Ohio State fans who suffered through or came of age with the Michigan rivalry in the 1990s must have thought they'd never see this day, even if they privately dreamed it would happen.
Michigan has defeated Ohio State just twice this century, a statistic for which we will clarify, to our friends up north, the 20th century ended on Dec. 31, 2000. Ohio State has owned the series since Jim Tressel effectively promised victory in Ann Arbor upon his arrival.
Now, the wailing and gnashing of teeth emanate from Michigan and alumni like Charles Woodson are left prognosticating how the Wolverines found themselves in the position they put Ohio State 20 years ago.
He said Saturday he feels the game hasn’t been emphasized enough by Michigan.
“To be quite honest I really feel like over the years, in recent years, there hasn’t been the emphasis that I’m used to being put on that game,” Woodson said.
“Every game has been out on the same level of that game and that’s not the way we were brought up, that’s not the way we were raised around here. And we had no shame in saying it.”
This should sound familiar to Ohio State fans in their 30s or 40s. It's the exact comments Ohio State fans were saying about John Cooper to explain his 2-10-1 record in this rivalry. Michigan fans preened and derided Ohio State fans for saying it and now their most prolific alumni and fans are saying it themselves.
Let us preview the next stage in this grief cycle for Michigan. Today, Michigan alumni fans bemoan that it's not emphasizing Ohio State enough. When the losses keep coming, the rationalization will evolve to that Michigan is emphasizing Ohio State too much.
Again, Michigan fans, Buckeyes went through this cycle themselves 20 years ago and were derided by Michigan fans for it. All fan bases go through this cycle at some point so we think it important at Eleven Warriors to help our friends up north through the process.
Michigan travels to Ohio State on Nov. 24 to put win No. 3 in the column for this century. Charles Woodson has a fair bit riding on this game. He guaranteed a win while speaking at Michigan's commencement this year.