A bold proclamation, and maybe tipping the maize and blue cap?
Michigan quarterback John O’Korn visited the grave of legendary Wolverine coach Bo Schembechler Tuesday night. Accompanying O’Korn was former Michigan Wolverine and current Detroit Lions backup Jake Rudock, as well as scores of Wolverines fans.
While doing so, O’Korn decided to get the fans pumped up for this week’s game against the hated Ohio State Buckeyes by essentially guaranteeing victory. According to Dan Murphy of ESPN.com, O’Korn had this to say about this year’s installment of ‘The Game’:
“I believe in our coaches, and I believe in this team,” he said. “We appreciate all your support all year and we’ll get it done on Saturday.”
Keep in mind the Wolverines have only won two of the last 16 contests against the Buckeyes, but none of those games outside of 2006 have had the hype this one has. Michigan is No. 3 in the country, and Ohio State is No. 2. If the Wolverines win, they go to the Big Ten Championship for the first game in the title game’s brief existence. If they lose, their hopes of a dream playoff season are essentially over.
This is of course drawing parallels to when Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh made his famous guarantee against Ohio State in 1986 when he was playing quarterback for the Wolverines.
We’re going to play in the Rose Bowl this year, I guarantee it. We’ll beat Ohio State and we’ll be in Pasadena on Jan. 1.”
Outside of this being great fuel to the unbelievable fire that will be ‘The Game’ in 2016, it would make sense to assume that if O’Korn is the one making guarantees, O’Korn is the one that is going to start. However, Harbaugh has not ruled out the possibility of quarterback Wilton Speight returning against the Buckeyes. Speight started the first 10 games of the season for the Wolverines before sitting out last week’s game against Indiana with a shoulder injury.
One thing’s for sure. No matter who starts under center, it will be O’Korn’s words that ring loud in both locker rooms. This is the most important Wolverine/Buckeye matchup in a decade, and with the way both schools are trending, it looks to only get better.