COLUMBUS — While Ohio State is certainly scratching and clawing to get themselves into the top four of the College Football Playoff rankings, all of that noise will be silenced this week as they prepare for what is simply known as, 'The Game!'
It's 'Michigan Week' in Columbus, and all attention will be on 'That Team Up North,' as they face off with one another at Ohio Stadium on Saturday (12 p.m, ABC)
"I hear people say that it's just another game," OSU head coach Urban Meyer said of the rivalry with Michigan. "We don't take that approach at all ...
"We make a huge deal out of rivalry games. I want the players to take ownership in the program, part ownership in the game. This is not just another game.
"This is 'The Game.'
Ohio State (10-1, 7-0 Big Ten) has dominated the series in recent years, winning 11 of the last 13 contests against the hated Wolverines. Some may say that the rivalry has lost its luster because of the lopsided record since the turn of the century.
Meyer, however, isn't buying it at all.
"I hear the players' comments and I think it is a lot different," Meyer said of 'Michigan Week.' "If it's not, then we're not doing a good job. There will be things every day added to the facility to make known it's completely different, everything.
It's always been that way."
Unlike Ohio State — which has already clinched a spot in the Big Ten Championship game, and has aspirations of making it into the College Football Playoff — Michigan (5-6, 3-4) would appear to have very little to play for this Saturday in Columbus.
However, with a possible bowl game appearance on the line, and a head coach (Brady Hoke) residing on a sizzling hot seat, the Wolverines may be a very dangerous foe for the Buckeyes at this moment in time.
So, will the Buckeyes take that dangerous team lightly?
"No, because you watch videotape and talent is there," Meyer said of Michigan. "They're going to give us everything they got and what they've got is a lot. So no, these players, motivation won't be an issue."
Looking at it from the 'it's just another game' perspective, Ohio State simply outmatches the Wolverines when it comes to generating offensive fireworks.
I can't see where Michigan can slow down an Ohio State offense that has averaged 44.3 points (5th in FBS) and 511 yards (10th FBS) per contest, and has scored 61 offensive touchdowns this season compared to just 23 by the Wolverines.
Simply said, the Wolverines are bringing a butter knife to a gun fight.
But as Meyer eluded to, this isn't an ordinary game ... it's a rivalry game ... it's 'The Game.'
To steal a line from a fellow Lee (Corso) ... "This will be closer than the experts think."
Lee's Prediction: OSU 30-24