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Posted on Wed, Apr 11, 2012 : 10:58 a.m.

Jordan Kovacs: Michigan-Ohio State rivalry will 'take that next step' after Urban Meyer hire

By Kyle Meinke


Both Michigan and Ohio State have stumbled in recent years, but appear to be trending upward with their new head coaches.

Melanie Maxwell |

First-year Ohio State football coach Urban Meyer is facing a bit of heat this week after a Sporting News report took a scathing look at his tenure at Florida.

Say what you will about his character, or the impetus for his departure from the Gators, but the guy can coach and has two national championship rings to prove it.

Senior Michigan safety Jordan Kovacs and his teammates are well aware, and expect their rivalry with the Buckeyes to ratchet up because of it.

“It’s going to be great for the rivalry," Kovacs said Tuesday of Meyer's addition to college football's biggest rivalry. "Two of the best coaches in the nation are coaching these two programs, and they are recruiting better than anybody in the nation right now.

"It’s historically a great rivalry, and I think it’s going to take that next step, and going to be an elite rivalry for the next few years with these two going at it."

Michigan coach Brady Hoke went 11-2 in his first season in Ann Arbor, including a win in his debut against Ohio State. It snapped the Wolverines' seven-game losing streak in the series.

Meyer, meanwhile, already has secured a top-five recruiting class in his first few months since replacing interim coach Luke Fickell in Columbus.

Both programs have stumbled in recent years -- Michigan went 15-22 during Rich Rodriguez's three-year tenure, and Ohio State went 6-7 in Fickell's only season -- as well as incurred NCAA sanctions.

But they now appear to be trending upward with their new head men.

“Next year is going to be a big year for us, and them as well, and it’s going to be fun going down to Columbus and playing there," Kovacs said. "We’re really looking forward to it.”

Hoke wasn't quite so forthcoming, when asked during a teleconference Tuesday about facing Meyer.

“You’ve got two storied programs with storied tradition and, as far as I know, it’s never been about the coaches, it’s always been about the schools in that rivalry and the intensity of that whole week when you get ready to play each other,” Hoke said.

The two coaches know each other, but are not close, and that's as much as Hoke would divulge.

“I don’t know him great,” Hoke said. “I’ve talked to him on a few occasions, (but) that is all something that is personal to some degree.”

Kyle Meinke covers Michigan football for He can be reached at 734-623-2588, by email at and followed on Twitter @kmeinke.



Wed, Apr 11, 2012 : 6:33 p.m.

Its good to hear how the players and coaches respect their opponents. Even when it is Ohio State. It's only some of the loser fans who show disrespect by spreading hateful attacks on the opposing coaches, players and fans. Pathetic.


Wed, Apr 11, 2012 : 10:07 p.m.

Some of the loser fans even showed disrespect for their own coaches, players and fans. I agree with you Ted, it really is pathetic.

Nic schweigert

Wed, Apr 11, 2012 : 5:54 p.m.

So the only real down year was last year for the cheats from Ohio while its been a few years since Michigan saw any real progression and growth, so to say Ohio states on the up and coming is misleading. They've been the top of the big ten. Now it's Michigan who is on the up and coming and about to dominate the big ten for years to come. Go blue


Wed, Apr 11, 2012 : 4:23 p.m.

No matter how the 2012 Michigan football season goes, a victory over ohio, IN Columbus AND AGAINST Urban Meyer's team would be sweet. Yes, the rivalry is back. I do have a little respect for the ohio program despite the Tressel years.

Terry Star21

Wed, Apr 11, 2012 : 4:23 p.m.

"It's going to be great for the rivalry," It's alway been a great rivalry, ohio has been playing catch up for 100 years....but it will always be good. Nothing has really changed during that time, as the final results will be most if not all favor of Michigan. MgoBlueForTiM...ohio like a little sister playing catch-up


Wed, Apr 11, 2012 : 3:54 p.m.

Couldn't agree more with Mr. Kovacs who like most of your studs are from the great state of Ohio. Sorry had to throw a little ding in there. Last year there was a renued sense of urgency from you guys that I haven't seen since Lloyd left. I can't wait till November and many Novembers after this! The Rivalry is back!

Blue Marker

Wed, Apr 11, 2012 : 7:35 p.m.

It's great to have "The Game" back! Actually, with Michigan dominating the 90's and OSU dominating the 00's it's been a long time since this rivalry went back and forth. I think both programs are in great shape and the future of "The Game" couldn't be brighter. With it essentially being OSU's bowl game this first match-up between Hoke and Meyer should be epic. Go Blue!

Scott Laux

Wed, Apr 11, 2012 : 4:49 p.m.

Can't take OSU seriously. With all those free tats covering players head to toe, I fell like I'm watching the circus every time we play Ohio. And how can you feel good about an opponent who built a wall to honor a guy like Tressel after he "resigned"?