COLUMBUS — Ohio State and Michigan have more than a century of shared hostilities. Yet Saturday will mark just the seventh time both teams come into this game undefeated — and the second year in a row.
Forget what the thermometer says. The temperature will reach the boiling point at noon in Michigan Stadium when No. 2 Ohio State (11-0) challenges No. 3 Michigan (11-0).
This will be the 13th matchup with both teams in the top five, the most of any two college football teams in the country.
The good news for Ohio State? The Buckeyes are 4-1-1 when these two square off as unbeatens.
1919 Ohio State (3-0) vs. Michigan (2-0). Result: Ohio State wins 13-3 in Ann Arbor.
1970 Ohio State (8-0) vs. Michigan (9-0). Result: Ohio State wins 20-9 in Columbus.
1973 Ohio State (9-0) vs. Michigan (10-0). Result: Ohio State ties 10-10 in Ann Arbor.
1975 Ohio State (10-0) vs. Michigan (8-0-2). Result: Ohio State wins 21-14 in Ann Arbor.
2006 Ohio State (11-0) vs. Michigan (11-0). Result: Ohio State wins 42-39 in Columbus.
2022 Ohio State (11-0) vs. Michigan (11-0). Result: Michigan wins 45-23 in Columbus.
As arch-rivals are apt to do, each has also made a habit of ruining the other’s unbeaten campaigns.
The Wolverines have done it five times.
The worst and most famous was in 1969, dubbed “The Upset of the Century.” That 24-12 shocker cost Woody Hayes a national championship. Michigan turned the trick three times against John Cooper, in 1993 (28-0), 1995 (31-23), and 1996 (13-9), then did it to Ryan Day in 2022 (45-23).
The Buckeyes have also wrecked five undefeated seasons for Michigan, four of them spoiled Bo Schembechler’s dreams, in 1970 (20-9), 1972 (14-11), 1974 (12-10), and 1975 (21-14). Lloyd Carr was the victim in 2006 (42-39). All except one of those contests (1975) took place in Columbus.
Someone is going to do it again on Saturday.
Here’s the white elephant in the stadium: if Michigan wins, will it stick?
In 2010, Ohio State hammered the Wolverines 37-7. However, the Buckeyes were forced to vacate that victory and coach Jim Tressel resigned in the wake of NCAA violations for improper benefits to student athletes and the subsequent cover-up.
There are whispers everywhere that Michigan could face a similar fate even if it beats the Buckeyes.
Coach Jim Harbaugh is serving the second of two 3-game suspensions this season and will not be on the sidelines Saturday.
His first self-imposed vacation was for improper recruiting during COVID. The latest timeout is from the ongoing scandal involving an impermissible in-person scouting and sign-stealing plot.
That scheme has triggered an NCAA investigation going back two-plus years, which some have theorized could lead the Wolverines to vacating victories in 2021 and 2022.
Who knows where it will lead, or what penalties will be imposed (if any), or even when?
The Buckeyes can clarify quite a few things simply by beating Michigan and putting an end to such foolishness for good.
As of now though, it would be an upset.
Michigan opened as a 3.5-point favorite to win The Game, according to FanDuel. The over/under is set at 47.5 total points.