Written by: Matt Shock (@shockwave_music)
Edited by: Curt Ashcraft (@cashcraft740)
Follow us on Twitter! @OS_Report Recently, as I was listening to sports radio on my way home from the office, the hosts were discussing whether or not the Ohio State – Michigan rivalry carries the same weight in other sports as it does in football. This got me to thinking. Let’s start by taking a look at the implications of The Game for the football program. For starters, we know that much of the success of the Buckeye football program is measured by the team’s record against That Team Up North. Don’t believe me? Look at the John Cooper era. John Cooper recruited some of the most legendary talent in Buckeye football history. Shoot, if we’re being honest, the players he recruited were the ones that led the charge for the 2002 National Championship. He recruited Eddie George, Andy Katzenmoyer, Michael Doss, and even Craig Krenzel and Michael Jenkins. The 2002 National Championship team was loaded with Cooper talent. But what do we remember about John Cooper? You guessed it. We remember how many times our national title hopes were ruined because Cooper couldn’t beat Michigan. Let’s flip the coin a little bit and take a look at Jim Tressel’s time at the helm. Jim Tressel, despite the scandal that stained the end of his career in Columbus, is considered to be one of the greatest coaches in Buckeye football history. During his time, Tressel managed a 9-1-0 record against the Wolverines. Tressel won a national title in 2002 and led his team to two other national title games, losing in both. Although Tressel’s teams were thoroughly shellacked in those games, his record against Michigan seemed to make the Buckeye faithful feel better. The Game also carries huge weight in recruiting, booster funding, national prestige, and any other area of importance that you can think of. Losing The Game is disastrous and winning it is huge. Now, is that same standard really applied to the other sports at The Ohio State University? I don’t think so. Let’s put it this way. In any other sport, has a coach ever been fired because they couldn’t beat Michigan? Not really. Thad Matta and renowned former baseball coach Bob Todd both have several losses to Michigan, but the overall success of their respective programs seemed to cover for them. In any other sport, does a loss in the Michigan game determine the overall success of the season? Not at all. The baseball team can post a winning record, do fairly well in the Big Ten, go a couple of rounds in the NCAA Tournament, all while losing a couple games to Michigan, and everybody thinks they had a good season. The same can be said for the basketball team as well. Now sure, the football team only plays Michigan once a year while some of these other sports meet them several times a season. But last I checked, you’ve never heard any radio host talking about the coach’s job being on the line if the rifle team doesn’t beat Michigan this year. There’s a reason that The Game is known as the greatest rivalry in all of college football. Simply put, it’s not really that much of a rivalry in any of the other sports.