Probably the greatest games involving Ohio State and Michigan, or Michigan and Ohio State, depending on which team you prefer, happened during the 10 Year War era.
Those were the last years of Ohio State legend Woody Hayes and the first years of Michigan legend Bo Schembechler. These two legends were great friends, but they hated each other once every season.
Every year, the game occurring during the 10 Year War determined who would represent the Big 10 in the Rose Bowl. It was for the championship of the Big 10. I wrote about the 10 Year War several times on this blog in the past: 10 Year War , 10 Year War Part 1 , Part 2
Times have changed drastically since the last game of the 10 Year War, but this 2016 game had all the makings of a new 10 year, or more, type war.
Since Bo Schembechler retired, Michigan had Gary Moeller as head coach and then Lloyd Carr. All
After Lloyd Carr, Michigan had some really tough times with Rich Rodriguez and then Brady Hoke.
Rodriguez had great coaching success at West Virginia, but he was a square peg trying to fit in a round hole in Ann Arbor. After 3 miserable, disastrous seasons he was shown the door. Hoke at least had one good season before he was fired.
Jim Harbaugh came along and put Michigan back on the college football map almost instantly.
Ohio State hired Earle Bruce after Woody was fired for punching a Clemson player. Bruce was followed by John Cooper and then Jim Tressel, with Tressel winning a national championship in 2002.
Ohio State had some problems during the end of Tressel’s time in Columbus and he was fired before the 2011 season.
Current Defensive Coordinator Luke Fickell was the interim head coach and he finished with a losing 6-7 record.
2012 changed everything when Urban Meyer was hired to coach at his dream school. In 5 seasons,
Meyer has led the Buckeyes to a sparkling 61-5 record and a national championship in 2014. Depending on how the rest of the season plays out, but Meyer has gotten really close to the Nebraska standard of 60-3 over a 5 year period. Best 5 year records
Meyer versus Harbaugh in season one was a blowout in Ohio State’s favor. But, this season was different with Michigan dominating the game at times, but the Ohio State defense saved the day. Malik Hooker picked off his 6th pass of the year which he returned for a score as he has done 3 times this season.
With two teams capable of scoring a lot of points, the defenses ruled the day much like during the 10 year war.
1973 was maybe the greatest and most well known of those battles when these two powerhouses ended up with a 10-10 tie which became extremely controversial after the Big 10 voted Ohio State to represent the conference in the Rose Bowl. There was no Overtime in those years and with a tie on their record, the Buckeyes had no shot at the national title even after they blew out USC in Pasadena.
The 2016 version of the huge rivalry game reminded so much of the 1973 game.
Like that 1973 game, this was a defensive battle the entire game and it tied in regulation. Both teams had a slight chance at a national championship going in. Of course, this version of The Game was to determine who got into the Big 10 championship game with a Michigan win earning them a spot as the Eastern champ. Ohio State needed Penn State to lose to make it into the championship and unfortunately for the Buckeyes, the Nittany Lions won easily.
Could this be the start of some new 10 year war type of games between these two tremendous
Why not? Both of these teams recruited top 5 classes this past season and have plenty of top talent coming up. Both teams have top recruits lined up sign next February with Ohio State having the top recruiting class in the country, so far.
Michigan does lose a lot of talent after this season with a lot of seniors on their roster, plus they will lose great juniors like Jabrill Peppers.
I am not Nostradamus and I can’t predict the future, but this sure looks like a new and exciting time for this rivalry and that’s great for college football.