But regardless of what's at stake this year, the rivalry between the two schools is a deep-rooted one, and if anyone understands it, it's Urban Meyer.
During his Monday press conference, Meyer recalled his first memory of the heated Ohio State-Michigan rivalry.
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“In the '70s, Bo (Schembechler), Woody (Hayes). My mother, for some reason I still to this day don't know why, grabbed me and said we have to go run an errand. (I thought) 'What the hell we talking about?' You don't leave that game. In Ashtabula, Ohio, at the outdoor mall walking around, over the loud speakers I just kept stopping and listening to the game. In the '70s, the Ten-Year War. I remember that.”
Meyer went on to say that he respects, but doesn't like Michigan, and that he learned to truly appreciate the rivalry throughout the Schembechler-Hayes era because of the way the two teams fought against each other.
“This is where I think it's the greatest rivalry in all of sport. You're darn right it was tough, but I know very well that there are two coaches who never respected each other more, and that's the head coach of our rival, Bo Schembechler, because I talked to him about it. I had great conversations with Coach Schembechler.
“But I think that's the standard to what rivalries are all about, and, yes, that's what I remember. They go so frickin' hard against it, but there is a mutual respect.
“I didn't say like, but there's a mutual respect. And I learned it from those two — two of the greatest coaches of all time. They handled themselves with incredible class, toughness, demanded of their players, and you got to see that every time those two teams played. So that's my memory, and that's how we go about our business here.”
No. 2 Ohio State and No. 3 Michigan face off Saturday at 12:00 p.m. at The Horseshoe in Columbus.