Michigan says Ohio State could be 0-11, rather than 11-0, and it'd still be a big game
ANN ARBOR -- Technically, Michigan has a shot at ruining Ohio State's national championship hopes Saturday.
And certainly, the Wolverines have a chance at wrecking the Buckeyes' bid for a perfect season when the two teams tangle in Columbus (12 p.m., ABC).
Ohio State is 11-0, and despite its bowl ban, it still has a shot at earning an Associated Press national title this year.
Does the chance to play spoiler spice things up for Michigan?
"If they were 0-11 it'd still be Michigan playing Ohio," Michigan senior defensive tackle Will Campbell said. "That's all you need.
"You don't need any motivational speeches or anything this week."
Should Michigan beat Ohio State on Saturday, it wouldn't be the first time the Wolverines have wrecked an unbeaten Buckeye season.
In 1995, Brady Hoke's first year as an assistant coach at Michigan, the Wolverines dropped an 11-0 OSU team in Ann Arbor, 31-23. In 1996, history repeated itself, as Michigan went into Columbus and stunned an 11-0 Ohio State team once again, 13-9. The following year, Michigan won a national championship.
Michigan also handed Ohio State its first loss of the season in 1993, beating a 9-0-1 squad, 28-0, in Ann Arbor.
Michigan fans surely took extra delight in wrecking a handful of Ohio State's unbeaten attempts in the 1990s. But do players care? Do coaches care?
This Michigan team says, no, it doesn't matter.
"If they don't have the understanding or wherewithal about the immenseness of playing in this rivalry," Hoke said, "then, to me, they're not going to play as well as they can.
"If you need anything to get amped up more, or whatever, for this football game then you don't know college football."
Michigan says it needs no carrot, no extra motivation or no rah-rah speeches.
Hoke says he doesn't have any plans on bringing in any special-guest speakers this week. He doesn't think he needs one.
It's Michigan and Ohio State.
11-0, 0-11 or somewhere in between -- for Michigan, a win over the Buckeyes is always something special.
"It's going to be sweet whether they were 1-9 or 10-0," Michigan junior quarterback Devin Gardner said. "It's going to be the same."