Stories indexed with the term ‘Michigan-Ohio rivalry’

Fourth & Washington

The Arena sports bar’s stainless steel urinal has OSU logo engraved in basin.

Column: An Important Win for Michigan

John U. Bacon

John U. Bacon

Just a few years ago, ESPN’s viewers called the Michigan-Ohio State rivalry the best. Not just in college football, or all football. But in all sports. Period.

Everyone knew this year’s game wouldn’t go down as one of the best. Michigan entered the game with a 9-2 record and a No. 17 ranking, but the Buckeyes hobbled into their annual finale dragging a 6-5 record behind them, their worst record since the 1990s.

But that just made the stakes for Michigan that much higher.

The Wolverines hadn’t beaten the Buckeyes since 2003, but the Buckeyes entered last week’s game reeling from just about every problem a major program can have – from an ongoing NCAA investigation, to coach Jim Tressel being fired last spring in disgrace, to their star quarterback Terrelle Pryor departing a year early for the NFL.

This Buckeye team was led by a freshman quarterback, Braxton Miller, and an interim coach named Luke Fickell. Making matters worse for the Buckeyes, just days before the game, reports surfaced that Urban Meyer would be named the permanent head coach after the game – which he was.

All this only put more pressure on the Wolverines. If they couldn’t beat the Buckeyes at their baddest, when could they? [Full Story]

Column: The Rivalry

John U. Bacon

John U. Bacon

Ten years ago, ESPN viewers voted the Michigan-Ohio State football game the best rivalry in the nation. Not just in college football, or football in general, but in all sports. Since 1935, it’s held a privileged spot as the last game of the Big Ten season. More college football fans have seen this rivalry, in person and on TV, than any other.

HBO has produced dozens of sports documentaries, but only one on college football: the Michigan-Ohio State game. They titled it simply, “The Rivalry.” They did not feel they had to explain it.

But when the Big Ten added Nebraska, everything seemed up in the air, including the Michigan-Ohio State game. Next fall the Big Ten will have 12 teams, playing in two divisions, culminating in a title game – all new.

So that raised a few possibilities – not to mention plenty of rumors and fears. [Full Story]

Column: Michigan-Ohio Rivalry Runs Deep

John U. Bacon

John U. Bacon

Michigan plays Ohio State tomorrow, for the 106th time. The Buckeyes have already wrapped up the Rose Bowl, while the Wolverines are fighting to secure a bowl bid. But ESPN viewers still consider this rivalry the greatest in American sports. What most sports fans don’t know is, this one goes back before football even existed.

In 1833, Michigan was still a territory, while Ohio had already been a state for three decades. When Michigan started making its pitch for statehood, the surveyors had to figure out exactly where Michigan ended, and Ohio began. They soon discovered they’d gotten it wrong the first time: Toledo should have belonged to Michigan all along.

No big deal, you say? Well, don’t forget: at that time, the main thoroughfare between the Northeast and the Midwest was the Erie Canal – and Toledo was a major stop.

When Michigan claimed it for its own, Ohio blocked Michigan’s bid for statehood. Former president John Adams, who had returned to Congress, wrote, “Never in the course of my life have I known a controversy of which all the right was so clearly on one side and all the power so overwhelmingly on the other.” [Full Story]

Column: Arbor Vinous

Joel Goldberg

Joel Goldberg

Eat your heart out, John U. Bacon. While the football Wolverines plummet weakly toward the depths of the Big Ten, a very different Michigan eleven just beat up big time on its arch-rivals from Ohio.

This squad doesn’t strut its talents in the Big House or cavernous Crisler. Its slightly smaller – but decidedly more refined – field of combat lies a couple of miles north on Main Street, around a crystal-bedecked tasting table at Vinology Wine Bar.

Earlier this week, the second annual Ohio vs. Michigan Wine Clash turned into a rout, as eleven of Michigan’s finest wines drubbed a like number of Buckeyes during back-to-back judgings in both Ann Arbor and Columbus. [Full Story]