“The Game” revisited

From the Sidelines


By: Michael Stegall

Now that “THE GAME” is over, and did not turn out like most thought it would, now a few days later and most have calmed down, is a time to reflect on what we saw and what we can assume to be true!

What I saw was two very good football teams.  One relied more on the power game (Michigan) while the other tried that but failed miserably.  Michigan looked far more prepared to me, and Ohio State just looked uptight.  I think the pressure from losing last year, and the expectations were too much.  We must remember these are young men and although their talent is off the charts, expectations can take their toll, and it did in my estimation. 

This can be laid squarely on the coaching staff.  They needed to express the importance of the game, but they also needed to make sure that the players understood all they had to do was play their game, and not try to do too much, and have some fun.  C. J. Stroud did not look comfortable at all to me, and I think the pressure got to him.  Ryan Day acted like revenge was the most important thing, he wanted to beat a very good team badly.  He just needed to win. The pressure got to him and the staff too!  

Losing to your rival is awful, but in order for it to be a real rivalry game, the chance for anything to happen must be there.  Look at Clemson/South Carolina.  No one gave the Gamecocks a chance, but they upset Clemson!  Oregon State came back and beat Oregon in the game called the “Cival War”!  Oregon State was the decided underdog.  Upsets happen, and that’s what makes the games so great.  Ohio State losing to Michigan is distasteful, but now look how much we all can’t wait till next year!

Hopefully, Ryan Day and the Staff, who will be loaded with talent again, will figure out what they need to do.  If they ask me, (and they shouldn’t!) I would tell them to look at their strength program, try to be more balanced with the ball, don’t panic about the defense but give Jim Knowles the players he wants and let him do his thing.  I would also advise to stress the importance of the game next year, keep it in their minds, but don’t make it become an obsession.  Let the kids have fun, and they will be fine!

Football is a great game, with great history, and great rivalries.  OSU/MICHIGAN is by far, the greatest of all.  The only thing that is certain is that one of the teams will win, one will lose.  In my opinion, I like that the underdog in this matchup always has a chance…….and next year OSU should be the underdog!  That’s the way I see it, from the sidelines!