The Thin Red/Blue Line Between Columbus and Ann Arbor



The college football battle shaping up between Ohio State and Michigan is fascinating. This past weekend’s developments are the just latest pieces of evidence.

Former NFL head coach Jim Harbaugh, the new Michigan man, has been busy as a Wolverine, posting all over Twitter to, and about, prospective recruits. And visiting frisbee practice in Ann Arbor.

True. Michigan’s Ultimate Frisbee team received a visit from Harbaugh, who stayed at the disc practice for two hours, and posed for pictures with the players.

What’s next? Frat parties? Bong hits? Beer pong? Or maybe this:

If Harbaugh’s not careful, he’s going to end up like basketball coach Larry Eustachy did years ago, drinking Natural Light with college coeds, and eventually losing his job at Iowa State. Short of that, though, the tweeting and frisbee drop-ins are clear proof of the pull-out-all-the-stops importance of winning this Big 10 battle against the Buckeyes, who have taken 10 of the last 11 gridiron meetings with the Wolverines.

Meanwhile, in Columbus, Ohio over the weekend, coach Urban Meyer’s team was busy breaking its own record. Over 99,000 fans attended the annual Ohio State spring football game. To borrow from the great orator Allen Iverson, we are talking about practice, right?

Yes, close to 100,000 at a practice game. A scrimmage, for Chrissakes! Other colleges would take those attendance numbers for three or four games. Total. In the regular season.

The stakes are high. Bragging rights, revenues, top recruits, and hotter coeds are all attached to the success or failure of two of the biggest football programs of all time. A lot will be determined by the performance of the head coaches, Urban Meyer and Jim Harbaugh, who are arguably the most charismatic and strong-willed pair of coaches in the history of the Ohio State-Michigan series.

So, who will win the battle? Meyer is fresh off the national championship, but has experienced big time burn-out previously in his coaching career. Harbaugh is a rookie at the college coaching game, but seems to be coming in with a refreshing energy.

Will it be Meyer or Harbaugh to win the battle and the war?

Wouldn’t it be cool for the conference if it was neither? How about Wisconsin, coming off the shine of its appearance in the NCAA basketball title game? Maybe the Badgers’ new football coach Paul Chryst can sneak in the back door of the Big 10, while Harbaugh and Meyer are busy keeping an eye on each other at the front gate.

Dave Coombs is a longtime morning radio host, who predicts victory again this year for the Buckeyes, but a gradual shifting of the power toward Michigan.

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