Ohio State-Michigan | Rob Oller’s Second Thoughts

Rob Oller

• An inconvenient truth for Michigan fans: Ohio State is just better in most every way that matters, including coaching, which entails not just game management but also preparation and recruiting. Could the Wolverines have ended their seven-game losing streak? Of course, but doing so would have required more than the handful of “turning points” — which some say cost them the game — going their way. Certainly, bad penalties, especially on the punt that gave Ohio State a first down — and turnovers proved costly, but in this lopsided so-called rivalry — 17-2 since 2001 — Michigan needs everything to go its way. The talent differential is that severe. And isn’t changing soon.

• Who was feeling more pressure coming into the game? Ryan Day, who said the stress of following in Urban Meyer’s footsteps has been severe. Or Jim Harbaugh, who is now 0-5 against the Buckeyes and — spoiler alert — probably will be 0-6 by the end of next season. If he’s still in Ann Arbor, that is. I don’t see Michigan firing Captain Khaki, but I can see the two sides parting ways, on Harbaugh’s terms. Michigan insiders insist that’s not going to happen, but how many times do you bang your head against the wall before realizing that it hurts a lot less when you stop. I mean, Chase Young was a nonfactor, your offense sliced through the nation’s No. 1 defense for 27 points. And yet you still lost by 29. Yikes.

• I was surprised by some of the chippy — and in some cases downright cheap-shot — play that went on. Former Ohio State and Michigan players like to say the hitting on both sides was always hardest during The Game. But they add that it also was the cleanest game of the year, because of the respect on both sides. That respect was lacking a bit, with two personal foul penalties on Michigan and one on the Buckeyes. The most ridiculous, if not dangerous, occurred when Michigan defensive linemen Carlo Kemp and Aidan Hutchinson untied and removed one of J.K. Dobbins’ shoes after a tackle. This wasn’t a one-off, either. The cheapies have been happening more frequently. No place for that stuff in this rivalry.