Sometime Saturday evening, one of our favorite GameDay babbleheads — unable to contain himself — will almost certainly start the insanity. Shivering against a backdrop of celebrating fans, Chris or Lee or Kirk will deliver the announcement:
"Just 1,224 hours until The Rematch." It's understandable, considering the hype that surrounds Ohio State vs. Michigan, the latest Greatest Game Ever. But let's hope it's just more hyperbole. Look, Ohio State-Michigan is easily the best matchup of 2006. I can live with the relentless, smothering buildup that started weeks — or was it months? — ago. I don't even have a problem with ESPN's latest silly moniker. Saturday is Judgment Day? OK, fine. Just spare us the resurrection. Can someone explain when and how these teams became so much better than everyone else? Fast-forward the winner into the BCS national championship game. But why would Saturday's loser have a better case to get there than USC or Notre Dame or Florida? Or even Arkansas or Rutgers? Ever since Ohio State dropped Texas and Michigan dumped Notre Dame, college football fans have had Nov. 18 circled on the calendar — not that there's anything wrong with it. Those wins catapulted the Buckeyes and Wolverines to the top of the polls, and they've done nothing to disprove themselves. But as unbeatens were beaten and Ohio State and Michigan kept winning, a new drumbeat began to emerge. This week, it has become a significant subplot, spouted by usually sensible types: Let's do this again in January. "I'm fine with that," Michigan tight end Brian Thompson said this week. "Whatever the BCS decides." I'm not fine with that, and neither should anyone else be. Because these teams are good, but they're not that good. If Ohio State and Michigan own the biggest wins of the season, they also own some of the smallest. Aside from Texas, Ohio State has played just two teams with winning records.
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Michigan quarterback Chad Henne will lead the Wolverines against Ohio State on Saturday. Associated Press