You have reached your limit of free articles this month.

Enjoy unlimited access to SpringfieldNewsSun.com

Starting at just 99¢ for 8 weeks.

GREAT REASONS TO SUBSCRIBE TODAY!

  • IN-DEPTH REPORTING
  • INTERACTIVE STORYTELLING
  • NEW TOPICS & COVERAGE
  • ePAPER
X

You have read of premium articles.

Get unlimited access to all of our breaking news, in-depth coverage and interactive features. Starting at just 99c for 8 weeks.

X

Welcome to SpringfieldNewsSun.com

Your source for Clark and Champaign counties’ hometown news. All readers have free access to a limited number of stories every month.

If you are a News-Sun subscriber, please take a moment to login for unlimited access.

Ohio State, Michigan could be pulling away from rest of Big Ten


Ohio State landed a major recruit in the 2014 class over the weekend in Texas product Demetrius Knox — the top-rated guard in the nation in the Rivals.com rankings and the Buckeyes’ fourth four-star commitment on the offensive line.

Not to be outdone, Michigan just pulled off a coup in the 2015 class (juniors-to-be), picking up a verbal comment from the No. 1 “athlete” in the country in Florida speedster George Campbell.

OSU coach Urban Meyer and Michigan coach Brady Hoke have been waging war on the recruiting trail, stockpiling talent at such a high rate that it’s not hard to see the rivals embarking on another version of the Ten-Year War.

During the period between 1969-78, OSU coach Woody Hayes and UM coach Bo Schembechler, a former Hayes assistant, staged epic battles on the field. It began with Schembechler upsetting the No. 1 Buckeyes in his first year in Ann Arbor on his way to a 5-4-1 record against his mentor.

They shared the Big Ten title six times (’69, ’72, ’73, ’74, ’76 and ’77), while OSU won two outright crowns (’70 and ‘75) and Michigan captured one solo title (’71) and shared another with Michigan State (’78).

During that decade, either the Buckeyes or Wolverines represented the conference in the Rose Bowl every year.

But at the Big Ten kickoff in Chicago last week, Hoke, who is starting his third year, shot down any notion that the two programs were poised again for that kind of dominance.

“When you start trying to make a comparison of coach Hayes and coach Schembechler to coach Meyer and myself, that’s out of bounds — because those two guys were college football. There’s so much both of those two men did for the game that we’ll never touch,” he said.

Despite coming off a 12-0 record in his maiden season in 2012, Meyer also doesn’t see the Buckeyes and Wolverines separating themselves to that degree from the rest of the pack.

“I think there’s more balance in the league,” he said. “I didn’t know the league a year ago, but I watch recruiting very closely. It used to be the Big 2 and Little 8. I don’t think it’s going to be like that. You’ve got Nebraska. You’ve got Penn State. You’ve got teams that have recruited very well. I don’t see that happening.”

While scholarship limits set by the NCAA have leveled the playing field — going from unlimited full rides before 1973 to a maximum of 105, then 95 and finally 85 in 1992 — Meyer and Hoke have galvanized recruiting at both schools.

Meyer’s classes in 2012 and ’13 were ranked fourth and second, respectively, by Rivals. In the 10 years before that, the Buckeyes had a total of only two top-four classes and their average rank was 14th.

Hokes’ first two classes were rated seventh and fifth. The Wolverines had just one top-seven class in the 10 prior years and their average rank was 13th.

“There’s a great rivalry between those two coaches,” said Allen Wallace, who covered national recruiting for SuperPrep Magazine for 29 years before retiring this year. “All I can say is I see severe battles between the two, and I don’t know who I’d give the edge to. They both have very different styles, but they both have quality programs behind them and both have focus and aggressiveness. And each believes they are superior in recruiting to the other.”

Michigan has a long history of success in Ohio — Heisman Trophy winners Desmond Howard and Charles Woodson hailed from the Buckeye state — and Hoke, a Kettering native, has plucked a least a few prospects in the last two years that were pursued by OSU.

But Meyer and his staff are making gains in Michigan. They’ve landed one of the top cornerbacks in 2013 in Damon Webb of Detroit, the state’s No. 3 prospect, and are gaining favor with other premier recruits across the border mostly because of the clout Meyer carries with his two national titles at Florida.

Asked if the Buckeyes have more of a presence in Michigan now, Hoke said: “A little bit. But they’ve gotten guys before — (Johnathan) Hankins, (Vernon) Gholston.

“Look, we’re going to get our guys, and they’re going to get their guys,” he added. “That’s the way it’s going to work. And it’s worked out well.”

Hoke is 1-1 on the field against the Buckeyes, while Meyer was able to get off to a winning start last year, which was a must in his eyes.

“(Former OSU coach) Earle Bruce is a mentor and a father figure to me, and that’s all he ever talked about,” Meyer said. “He’d give me little jabs during the year. He’d say, ‘You have to get that first one out of the way. You can’t start behind. It’s hard.’ “

Both coaches have mixed emotions about the prospect of meeting twice this year. They’ll play Nov. 30 in Ann Arbor and could turn around the next week and compete again for the Big Ten title in Indianapolis if both win their divisions.

Because of impending conference realignment, it’s the last time that could happen. In 2014, OSU and Michigan will both be in the East Division.

“I think it’s great — especially if you win ‘em both,” Hoke said with a laugh. “It will be interesting. I think it will be good for the league. Those two programs have been pretty important for the Big Ten.”

Meyer wasn’t all that enthused about a potential Michigan sequel. Although he won two SEC championship games at Florida, he didn’t have to beat a team twice to do it.

“That would be an exhausting two weeks,” he said.

Acknowledging it could be a boon for fans, Meyer added: “It won’t be very good for the health of the coaches.”



Reader Comments ...


Next Up in Sports

Perfect streak continues for Wright State junior forward Smith
Perfect streak continues for Wright State junior forward Smith

One of the most valuable types of players a basketball coach can have is one who doesn’t miss. And Katrina Merriweather feels fortunate to have such a player in her first year at the helm of the Wright State program. Sure, Lexi Smith misses some shots. Almost half of them to be exact. But it’s not her team-leading field goal percentage...
Football title games move to new Canton stadium for 2017-18
Football title games move to new Canton stadium for 2017-18

A three-year run of the high school football state championships at Ohio Stadium in Columbus officially ended on Thursday when the Ohio High School Athletic Association announced the games would be played at the new Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium in Canton in 2017-18. The OHSAA board of directors unanimously voted 9-0 during its January meeting to...
Kyle Davis won’t play Thursday for Dayton Flyers
Kyle Davis won’t play Thursday for Dayton Flyers

Dayton Flyers senior guard Kyle Davis won’t play Thursday against Richmond at UD Arena. He sprained his ankle and bruised his foot Saturday in the second half of a victory at Duquesne, and Archie Miller said Tuesday he would be a game-time decision. Davis has played in Dayton’s last 93 games. He hasn’t missed a game since his freshman...
Shawnee bounces back after slow start
Shawnee bounces back after slow start

What may have depressed Shawnee’s boys basketball team a month ago now serves as motivation. The Braves struggled to a 1-7 start and had a couple of close losses. Shawnee coach Chris McGuire saw his players look dejected a number of times during that stretch, but after a two-point loss to Fairborn last Saturday, he saw something different. &ldquo...
Reds trade starting pitcher: 5 things to know
Reds trade starting pitcher: 5 things to know

Two surprising things happened Thursday in baseball. The Reds traded away a starting pitcher, and their general manager admitted it was something of a risk. Here are five things to know about Cincinnati’s decision to send Dan Straily to the Miami Marlins for three prospects. 1. GM Dick Williams said the trade had been percolating for quite some...
More Stories