Last year, when it was Michigan suffering through a miserable, seven-year skid against Ohio State, the new administration under first-year coach Brady Hoke installed a countdown clock, a count-up clock and an self-censoring patois that omitted the term "Ohio State" altogether. Now that Ohio State has returned to the wrong side of the ledger, it looks like Urban Meyer is intent on returning the favor in Columbus.
Yes, that's the 2012 schedule in Ohio State's locker room, pointedly replacing Michigan on Nov. 24 with "THAT TEAM UP NORTH," an old-school nod to the pater Buckeye, Woody Hayes, who famously hated "that team up north" to the extent that he'd rather push a car across the state line before he contributed to the Michigan economy by filling up the tank there. Apocryphal, probably, but effective.
At this rate, we may be on the verge of another era akin to Hayes' "Ten-Year War" with Bo Schembechler in the seventies: The Buckeyes and Wolverines both finished in the top 10 nationally in Rivals' final 2012 recruiting rankings, which only included one other Big Ten team (Nebraska at No. 25) among the top thirty. Incredibly, between the Rich Rodriguez debacle at Michigan and the Lost Year at Ohio State following the Tressel-Pryor Affair, they haven't met with both sides ranked in the top 20 since the epic 1 vs. 2 collision in 2006. Not that the animosity has diminished, but after five years of predictable, largely one-sided games in November, it's refreshing to see them both embracing their heritage of hate with such enthusiasm.