Skull Session: That Team Up North Is Now In Control of the Rivalry, As Michigan Dominates Ohio State And Has the Last Laugh in Columbus

By Chase Brown on November 28, 2022 at 5:00 am
Ryan Day

This past weekend can be summarized in two tweets.

Let's (try our very best to) have a good Monday, shall we?... Ehhhhhhhh, who am I kidding? This Monday is going to blow and we know it. Get through it the best you can.

 IN THE BLOOD. The Ohio State vs. Michigan rivalry is in my blood – literally. As the son of an Ohio State coach, I learned to hate That Team Up North from the time I took my first steps. Whether it was football, synchronized swimming or any other sport, the Wolverines were bad, and the Buckeyes were good. It is what I was taught. It was what I knew. I never questioned it.

From a young age, my investment in The Game was deeply rooted in that hatred. My parents told me that I should never hate anything. Hate is a strong word, they would say. But they allowed me to hate the Wolverines, so I did.

Anybody who wore a maize and blue uniform was an enemy. I hated Chad Henne, Mike Hart and Mario Manningham. Denard Robinson, Jabrill Peppers and Chase Winovich. I had no reason to hate them, really. The only explanation was that they played for Michigan, but that was enough for me.

Meanwhile, I loved the Buckeyes. Troy Smith, Ted Ginn Jr. and Beanie Wells. Terrelle Pryor, Brandon Saine and DeVier Posey. Braxton Miller, J.T. Barrett, and Ezekiel Elliott.

I could go on with my very long list of favorite Ohio State players forever, but before I do, I'll move forward with the point:

For the last two decades, I have never – ever – woken up on the day of The Game believing Ohio State would lose.

Before 2021, the Wolverines had only defeated the Buckeyes four times in my lifetime, in 1999, 2000, 2003 and 2011. I was only weeks old for the first loss, a 1-year-old for the second and a 3-year-old for the third, leaving the fourth loss as the only one I can remember. Even then, Luke Fickell coached that entire season with one hand tied behind his back, and he still nearly beat a No. 17-ranked Michigan team with a 9-2 record in a shootout, falling short 40-34 in Ann Arbor.

Case in point, before the 42-27 embarrassment in the Big House last year, I had only genuinely experienced one Ohio State loss to Michigan in my lifetime. I know that sounds crazy for those who lived through the Cooper years, but it's true. With that said, I had no reason to believe that Michigan would ever beat Ohio State. I had no reference point because it simply never happened.

But then it did.

And then it did again.

Because of that, I have shifted paradigms. It was once a certainty in my mind that Ohio State would win its final regular-season contest. Now, I am unsure.

Should the Buckeyes and Wolverines enter The Game with the same set of circumstances in 2023 as the matchup possessed the last two years – two undefeated teams with a Big Ten East title, a trip to the conference championship and a College Football Playoff bid the line – I would wake up thinking Michigan would win.

My body shudders as I type those words, but that is the new reality of being an Ohio State fan. Jim Harbaugh and the Wolverines took the rivalry by force the last two seasons, as a school bully would take lunch money from a weaker classmate. It is now the responsibility of Ryan Day and the Buckeyes to regain control.

If Day and his team cannot on Nov. 25, 2023, then we will experience what would be – in some respects – the newest version of the darkest day in the history of Ohio State football, leaving Buckeye Nation with yet another 365 days until the sun could rise again.

 DOMINATED. How badly was Ohio State beaten on Saturday? Considering Michigan's offense had one of the best performances against a top-five team in 17 years, I'd say the Wolverines beat them pretty badly.

 THE LAST LAUGH. Michigan made sure to let Ohio State's players, coaches and fans know how dominant its victory over the Buckeyes was on Saturday by celebrating the win in several ways, from a royal wave to a flag planting on Ohio Stadium's turf.

It started when Michigan quarterback J.J. McCarthy, who recorded 290 total yards, three passing touchdowns and one rushing touchdown against Ohio State, sent home the Buckeye fans who chose to exit Ohio Stadium early with a wave.

The celebration continued when defensive end Mike Morris hopped on a bench on Michigan's sideline are started screaming, "Y'all soft!" to the fans sitting on the east side of the Horseshoe.

After the game, some of the Wolverines' players paraded around the field with a blue team flag with Michigan's maize Block M waving in the wind. They planted the flag on the Block O at midfield of Ohio Stadium's turf.

Following that event, many of those same players picked up Harbaugh and carried him into the locker room. The head coach said in his postgame press conference that he has a "locker room full of heroes" at Michigan and that they – along with his staff – were why the Wolverines came out victorious on Saturday.

 SAY IT LOUD. One more thing the Wolverines did on Saturday was chant "It's great to be a Michigan Wolverine!" in the visitor's locker room at Ohio Stadium following their 22-point win over the Buckeyes.

  1.  It will never be great to be a Michigan Wolverine.
  2.  I heard this chant several times as I walked through the Big House last year while covering Ohio State's 42-27 loss in Ann Arbor and never thought I would hear it again so soon.
  3.  I hope this video and this song are played inside the Woody Hayes Athletic Center as much as possible for the next year until Nov. 25, 2023. Perhaps another 362 days of seeing what Michigan in Ohio Stadium – in the 100th anniversary year of the Shoe no less! – will finally get the message across that this kind of thing can't happen again.

 SONG OF THE DAY. “Hurt” by Johnny Cash.

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