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.