Welcome to Hate Week.
Ohio State defeated its first 11 opponents of the 2023 season. Now, it can focus on the one that matters most: Michigan.
It's been 1,449 days since the Buckeyes defeated the Wolverines – a 56-27 beatdown in 2019 as Justin Fields and J.K. Dobbins combined for eight touchdowns in Ann Arbor. In 2020, a COVID-19 outbreak within the Michigan program caused The Game's cancellation. In 2021 and 2022, Ohio State suffered losses of 42-27 and 45-23, though some believe the Wolverines' sign-stealing scheme, which former Michigan staffer Connor Stalions created and operated, impacted those results.
Stalions' scheme, which the NCAA continues to unravel in a prolonged investigation into the program, has been the talk of college football in recent weeks. (We would know. We've written over 25 articles about the scandal in 30 days.) It's also the reason Michigan head coach Jim Harbaugh will not be on the sidelines in Ann Arbor, as he and the school accepted a three-game suspension from the Big Ten that the conference delivered before Michigan's 25-16 win over Penn State.
Despite Harbaugh's absence, Michigan remains one of the best teams in the nation, bringing an 11-0 record into The Game. But Ohio State is on the same level. In the latest College Football Playoff rankings, the Buckeyes were No. 2, and the Wolverines were No. 3.
As was the case in the past two seasons, a trip to Indianapolis for the Big Ten Championship Game and CFP hopes are at stake when the teams battle at the Big House next weekend. Also at stake is Ryan Day's reputation in Columbus as he looks to avoid becoming the first Ohio State head coach since John Cooper (1995, 1996 and 1997) to suffer three consecutive losses to Michigan.
The 2023 meeting will be the 119th between Ohio State and Michigan in a rivalry that dates back to 1897. It's the most bitter rivalry in all of sports. It's the greatest rivalry in all of sports. It's all on the line.
Ohio State vs. Michigan.
The Buckeyes vs. The Wolverines.
It's time for war.