COLUMBUS, OHIO - NOVEMBER 26: Cornelius Johnson #6 of the Michigan Wolverines dives for yards while chased by Tommy Eichenberg #35 of the Ohio State Buckeyes during the first half of a college football game at Ohio Stadium on November 26, 2022 in Columbus, Ohio. (Photo by Aaron J. Thornton/Getty Images)
Aaron J. Thornton/Getty Images


Michigan Vs. Ohio State: A Showdown For The Ages

Growing up in south Georgia, all I wanted was to play college football. To compete in a packed stadium on Saturday afternoon as sounds from the marching band permeate like thunder. I never anticipated going a thousand miles away from home to do so, but when the University of Michigan gave me the opportunity to join their brotherhood, despite being the son of a Columbus, Ohio, native, I accepted with enthusiasm. 

The years that followed were equal parts demanding and rewarding, as it should be with any worthy endeavor. I was present for Coach Bo Schembechler’s last speech the night before he died. I was on the field for Coach Lloyd Carr’s final game the day before he retired. I met presidents and movie stars … and all I had to sacrifice, was everything.

Such is the case this week for hundreds of young men who will run through tunnels across America to play their final football games. They’ll contend for Apple cups, Golden eggs, Wooden Boots, and, over the course of three hours, some dreams will be realized and others shattered. There will be broken hearts and broken bones, because that’s the price paid for just a chance at greatness. 

For a few hours, sports will represent the best America has to offer, not the worst. For a few hours, football will instill the values we need in young men today. For those few hours, when the ball kicks off, whatever vitriol is spewed, should still be a welcomed reprieve from the typical Thanksgiving arguments over politics and current affairs. 

COLUMBUS, OHIO - OCTOBER 07: Head Coach Ryan Day of the Ohio State Buckeyes lines up before taking the field for a game against the Maryland Terrapins at Ohio Stadium on October 07, 2023 in Columbus, Ohio. (Photo by Ben Jackson/Getty Images)

Ben Jackson/Getty Images

For the second consecutive season, the Wolverines and Buckeyes will meet as undefeated foes. This marks the first time in the storied history of this century-long rivalry that both teams are unbeaten in back-to-back years, and, for the third straight year, these programs face off while each is ranked in the top five. As if the stakes could not get any higher, Michigan will enter the matchup in Ann Arbor without its head coach, Jim Harbaugh, who will serve the last of a three-game suspension for in-person scouting violations. 

Not a single day has gone by over the past four weeks without Coach Harbaugh’s name being mentioned in the national media. From allegations of cheating to speculation that he has coached his final game at Michigan, the media circus has been relentless. Despite these distractions, however, the players on both teams seem focused for a showdown where everything is on the line; a division title, a conference championship berth, playoff aspirations, and, most importantly, bragging rights for the next 365 days.

ANN ARBOR, MICHIGAN - SEPTEMBER 23: Head coach Jim Harbaugh of the Michigan Wolverines looks on in the first half while playing the Rutgers Scarlet Knights at Michigan Stadium on September 23, 2023 in Ann Arbor, Michigan. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)

Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

A win for Michigan will mean three victories in a row against the Buckeyes, which would be the longest streak for the Wolverines since 1997. Should the Buckeyes prevail, they will have taken 16 of the last 20 installments of “The Game.”

For all who make time this Thanksgiving holiday to tune in and watch football, remember, never take the game for granted, because there is no guarantee that the next generation will care to preserve the sport, as we have. For that matter, there is no assurance that any generation can navigate football through the tumultuous waters of an ever-changing landscape. 

For those fortunate enough to compete this weekend, understand, what you do, win or lose, will echo in eternity. Come Saturday — lock the gate, and leave a legacy. There is no greater privilege than the pressure of high expectations. 


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David Cone is a co-host and producer of the Daily Wire’s sports show Crain & Company, as well as a contributor to Morning Wire. David is also a former quarterback for the University of Michigan. You can follow him on Twitter and Instagram at @davidadamcone

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The Daily Wire   >  Read   >  Michigan Vs. Ohio State: A Showdown For The Ages