Oh how it pained me to write the title of this article. I have NEVER, and I mean NEVER rooted for Michigan in my life. The thought repulses me and makes me nauseous. But the truth of the matter is, that is what Ohio State Buckeye fans need to do this week, as the Wolverines take on the Wisconsin Badgers in Ann Arbor.
There have been times when the Buckeyes have needed Michigan to win to help their MNC or Big Ten title chances. There are even Buckeye fans that root for the Wolverines to go 11-0 every year before OSU gets a crack at them in the final week of the regular season. I have never thought it was OK to root for TSUN, and when we've needed them to lose in the past, I have simply "rooted against the other team". If that is what you need to do this week than do that, but whatever you want to call it, Buckeye fans need Bucky to go down whichever way possible if they want to make sure they have a spot in a BCS game, and even preserve the 1% chance remaining of going to Glendale at season's end.
As the Big Ten currently stands, the Buckeyes, Badgers, and Michigan State are all tied at the top of the standings with 9-1 records overall and 5-1 marks in conference play. Michigan State's loss came to Iowa a few weeks back, OSU's loss came to Wisconsin on October 10, and Wisky's loss came to the Spartans early in the season. OSU plays Iowa and Michigan to finish things up, Wisco closes with Michigan and Northwestern, and Sparty ends the 2010 season with Purdue and Penn State. If all teams win out, the tie-breaker for the automatic birth to the Rose Bowl is BCS standing, and as things currently sit, the order is UW-OSU-MSU.
The Buckeyes are guaranteed a share of the conference title if they can win their final two games, but they are not guaranteed an at-large bid to a BCS game if things stay as they currently are. There are only 10 spots in the BCS and two will go to the teams in the championship (Oregon and Auburn as of today), one will go to the ACC winner, one will go to the Big East winner, one will go to the Big 12 winner, one will go to the Big Ten winner, and one with go to an automatic qualifier from a non-BCS conference if either TCU or Boise State win out. That leaves just three spots for the other teams in the mix, which will include OSU, MSU, either Boise State or TCU, Stanford, LSU, Oklahoma State, and Alabama.
You would think with the money that comes with putting OSU in a BCS game that it would be a no-brainer that they get in if they win out, and I think they will, but the chance is always there that Stanford, a second SEC team, and Boise State/TCU may be a breath of fresh air compared to the regulars from Columbus for the selection committees of the various games. This is why Ohio State fans MUST root for Wisconsin to go down in one of their final two games and why they MUST root for the Michigan Wolverines to pull off the upset at home on Saturday.
There are no guarantees in college football, so to be safe, root for the outright conference title crown. You should be doing this anyway, but if you're one of those "Screw Pasadena, I want to go to the Sugar Bowl to play Auburn/LSU" people , think again, as 11-1 doesn't automatically put you in New Orleans. A Michigan win helps the OSU in the BCS, helps them in their quest for a sixth straight conference title, and most importantly, helps them secure the best possible finish to the 2010 season that they can possibly have after dropping the game in Madison earlier this year.
I won't be wearing maize and blue this week, won't be singing "Hail to the Victors", won't give a "Go Blue", and won't be drinking beers with this guy. What I will be doing is rooting for Raggidy Ann AKA the Nard Dawg or Tater Tot, whichever one decides to man-up, come 12 PM this Saturday afternoon. I will be praying somehow the Michigan front seven can stop the Clay/White/Ball show and that Bret Bielema is stubborn enough not to throw all afternoon on UM's porous secondary. I will be hoping for Michigan to win a football game this weekend, something I have never wished for my entire life, and if they can pull if a miracle, I will be celebrating all night long, as the Bucks will finally control their own destiny once again this football season.
Of course all this is moot if the Bucks can't get it done in Iowa City on Saturday, but with the UM-Wisco game set to end before OSU kicks off at 3:30, a Wolverine win can only give Jim Tressel's team some extra motivation to beat the Hawkeyes later that day.