ANN ARBOR, Mich. (AP)—Ohio State and Michigan used to have a lot in common, meeting in the final game of the regular season with a lot at stake.
The Buckeyes beat the Wolverines 21-10 for a sixth straight year and kept their No. 9 ranking in The Associated Press poll Sunday.
Ohio State finished 10-2 overall and 7-1 in the Big Ten, winning its fifth straight title, and will get a long break before playing in the Rose Bowl.
“One of the reasons that I like the Michigan game is that it gives you a chance to relax and exhale for a few days,” Tressel said.
He probably also likes the rivalry because he’s made it lopsided.
Tressel improved to 8-1 against Michigan and extended Ohio State’s longest winning streak that matches the best run in the rivalry since Michigan also won six in a row in the 1920s.
“We’ve been blessed with great kids and a lot of luck,” he said. “I told our seniors for the rest of their lives, people will ask them how they did against Michigan—not what bowls they played in.”
The Wolverines, meanwhile, won’t want to talk about how they fared against the Buckeyes or in bowl games because it’s been bad news on both fronts lately.
They haven’t beaten Ohio State since 2003 and their sophomores and freshmen don’t know what it’s like to play in the postseason.
Michigan started 4-0 and finished with a flop, falling to 5-7 overall with a 1-7 conference mark that puts the once-proud program in a last-place tie with Indiana. The Wolverines lost a school-record nine games last year in Rich Rodriguez’s debut season with college football’s winningest team.
As if the on-the-field news isn’t bad enough, the Wolverines are also bracing for the results on an NCAA investigation that is looking into possible violations such as how much time players spent on football in the offseason and who was supervising those workouts.
Rodriguez, though, has tried to sound as upbeat as possible about the future.
“We got quite a few guys back on both sides of the ball, but that’s not going to be good enough,” he said. “The guys coming back have got to get better. We’ve got to have a great recruiting class.”
Rodriguez hoped Terrelle Pryor would be part of his first group of recruits, but the sophomore chose to be a Buckeye. Pryor made just enough plays and avoided making too many mistakes in his first game at the Big House.
Tate Forcier, though, played perhaps his worst game.
The Michigan freshman threw four interceptions and lost a fumble in the end zone, leading to him taking the blame for the loss.
Rodriguez said it wasn’t Forcier’s fault, but he did lament the team’s miscues.
“We made a lot of plays that had Michigan beating Michigan,” Rodriguez said. “You got to give them credit. They made the plays.”