Somewhere around 11:45, in just over 2 hours, the Michigan locker room will be filled with a group of young men who bled, sweat and vommitted for each other, enduring one of the most tumultuous stretches in the history of this storied program. Their stories are known by most here, but they aren't looking for sympathy. At every obstacle they've faced, every time someone tried to tear down the thing they were here to build, they fought through. Those who have remained have a dedication that cannot be questioned. They have a bond that will last until the last one of them is buried. They will sit, some in silence, at least one reading bible verses, some with their knees bouncing in adrenalined-filled anticipation. They will write the names of lost loved ones, of prayers and inspirational messages on the tape on their wrists, towels and belts. Some will shout occassionally at each other or to no one in particular, slapping their helmets.
A hush will fall over them as a short-sleeved, chubby man from deep in enemy territory enters the room. They will bend on one knee in reverent anticipation, packed shoulder to shoulder, hands resting on their winged helmets. They will need no special reminder of today's importance, as their leader has made it abundantly clear to them from the day he stepped foot in Ann Arbor.
"Men," Michigan Head Coach Brady Hoke will say.
And team 132 will flood the hallowed entrance to the Big House, prepared to break the very will of the scarlet and gray. Today, for the 58th time in this rivalry's storied history, they will succeed.
It will be Michigan again, MICHIGAN.