The recruiting wars, the digital darts thrown from one fanbase toward another on messageboards and the rekindling of the Michigan Wolverines-Ohio State Buckeyes rivalry are signs that The Game will once again become a game in the future.
The days of the Buckeyes' dominance (10 wins since 2001; 2010 Ohio State victory vacated due to sanctions) could be put on the back burner due to the Wolverines' apparent resurgence.
Coach Brady Hoke has his Wolverines set up for success within the Big Ten and on the national stage. Coach Urban Meyer posted a 12-0 record with the Buckeyes in 2012, his first season in control of the post-Jim Tressel era Ohio State program.
Both have secured elite recruiting classes and both have their teams as favorites to win a conference title.
However, despite the fire that's burning inside fans in Ann Arbor and Columbus, despite the intensity brewing in anticipation of this fall's classic, Hoke and Meyer probably won't ever replicate the hatred that existed between Michigan and Ohio State during the famous "10-Year War," one of the greatest periods in all of college sports.
From 1969-1978, Bo Schembechler headed a proud Wolverines team that posted a 5-4-1 record against Woody Hayes' Buckeyes. Adding to the mystique and intrigue was the fact that Bo learned the coaching ropes from Woody, his mentor.
Bo versus Woody was the pinnacle, the top of the mountain that defines Michigan versus Ohio State.
Judging by Hoke's "Michigan Man" comments, it's entirely likely that he'll finish his coaching career with the Wolverines. The same, though, can't be said for Meyer, who's had three tenures at BCS-title quality programs since 2003. His longest stretch was from 2005-2010 with the Florida Gators, who won BCS titles in 2006 and 2008 (Meyer's coaching history).
From an outsider's perspective, it looked like Meyer would stay put in Gainesville due to his makeover of the national juggernaut. However, Meyer cited health issues as reason why he chose to take a year off from roaming the sidelines, leaving a two-time national championship team to recover from a heart attack.
Meyer wanted to be closer to his family, an admirable desire. His future as a coach was uncertain at that point.
Had the world of college football seen the last of him?
That was a distinct possibility. While football is his passion, it didn't make sense for Meyer to risk his life—literally—for a game.
But then the Ohio State job opened in the wake of Tressel's controversy-ridden finale in Columbus. Meyer was approached with an offer that he happily accepted.
According to ESPN, Meyer is signed with Ohio State through 2017, accumulating a minimum of $4 million per season with access to private jets and posh golf resorts on top of a generous $1,200 monthly budget for automobiles.
Not a bad contract.
But what happens when the next best opportunity presents itself? What about a possible call from the NFL? Ohio State may be a stop on the road for Meyer, but Michigan is Hoke's dream destination.
Hoke "immediately" accepted a six-year deal from Michigan athletic director Dave Brandon. Hoke couldn't believe the words on the other end of the phone. His coaching mission was complete.
"We [family] would have walked here [to Ann Arbor] from San Diego," Hoke said of his jubilant acceptance (via AnnArbor.com). "Getting up the Rockies would have been a little bit difficult, but we could have figured that out."
For Meyer, taking the Ohio State job was more business than fulfilling a dream and a destiny. He's one of the most sought-after leaders in all of college sports, and it could be only a matter of time before he's tempted by a higher-profile position elsewhere.
Michigan versus Ohio State is gaining back its luster. Hoke has recruited in such a manner that dreaded losing streaks to the Buckeyes may be long gone; the rivalry looks like it will no longer be so one-sided.
Ohio State rebounded from scandal in dramatic fashion with its unblemished record in 2012, but the likelihood of Meyer establishing a Woody-like tradition in Columbus may not be a feasible expectation given his track record.
Fans on both sides can hope for another "10-Year War," but it'll most likely be a battle fought between Hoke and the next coach at Ohio State.
Follow Bleacher Report's Michigan Wolverines football writer Adam Biggers on Twitter @AdamBiggers81
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