By Ramzy Nasrallah on July 14, 2021 at 1:15 pm
Michigan cornerback Charles Woodson is mobbed by celebrating teammates after his 2nd quarter punt return for a touchdown against Ohio State University on Saturday, Nov 22, at Michigan Stadium in Ann Arbor, MI
© David P. Gilkey, Detroit Free Press

If you’re younger than 25 then you have to be told.

It's the elders' obligation to preserve our glorious equilibrium where Ohio State either smashes or merely escapes Michigan each November. It's hard to imagine a world unlike the current one, but it existed. Some of us survived, barely. It will never truly be past-tense to us.

Young people are to be forgiven for believing that the Michigan Threat is some antiquated horror story old people tell each other to stay mentally frosty while fighting off dementia’s inevitable advance. It's a dead era to them. They have to be told, and we have to tell them.

Ohio State football cannot allow this ancient, defeated disease to ever become resurgent.

Michigan football has been nothing but bullshit in an ascot since today's young adults were getting candy for making it through the night with a dry pull-up. Most of the school's alumni emotionally tapped out of football years ago, because it's a good school and the kids are smart.

OHIO STATE FOOTBALL cannot allow this ancient, defeated disease to ever become resurgent.

Its non-alumni are still insufferable, because all college football non-alumni are. The only thing special about Walmart Wolverines is the irony, which to them is an appliance that rarely leaves the high closet shelf. Even Little Brother has been flexing all over them for over a decade.

Humiliation is their brand, and it's been simmering since the world solved its Y2K problem - young people, you can google that later. Back in our day - shout out to every scarred soul who was in undergrad with me during the 1990s - beating Michigan felt almost impossible.

Today, losing to the Wolverines is unimaginable. Welcome back to Fear Itself. Our premise:

Buckeye football nightmares are justified anxiety for the simple fact that they're syndicated. These terrible events have actually happened - numerous times - so we know they can and will exist.

I've experienced Ohio State wins and losses to Michigan in both stadiums. I've been in the building during Ohio State wins and losses for national championship games. And I've never felt better or worse at a football game than I've felt in November. That shared knowledge is crucial to keeping Michigan in its rightful place.

If you don't know, you don't know. If you're younger than 25 then you have to be told.

Previously we visited Purdue Harbor and the replay booth. Today we’re discussing That Team, because the Buckeye fan's limbic system is not capable of producing comparable sadness to that which accompanies an Ohio State loss to Michigan.


Do you know what this web site would look like if Michigan beat Ohio State in football? We actually have one example of this, since Eleven Warriors has been around since 2006.

a web site for winners
The Eleven Warriors front page the last time Michigan defeated Ohio State in a football game.

It was the end of an era. We had a good run, Jimmy Tressel. Two days later this happened.

Whatever lurked beyond 2011 was sure to be terrifying and closer to something resembling rivalry equilibrium, especially with impending sanctions and a new softer head coach who had already retired once for going too hard.

Our ten-year sucker punch had to be winding down, or worse, reversing. But it turned out that Tressel had created an effective Michigan vaccine 10 years earlier, and Urban Meyer merely strengthened its efficacy and updated it for new strains and variants.

That's not the end of the story. Michigan will never stop mutating. Ohio State can only control Ohio State, and that's why the younger people need to be told. Michigan has completely lost control of Michigan because of what Ohio State has become. It is now defeating itself.

A Michigan whom Ohio State, Columbus and the world treat like a garden variety conference game for the Buckeyes is wet market in Wuhan. Containment is essential.

Rivalries aren't won on advanced analytics alone. OHIO STATE-MICHIGAN is feelingsball, contrary to what you might have heard.

Since this web site first came on line 15 years ago, Michigan bloggers have devolved from Snide Arrogance Merchants to Mike Barwis Truthers to Harbaugh Big Dick Energy Enthusiasts to their current position as emo pissbabies who deprioritize writing about football anymore because it makes them too sad.

As a blogger during the Cooper Era, I find this offensive. The best comedy comes from tragedy. Writing about winning all the time is as boring as reading about it, which is the essence of why Wolverine Paranoia can never be allowed to become past-tense. It's selfish. I crave strong rivalry content.

And for their part, Michigan football's media mouthpieces have done the program no favors by embracing their inner pissbaby. Accepting the current as a new normal while Ohio State is soaring is a shocking display of weakness that violates every word of their fight song. It also ignores how nature has a cruel tendency to smash the rest button.

I promise you as long as Cooper Era refugees can still figure out how to keep their laptops operational, we will never stop preaching about the danger Michigan football - every team, every year - presents. We can never go back, and if you've never been there - you need to be told. You don't want to see what we have seen. You don't want to feel what we have felt.

This isn't a new directive of beating young Ohioans over the head with Michigan animus until they "get it." We've been doing this to our youth since the unlucky ones were sucking down mustard gas in Liège. Back then the program was punching up every season, trying to emulate the gold standard it wanted to become.

son of a bitch

That was a slow climb, but that mentality of reaching higher and focusing on That Team is what Tressel and Urban used to create their Michigan vaccine. Soon after the Great War, Ohio State found its on-field success against the gold standard.

By the time Paul Brown added a dog tag to his single set of Gold Pants the Buckeyes were no longer punching up. Fifty years after Ohio State had done everything it could to try and emulate the gold standard of that era, Michigan hired an Ohio State graduate and Woody Hayes protege to copy the colossal pain in the ass to the southeast.

Michigan acquired its Ohio State vaccine. It hasn't made an update to our mutations in decades.

The rivalry between Woody and Bo ebbed and flowed with garden variety heartbreak, generational upsets and history that’s worth remembering, even when it grabs your heart, rips it out of your chest, shoves it up your ass and then kicks you in the dick. I wasn't around or lucid for any of that, but I was told.

I had to be told - not because Ohio State was dominating the rivalry in the 1980s (it wasn't dominating anything!) but because psychology is the most controllable part of preserving the proper mentality for Michigan. The pain that comes with losing that game is what makes college football great, because it makes everything so much more gratifying when it’s their heart, their ass and your team's foot.

This continued right up until Ohio State hired an outsider to modernize the program. It was the correct hire. Coop did vital work in upgrading the Buckeyes from regional bully to national relevance. He approached the job in a manner that would buy him three decades at almost any other powerhouse.

Once Coop had the program in the correct condition for championship contention, Ohio State had no reason to split the series with the Wolverines. Holding serve would have been underachieving. And yet, holding serve would have bought him another decade of paychecks.

What Coop failed to do brings us back to why young people need to be told. Ohio State fans, stakeholders and media mouthpieces could have very easily embraced their inner pissbaby after watching Coop's teams manufacture the most agonizing ways possible to lose that game to that team. Standard definition ESPN used to ask its audience is this still a rivalry? because the Buckeyes weren't holding up their end of it.

There's no cruising altitude or end to how Michigan should be approached. If you don't think fans, media, community and the culture of those who don't play in the game don't have an effect on Ohio State football, you're kidding yourself. Rivalries aren't won on advanced analytics alone. This is feelingsball, contrary to what you might have heard.

And that's why you need to be told. Beat Michigan, forever. The alternative is horrifying.

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