Buckeye Battle Cry: What's The Real Reason Michigan Has Struggled With Ohio State?

Buckeye Battle Cry: What's The Real Reason Michigan Has Struggled With Ohio State?

BuckeyeWire

Buckeye Battle Cry: What's The Real Reason Michigan Has Struggled With Ohio State?


Charles Woodson has been in the news recently by being very vocal about the Ohio State vs. Michigan annual grudge match. So we decided to ask our writers what the real reason is for TTUNs continued struggles against the Scarlet and Gray.


Buckeye Battle Cry: What’s The Real Reason Michigan Has Struggled With Ohio State?

When speaking at Michigan’s commencement ceremony a couple of weeks back, Charles Woodson pretty much guaranteed a win in The Game next time around. Not to be outdone, he doubled down on it and went further to explain that there hasn’t been enough emphasis from Michigan’s end on the contest, and if there had been, we’d all be singing Hail to the Victors a little more in the post-game.

Well, that got us a little riled up here at Buckeye Wire. So we decided to ask our writers what the real reason is that Michigan continues to struggle to slay the beast on the banks of the Olentangy. As you would guess, we don’t agree, but here we go.

Kick it off Mark.

Contact/Follow Mark Russell

Charles, Charles, Charles… It’s funny how the narrative changes over the years. I remember being a kid growing up in Columbus in the 80’s and 90’s when Michigan was seemingly winning The Game every year. I also remember the few knuckleheads who decided that it was “cool” to be a Michigan fan in Columbus telling me “Ohio State really isn’t even a rivalry game anymore… Michigan State is our biggest rival.”

As spirited as the in-state matchup between Michigan and Sparty is, Ohio State has always been the biggest game on the Wolverines schedule. I guess when you’ve been down for so long, you’ll dig deep for answers but mostly come up with excuses.

The truth is, the Buckeyes had been knocking on the door long before the recent run of dominance started in 2001. It could be argued that Ohio State had much more talented teams in the 80’s and 90’s, but couldn’t get over the mental hump of seeing those winged helmets on the opposite sideline.

Jim Tressel ushered in a new era of quiet confidence at Ohio State. The Vest wanted to win, but he also knew there was more to life than football. That’s an equation for success. We always perform better when we don’t weigh ourselves down with ridiculous amounts of stress. Urban has continued that thought process, one I believe he learned the hard way after stepping down from coaching due to stress related health problems.

For the most part, Ohio State has simply had the better coaching and talent on the field for the better part of the last 20 years. However, if Jim Harbaugh figures out how to have a little humility and stop with the sideshow antics, Michigan football might find itself back on the winning side of a few of these contests. Until then, I’m content watching the Buckeyes feast on a Wolverine dinner once a year.

Contact/Follow Phil Harrison

I agree with you Mark. Nobody ever wants to admit that things have fallen off a bit, so they stress other narratives that don’t make sense. For Woodson’s part, I guess we can at least give him credit for trying to stir things up a bit. This rivalry needs some of that, but I couldn’t disagree more with his analysis of why things have literally gone “south” for the Maize and Blue.

Maybe Rich Rod and his crazy, football-science experiment in Ann Arbor didn’t understand the rivalry, but I don’t know that there’s too many guys that emphasized it more than Brady Hoke. From calling the team down I75 “Ohio,” to dedicating special time at practice for The Game, I’d say things were emphasized greatly.

Fast forward to Jim Harbaugh who guaranteed a victory over Ohio State when he was QB at Michigan in 1986. He knows the rivalry more than anyone. I mean he’s been seen throwing headsets and tantrums on the sideline during the annual grudge match, and complaining about officials has he not? I’d say that lends to how passionate and important he knows that contest is.

No, really — the reason Michigan has lost ground in the one-sided affair lately is because the players just aren’t as good as they were before. All you have to do is look at the recruiting rankings and NFL talent being churned out year-over-year and see that the grocery shopping in Columbus has been light years ahead of what’s going on in Ann Arbor. Bring in a better crop of recruits, develop them and then we’ll see things begin to turn around for the Maize and Blue.

Unfortunately for Michigan, it’s a tough one to turn around now. We’ll see, but my sense is that Harbaugh missed out on a window to use his name and brand early on, and now him knocking on the door with khakis and a Blue Block M hat doesn’t mean what it did the first couple of years.

And you can thank the Scarlet and Gray apparel of Urban Meyer for that. He’s getting the players and developing them better. Period.

Contact/Follow Terry Johnson

I’ll let Jim Mora, Sr, explain what happened (and this would apply to a number of games in the series):

All kidding aside: I completely agree with Phil and Mark. TTUN simply isn’t as good as it used to be. And, even though the ESPN hype machine goes on and on about Jim Harbaugh, he isn’t going to get the program back to where it was under Bo Schembechler. After all, the next division title he wins at the FBS level will be the first division title he’s won at the FBS level.

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