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How the Michigan vs. Washington game could be classic and defining for both programs

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Saturday night’s tilt in Ann Arbor could wind up being a classic under the lights.

Syndication: Detroit Free Press Kirthmon F. Dozier via Imagn Content Services, LLC

The Michigan Wolverines host the Washington Huskies under the lights tomorrow at 8 PM EST. While both schools remain outside of the AP’s Top 25, this match-up has been highly anticipated.

Head coach Jim Harbaugh commented on Washington earlier this week, “Got a good idea that Washington has been preparing for us for a long time. It’s an important game for both teams so I think that makes that first game irrelevant.”

We have discussed the ins and outs of the Huskies in hopes to better understand our Pac-12 opponent. With discussions arising in conference shake-ups that preceded the start of the 2021 college football season, a game such as this has the potential to become a staple sometime in the future.

Washington and Michigan have been quintessential parts of the preseason narrative over the past six years. While looking specifically at Harbaugh’s tenure at Michigan, both programs have actively made appearances in the AP’s Top 25 in the preseason and postseason. The past two seasons, Washington struggled to find consistent success which landed themselves outside of the AP Top 25.

Last season was cut short for both teams due to COVID, so Michigan and Washington looked to 2021 to regain traction and move toward their goals. Both programs have demonstrated success in the past, but have also fallen to rollercoaster seasons. Therefore, I think the need to regain glory will be the main driver in Saturday’s contest for both teams.

With early discussions of an alliance allowing for a real possibility of playing Washington more regularly, a lot of potential could be built into creating a classic on Saturday night. Under the lights in the Big House is a highly anticipated night in Michigan’s season for everyone involved. Night games are rare around here, so it will be a different atmosphere.

The last time the Wolverines hosted the Huskies was in 2002, though not in this time slot. A lot of notoriety has arisen from playing under the lights, most famously the 2011 win against Notre Dame. Does this Saturday’s contest have the potential to rise to similar fame? The more recent history between Washington and Michigan suggests that the game will be decided by one score. The most previous contest came down to a field goal. I think based on how these programs measure out currently, tomorrow night’s game could follow a similar trajectory.

Currently, fan discourse is highly focused on whether or not Michigan fans can collectively pull off a successful Maize Out in the Big House. While they try to drive this at least once a year, my time as a student rarely saw success in this and this includes the student section. It’s hard to pinpoint exactly why fans going to the Big House can’t pull this off like Penn State can with their infamous White Outs. Surely it is difficult to amass over 100,000 Maize shirts so it’s one per seat.

This is what also sparks the discussion of where the Maize pom-poms disappeared and why they have yet to make a comeback. The blanket answer would be discovering an eco-friendly alternative pom-pom. Whether that is in the works is up in the air. For now, we rely on the good of our neighbor and the concept of unity in being a Michigan fan. Don’t be afraid to bring an extra just in case and give them the benefit of the doubt that they didn’t know. If you don’t want to share a shirt with a stranger, maybe bring a maize poncho.

Regardless of what happened in week 1, tomorrow night could be the game to watch. If Michigan fans pull off a successful Maize Out and if history repeats itself as it has between these two teams, will this under the lights game go down in history? Let us know in the comments!