“Toto, I have a feeling we’re not playing Middle Tennessee anymore,” said Michigan fan, Dorothy.
The Wolverines have come a long way since August 31st.
The seasons changed and so did they.
Through the shift from perennial sunshine to snowfall, the Wolverines endured brutal defeats in hostile lands. But they also found their identity. They know who they are. They found answers from leading to an increase in strength and mental clarity.
Despite gut-wrenching defeats that will be etched into the minds of Michigan Men for a lifetime, they’ve had fine Saturday’s under the sun, rain, and lights that showed their meddle.
Pessimism and cynicism reigned supreme by the outside world on separate occasions, providing psychological storms the team had to endure. But now, as hope springs eternal, optimism is back once again.
Optimism can be fleeting, pessimism can be misplaced. Reality will unfold on Saturday.
For Ohio State, they already defeated a Nittany Lion on their trot along the Yellow Brick Road, but to get to Emerald City, they’ll have to take on a feisty Wolverine in its natural habitat.
Make way for a cliche and throw out the record books and believe in the human condition. Upsets happen in various forms, the underdog does indeed get his bone every now and then.
It’s been fifty years since Bo Schembechler’s first win over Ohio State. The Buckeyes were ranked No. 1 then, and they’re ranked No. 1 now.
Nothing has changed in those fifty years on the football field, the meat and potatoes of The Game are the same, as is the rivalry.
The Game is a past-time, a tradition, a rite of passage and serves as a bond between generations.
On the 50th anniversary of Michigan toppling No. 1 Ohio State, can they do it again? Or are the Buckeyes an impenetrable force that decimates whatever is in its way?
The Buckeyes have obliterated virtually everything in its path to the No. 1 ranking, but does that mean anything when they head into a place called The Big House versus a team that’s gained momentum of their own?
Prognosticators come aplenty this week each year, as if they have a crystal ball and know exactly how four quarters of football will pan out in a rivalry game like this.
Did anyone predict 62-39 last season? The same train of thought should apply now; throw conventional wisdom out the window. Embrace surrealism, expect the unexpected, and accept the crystal ball isn’t so crystal clear.
Both teams have a lot to lose, despite what some narratives tell us. There’s one coach that has a bigger bulls-eye on him, and there’s one team that has a bigger bulls-eye on them. Both fates would be equally devastating, just in different ways.
Embrace Saturday, enjoy it with those you love. Be happy, be mad, be alive, and try to be kind to your enemies from the south or the north, no matter how hard that may be.
The Game is special, and the final outcome on a scoreboard will never change that fact.
- Trevor Woods