Ray Stein's observations about Saturday's game:
The game at hand
• Short-attention-span synopsis: Q: Eight is enough? A: To Ohio State fans, there is no such thing. Until next year, Jonathon Cooper. Until next year, Jim Harbaugh? The day after Black Friday is now Gold Pants Saturday. Justin Fields experiences a tent revival.
• Pregame buzz: It being 2019, and it being 50 years since 1969, and Ohio State being unbeaten in 2019 the way it was when it visited Ann Arbor in 1969, the whispers on the wind suggested another Michigan upset might be in the offing. Well, that and the law of averages. But when it comes to OSU and Michigan, that's what is commonly known as fantasy football.
• Worth the trip? There is nothing quite like the sight of scarlet-clad football fans slowly making their way down from the tops of visiting stadiums to the bottom of the bowl as the game wears on. The prime seats become available, of course, as the home-standing inhabitants find something better to do than listen to out-of-towners yell-spell O-H-I-O. On Saturday, it was full throat.
• Spread the wealth? After two games of failing to cover large (enormous in the case of Rutgers) spreads, the Buckeyes lined up against an outfit that it typically covers like a blanket. OSU entered 12-6 against the spread in its last 18 games vs. Michigan, according to someone who tries to make a living at such things, and waltzed past the 9-point line. Also blasted to smithereens: the over/under of 49½ points.
• This week in classic film: It's likely that only serious movie buffs (like my old friend Frank Gabrenya) will recall “M,” the 1931 Fritz Lang drama in which criminals of Berlin's underworld team to find and stop a serial killer of children. In the updated version, however, Buckeyes fans hinder the police efforts by scrubbing out the hand-written M's left as clues by thieves and other seedy elements of society. Well, you had to see the original.
• This week in vanity plates: BLU XMAS
• How the team sees it: This whole beating Michigan things is getting old — just like back rubs, chocolate milkshakes and free gasoline get old.
• How the playoff committee will see it: If we jumped you out to No. 1 after you beat Penn State by 11 at home, we're inclined to keep you there after you dropped 56 on the road at Michigan.
• How Buckeye Nation sees it: We beg of you, Michigan, keep Jim Harbaugh. He really is a good coach. Please sign him to a lifetime contract, in fact.
Hey, what Day did say?
• What he said: “I know what this game means to the people of Ohio, to Buckeye Nation, and coming on the heels of one of the greatest coaches in college football, who went 7-0 (against Michigan), those are big shoes to fill.”
• What it means: “I'm just glad my boots were able to deliver the same kind of stomping my old boss put on the Wolverines.”
They said it
• Your turn/the channel: Perhaps it was the nerve-racking tightness of the game there for a while in the first half. Or maybe it's that familiarity really does breed contempt — and the Fox crew of Gus Johnson, Joel Klatt and Jenny Taft have been around the OSU program enough to earn buckeye leaves. Regardless, a sizable hunk of social media was about up to here with Gus going too deep into J.K. Dobbins' personal story and the network's relentless championing of OSU-Michigan as the world's greatest rivalry since Rome vs. Carthage. Bad news, haters: Guess who's televising next week's Big Ten championship?
• Getting testy: Jim Harbaugh is 0-5 against Ohio State, and that record apparently felt something like an anchor after the Buckeyes tattooed the latest big number to his skin. Asked in the postgame news conference whether Michigan was suffering from a “talent gap, a preparation gap or a coaching gap,” Harbaugh took umbrage. “I'll answer your question but not your insults,” and proceeded to answer the question by saying the Buckeyes “played better today.”
Numbers for dummies
2,926: Days since Michigan beat Ohio State
23: Games in the OSU-Michigan rivalry in which both teams were ranked in the top 10 in the polls; OSU is 12-9-2 in those games
52.6: OSU's point average in road games in 2019
17-0: OSU's record when J.K. Dobbins tops 100 yards rushing
2:53: Time that Ohio State trailed Michigan on Saturday
10:44: Time that the Buckeyes have trailed in a game all season, the other opponent to lead them being Miami University
126.2: Opponents' per-game passing yards against Ohio State before Saturday
305: Passing yards for Michigan's Shea Patterson
The Big Ten championship celebrates its ninth birthday this year, and what does a 9-year-old want more than anything? Pirates, pizza and Pictionary? Poppycock. They want to see some combination of Wisconsin or Ohio State — or even better, Wisconsin and Ohio State. For the eighth time in nine seasons, either the Badgers or Buckeyes will be represented, and it will be the third time they have played each other. OSU has won the previous two Big Ten championship matchups and the past seven overall against Wisconsin, including 38-7 on Oct. 26 in Columbus.
Best responses to the game on Twitter:
@ShuaWolf1: So easy Dobbins is out there dribbling the football like he's on a basketball court
@Coachjayryan: Need the old broad from Wendy's: Where's the Deef?
@RTinDC: So it's cool to grab Chase Young around the waist when he rushes the QB? Just checking
@Pray4Pax: Today's Final Jeopardy answer is Two. The correct question is, “How many UM players does it take to untie a shoe?”
@CornerSportsCR: Hey “team up north,” untying Dobbins' shoe is not going to stop him from running all over you. It will only lessen the tread marks
@johnwallencheck: I have to say, it's so great that Jim Harbaugh takes his players on trips overseas, like when they visited the Vatican. All Ohio State coaches do for their players is take them to Indianapolis and the CFB Playoff
@nickgargs: Michigan fans wearing Michigan mittens in the crowd is the most Michigan thing ever.
@timdoty1: Who is that drunk, obnoxious fan sitting next to Urban Meyer on the pregame show?
@brian_bjones: New Rule. Knocking a Michigan player out of bounds is now a personal foul.
@karrie_an: Every year I get a migraine and the worst butterflies in my stomach!! I swear this game ages me, it absolutely ages me! I love and hate this day!!
@SheLovesFootba1: Awe, Michigan is gonna get its hopes up. Poor things
@wrigjo01: Jk dobbins is amazing but weve known that
@haberman_rand: The refs always call things the Buckeyes way. I literally believe they think they will be murdered by a Bucknut if they call the game fair.
@ZDavis315: Looks like the refs won't be calling holding calls against Chase Young this week either
@Pandora_HasABox: If Michigan can't afford shoes for their players, stealing them from Buckeyes isn't the answer. Maybe we can set up a fund.
@MikeHaverland: Paging #Buckeyes Defense … put out an APB
@EStFan1964: LSU will score 100 points against this buckeye defense
@DeronB4: I feel like I could complete a pass against this Ohio State D right now!
@FMninetwofour: Missing: Ohio State defense. Plz locate immediately
@2Close_2Call: Harbaugh looks like he needs the oxygen mask.
@josie_dayspring: (Bleep) michigan!!! was asked to leave the hotel bar it's fine
@DnBuckeyes: At least Harbaugh is winning the wrinkle free pant game
@loulap66: Khakis knows he just got fired.
@cemersonj: Feeling athletic. Might twist my knee, step off the field for a minute, and then come back to throw a touchdown.
@Artolicious: Playing “Living On A Prayer” @ the Outhouse I hear. Indeed you are.
@bbutler_13: J.K Dobbins. That is all. That is the tweet.
Khakis stay pressed but
Bucks make Harbaughs unravel
like a cheap sweater