Ray Stein’s observations about Saturday's game:
The game at hand
• Short-attention-span synopsis: Where has that complete game been all season? Ohio State, breaking Michigan hearts at a 93.3 percent clip since 2003. OSU offense goes to Mars for candy bars, UM defense goes to Jupiter to get more stupider.Join the conversation at Facebook.com/BuckeyeXtra and connect with us on Twitter @BuckeyeXtra
• Pregame buzz: For a program that has exactly two losses against its chief rival since John Cooper was coach — so, the age of a high school senior — Ohio State fans spent the past week with their boxers in a royal bunch. Michigan came into Ohio Stadium with realistic playoff aspirations, a rock-solid defense and newfound swagger, especially considering OSU’s defensive foibles. The Wolverines left with a cold box lunch and the distinction of having allowed the highest regulation point total in its long history. Safe travels!
• The $197 question: In the past 16 years, Ohio Stadium has been the site of many epic OSU-Michigan games ending in field rushes. For sheer joy, there is 2002; for high stakes, 2006; for unbreakable will, 2016. For shock value, however, the 2018 may take the prize. For Buckeyes fans, beating Michigan may be becoming old hat, but beating the Wolverines like a dirty rug apparently never gets old. The decibel level wasn’t as sustained as it was in 2002 and ’06, especially, but the noise after the punt block was impressive and real.
• Spread the wealth? That right there, folks, is why there are more insurance salesmen in this world than there are people who make a living betting on college football. A week after failing to cover — and nearly failing to win — at Maryland, Ohio State entered as a 4½-point home dog against Michigan. So much for trends, but the true believers can cash out.
• This week in vanity plates: UM 7 UM 0
• How the team sees it: Ohio Against The World! In Urban We Trust! I Don’t Give a Damn for the Whole State of Michigan!
• How the playoff committee will see it: When we consider you this time around, should we take into account 2014 or 2016?
• How Buckeye Nation sees it: For the past two months, Michigan has been living in our heads. But it turns out we’re still living in theirs.
• What he said: “Great respect for our opponent. I’ve been saying that for seven years — how do you tackle a rivalry?"
• What it means: “I’ve been saying that for seven years, and for seven years we make tackles and they don’t.”
They said it
• Your turn/the channel: Big game meant Big Gus Johnson, the, uh, expressive Fox play-by-play announcer who could make a trip to the dry cleaners seem like cliff diving. Gus was revved up, as usual, but he couldn’t help a wayward telecast — at least early on. Penalties on the field were followed by replays of action far away from the play. The camera work got much better in the second half, with the pylon-cam helping show sideline tiptoes among the highlights.
• This week in College GameDay signs: “This isn’t rain, it’s Wolverine tears.” “Revenge Tour? Isn’t that just a fancy term for losing 6 in a row?” “Jim Harbaugh has taken his teams to Rome (check), Paris (check), Indianapolis (X)”
Numbers for dummies
62: Points scored by Ohio State, the most against Michigan in a regulation game
67: Offensive plays OSU needed to score 62
0: Games before Saturday this season in which Ohio State, in games coached by Urban Meyer, scored on its first possession
234.8: Average yards allowed by Michigan entering the game
567: Yards gained by OSU, more than 2.4 times the Wolverines’ average
81: Victories at Ohio State for Urban Meyer, tying Earle Bruce for fourth all-time
Ohio State will make its fourth appearance in a Big Ten championship game looking for its third consecutive win — and, let’s face it, some style points to see if they can shake some playoff trees. In Indianapolis, the Buckeyes will meet Northwestern, winners of the Big Ten West but a team that was unable to solve Akron earlier in the season.
Best responses to the game on Twitter:
@Cardale7_: Me: Hello, 9-1-1 operator, I’d like to report a massacre @ Ohio Stadium. The Bucks are killing TTUN.
@big_mize: I think it would be easier for Jim Harbaugh to go back to the NFL and lead a franchise to a win in the Super Bowl than it would for him to lead the Wolverines to a win over Ohio State
@BrentPrimus: the good news for Michigan is Michigan State isn’t very good so they’ll only have to watch two rivals in the College Football Playoff
@peace_of_pizza: It’s difficult to move the ball when Michigan has 17 men on the field, 6 of them carrying little yellow flags
@AnnBShank: Well I certainly know his name NOW! OLAVE!!!
@OEBMcNerney: Xercy rule??
@Kellysuelew2: I have always respected The Game but have never been prouder than today.
@DanHickey2020: Harbaugh's first mistake was preparing for Ohio, not Ohio State.
Once a 10-year war
OSU now is wielding
A seven-year switch