For all intents and purposes—and to be as strikingly blunt as possible—the Michigan Wolverines and Ohio State Buckeyes just don’t like each other.
That’s why they’ve been in the midst of one of the sporting world’s greatest rivalries since the late 1960s.
In 2012, Michigan-commit Logan Tuley-Tillman of Peoria Manual (Ill.) burned a recruiting letter from Ohio State; the 6’7”, 300-pound, 4-star lineman posted a photo on Twitter of the Buckeyes’ flame-engulfed offer wasting away in Maize-and-Blue glory.
Later that same year, Gareon Conley flipped from Michigan to Ohio State, prompting more Wolverines-Buckeyes banter on message boards and within corresponding media circles.
The 6’1”, 175-pound, 4-star cornerback anchored Massillon Washington’s secondary. In hindsight, his decommitment from Michigan isn’t a shocker. Buckeyes coach Urban Meyer has the full attention of high-end Ohio-bred prospects.
There have been others—like the “family” searching Justin Boren and Ohioan Kyle Kalis—to switch from one school to the other, and there will be more in the future. The rivalry has deep-rooted recruiting battles that fan the fire of Michigan vs. Ohio State.
The 10-Year War and Bo vs. Woody are cherished cornerstones in the opposing programs’ histories. Bo Schembechler was Woody Hayes’ assistant before leaving the state of Ohio to join “That Team Up North.” Hayes would never say “University of Michigan” or “Michigan” if he could avoid it, thus coining the phrase.
Today, Wolverines coach Brady Hoke simply refers to Ohio State as “Ohio”—again, a subtle but oh-so-obvious verbal stab.
Shots are traded on the Internet more often these days. The Big Ten Network showcased the digital war by posting a photo (taken and posted on Twitter by Michigan’s Bo Dever) of Michigan’s new team ball.
The Wolverines apparently support American-made products and Dever was proud, we assume, of the craftsmanship that went into the Adidas Rifle pigskin, which wasn’t made in Ohio, an important selling point.
The ball is actually an import, not made here in the good-old U. S. of A., according to an update on the Big Ten Network’s post. But you get the hint. There is no love lost between Michigan and Ohio State.
With Jabrill Peppers almost certainly giving a verbal commitment Sunday to Hoke, Michigan can rack up another win over Ohio State. Peppers was thought to be a firm Buckeyes-lean just a couple of weeks ago, but 247Sports.com rates the 5-star athlete’s likelihood of choosing Michigan at 96 percent.
Ohio State went 12-0 last year, while Michigan disappointed at 8-5. Meyer is landing recruiting classes that match or better what Hoke produces. The war is ever present in everything each program does.
Even the Bentley Library has gotten into the mix. The keeper of Michigan’s official athletic records makes note of Ohio State’s vacated 37-7 pounding of the Wolverines in 2010. However, instead of a standard asterisk or bullet, the library affixed a dollar sign ($) in the game’s column.
It wasn’t enough to simply show that the Buckeyes won when it didn’t really count. No, the library had to let you know that it was because of improper financial benefits given to (or supplied by outsiders) student-athletes. Maybe, a book with a “no” symbol over it would have been appropriate, too. Some of the Buckeyes were academically ineligible during the year.
The hatred for one another will never subside, but with Michigan and Ohio State positioned—maybe something like what happened in 2006—to compete head-to-head on the national stage, one can only assume that the neighborly feud is due to erupt.
With the “Made in USA, not in Ohio” stamp on the Wolverines game ball, followers of each team have been given the green light to add their two cents to rivalry talk—and that’s great for Michigan versus Ohio State.
As a matter of fact, the burning offers, flips from one school to the other and Hoke’s stubbornness not to say “State” after “Ohio” are all much-needed components to get the show back on the road. It’s once been called “The Game,” but it hasn’t been much of one since 2006 (No. 1 Ohio St. defeated No. 2 Michigan in thrilling fashion, 42-39).
Follow Bleacher Report’s Michigan Wolverines football writer Adam Biggers on Twitter @AdamBiggers81