How will Day perform in rivalry games now, and moving forward?
Day is 13-0 as Ohio State's HC and IHC. This season, the Bucks have pretty much murdered teams they've played, despite slow starts against a grab bag of opponents.
Now, the Bucks face 2 of their toughest tests of the season on back to back weeks. Not only are these teams (roughly) on par with Wisconsin, but they are true rivals. *Ichigan is tOSU's unquestioned #1 rival, and Penn St is arguably the #2 rival. Additionally, Ohio State is Penn St's #1 rival, so Penn St typically plays above their head against us, no matter what.
Ryan Day and players used the 'just another game' nomenclature for Sparty and Wisky earlier this year. I am old enough to clearly recall the Cooper years, so that phrasing kinda makes me cringe. For those who don't know, Cooper never seemed to grasp the significance of the scUM rivalry, and seemed to always refer to it as just another game, while repeatedly losing to lesser Skunkbear squads.
I am NOT saying Day is the new Cooper, but this phrasing and scUM's recent resurgence has me a little worried about The Game, and Penn St treating THIS game like it's super bowl always has me worried, regardless of record.
This team SHOULD win by at least two scores against Penn St and TTUN this year, but, whoa, playing these games back to back feels like a daunting task.
Does Day understand the rivalries? Does this team have enough player leadership to keep the players' properly focused and prepared for back to back physical rivalry slugfests?