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Stadium and Main: You can only pick one...

Thursday, August 24, 2006

You can only pick one...

Possibly the most-debated Michigan message board topic this Summer was something to the effect of “Which game is more of a ‘must-win,’ at Notre Dame or at Ohio State?” While I don’t think there is a “right” or “wrong” answer here, my answer is the OSU game, but by a narrow margin. My thoughts...

A win at Notre Dame:

- Stops the media love affair with all things Notre Dame, at least for 11 minutes or so.

- Gives Michigan a win in its first road game of the season for the first time since 1999 (at Syracuse).

- Prevents 3 losses in a row to ND.

- Puts Michigan firmly in the Top 10, and possibly higher (for the moment), making a National Championship run a possibility due to the lack of clear-cut favorites this season.

- Gives Lloyd his first win in South Bend.

- Slows ND’s recruiting momentum, and swings the recruiting pendulum back in Michigan’s favor.

- Gives Michigan an emotional boost heading into a tough early Big Ten schedule.

- Sets Michigan up for 2 straight over ND, with ND coming to Ann Arbor next year with a new QB (possibly a True Freshman) and some other key losses on Offense.

A win at Ohio State:

- Stops the “Tressel owns Lloyd” talk.

- Gives Michigan its first win in Columbus since 2000 (not an eternity, but long enough when you realize that we used to own Columbus).

- Prevents 3 losses in a row to OSU.

- Likely puts Michigan in a BCS bowl, and possibly gives Michigan a Big Ten Title. Iowa might win the Big Ten somehow, but I expect Michigan and Ohio State to win the vast majority of their Big Ten games. Thus, this could become a de facto elimination game for a BCS bid. A win over ND would be great, but wouldn’t impact our bowl slot as much. A win in your last game of the regular season is generally more helpful.

- Likely gives Michigan a legitimate shot at a Top 10 (or better) finish.

- Gives Michigan an emotional boost heading into its bowl game.

- Sets up Michigan for 2 straight over OSU, with OSU coming to Ann Arbor next year with a new QB.

These lists seem fairly equal, but the timing of the OSU game (end of regular season) and the fact that they’re our #1 rival make “The Game” just a bit more important to me virtually every season. Some of my feelings about which game is more important have changed over the past few weeks, and will definitely change once the season starts. If ND loses at least one of its first two games and still beats Michigan (as I’m predicting), it will be ten times worse than it was in 2004, when they lost to BYU(?!) and still took us out. But, if Ohio State beats Texas (which I’m predicting, although I’m not sure why), and can survive a tough night game at Iowa, a victory over the Buckeyes to close the regular season will be indescribably sweet. So I’ll stick with my “must win at OSU” stance, for now. But both games are obviously incredibly important, for the reasons listed above, and many more.

2 Comments:

Blogger Uncle Grambo said...

I'd rather beat Notre Dame, for all the reasons you listed. If Michigan loses at ND, the season is over in Week 3. And that's no fun for anyone.

1:24 PM  
Blogger Maize n Brew Dave said...

If the question is prefaced with we only lose one game period, I'll take OSU.

early loss gives us time to repair our ranking.

1:58 PM  

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