With the Big Ten conference and playoff structure changing, Michigan football and Ohio State’s rivalry won’t be the same after the 2023 season.
There is no better rivalry in college football, heck in all of sports than Michigan and Ohio State.
I saw an incredible stat that since 2006, only three conference games have occurred between teams that were 11-0 and all three of them featured Michigan football and Ohio State.
This will be the fourth top-3 matchup between the two programs dating back to 2006 and the third dating back to when Jim Harbaugh was hired by Michigan football in 2015.
Michigan football and Ohio State will be playing for the Big Ten East title for the third straight year and both teams are ranked in the top 10. Their playoff hopes are on the line, but as soon as next season, this game will have a completely different feel to it.
Don’t get me wrong, the Michigan-Ohio State rivalry will be as intense as ever going forward, especially due to recent circumstances.
However, the games literally won’t mean quite as much. If the Big Ten were using next year’s rules to determine the conference title game participants, Michigan football and Ohio State would be playing next week too, making the showdown in Ann Arbor the first of back-to-back games.
Sure, both teams would love to win both games, and once you add Oregon and Washington to the mix, Michigan and Ohio State might not be in the top two as often, but it’s something to think about.
Sort of like the Ten-Year-War, we are in a Golden Era of this rivalry again. Hopefully, Jim Harbaugh is still around in the future, because if not, it could be one-sided again in terms of Ohio State.
Michigan could hire another successful coach after Harbaugh, just like the Buckeyes found one in Ryan Day, who for all the “third base” talk, has coached Ohio State to multiple Big Ten championships, a national title game, and the College Football Playoff three different times.
Day needs to beat Michigan. He also needs to beat Jim Harbaugh, but for now, beating Michigan will have to do. But in the future, this war between Michigan and Ohio State won’t feel quite as impactful because it won’t be — not with the 12-team playoff taking hold.
If this was next season (with the same records), the losing team on Saturday would get another shot next week and at worst after that, a playoff game, maybe even one at home.
Imagine Michigan football winning “The Game” in 2021, then having to play Ohio State the next week for the Big Ten championship and losing. That could happen in the future and it’s going to kind of suck.
If anyone watched old WCW, it would be like the time that Lex Luger beat NWO Hulk Hogan on Monday Nitro with the Torture Rack to win the world title, only to face Hogan again in the PPV less than a week later and lose it.
So enjoy this one college football fans, because in the future, Michigan and Ohio State games are going to have a different feel. The stakes will be high going forward, just not as high as they are right now.