COLUMBUS, Ohio — Urban Meyer stood at his news conference Monday a man of fewer words than normal. His answers were quick and direct. Clearly, the head coach is ready for “That Team Up North.”
Players at Ohio State are trained not to say the word Michigan in interviews and around the Woody Hayes Athletic Facility. Instead, they use “TUN” or “our rival” when discussing the maize and blue. Around the facility the signs are posted at the door of the team meeting room. “Beat TUN” they read.
And since this year’s meeting will present the most buildup for a game in the rivalry since 2006, it’s a nerve-inducing week.
If Ohio State can beat #3 Michigan Saturday, the #2 Buckeyes will be a strong candidate to make the College Football Playoff as a non-conference champion. OSU’s only path to the Big Ten title game is if they beat Michigan and Penn State falls to Michigan State this Saturday. If Michigan beats the Buckeyes, they’ll advance to the Big Ten title game as the East Division champion.
In a sense, it’s a playoff game for both teams.
Kickoff is set for Noon Saturday at Ohio Stadium.