On so many levels, Michigan, in two days, will play its most important game in three years. Do you view that as hyberbole? Fine. But I get another 200 words to sway you.
UM's decline has been exacerbated by one of its league rivals (Ohio State) racking up 10-win seasons at the rate Lindsay Lohan racks up probation violations, and another (Michigan State) taking meaningful steps toward sustained relevancy. In maintaining supremacy within its state, UM must kick baby brother a couple of rungs down the recruiting ladder or it might find itself staring upward into Sparty's buns of steel.
When Rich Rodriguez said in February that a Big Ten school negatively recruits against Michgian, insisting it wasn't OSU, it was widely accepted that he was accusing MSU's Mark Dantonio and his staff of trying to benefit from the NCAA's investigation of Practice Gate.
A win Saturday should ensure Rich Rodriguez of employment at UM in 2011. He'd be unbeaten at the season's midway point, and of equal importance, be three for three in games figured to be toss ups. It would be the most relieved he has been since UM agreed to take care of half of his lawsuit to West Virginia. OK, that last sentence is hyberbole.
Saturday's outcome transcends the idea of two rivals fighting for a win. Its impact could be rippling.