ESPN analysts weigh in on the UM/OSU rivalry

Hype continues to build in Columbus

COLUMBUS, Ohio – ESPN “College GameDay” analyst Kirk Herbstreit said Friday he knows what the Michigan seniors are feeling as they try to win The Game for the first time. Herbstreit was on the other side of it as an Ohio State quarterback.

“They have never beaten Ohio State,” Herbstreit said. “There’s such intensity for them to try and come into this game. This is their last chance to go out and beat Ohio State. I have that perspective from the other side. I know what it’s like to go to bed and have never beaten Michigan.”

Herbstreit played for Ohio State from 1989-92. Ohio State lost to Michigan in his first three seasons and then the teams tied, 13-13, in 1992.

“What you gotta be careful of is working yourself up so much because you want it so bad that that also can backfire,” Herbstreit said. “So the challenge, I think, for Michigan will be maintain their composure. And for Ohio State, they’re looking to just kind of maintain the confidence that they’ve been able to generate over the last however many years it has been now.”

Saturday’s “GameDay” show will be 5 hours, including features on OSU quarterback J.T. Barrett (8:25), coach Urban Meyer discussing Bo Schembechler, Woody Hayes and the significance of the Michigan-Ohio State rivalry (8:52), Toledo’s conflicted allegiance to the rivalry (11 a.m.) and Desmond Howard hanging out with Michigan’s Mr. Everything, Jabrill Peppers, at the Big House (11:17).

Asked what his performance on Saturday can do for Peppers’ legacy, Howard said: “It can do wonders for his legacy, there’s no doubt about that. This game right here can build and create legacies for players. This is the one, when you have a reunion … they talk about what happened in the Michigan-Ohio State game. They don’t talk about what happened in the – any other game except this one. At least this is the first one they talk about.”

Herbstreit said he hopes Harbaugh-Meyer will bring about another 10-year war, as Schembechler and Hayes did for the rivalry.

“It just added to it, it added to the spice,” Herbstreit said. “With Gary Moeller and Lloyd Carr, we had John Cooper, Earle Bruce. It was always great. But I think now we’re all just bracing, hoping we get those two big personalities on both sidelines. I understand. I’m a part of hoping it’s what everyone else is hoping for.”

Herbstreit predicted a low-scoring affair on Saturday, but he said both coaches have saved things for this game.

“Jabrill Peppers is probably going to throw a pass,” Herbstreit said. “Ohio State is going to have a little something with a running quarterback, J.T. Barrett. So you’re going to see some stuff. When the dust settles, it’s like a 21-17 kind of game. I think it’s going to be low-scoring and which team catches that big break in the fourth quarter is probably going to be the team that ends up winning the game.”

Herbstreit said calling the game is “surreal.”

“I’m going to call the national championship again later this year, but nothing will compare to this for me,” Herbstreit said. “This is what it’s all about for me.”

Notebook: Howard was wearing a U-M Jumpman shirt when he met with reporters Friday. “No disrespect, but I just came from Cleveland where I had to do a shoot for the Heisman show,” Howard said. “That’s why I got on my maize and blue ‘Jumpman’ gear, in case you were wondering. I don’t do this every week.”


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