All Things Are Cyclical

Submitted by BuckeyeChuck on November 22nd, 2018 at 8:26 PM

All things are cyclical.

I know that the rivalry has been very painful for you for quite a while. Trust me, I can relate. Not only can I relate with the pain you’ve been enduring, but you can now relate with the pain I went through.

From 1985 through 2001 was a 17-year stretch during which I was perpetually looking up at Michigan. In arguably 13 of those 17 seasons Michigan had the better team. (the intended graphic does not display. See Winsipedia, [trim graph to view from 1985 to 2001].)

Michigan was consistently better than OSU. I was always looking up at the rival who was the dominant program in the conference. That’s where I wanted my team to be!

Even the 4 times OSU entered The Game as arguably the better team, Michigan won 3 of those 4 games! That means only one time in 17 years did OSU enter The Game as arguably the better team AND win it: 1998. The other 16 years (I’ll do the math for ya, kids) Michigan either had the better team or won The Game, usually both!

Even the 4 wins OSU had over Michigan in those 17 years, 3 of those 4 wins were ~4-loss Buckeye teams. So even though OSU won The Game, it sure didn’t feel like OSU was superior to Michigan.

This includes Earle Bruce’s last game. Sure, it was great to send off Coach Bruce with a win over Michigan. But it was a 4-loss team that was showing its coach the door. Certainly didn’t feel like the OSU program had anything on Michigan.

In Tressel’s first year OSU entered The Game as a 4-loss team. Winning in Ann Arbor was a relief, but it was far from thinking OSU was on the verge of any kind of dominance. At the time it was just a respite to prevent yet another 3+ year losing streak to Michigan.

Cooper’s first win (’94) was also eventually a 4-loss team. It sure felt good to finally beat Michigan again, but it was a far cry from thinking OSU had the superior program.

Only 1998. The only year in 17 seasons OSU had the better team AND won The Game. It had been 14 years since I last felt that: in 1984 when I watched Keith Byars prance into the end zone leading OSU to a 21-6 win en route to the Rose Bowl. (The very next season Michigan had this arrogant and obnoxious QB…not sure what he’s doing with himself thee days…) Not even just for a single season between 1985 & 1997 was OSU clearly the better team AND the winner of The Game. After 1998, I didn’t feel it again until another 4 years later. Only once in 17 years!

My 1998 is your 2011.

In the 14 years from 2004-2017, only in 2011 did Michigan enter The Game as the better team AND win it.

When OSU won The Game in 2001 & 2002, it had been 20 years since they last won back-to-back years (’81 & ’82). 20 years! I was not old enough to appreciate it then and had to wait another 20 years before OSU put together a win streak of as many as 2 games!

The last time Michigan won back-to-back games was 1999 & 2000. We’re fast approaching the 20-year mark since Michigan last won The Game in consecutive seasons.

I watched OSU go 14 years between victories on enemy turf (1987, 2001). This season marks 18 years since Michigan last did so.

There are many similarities between the two eras.

So…2018. What role will the 2018 edition play in the history of The Game? Are we on the verge of another transition in the rivalry?

  • Will it lead to another run of dominance by Michigan?
  • Will it lead to an era of the rivalry which there is plenty of back & forth and we see each team win 4 to 6 times every 10 years? (The last time the rivalry has had a regular sense of back & forth was the 1980s. During the Cooper era, I never anticipated a time when OSU would dominate the rivalry…I was just hoping that the rivalry would regain some level of back & forth to it instead of always having to break a losing streak. It has been 30 years since the rivalry has had a strong sense of back & forth. 30 years!)
  • Will it lead Michigan fans to yet another level of pain? Will 2018, joined with 2016, lead you to a state of misery similar to what I experienced in ’93, ’95 & ’96? The pain of those years was even worse than the pain of ’88-’91, when Michigan won simply because they were the better team, which was painful enough.

How will 2018 make its place in the history of the rivalry?

Time will tell…

…in 39 hours, 27 minutes, and 57 seconds…56…55…54…





November 22nd, 2018 at 9:08 PM ^

Excepting the unnecessarily snotty "I'll do the math for ya, kids", this was a reasonable essay.  Two talented squads squaring up, year after year.  Everything IS cyclical, and I think the wheels are finally turning back in our direction.  Go Blue!

Communist Football

November 23rd, 2018 at 4:29 PM ^

I remember the 80s-90s era of Michigan dominance well. Many Michigan fans came to believe that ND was a bigger rival to us than OSU, myself included, simply because the series with ND was more back and forth, and because ND was more frequently in contention for the MNC. That hasn't been true ever since Tressel and Meyer came to Columbus.


November 22nd, 2018 at 9:08 PM ^

Puts this into perspective for me, and it’s just what my dad has told me for years - all things go in cycles. I’m in my mid 20s living in Ohio so I’ve only ever known Osu dominance in this game. Thanks for sharing


November 22nd, 2018 at 9:29 PM ^

Pretty good analysis. It's too early to see if this is a sea change but it's feeling like it. Michigan has closed the talent gap to a large extent and has an elite coaching staff. Meyer seems to be flaking out and the team has suddenly developed weaknesses in play and coaching. In my opinion, this was inevitable because Meyer's ego eventually eats him and his team up and they collapse. Is this Florida circa 2007? We don't know yet but it's starting to look similar.


November 22nd, 2018 at 9:32 PM ^

a few thoughts:

1. we've got harbaugh.  that's a game changer. win or lose on saturday, we won't be outcoached.  i figure he's got 10 yrs left on the sidelines, and it will all be at michigan.

2.  your school has a systemic advantage in that it is a shameful, win-at-all-costs, we 'don't come here to play school' kind of place.  tressell's career, clarett's expose, u. meyer's amoral continuing history, etc.   that is the polar opposite of harbaugh, who is the maniacal twin for beilein's exceptional ethics.  i am very proud of that, and it will outshine a loss on saturday, should that come to pass.

3.  point #2 is not a reflection on you at all.  you seem like a totally cool guy and you would be welcome (yes, even if you were wearing something red) at a tailgate i'd be at, any time.  happy thanksgiving.


Voltron Blue

November 22nd, 2018 at 9:45 PM ^

Enjoyed the post and definitely agree (not just because it would be our turn next).  It just feels, with Urban's health issues, like there are tangible reasons why this thing might shift starting in two days.  Here's hoping.


November 22nd, 2018 at 10:55 PM ^

I lived through the 10 Year War, so I know well both the back and forth and the runs you're talking about.  I know exactly what you've been living the last 17 years, because I lived it before then.  I don't know why the runs have lasted so long, it makes the rivalry lose some luster - until a game like this comes around, anyway.  And this level is few and far between - 2016 was the most recent (obviously), but then you have to go back to 2006.  Then back to 1997...  When both teams are rated this high nationally, well, these are the games that make the nation vote this game as the best rivalry in all of sports.  We see it every year, but the nation stands up and pays attention when games like this come around...

But yeah, OSU's run has been long enough.  It's time for Michigan to string some wins together!


November 22nd, 2018 at 11:18 PM ^

These posts piss me off. I hope ohio loses every game from now until eternity, there is no sympathy for you from me.  And I don't want any of yours.  But idk I'm sure I'll get chided because somehow showing sympathy for ohio football has become popular in these parts.  Pathetic.


November 23rd, 2018 at 2:31 PM ^

These posts piss me off.  You say nothing here except what your opinion is, and then try to nail yourself to a cross.  Get over yourself.

Opening a thread by a poster named "Buckeye Chuck" just so you can tell us how pissed you are when you read such posts is so self-indulgent as to be childish.

Durham Blue

November 22nd, 2018 at 11:26 PM ^

I became a Michigan fan in 1986.  Then I became a student at UM in 1990 and graduated in 1994.  Until Tressel came along I didn't experience anything but Michigan dominance vs OSU.  So much so that I began to feel sorry for the bastards towards the late 90's.  Poor damn Cooper.  Now it's a different story and being on the wrong end of this rivalry is the worst.  The weight of Saturday's game is huge for Michigan.


November 23rd, 2018 at 12:19 AM ^

Thanks for doing the math, Dad.

You are in trouble, you posted this with M all over.

My fear is that if Michigan wins, it will be just be a blip.

I lived from the Cooper era on. As much as I would love, love, love to have that type of Cooper era streak back, I don't think a decade of back and forth will be all that bad.


November 23rd, 2018 at 1:28 AM ^

This is just more of the same BS I have been reading and hearing everywhere that assumes victory is going to be easy.

I reject that line of thinking and am officially on a personal media blackout.


November 23rd, 2018 at 1:40 AM ^

I for one am happy to see this kind of post.  Thanks, BuckeyeChuck, and I will think of you sympathetically (just for a second) as M unleashes hell & devastation on your team this Saturday. 


November 23rd, 2018 at 9:21 AM ^

Good post, OP.

Regardless of the outcome of tomorrow's game, I think the future of the rivalry will really turn on this coming offseason in Columbus.  Will Meyer stay, or will he go?  If he stays, will be still be as effective a coach as he has been, with all the sideline antics and health rumors and so forth?  If he goes, who does OSU hire to replace him, and what does that wind up looking like?

A Michigan win tomorrow feels like it could push Meyer toward the exit, or render him less effective in the future if he does stay.  I'm not sure what effect an OSU win would have, other than to prevent those things.  (Admittedly I find the latter prospect too painful to really think about).