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Finally, Michigan Has Motivation

I don't like to make light of anyone's passing away, but geez, if you had any doubts about the synchronicity of the universe and the way it loves to line everything up in a perfect little package sometimes, let ye doubts be erased. The face of Michigan football, Bo Schembechler, passed away this morning at the age of 77. He collapsed while taping a call-in show to discuss Michigan football, which is about the most appropriate way for him to go, short of him expiring right after a thrilling Michigan win tomorrow.

I grew up a Notre Dame fan (don't ask) and of course, it was required that I despise the Wolverines. But I can't say I ever hated Bo. He was too grandfatherly. Too much like the kind of guy you wanted to be your coach.

Bo was a seven-time Big Ten coach of the year, which is just nuts when you consider how few times a coach wins that kind of accolade these days. He compiled a 194-48-5 record at Michigan from 1969-89, equally nuts. His overall record in 26 years of coaching was 234-64-8. Again, nuts.

But if you needed proof of how heated and storied the rivalry between the Buckeyes and Wolverines is, look no further than Bo's record in the series: 11-9-1.

This game was already a perfect 10 out of 10 on the hype-meter. But with the passing of Schembechler hanging over the game now, to paraphrase Nigel Tufnel, this one officially goes to 11.

On a side note, thank God they don't play this game in Philadelphia. The idea of Bo being booed and his visage being pelted with oranges wouldn't be out of the question.