At this time a year ago, Michigan was on the verge of completing another second half collapse and questions were swirling about the future of then head coach Rich Rodriguez. Ohio State, on the other hand, was on its way to another Big Ten title and was playing for a spot in a BCS bowl. Unsurprisingly, given the state of the each team at the time, Ohio State rolled Michigan for a 37-7 victory.
Fast forward to now and the roles have essentially been reversed. Michigan is 9-2 entering the 2011 edition of "The Game" and is a win over Ohio State away from likely locking up an at-large berth in the BCS. Ohio State is the team dealing with questions and rumors about its coaches and is a disappointing 6-5.
A year ago, the situation at hand seemed unfathomable, but with Michigan firing Rodriguez and hiring Brady Hoke and Ohio State dealing with an NCAA investigation that cost Jim Tressel his job and Terrelle Pryor his senior year, the two programs have undergone some drastic changes in the last 12 months.
Although the talk about the BCS for Michigan and Urban Meyer potentially being named the new coach for OSU is interesting, none of it will matter on Saturday in Ann Arbor. Michigan's focus is on simply beating Ohio State for the first time since 2003 and delivering a message on the field that the Wolverines are back. They haven't had this great of a chance to beat Ohio State in a long time, and now is their opportunity to pay back the Buckeyes for seven long years of losing in this rivalry.
Kickoff for "The Game" is set for noon. ABC will have the broadcast.