Thursday, November 26, 2015

TWTW's 2015 Ohio State (8) @ Michigan (12) Preview



Danville, Kentucky -- China and Japan.


France and Germany. 


Israel and Palestine. 


Kansas and Missouri. 


Michigan and Ohio.


Rivalries between neighbors, written in blood. 

Folks, as a North Kentucky man intimately familiar with both Ohio and Michigan, don't let anyone tell you that the Michigan-Ohio rivalry is just petty squabbling over college football. This is a clash of civilizations. A contest between irreconcilable value systems. Good men died defending their respective states in the Toledo Border War of 1835-1836. The border created by the Ordinance Line of of 1787 remains hotly contested. Bo Schembechler and Woody Hayes fought a 10-years war for the sake of these great states.

Memory runs deep on both sides of Lake Erie. Nobody in Michigan has forgotten the stabbing of Monroe County Deputy Sheriff Joseph Wood in 1835. Nor have they forgotten when King James and his Cavaliers ended the run of the Goin' to Work Pistons. The pain of Ohio State's 86-0 loss to Michigan in 1902 is burned deep into the mind of every Ohioan. Both sides remember the pain, and the humiliation, of the hollowing of America's industrial heartland after NAFTA. 

This Saturday's marquee match-up between the University of Michigan and the Ohio State University will mark the latest salvo in this battle of blue-collar states. It's been called the best rivalry in college football. A playoff berth might be on the line. The Big 10 title could be on the line. Pride is on the line. 

But there's even more on the line than that. Folks, Jim Harbaugh might be the best coach in any sport right now. He came home. He loves his school. He loves loyalty. He respects and reveres the tradition of football at the University of Michigan. He paid a solemn visit to the grave of Schembechler to perform a sacred rite, to commemorate that man's proud legacy.
Thanks to Harbaugh, Michigan's previously pitiful football program has now restored a modicum of its former glory. He may yet lead the boys in maize and blue to the hallowed heights of the Bo era. Harbaugh is a Michigan man, through thick and thin. Urban Meyer is a mercenary man, whose head is thick and ethics are thin. Harbaugh fights for the love of his homeland. Urban knows no homeland. He flits from school to school, with no loyalty, leaving disorder, scandals, and corruption in his wake. Urban won't even discipline Ezekiel Elliot, who openly proclaimed his non-commitment to Ohio State football. Harbaugh has saved Michigan's football team. Urban destroyed Florida's. Harbaugh's boys play with reverence and respect for their institution and team. Urban's boys play to improve their draft stock with no respect for anybody.

Urban Meyer: can't control his players.
Urban's abdication of responsibility is made all the worse by abdicating to the wrong men. J.T. Barrett was too busy getting D.U.I.'s to beat Michigan State. Yet, Urban named him the starter over Cardale "I've never lost a game I started, including the National Championship" Jones, and two time Big 1G player of the year, Braxton Miller. Abandoning your duties for your men is one thing. Abandoning your men for the wrong man is treason.

This isn't just a football game. It's a battle to determine if virtue can beat vanity. A contest to see if one good man and his khakis can save a team and defend a state. Some say it would be a cold day in hell if Urban Meyer beat a man of class like Jim Harbaugh. That can't happen until next year when the game is played in Columbus.