Monday, November 13, 2006

Collision in Columbus

History lives here.

Rivalries live here.

Michigan - OSU lives here.

It's the biggest college football game of all time.

The only way it could be equalled is if the SEC abolished the championship game, and let Auburn - Alabama play in their last regular season game - undefeated. But other than that, it's not happening and may never happen again.

The dominance of these two teams has been unmistakable. The most nervous moment for either team all year was Ball State's game-tying drive at the Big House two weeks ago. That's it. Neither team has trailed in a fourth quarter all year. Neither team has won a game by less than a touchdown all year. Both teams went on the road and demolished quality opponents. Neither of these teams have anything approaching a tainted win - no bullshit Craig Krenzel chucks on 4th and 1; no dropped Braylon passes setting up game-winning field goal; no hail mary kick in the end zone.

Nothing. Dominance to the point of boredom.

Usually the Ohio State game is Blue's one last shot at redemption. One chance to right the wrongs - a three loss season, a loss on the road to Oregon, getting blown out by Notre Dame; slipping up against State. OSU is the salve to slather the wounds of a Kordell Stewart chuck and a Westbrook catch.

Not this time.

Not with a defense that features America's best d-tackle, best linebacker, and best cornerback.

Not with Mike Hart whose bludgeoning consistency sometimes overshadows his brilliant talent and charismatic leadership.

Not with a quarterback who can put a ball in a laundry basket from 50 yards away.

Not with a wide receiver, who relies not on overwhelming speed or freakish size, but on the route-running of Chad Johnson and Marvin Harrison's demeanor, to constantly beat corners.

Not with David Harris, whose label as "solid" has gotten to the point of being an insult to his play, which ranges much closer to the spectacular than solid.

Gone are the blinding talents of Braylon, Perry, Marlin and Watson whose speed and strength made them look like NFL players caught in a college game; but who sometimes lacked Avant, English, and Hart's lunch-pail focus.

Gone is the micro-managing Jim Herrman whose wisdom in '97 turned into too much tinkering that bottled up considerable defensive talent.

Instead, make no mistake about it. This is Mike Hart's team. It's a team that couldn't give two shits about endorsements, looking good on camera, NFL stock, or even a Heisman trophy.

It's a team where Braylon's well-spoken politician's style and movie-star looks have been replaced by Mario Manningham's shyness with reporters

Marlin Jackson's "me against the world" attitude has been replaced by Leon Hall's demeanor which is more nerd than thug.

Gabe Watson's uninspired hustle has been replaced by Alan Branch's puppy-like enthusiasm.

It's a team that plays with a quiet passion and an overwhelming intensity.

And, honestly, I don't know if we'll win. I don't know how good OSU is. I can't tell if they're phenomenally good, or merely very good. I don't know how Henne will do in Columbus. I don't know if they can bottle up Hart, or if we'll make a mistake on our side of the field; or if Ginn will punish our punt coverage.

However, what I do know, is that this time when we visit Columbus we are not searching for holy water to wipe away the regular season's sins.

This time, we are searching for greatness.

Go Blue.

- Anthony

9 Comments:

At 1:31 PM, Blogger Chubbs said...

Wow. Phenomenal intensity. I need at least 2 days now to make my post on the game, because I can't really follow that up.

 
At 2:19 PM, Blogger Sarah Haberman said...

Spectacular post. I'm rereading this before the game. A great way to get pumped up for a day that will be almost frightening in its intensity.

 
At 5:22 PM, Anonymous kashif said...

Amen

 
At 3:50 PM, Anonymous beutj said...

i'm not sure if kashif is allowed to say amen, so i'm following it up with one from someone who actually likes jesus.

Amen.

 
At 4:54 PM, Anonymous Liz said...

So I sent your post to my mother who may very well be the biggest Michigan football fan that I know. It's to the point where she doesn't cry, she WEEPS after big losses and/or wins. After the Kordell Stewart pass during the Colorado game she was too livid to even speak to her own children AT ALL during the car ride home. She refuses to give up her alumni season tickets that she's had for over thirty years even though she now lives in North Carolina and isn't able to make it a single game (so she is forced to huddle over her computer by herself and listen to the game that she's ordered through xm radio). My personal favorite memory of her is the fact that she keeps her Michigan paraphernalia (including a bumper sticker that says OhHowIHateOhioState) in her JEWELRY box with all of her other valuables. I could give you a dozen more examples, but I'll spare you. ANYWAY, I just wanted to tell you that she loved your post and wanted to thank you for making her day a little bit brighter.

 
At 10:20 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm a former player (last year 2004--Texas season). That is a pretty special errrr tremendous post.

 
At 10:27 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

quick follow up comment... Here are my keys to winning this game...

1) 33-38 yard net put average (such will mean that Ginn did not return said punt(s) over 10 yards).

2) Hit Troy Smith HARD in the first two series. He needs to learn fast that this isn't the Michigan he's familiar/comfortable with. The infliction of fear on one Smith, Troy guarantees us a win.

3) Our offense must be 100% on 3rd and 1 and 4th and 1. And our defense must be 50% on said downs.

4) Score first, enough said.

 
At 10:27 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

quick follow up comment... Here are my keys to winning this game...

1) 33-38 yard net put average (such will mean that Ginn did not return said punt(s) over 10 yards).

2) Hit Troy Smith HARD in the first two series. He needs to learn fast that this isn't the Michigan he's familiar/comfortable with. The infliction of fear on one Smith, Troy guarantees us a win.

3) Our offense must be 100% on 3rd and 1 and 4th and 1. And our defense must be 50% on said downs.

4) Score first, enough said.

 
At 2:40 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

when did alain kashama learn to use a computer?

 

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