ANN ARBOR, Mich. — The Game has lost a lot of luster.
Ohio State has beaten Michigan five straight times, its best winning streak and the longest in the series since the 1920s.
The ninth-ranked Buckeyes (9-2, 6-2 Big Ten) have already clinched at least a share of their fifth straight conference title and a spot in the Rose Bowl.
Michigan (5-6, 1-6) is mired in another miserable year – coming off a school-record nine-loss season – and is nearly a two-touchdown underdog to lose Saturday at home to guarantee consecutive losing records for the first time since 1962-63.
Ohio State coach Jim Tressel, though, insisted those factors haven’t diminished the rivalry.
“That would never occur to the participants,” Tressel said. “Perhaps to someone from the outside, someone from Utah or something, might not maybe jump on it because neither team is being talked about every day in the national scheme of things.”
Michigan has stayed in the news lately for unwanted reasons.
An internal audit was released Monday in untimely fashion with details about the football program failing to file the school’s forms that track how much players work out and practice. The forms are used as a tool to help comply with NCAA rules.
The office of university audits sent Rodriguez a memo on July 24 stating that forms from the 2008 regular season had not been submitted.
The Detroit Free Press, citing anonymous players, reported a month later that Michigan exceeded NCAA limits regarding practices and workouts. That triggered a school investigation and later an NCAA letter of inquiry that has the school, program and fans bracing for bad news for the once-proud program.
Rodriguez said Wednesday the process of filing forms was corrected as soon as he learned it wasn’t happening, but said the investigation prevented him from further comment.