I'VE HAD JUST ABOUT ENOUGH OF YOU SONNY
Michigan and Ohio State
Here's a picture of Vlad Emilien on his visit to Ohio State, truly amazing, I'll let you guess which one he is.
That had to have been a message, and it makes me giddy.
Here we are once again: decision time. Ohio State plays tomorrow, which necessitates a decision from us as supporters of not just Michigan, but also the Big Ten Conference.
999 out of 1000 situations would garner my support of an utter humiliation of that institution in any context, as the rivalry is bigger than anything else in my opinion. However, this year seems to be an extenuating circumstance in that the Big Ten has only one bowl victory, and the conference is dangerously deep in the proverbial toilet in the eyes of most.
In the midst of this third straight year of embarrassment in big games, our conference needs some material to establish its legitimacy on a national level, and a Texas loss tomorrow would be a much needed boost. I will never, never as long as I am alive, support the success of the university of ohio state. However, a loss by texas tomorrow is of utmost importance for the Big Ten.
Following yet another terrible bowl season and disintegrating conference prestige*, we as big ten supporters must hope for texas to lose tomorrow.
*I live in fear of a “very good”conference prestige rating in ncaa 2010. What will I pitch to my recruits?
Following Michigan's embarrassing defeat to Ohio State Saturday 7-42 last Saturday, I was left wondering how it could have all come to down this?
I substracted away the 2007 graduation losses, the coaching change, the transition to a new system, the lack of gametime experience, etc.
I was left thinking about recruiting. I thought a lot about Michigan recruiting.
Hasn't Michigan football been recruiting better players and higher talented classes than Ohio State for the last 5 or 6 years? The answer surprised me.
The answer is yes. This means that Michigan has, by default, also recruited the pants off of Penn State and Michigan State for that matter.
Here are some interesting observations about Michigan and Ohio State recruiting since 2002:
Trend 1: In 2008 Ohio State may have finally turned the corner on Michigan for good in the area of recruiting.
Why "for good"? Well, Michigan had historically been blowing the Buckeyes' doors off on the recruiting trail. Since 2002, OSU has not consistently surpassed UM's classes in college football recruiting rankings. In 2009 that changes. Ohio State has by now re-established its dominance over the Big Ten conference and over it's hated rival Michigan. This is making itself more evident (not less) in OSU recruiting hauls.
Here are Michigan's and Ohio State's Recruiting Classes as ranked by Scout.com.
2002: UM 19th OSU 3rd
2003: UM 8th OSU 25th
2004: UM 5th OSU 11th
2005: UM 2nd OSU 7th
2006: UM 9th OSU 13th
2007: UM 6th OSU 4th
2008: UM 15th OSU 1st
Michigan has been pretty tough to beat in recruiting in the Big Ten with consistent Top 10 or Top 15 national recruiting class rankings.
However, OSU has recently bested Michigan two straight seasons on the national recruiting trail. While Michigan is undergoing a coaching change right now and a major transition to a new scheme, Rich Rodriguez's challenges at Michigan may have only begun, because Jim Tressel seems to be gathering better and better talent each successive year. Unless Rich Rodriguez can recruit on par with Ohio State in consecutive seasons, beating Ohio State on the gridiron will only become more challenging.
Trend 2: Ohio State has yielded more results out of it's recruits than Michigan has (OSU's player development has been superior to Michigan's) during the same period of time.
Just consider the team's records over the same period:
2002: UM 10-3 OSU 14-0
2003: UM 10-3 OSU 11-2
2004: UM 9-4 OSU 8-4-0
2005: UM 7-5 OSU 10-2
2006: UM 11-2 OSU 12-1
2007: UM 9-4 OSU 11-2
2008: UM 3-9 OSU 10-2
Michigan has achieved only two ten win seasons to Ohio State's five during the same period, although Michigan has tended to shellack OSU on the recruiting trail.
Just take the 2005 classes as a textbook example.
The 2005 class of Michigan (ranked 2nd only behind, ironically, Tennessee) was better than Ohio State's class(ranked 7th), yet the end product for those 2005 freshman recruits ending as seniors in 2008 (for most of them) couldn't have been more different.
Michigan wound of 3-9. OSU 10-2.
This suggests a few things:
1.) Ohio State has been developing it's recruits better than Michigan. (This is attractive to future recruits)
2.) Ohio State is retaining more recruits than Michigan.
(This is attractive to future recruits)
3.) Ohio State wins conference championships and play for national championships.
(This is even more attractive to future recruits).
Both school churn out their share of NFL players. But Ohio State there too appears to be gaining an upperhand on Michigan over the last 4 years.
Typically it takes at least 3 to 4 back-to-back recruiting classes under one head coach to get an idea of how good a program can be. This is not scientific because there are other important variables in the equation for college football team success, such as having an exceptional quarterback, running back or defensive player, overall team "chemistry", a team's mental toughness, and team injuries.
In 2008, Michigan has a great opportunity to close the gap with Ohio State and make some solid gains on the recruiting trail.
Mr. Rodriguez and staff can start off by reeling in for Michigan both DT/OT Mr. William Campbell and OT Mr. Taylor Lewan.
Is there such a thing as off season bulletin board material? If so this ought to motivate the players and coaches as they work at building this program. Bob Hunter in the Columbus Dispatch (http://www.dispatch.com/live/content/sports/stories/2008/11/23/osufb_hun...):
Put it this way: Ohio State-Michigan has suddenly begun masquerading as an OSU-Toledo game, a switch not without a touch of irony considering the Wolverines lost to Toledo this season.
But the rivalry is tottering not simply because Michigan has had an embarrassment or two, or because of an unprecedented five consecutive OSU wins in the series, or because Michigan has just finished the season 3-9, or even because the Buckeyes hammered their hapless rivals 42-7 yesterday in Ohio Stadium.
It is tottering because the Wolverines looked so weak yesterday that it's hard to imagine they're looking at a quick fix. This is a team so bad that even the rivalry couldn't lift it up, and this is a rivalry that injects so much emotion in the game that it sometimes makes mediocre teams look pretty good.
Rich Rodriguez is a good coach, but he's not Moses. After Michigan's woeful performance in the Horseshoe, it seems clear that for Rodriguez to lead his team out of the Big Ten's second division -- not even one of college football's lower-middle-class neighborhoods these days - it's going to take more than a few top recruits.
Hunter goes on to all but predict that Ohio State wins the next two meetings. And then gets in a litte dig:
Some rivalry, eh?
If this keeps up, those little gold pants Ohio State players receive for winning the Michigan game may eventually become worthless trinkets around here. They used be rare as a gold doubloon. Now they're like loose change. Fifth-year seniors have five pairs.
The Buckeyes fans are clearly enjoying things. But you have to think this kind of talk will serve as good motivation for Rich Rodriguez and the Wolverines as they work to regain their winning ways and the respect that comes with it.
File this away for the future.
AFTER I watched 'til the bitter end, I noticed tOSU players sporting the eye black patches with what appears to be Biblical verses written on them. I've seen them randomly on NFL players as well.
TP had Phil 4:13 inscribed on his, and I think I saw the same one on Tebow. Laurenitis had John 17:1. Anyone know what gives with these? I haven't noticed them on Michigan players.