Posts tagged ‘nick saban’

November 4, 2011

#1 vs. #2: Five years since the last one (Mich vs. OSU, 2006)

Written Ramblings by JS & DJ

Will we see the game of the century on Saturday??

Cue up the Armageddon soundtrack – “Don’t wanna close my eyes, don’t wanna fall asleep cuz I miss you …” The mothership (ESPN) has referred to this weekend’s game between LSU and ‘Bama as Armageddon, that’s why I put up the words of Steven Tyler’s classic song from the 90s. Is the #1 LSU vs. #2 Alabama matchup on Saturday the game of the century?? There can’t just be one specific game of the century, it can be a collection games. This one might make it onto the list though. ESPN will break down all kinds of matchups between these two teams and let the viewers know everything about Les Miles’ obsession with eating grass during the games. This game is considered to be the de facto national semifinal. These are the two best teams right now and that won’t change after the SEC championship game. Don’t be surprised to see them in an all SEC BCS title game in January because that would be a pollster’s dream (can’t blame them).

What does a fan do before a matchup between #1 and #2 during the regular season? Do you prepare for the game differently? Does it just seem different than any other game? Mississippi State cancelled class a few weeks ago on a Thursday b/c they wanted the students to get ready for the visiting #1 LSU team. Alabama probably won’t cancel class but there probably has been a differeng buzz around the campus the whole week. How do the students handle it? How does a fan that is away from the campus handle it?

In order to understand how a fan feels before their teams plays in such a monumental matchup, we asked one of our writers JS (Michigan alum) to recollect the last time the top two teams faced off during the regular season. The game had BCS title implications (similar to this one), not to mention it is a big rivalry to begin with. The game was #1 Ohio State vs. #2 Michigan in 2006.

This is our way of getting ready for this weekend’s monster matchup … recollecting the last time this happened in college football. The following is JS’ recollection of the days leading up to the game and the game itself.

November 18th, 2006. That was the date of arguable the most hyped and biggest game in the storied Michigan / Ohio State rivalry. Ohio State was number one in the AP/Coaches/BCS and Michigan was number two in the AP/Coaches/BCS. This was a de facto national championship semi-final where the winner would go to the national championship game. Former Ohio State John Cooper stated: “How big is this game between Ohio State and Michigan? The loser of this game is going to the Rose Bowl.” Compounded with this game was the death of legendary (and that’s not hyperbole) head coach Bo Schembechler and this game took on monumental proportions in the lore of not only Michigan and Ohio State, but college football as well.

To understand the 2006 game, you have to look back at the 2005 season. Michigan underachieved like no other, finishing up a 7-5 season with a wild loss to Nebraska in the Alamo Bowl. Hopes were decently high for the 2006 squad – a squad loaded with NFL talent (7 offensive players, 8 defensive players, and 1 special teams player are all on NFL rosters right now) would hopefully break through and make a name for themselves. While having 8-4, 9-3 and 10-2 seasons are considered great for many teams; those are disappointing results for Michigan. A Big 10 and national championship are the goals for every Michigan team and while Michigan had recent Big 10 titles (2003 and 2004) they haven’t sniffed the national championship scene since the late 90s/early 2000s. It all changed in against Notre Dame.

Notre Dame was at the height of its hype machine with Heisman hopeful Brady Quinn and the schematic wizard Charlie Weis. Michigan had beat up two relative crème puffs in Vanderbilt and Central Michigan en route to a top ten rating (#10). Notre Dame was completely overrated as the number two team in the country. There were considerable discussions about whether or not Notre Dame could contend for the national championship and they all ended that day. Michigan started with a defensive touchdown as the ball bounced out of John Carlson’s name and right into Prescott Burgess’ hand for a pick six. They forced a punt and Michigan got the ball back only to promptly have Henne throw a pick right back to ND. They got down to the one yard line and scored two plays later. That was the closest ND would get to Michigan for the rest of the day.

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