Collision Course: Ohio State, Michigan Arming for Battle

By Kyle Rowland on January 30, 2013 at 10:00a
51 Comments
Urban Meyer readies for battle against the heathens from the North

It started the day both coaches were hired. Standing at a podium in Schembechler Hall, Brady Hoke referred to Ohio State as “Ohio.” The needling hasn’t stopped. Urban Meyer announced how many days remained in the countdown to the Michigan game at his introductory press conference. In short, they get it. 

“You have to start off with the initial hirings,” said Tom Luginbill, the national recruiting director at ESPN, in a recent interview with Eleven Warriors. “You have to ensure you have the right guy at the right place at the right time, and I think that’s what happened with Brady Hoke at Michigan and Urban Meyer at Ohio State.”

For more than half a century, the Ohio State-Michigan rivalry was as grand as rivalries got in all of sports. But the luster and appeal tapered off after former Michigan head coach Lloyd Carr retired. In his place came what the high-class Ann Arbor intellect perceived as a country bumpkin from West Virginia. Rich Rodriguez never stood a chance.

Wins were rare, while wins over archrival Ohio State were as rare as an uncooked steak. Losing all three games to Ohio State certainly didn’t endear Rich Rod to the Maize and Blue faithful. The Buckeyes outscored the Wolverines, 100-24.

Most observers expected Rodriguez to be relieved of his coaching duties following the 2010 regular season. But no one dreamed that Tressel would follow him out the door. That’s precisely what happened, though, after an NCAA scandal engulfed the football program.

The 2011 season became a year of uncertainty for Ohio State and the beginning of a revival for Michigan. Under the direction of interim coach Luke Fickell, the Buckeyes lost seven games, tied for the most in school history. Hoke, meanwhile, concocted an improbable 11-2 record and, for the first time in seven years, Michigan beat Ohio State.

The Buckeyes returned the favor in Meyer’s first year at the helm. And it now appears the programs are on a collision course that harkens back to the days of Woody and Bo.

“Nothing could ever match the Ten-Year War and nothing ever will in our lifetimes,” New York Times bestselling author John U. Bacon told Eleven Warriors. “Both guys were from Ohio and one of them was the mentor of the other. For Michigan fans, it was like Darth Vader and Luke Skywalker.

“What’s coming up next might be as close as the rivalry can get to that amazing 10-year period.”

Bacon, who authored the bestselling book Three and Out: Rich Rodriguez and the Michigan Wolverines in the Crucible of College Football, used the past season to write another book titled Fourth and Long: The Fight for the Soul of College Football, chronicling the ongoing changes at Ohio State, Michigan, Penn State and Northwestern. He got an up-close look in Columbus and Ann Arbor, and what he saw were two spacecrafts in the process of attaching the rocket boosters.

“Both of these guys are from deep in the heart of Ohio, and it’s an incredibly deep football culture,” Bacon said. “They both recruit Ohio and understand you have to. You aren’t going to win Big Ten titles at either school unless you recruit very good players out of the state of Ohio. It’s never been done. They can clearly both recruit the lights out. I can’t recall any Michigan coach, even Bo, recruiting at this level. Michigan was not getting No. 1 tailbacks out of Virginia during that time.”

“What’s coming up next might be as close as the rivalry can get to that amazing 10-year period.”

Recruiting is the lifeblood of any program. Coaches don’t just luck into good years. As Woody Hayes famously said, “You win with people.” That holds true today in college football, as it does in all walks of life. When Meyer and Hoke were hired by Ohio State and Michigan, their first order of business, aside from throwing barbs at their rival, was getting on the phone to high school seniors.

The situation Meyer walked into at Ohio State was much easier to fix. It was something he even referenced when he was introduced, saying Ohio State wasn’t broken. One down year does not mark the end of happy times, especially when it occurred under an interim coach. Still, the Buckeyes had a recruiting class that was ranked in the 20s. When Meyer began calling kids and making visits, up went Ohio State – all the way into the top 5

“There was immediate credibility,” Luginbill said. “Those top five or six guys were all offensive and defensive linemen. I’m sure his No. 1 sales pitch was, ‘I’ve won national titles and I can tell how you to do it, and it has to start with you guys, so come be the nucleus.’”

It’s not only offensive and defensive linemen Meyer is after. He’s eyeing every spot on the field, and he wants to hit his old stops in Florida and the rest of the South. A built-in pipeline with rich talent could go a long way in Ohio State winning a national championship. Already, the Buckeyes start with an advantage that can’t be overstated.

“Over the course of time, those relationships and established roots will be a pivotal positive for Ohio State,” Luginbill said. “The reality is Jadeveon Clowney, Robert Nkemdiche and Carlos Dunlap aren’t coming out of the Midwest. They’re in the Southeast. The University of Michigan knows this too, and they know they have to go into areas that are not their traditional recruiting core pool. It does give Ohio State an advantage because they’re established in that region.”

Hoke’s success in his first two years on and off the field has created a tidal wave of positive energy at Michigan. On National Signing Day, a second straight top 10 class will be attained. Currently, Michigan’s class includes nine Ohioans.

Throughout the illustrious history of Michigan football, prominent players have often crossed the state line, including two Heisman Trophy winners: Desmond Howard and Charles Woodson. It’s the past, present and future that leads Hoke to the realization that Ohio could hold the keys when it comes to Michigan’s viability as a national title contender.

“It’s essential,” Bacon said. “If you’re from Trotwood or Pickerington, you do not leave that state lightly. So the guys Michigan tends to get to leave Ohio feel strongly about Michigan and they’re fierce competitors who do not need to be taught what the rivalry is all about. That, I believe, does add flavor to it.”

The roundup of Ohio has put the Buckeyes and Wolverines in each other’s crosshairs. During Rodriguez’s time at Michigan, he rarely battled Ohio State for Ohio players. Michigan also recruited a different type of player. Now Meyer and Hoke’s matchups aren’t just limited to the field. Living rooms across the state have become an area for wins and losses.

These 80s bros would be Juggalos todayMichigan bros can feel it.

Following the Buckeyes’ win in November to complete a perfect season, Meyer and his assistants beat Michigan again. This time it involved defensive back Gareon Conley, who rescinded his commitment to Michigan and chose Ohio State instead.

Luginbill described the situation as “wonderfully played” by Meyer and his staff. Long before Conley became a highly touted recruit, Michigan’s coaches discovered him and started the process. They invested time and energy into Conley and secured a commitment. Not wanting him to slip away, but also not eager to take a public perception blow, Meyer went to work.

“What I believe Urban Meyer did was say, ‘Listen, I’m not offering you a scholarship unless I know for a fact you’re coming to Ohio State,’” Luginbill said. “If he loses Gareon Conley to Michigan and doesn’t offer him, he can say he didn’t offer him. But if he offers him and loses him to Michigan, it looks bad. That’s the type of competitiveness there is between Meyer and Hoke.”

The de-commitment did not spoil an already stellar class for the Wolverines. The reclamation project started in earnest for Hoke due to the mess he inherited. There was no Band-Aid available. Michigan needed open heart surgery. Luckily, athletic director Dave Brandon found the man to do the job.

Hoke was already a Michigan Man, helping to soften the fans. His prior success and clear distaste for anything involving Ohio State added to the intrigue. But what supporters are most interested in are results. When Michigan started getting some of the best high school talent in the country and won games, the faithful was sold. The talent gap between Ohio State and Michigan doesn’t exist anymore.

“One difference, no question, is that Brady Hoke has the whole Michigan family behind him,” Bacon said. “In recruiting, that helps. It’s all hands on deck. You need high school coaches, you need alums, and you need current players all helping you recruit. Rodriguez never had all of any of those groups.”

Even more impressive was Hoke’s ability to put a foot down in the state of Ohio and pry kids out. He smartly invaded the state during trying times for the Buckeye football factory. But even if Hoke isn’t able to get a kid, just being visible can be satisfying enough. 

“Anytime Brady Hoke and his staff can be a thorn in the side of Ohio State and have a presence in the state of Ohio – knowing Ohio State has to deal with it is vital,” Luginbill said.

In a little more than one year, Conley, Kyle Kalis and Bri’onte Dunn have all provided Ohio State and Michigan with a spicier rivalry due to recruiting happenings. Almost every member of Meyer’s staff has a connection to the state of Ohio, while the same holds true for Hoke’s group of assistants. Having them invade the borders has added another layer to an already simmering feud between the Scarlet and Gray and Maize and Blue.

“What you have is a competitive balance between the two,” Luginbill said. “You have two staffs that grind at it in recruiting and have an identity. They know what they want to get out of their players and what needs to happen to sustain long-term success. They’re still in the process of developing that and laying down the blueprint.

“Hoke’s staff has established Midwestern roots. There are a lot of guys on that staff that understand that conference and the folklore of Michigan. It’s going to be extremely important (for Michigan to recruit Ohio strong) because the state of Michigan alone will not fuel enough players for them to sustain an 85-man roster. They have to have an established presence in Ohio. I think that’s something Urban Meyer recognizes as well. John Cooper used to say you build a fence around Ohio and recruit nationally.”

“If Michigan can’t keep up with Ohio State, I don’t think anyone (in the Big Ten) can.”

It is a strategy Meyer is taking, as evidenced by his first two classes at Ohio State which have included kids from all over the country. The cream of the crop, so to speak, are the defensive linemen from the South. It’s been a common denominator in the SEC’s seven national championships and something few teams outside the SEC are able to have. But that could be changing with Meyer’s ride north.

The amount of success the Buckeyes have had under Meyer leads many to believe Ohio State is on the fast track. His past lends credence to those thoughts, considering the amount of near immediate returns he’s had. It took all of one year for Ohio State to have an undefeated season. The 2013 season is full of expectations and plenty of national title talk already. If the Buckeyes win a championship so soon in the Meyer era, could Ohio State leave Michigan and the Big Ten in the rearview mirror?

“That’s Michigan’s challenge,” Bacon said. “Right now, Michigan stands as Ohio State’s only clear competition in the Big Ten for the next few years. If Michigan can’t keep up with Ohio State, I don’t think anyone (in the Big Ten) can.”

Periods of dominance in the rivalry have not been unprecedented, but it is rare for one team to have a stranglehold on the conference. That’s why Hoke’s hiring, which helped loosen the Buckeyes’ previous grip, was so important in changing the dynamics of the Ohio State-Michigan game.

The more likely scenario is Ohio State and Michigan being a tandem in separating from the rest of the conference’s lackluster play. Wisconsin, Penn State, Michigan State and Iowa, four consistently good teams in recent times, could fade from people’s minds in the coming years. That leaves Nebraska as the only “name” school challenging Ohio State and Michigan.

“Both are on the right track and got off to hot starts in their first year, which has proven to be vital in recruiting,” Luginbill said. “The snowball is starting to roll. The question is, which one pulls ahead? I think it’s probably too early to determine that.

“With Urban Meyer, there are two national championships in the toughest conference in the country under that belt. There’s proof in the pudding. When it comes to recruiting, does he have a little ace in his pocket? Absolutely. How much that resonates now, these kids were 12 years old when he won his last national championship.”

In a results-based business, that’s what Bacon points to in evaluating a rivalry that is poised for another great chapter.  

“For a stretch it could be a Big Two, Little 10 run,” he said. “Look at the last two games. Ohio State was down in 2011 and it came down to the final play. Last year Michigan was 8-3 and comes into the Horseshoe against an undefeated team and had the lead at halftime. You can already see the stings of a truly great rivalry. Even when another team is a little down, you can play spoiler. That almost happened the last two years. It shows that it’s heading in the old direction.”

Another vision of the past has taken form in Columbus. It is the reason why Hoke responded, “Not good,” when asked what his first thought was when Ohio State hired Meyer.

“There are some people addicted to alcohol, some people are addicted to gambling,” Luginbill said. “Urban Meyer is addicted to football, and he’s addicted to winning.”

51 Comments

Comments

740 BUCKEYE's picture

Well done sir, well done.

beserkr29's picture

It's fascinating to see the moves and countermoves that are happening in the rivalry.  Hoke came in and started spouting off about "Ohio", recruited offensive lineman like mad, got some extremely good players at other positions, then beat OSU (caveat: barely, during the worse year resultswise Ohio State football had had since Cooper's last) for the first time in ages.  Ohio State responds with the hiring of Meyer, followed by an extremely fast recruiting season for 2012 that saw near miracles worked on the recruiting trail, which was blown away by an unforeseen undefeated season that launched Ohio State back into national prominence, including yet another sweet win against Hoke's boys.  Hoke has hit Ohio hard for recruits.  Meyer responded by stealing some of Hoke's most sorely needed talent in the Mitten State.  Personal thoughts aside, the chess game is fantastic to see after years of Tressel simply battering Carr and Rodriguez into the dirt.  Which I loved, by the way, lest anyone think I care about that other team's fortunes too much.  All in all, I am excited to see how the rivalry evolves while Meyer and Hoke are at the helm.  Hopefully we see a few Ohio State national titles after it's all said and done.

JeffCoBuck's picture

"It's going to be extremely important (for Michigan to recruit Ohio strong) because the state of Michigan alone will not fuel enough players for them to sustain an 85-man roster. They have to have an established presence in Ohio."
This is no big shock, but I've said this for years to anyone that'll listen - scUM football doesn't exist without the state of Ohio.  From Bo, to Gary Moeller, to Woodson, to Howard, and every other Benedict Arnold - that state couldn't support its own program with the overall talent that comes out of those high schools on a yearly basis.  It kills me that Ohio HS football is superior to M*ch*g*n's in every way, and yet some of our guys want to go up there to play for AACC.  That is the biggest reason for my disdain for scUM.  They act all high and mighty, but they're nothing without pillaging our state for talent.
 
edit - grammar

blueinsconsin's picture

Very good

Not here to troll...Go Blue

DaytonBuckeye4life's picture

Good article I love the rivalry between us its the best in all of college sports. 

hail2victors9's picture

Man, can we just fast forward to Nov. 30?  And 2, 3, 4 years ahead.  I want to see how this pans out.
This year's The Game will be huge for Michigan going against a more talented OSU team.  If Hoke can't come away with a victory this year he'll be staring down the barrel of a 3-game losing streak and the loss of momentum in recruiting.  And that increases 100 fold if OSU comes in undefeated. 
[fastens seat belt] 

Those who stay will be CHAMPIONS!
~Bo Schembechler

JasonBuck's picture

Hey Hail, do you think that scUM's class is done after missing on Smythe (sp?)? Or are they going after someone to fill that slot?  Surprised they'd want another TE since they have Butt (I can't help but laugh when I typed that, haha)...your thoughts would be appreciated?

blueinsconsin's picture

I expect them to be done with 27, but anything can happen on signing day.  Getting 28 would be a major shock

Not here to troll...Go Blue

spqr2008's picture

Butt is by far the winner of the All-American name and position team.  TE Butt.  Haha
 

JasonBuck's picture

Who are some of the names they're targeting?  Have you heard of anyone who would push them to 28?

Squirrel Master's picture

I think they are after a guy named Rear. He plays End.

I saw a UFO once.......it told me to have a goodyear!

Hardware Sushi's picture

No, we are done at 27 unless the pick up someone out of left field like Willie Henry or Dennis Norfleet like the past couple years.

hail2victors9's picture

Kenton Gibbs, DT is the name I keep hearing thrown around, but that seems to be a response to the talk of Poggi flipping to Bama (which Tom VH of ESPN says not to worry about = Alex telling you guys not to worry, IMO). 
I don't really expect anyone, but you never know with NSD.  Last year Hoke flipped Norfleet from UC, late on the night before signing day out of nowhere, so I'm kind of hoping for a good surprise.

Those who stay will be CHAMPIONS!
~Bo Schembechler

Doc's picture

It is game on!  I think Urbz will eventually pull away and become Supreme Lord Chancellor of the B1G.  Flounder is a great recruiter, I'm interested to see if he can translate that to wins on the field.  I think he'll do well in the B1G, but not against us.  Sure he might sneak one past us a time or two, but in general he'll have a losing record.  Hoke doesn't have a B1G title to his name, or a divisional title for that matter.  I'm not scared of him or TTUN. 

"Say my name."

toledobuckeyefanjim's picture

A one-point lead at halftime is barely a lead. To me, it's being tied.

Jason Priestas's picture

Good thing you're not an accountant. :|

gwalther's picture

Toledo Buckeye was actually on Arthur Anderson's Enron team. "2+2 = 2.6 billion this quarter." 

Class of 2008

btalbert25's picture

How many of the great linemen Urban has recruited to Oho State are from the south?  Spence, Washington, Pittman, and Schutt aren't from down south right?    Munger and Price are not from the south.  I understand there are 3 from the south in this year's class, but his most heralded D-Linemen(2 five star players) the first 2 years are from Pennsylvania and Ohio.

btalbert25's picture

In talking to a lot of Michigan fans and just observiing a lot of what has been said since Hoke took over, I don't think Hoke and Meyer have the same goals.  Hoke wants to win the B1G and to me it's clear Urban's goals are that crystal football.  I guess you can't win that with out winning the B1G, but I do think it's a clear difference in a recruiting pitch.
In the end it may not make a difference, I don't know, but I'm not so sure the results between Hoke and Meyer will be any different than Lloyd Carr and Tressel.  I mentioned it yesterday in a post.  Carr, at won point, had a TON of success against the Buckeyes.  Then JT came around and Lloyd still had great teams, but they just couldn't get past the Buckeyes.  Urban owns rivalry games, until Hoke proves he can beat Urban, I just don't believe it'll happen very often.  I agree with Hail, this year's Game is immensely important.  It could be the most important game Hoke will coach at Michigan.

babbski's picture

That was a fantastic read. Kudos, sir.

buck4's picture

Incredible article!  This is the very fabric of midwest Football.  This rivallry is important for both teams as well as for the B1G.  When both teams are battling back and forth, it creates an even bigger "WIN" and a more heart breaking defeat.

fansince1968's picture

Great article - thanks Kyle!

Earle's picture

Sorry, I'm just not buying the "Michigan is back" narrative yet.  Hoke had a very good year in his first season (in which he beat a floundering OSU team) followed by a mediocre one (and a loss to the Buckeyes), and I don't see anything in his history that screams "elite coach".
He has shown he can recruit, but until he shows me he can consistently put a team on the field that can regulary contend for a B1G title and vie for dominance with Urban and Ohio State, I'm not going to put him on the same plane with Meyer, or UM on the same plane as OSU.

Italics are for emphasis.

btalbert25's picture

I have no doubt they'll be back to being a very good B1G team, but that doesn't mean they are going to be competitive in the rivalry.  Sheer talent will make them better than every team not named Ohio State, but Lloyd Carr had that too, and only beat JT 1 time.  Meyer is the best big game and rivalry coach I've seen the last 11 years, so it's conceivable he'll pick up right where JT left off. 
Hoke has to win The Game this year period.

Earle's picture

Agreed.  I think one of the things that sets Meyer apart from Hoke, and even Tress, is that while he is focused on The Game, he also has higher aspirations than just beating Michigan and winning the B1G.  I think Hoke would be thrilled with a winning record against Ohio State and a handful of B1G titles.  Meyer wants national titles and knows he needs to win the conference and beat Michigan to get there.

Italics are for emphasis.

iball's picture

I agrre with this. Michigan started ranked #8 this year and expected to win the BIG. They got thumped in the opener and were mostly disappointing.
Mochigan fan friends of mine would argue that their only losses were to top ranked teams and a fluke injury. But really, how good was Notre Dame?
I agree that Hoke is doing a nice job recruiting but I cant imagine being a Michigan fan and being totally pumped up after last year. There has to be some skepticism there.

“There’s one thing I have learned through all my adventures and conquests - it’s that some people are just wired for success. I had no choice when it came to being great - I just am great.” – Kenny Powers

iball's picture

In Hokes defense, I dont feel he's had qb that truly fits into what he wants to do on offense.
He was successful with Nate Davis at Ball St, more of a traditional qb
 

“There’s one thing I have learned through all my adventures and conquests - it’s that some people are just wired for success. I had no choice when it came to being great - I just am great.” – Kenny Powers

CC's picture

Great article but this is not true:
>>The talent gap between Ohio State and Michigan doesn’t exist anymore.
The Bucks are way deeper.  Have equal (not sure that it is) talent for 2 years does not make up for the RS Seniors, Seniors and Juniors.

Matt20Buckeye's picture

We're way deeper based on what? We have very comparable recruiting classes last year and this year, and the last two games were very close (I refuse to discount 2011 because of the off the field drama, Those boys gave scum their best shot in 2011). This year we won but it was 26-21. Its not like our depth and talent blew them away. I wont pretend I know alot about the junior and senior class for scum coming back next year but I venture to say they are comparable. Compared to the Rich Rod years where there was a night and day difference between the two schools they are quite equal as of now.

CC's picture

Are you really going to make me pull the last 3 tress classes vs the last 3 rich rod classes?

I'll start with Braxton, Roby and RDS, three players from said classes who are better than any players on scum.

College teams are built with upper classes, they are playing with rich rod players we are playing with top 10 classes.

Per scout:
2011 osu 6 um 29
2010 osu 20 um 12
2009 osu 1 um 14

Working on an iPad so it's not worth the pain to look into it further.

toad1204's picture

Well done Kyle.  Got me thinking about the 2006 HBO special prior to when #1 and #2 played.
The off season is truely the hardest part of football. 

Nothing like dancing on the field in 02... 

ATLBuckeye09's picture

You're wrong. That HBO special about The Game was done AFTER the 2006 game. Go watch it again as it has clips from that game in the documentary.

Because they wouldn't let me go for 3!
Woody Hayes 1913-1987

Dougger's picture

This article is epic. I really felt it from both sides.
A crazy thing to think about is that in their first year's (albeit different years) Bradycardia and Team Urban were 23-2. that's incredible!
You gotta wonder how well RichRod could have done if he had the support from all of UM's social circles... imo that's unfortunate. he was improving his win total each year without it...but I enjoy the 100-24 tally.

I like football

dlb72osu's picture

I still don't get why OSU pursued a 4 star RB and passed on a 5 star RB who idolized OSU, Eddie George and everything scarlet and gray. Then the RB from St. Louis gets all riled when Urbz tries to steal a prized RB away from Oregon. To top this whole soap opera off, the 5 star inks with our hugest rival! Can someone, anyone, clear this up? 

I am the master of my fate: I am the captain of my soul.
- Invictus

Matt20Buckeye's picture

Well I think the Staff thinks EZE fits their system better, and they evaluate that based on film not just on stars that recruiting agencies give them. Is Derek Green a good recruit with the potential to be great ? Yes. But just because EZE is a 4 star doesn't mean that he will not be just as good or turn out even better. I also think that OSU has a log game at the RB position. Say Hyde goes pro this year and we don't have scholarship reduction I think that they go after him more aggressively. EZE committed early and filled the role they were looking for. We cant have them all.

btalbert25's picture

Yeah, Hyde, Smith, Bell, and Dunn probably had something to do with this too.  They are essentially the same type of RB.

Dougger's picture

Rod > Derrick

I like football

dlb72osu's picture

All of this sounds good, as long as Ezekiel signs LOI on Wednesday. I agree with the log jam at RB theory and I realize Green is more of your prototypical power running back (like some of the aforementioned above). But I have my doubts about a young man's intentions when he runs off to another University because the Staff is trying to get another prized recruit who may vie for your pedestal.

I am the master of my fate: I am the captain of my soul.
- Invictus

Matt20Buckeye's picture

Yeah i agree, but the staff cut ties with Green before EZE visited Mizzou. Its not like they knew that was going to happen. I prefer they tell a player "hey man were done recruiting you" then do what they are doing to Timmons and string him along.

btalbert25's picture

If they get Wilson it doesn't really matter still.  I think it's irrelevant anyway.  Elliot will be in this class.

buckeyedude's picture

I thought the same thing but was afraid to express it here. It doesn't make a lot of sense, does it?
The only thing I can fathom is that they are of different builds and different type of runners. D. Green is a big bruser, I believe, and EzE is a little smaller, faster and will be used to catch passes out of the backfield.

 

 

German Buckeye's picture

Love the pic of Urbmoses...i want. 

sir rickithda3rd's picture

if michigan had harbaugh and was recruiting like this i would be worried.... but we have urbs and they dont it really is that simple imo

mark may wins douchebag of the year... again

harleymanjax's picture

I'm not buying the Michigan is back thing, I also don't believe Hoke is anything special. I think he has signed some good players but this year is crucial for the program to make a statement. Mark my words, if Hoke goes anything less than 10-2 the top tier players are not going to be signing up for 2014. And then after multiple losses to OSU, he gets fired!

"Because I couldn't go for 3"

Hovenaut's picture

Best. Offseason. Writeup. Yet.

If you don't walk away from this read pumped up.....

"Success...it's what you do with what you got" - Woody Hayes

NJ_BUCKEYE's picture

Well Michigan fans better hope Zeke doesn't flip, because you know Meyer would contemplate stealing Hoke's candy by taking Green into the class at the last minute.  The lack of an attempt by meyer to look for a back up plan tells me Zeke is going to be good to go.  It seems like he is getting pressure from Mizzou people more than anything, and not that he is conflicted over his choice.  At least from everything I have seen and read that's what appears to be happening.

Knarcisi's picture

I appreciate the energy and hype, but we are gonna dominate these guys again for another 10 years. Still not sure why Hoke is being crowned the next Bo. 

va_buck's picture

Mr. Bacon should fact check before he makes unresearched remarks.
 
"I can’t recall any Michigan coach, even Bo, recruiting at this level. Michigan was not getting No. 1 tailbacks out of Virginia during that time.”
 
Bo actually recruited the number 1 tailback from Virginia in 1975, Russell Davis, who scored two touchdowns against the good guys in the Shoe in '76.  And to preclude any "well, he's no Derrick Green" chatter ....  that's correct, Davis was better, one of the top sprinters in VA he also put his 6'2" 220 frame over a 6'9" high jump bar which is less than a finger's length lower than our own Devon Smith.  
I guess when you're a best selling author you think folks will believe anything you say if it sounds good.

VA_Buck

Knarcisi's picture

Agreed.  Hoke has not proven yet he can win at this level.  Looking at his SDSU record, I would question that leve, as well.  He was lucky to beat our worst team in over 50 years in 2011.  I'm all for a better Michigan.  It makes us better, and prepares us.  I just don't see that they are "back", at least yet.  No question this is the greatest rivalry in sports, but eras of it like "The 10 year war", are made on the field, and deemed in reflection, not hyped up in articles before they happen.

Frankly Scarlet's picture

Great article. As a Buckeye exiled to TSUN and living near AA for the past twenty years, I have come to appreciate and respect the rivalry on a greater level than when I was an insulated Ohio resident.
While there is no denying the damage Brady Hoke is doing on the recruiting trail - and, frankly, a Michigan coach SHOULD be able to draw top recruits to that program - the great unknown is his ability to coach at an elite level. He did turn around the programs at his two previous spots, but neither were on the level of a top-tier B1G program. We know Urban has done it, we don't know if Hoke can. Now that he has a few years-worth of "his" players under his belt (ahem) and will finally be able to run his pro-style offense w/Gardner, we'll find out if he has what it takes on game day.
Go Bucks!

 
"Buclkle your chinstrap, we're gonna grind meat!" - Woody Hayes  
 

acBuckeye's picture

It can't be overlooked that for years, scUM has gotten good talent from Texas. They are established there.
Also, I think both programs have the ability now to hold serve in the series on their home fields for the immediate future. However, I think the difference is that Meyer and OSU will have a higher probability of winning games in AA than scUM does of winning games in Columbus. I'm sorry, but I still think the conference will be 1) Ohio State. 2)scUM. 3) everyone else.