advertising
Link to jump to start of content The Seattle Times Company Jobs Autos Homes Rentals NWsource Classifieds seattletimes.com
Sports

Friday, November 17, 2006 - Page updated at 09:52 AM

Print

Ohio State-Michigan: Biggest college football game ever?

USA Today

COLUMBUS, Ohio — How big is the biggest Big Game?

"About as big as it gets," former Michigan coach Bo Schembechler said about the epic college football game between No. 1 Ohio State and No. 2 Michigan on Saturday. "I see this game as being a great classic."

If former Ohio State coach Woody Hayes were still around, he'd likely agree. If this game were any bigger, it would have Roman numerals after it or a crystal national-championship trophy waiting for the winner.

"It has the makings of one of the greatest games ever, a national-championship flavor," Ohio State athletic director Gene Smith said.

Even if the game itself isn't as thrilling as the enormous buildup, it doesn't matter, given what awaits the winner: a Big Ten title and a trip to the national-championship game on Jan. 8 in Glendale, Ariz. Always the final game of the regular season for both teams, this is also their last chance to build their résumés. The loser, if the game is close and well played, could retain enough support in the Bowl Championship Series standings to land a Jan. 8 rematch, though it more likely will head to the Jan. 1 Rose Bowl — not a bad consolation prize.

It's the 103rd meeting between the teams, but the first time the game has featured teams ranked No. 1 and No. 2 in the major polls.

"To have this be the first time in over a century that both teams are ranked 1-2, it may be a long time before it happens again," Michigan coach Lloyd Carr said. "It's a dream to not only to coach in this rivalry, but to be able to play in a game like this certainly is very, very special."

The rivalry is one of the sport's best because of its impact on the Big Ten title seemingly every season, and its sheer competitiveness — during the past 50 years, the series record is 24-24-2. For the first time since 1973, both teams enter the game with perfect records.

In Columbus and Ann Arbor, Mich., they must be running out of hyperbole by now, along with face paint and anything scarlet and gray or maize and blue.

"Well, it's finally here, what you've been talking about for six weeks," Ohio State coach Jim Tressel said. "The whole world watching two outstanding football teams."

Along one wall of the Buckeyes' practice facility this week is a large sign that reads: "BEAT MICHIGAN." As if anyone needs a reminder.

"I have to remind myself not to think about that at times," said Ohio State defensive tackle Quinn Pitcock. "Lying in bed trying to sleep, that's all you think about. Maybe NyQuil will help."

Few rivalries in college football can match the storied tradition of this one. The teams have produced Hall of Fame coaches like Schembechler and Hayes, 18 national titles, 72 Big Ten titles and nine Heisman Trophies. Then consider the aura of the 100,000-plus-seat stadiums nicknamed the Horseshoe and the Big House, the singing of "The Victors" and "Carmen Ohio," dotting the "i" in the marching band's famous script Ohio formation, the buckeye leaves on Ohio State helmets and the winged helmets of Michigan.

If Ohio State wins, this will be the first Buckeyes team to go from start to finish in the regular season ranked No. 1. A victory also would give the Buckeyes a shot at their second national title in four years. With a win, the Buckeyes would have their second victory against a No. 2 team in the same season. No top-ranked team has done that in 61 years. On Sept. 9, Ohio State defeated then-No. 2 Texas 24-7.

A Heisman Trophy is also on the line. If Troy Smith performs well, the Buckeyes quarterback is expected to win the sport's most coveted individual award.

"That's probably the last thing in my world right now," Smith said.

Another big game against the Wolverines will only add to his legacy. In both 2004 and 2005, Smith led the Buckeyes to comeback victories against the Wolverines with two long scoring drives in the fourth quarter.

One versus two
Saturday's Ohio State-Michigan game marks only the fourth time the top two ranked teams in the AP poll have met in the regular season since 1991:
Date Outcome
Sept. 9, 2006 No.1 Ohio St. 24, No.2 Texas 7
Nov. 30, 1996 No.2 Florida St. 24, No.1 Florida 21
Nov. 16, 1991 No.2 Miami 17, No.1 Florida St. 16

Copyright © 2006 The Seattle Times Company

advertising

advertising

TV/Radio listings

Monday, May 6

Pro baseballTVRadio
4:07 p.m.Seattle at TorontoROOT710
7 p.m.PCL, Reno at Tacoma850
7:30 p.m.*Seattle at TorontoROOT
NBA basketball playoffs
4 p.m.New York at BostonESPN
4 p.m.Indiana at AtlantaESPN2
6:30 p.m.Oklahoma City at HoustonESPN
6:30 p.m.L.A. Clippers at MemphisESPN2
NHL hockey playoffs
4 p.m.Ottawa at MontrealCBUT
4 p.m.N.Y. Islanders at PittsburghNBCSN
4 p.m.Ottawa at MontrealCNBC
6:30 p.m.Minnesota at ChicagoNBCSN
6:30 p.m.Minnesota at ChicagoCBUT
7 p.m.San Jose at VancouverCNBC950, 102.9
Pro golf
6 a.m.*European Tour, China OpenGOLF
9:30 a.m.LPGA Tour, Kingsmill ChampionshipGOLF
NoonPGA Tour, Wells Fargo ChampionshipGOLF
4:30 p.m.*Champions Tour, Insperity Champ.GOLF
Auto racing
9 a.m.NASCAR Nationwide 312 qualifyingESPN2
11 a.m.NASCAR Sprint Cup 499 practiceSPEED
12:30 p.m.NASCAR Sprint Cup 499 practiceSPEED
2 p.m.ARCA Talladega 250SPEED
Horse racing
2 p.m.Kentucky OaksNBCSN
WHL hockey playoffs final
10:30 p.m.*Edmonton at PortlandROOT
College lacrosse
2:30 a.m.* (Sat.)ECAC Semis, Loyola,Md.vs.Ohio St.ROOT
College softball
4 p.m.Oregon St. at OregonPAC-12
6 p.m.Arizona St. at ArizonaPAC-12
IIHF hockey
2 a.m. (Sat.)United States vs. AustriaNBCSN
* Delayed broadcast

Complete TV/Radio listings

Times writers on the radio

950 KJR

  • Mariners reporter Geoff Baker appears at 9 a.m. Tuesdays with Mitch Levy.
  • Columnist Jerry Brewer appears daily with Elise Woodward 10 a.m. to noon as well as on the Seahawks Roundtable at 8:20 a.m. Thursdays during the NFL season.
  • UW reporter Bob Condotta appears on the Husky Roundtable at 8:20 a.m. Mondays during the college football season.
  • Baseball reporter Larry Stone appears at 8 a.m. Fridays with Mitch Levy.
  • UW reporter Percy Allen appears at noon every Saturday with Jeff Aaron.

Complete TV/Radio listingsMore

Full NFL standings More

Standings

Complete standings More

Guest Guesser

Our annual football contest is over. Your can read about the winner of the championship round.

Sign up for daily sports e-mails

Have top Seattle Times headlines delivered to your inbox each morning for sports, Mariners, Sonics, Storm, Seahawks, Huskies, Cougars and high school.



Recreation calendar
Detailed listings of community sports activities.

Sports cartoon

Updated every Sunday.

How to contact sports

Email: sports@seattletimes.com

Phone: (206) 464-2276

Fax: (206) 464-3255

Letters

E-mail: Cathy Henkel, Sports Editor, chenkel@seattletimes.com

Snail mail: Sports Editor, The Seattle Times, P.O. Box 70, Seattle, WA 98111

More info.


advertising

Local sales & deals Play games Find a job
Search for a job
Job type