2001, Ohio State has experienced overwhelming success against their arch-rival. The Buckeyes have won seven consecutive match-ups and were 8-1 against Michigan under former head coach Jim Tressel. This one-sided stretch has dulled the rivalry in the past few years and has led many people to contemplate how long this great game will remain relevant. But you can rest assured this grand match-up will always remain the best rivalry in sports, and here's five reasons why.
5. Brady Hoke
After the absolutely dismal Rich Rodriguez era, fans at Michigan finally have a head coach to believe in. The hiring of former San Diego State coach Brady Hoke was an excellent choice and gives the program a chance to turn things around. Hoke has held numerous assistant coaching jobs, including one at Michigan from 1995-2002. As a head coach, Hoke is no stranger to a challenge, considering he is credited with turning Ball State's program around and led San Diego State to an impressive nine-win season last year.
These sort of credentials have Michigan fans excited about football again and reinforces their pride in the program. Hoke has proven he can turn a program around and that's exactly what this rivalry needs. When Ohio State and Michigan are both at an elite level no rivalry is better.
4. The Big Ten's New Format
Viewed as a negative by some, the new Big Ten format offers a great platform for this classic rivalry and an intriguing wrinkle. With Ohio State and Michigan in separate divisions, almost every year at least one of these teams will be playing for a spot in the Big Ten championship game, thus giving the other a grand chance to play spoiler and thwart their arch-rival's plans. One of the many things that makes this rivalry so fantastic is the extreme importance this game has always held. Fans love the fact that more times than not this game is the deciding factor for the Big Ten champion and a Rose Bowl bid. Well, with this new format, the importance of this game will be raised even more.
Also, can you imagine the intrigue of an Ohio State-Michigan rematch in the Big Ten Championship? How many times have you watched your Wolverines or Buckeyes lose a fierce and competitive game and wished you could have one more shot at your arch-rivals? Not next year, but right now! With the new format your wish may be granted. The emotions from the fans, and more importantly the players, would be at an all-time high in the event of a rematch one week later, and would lead to more lasting memories being added to the rivalry's grand history.
3. The Resignation of Jim Tressel
Whether you loved him or hated him, there was no denying that Jim Tressel dominated Michigan. During his tenure as head coach, Tressel was 8-1 against the Wolverines and won a record breaking seven consecutive games against his arch-rivals. In his first public appearance as the head coach of Ohio State he guaranteed a victory over Michigan and from then on never looked back.
Of course as an Ohio State fan this stretch of success has been amazing, but for the rivalry's sake it has definitely dulled the match-up, especially in the past few years. But now with Jim Tressel's resignation, both programs are turning over a new leaf. These fresh starts offer a new page for the rivalry. A page completely up for grabs and full of unpredictability. This will result in more competitive games that will attract more intrigue and excitement around the annual match-up.
2. Michigan Will Be Back
The Rich Rodriguez era has easily been one of Michigan's most unsuccessful stretches in program history. These past few years, they have been irrelevant in the Big Ten and largely uncompetitive against Ohio State. However, don't expect this to last.
No program can constantly remain elite and Michigan is no exception. This doesn't mean that as soon as a football team goes through a rough time the program is completely done for, especially a prestigious program like Michigan. The Wolverines will be back, and like I have said countless times, no rivalry is better than Ohio State-Michigan when both programs are at the top of the Big Ten. A highly ranked Wisconsin team squaring off against an elite Ohio State team doesn't even come close to the excitement and pure passion that surrounds a highly ranked OSU-Michigan game. Bragging rights alone are enough to make an Ohio State-Michigan game great, but when a Rose Bowl bid is on the line, nothing in sports compares.
Some traditions are too momentous and grand to be forgotten. Ohio State-Michigan has always been sport's most intense and storied rivalry and a few dull years could never erase all the captivating moments of this historic match-up.
Who could forget the 10-year war or Desmond Howard's legendary pose? Who could forget the Woodson-Boston fight or the shocking upset of 1969? These moments are just a few snapshots of this rivalry's storied history, and in recent years these two teams have added to this illustrious legend.
The 2006 match-up of No. 1 Ohio State vs No. 2 Michigan will forever be etched into the tradition of this annual game. Stories of this larger than life match-up will always be relayed to younger generations as they watch even more history unfold right in front of their eyes. No matter what happens, this rivalry will always and forever withstand the test of time.
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