Well, we didn't ease into Rivalry Week by any means. Sink or swim, we're diving right on in with guaranteed victories and social media mockery – and I love everything about it.
- Karan Higdon guarantees a Michigan victory over Ohio State.
- Urban Meyer's conversations with the defensive coaches have been "uncomfortable and direct."
- Ohio State's defensive coaches were completely outwitted by Maryland's offense.
- Urban Meyer said he doesn't play to talk to the team about being an underdog.
- Mike Weber, Baron Browning and Thayer Munford should all play against Michigan.
- Dwayne Haskins ties Troy Smith for most Big Ten Offensive Player of the Week awards in a season.
- Jim Harbaugh talks Ohio State.
- Michigan scouting report.
- A look at the incredible throwback uniforms the basketball team will wear in St. John Arena.
Word of the Day: Execrate.
URBAN MEYER ON HIS WAY OUT? If you haven't heard, the rumor of the week is that Urban Meyer is calling it quits after this season.
The multiple reports of Meyer's imminent departure, including "two separate sources" from Colin Cowherd, come on the heals of an article from Pete Thamel questioning Urban Meyer's health after another game of pained expressions on the sideline.
Obviously, this is an extreme for what it's worth, because we have no idea how this is actually going to shake out. But it's obvious that Meyer has not looked comfortable or completely healthy on the sidelines multiple times this season.
I don't know what's going to happen. But I do know that the Buckeyes play Michigan this week. Meyer's never lost to Michigan at Ohio State and he ain't about to start now, regardless of his future.
GUARANTEEING VICTORY. I couldn't believe he actually did it, but Michigan running back Karan Higdon guaranteed a win over Ohio State during Monday's press conferences, just like his head coach did back in 1986.
Karan Higdon guarantees a Michigan win over Ohio State. pic.twitter.com/xWNzj3K2rp— Kyle Rowland (@KyleRowland) November 19, 2018
To quote Darron Lee after Austin Kendall's "basic defense" video surfaced in 2016: "Poor kid. He just lost his team the game."
Urban Meyer literally invented bulletin board material to energize his team ahead of the 2007 national championship game. Lord knows what he'd do with something like this, that very much happened, and the players very much could not avoid seeing.
Higdon's guarantee is better than any fiction Meyer could have created by himself, and it's even better than the "basic defense" quote that galvanized the Buckeyes to a 2016 win over Oklahoma.
And it seems like that guarantee has already made it to Ohio State's locker room:
I gUaRanTEe A wIn pic.twitter.com/JKJmmiNrXl— Mike Weber (@mikeweberjr) November 20, 2018
Reminder: that was just Monday of Rivalry Week.
This game is going to be amazing.
WHEN DID MICHIGAN BECOME INVINCIBLE? I know Michigan's got a good, threatening team this season with an improved offense and a legit defense. But when did this team become absolutely unbeatable?
Ohio State's 10-1, a top-10 team in the nation and a four-point underdog at home against a team its lost to once in 15 years and nobody's even giving the Buckeyes a chance in this game.
You've got a Wolverine player guaranteeing a win, a gambling line that keeps trending in Michigan's direction, and national writers packaging game previews things like this:
Lets not pretend its impossible for Ohio State to beat Michigan. Heres how the Buckeyes might do it: https://t.co/GOzf0hkKRD— Bill Connelly (@SBN_BillC) November 19, 2018
To be clear, I'm not hating on that Bill Connelly piece, because it's very good and worth the read. My qualm is that the piece was necessary in the first place. It's insane that we've reached the point where there's a need for a "Can Ohio State really beat Michigan?" article.
As a full-time resident of Online, I'm well aware of the perceptions about this team, but realistically, the Buckeyes just aren't that bad.
From Bill Connelly of SBNation:
That we’re so down on Ohio State reveals how high the bar is in Columbus. The Buckeyes are still 10-1 and eighth in S&P+. Their run game has been disappointing, but they’re still fifth in Off. S&P+. Their defense has suffered spectacular glitches, but they’re still 38th in Def. S&P+.
Mind you, this is disappointing. Aside from Clemson, Ohio State entered the season as maybe the only team that could rival Alabama in combined potential and experience. The Buckeyes should be in the top three, not the top eight. There are plenty of reasons to wonder about the state of the team and its head coach.
Still, S&P+ only projects them as a 4.5-point underdog against the Wolverines. Vegas has it about the same. That’s basically one bounce from an Ohio State win.
I'm not exactly pissed about any of this, because there are clear benefits to everyone writing you off before the game is even played, especially when your coach has a psych degree, but it's still just bordering on absurd.
But yeah, y'all can ride with Michigan. I'll ride with the coach that's a perfect 6-0 as an underdog at Ohio State.
REFS AT IT AGAIN! Gun to my head, I don't think I could even identify one college football referee by name, much less rattle off over a dozen games a specific crew has officiated the past six years off the top of my head.
And you know, I really don't think I'm in the minority there. I think that's pretty consistent for any sane, rational college football fan.
But then there's this bunch.
Re: The John O'Neill crew. This isn't a one-game issue. This isn't a three-game issue. This is years of consistent, game-defining malpractice. This isn't just bad calls; their inability to manage personal fouls is the reason these games get out of control and players get hurt.— Seth M. Fisher (@Misopogon) November 18, 2018
Off the top of my head— Seth M. Fisher (@Misopogon) November 18, 2018
2016 Oregon State
2014 IU, ND and OSU
2012 OSU, Illinois
And that infamous 2014 OSU-PSU game
The best was when someone asked "is this the same crew that screwed us against Ohio State two years ago?" and the response was basically "no, that was a completely different bad crew."
I'm already preparing myself for the absolute meltdown if Ohio State benefits on a close call this Saturday.
BEAT XICHIGAN CHROXE EXTENSION. If you're looking to avoid a particular letter or state directionally north of The Heart of It All this week, some patriot developed a Google Chrome extension just for you.
It's called, quite simply, Beat Xichigan:
This extension replaces every M with X for Beat Xichgan week
This extension crosses out every letter m on the page and colors it Scarlet. It also replaces every instance of the word Michigan with "The State Up North" for Beat Michigan week
Glad to see some computer science major putting that degree to work.
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