Most Buckeye Fans Don't Plan on Rooting For Michigan Against Alabama
By Tony Gerdeman
COLUMBUS, Ohio — A little over a week ago on The-Ozone's fan forum, our fearless leader John Porentas asked a simple question: "Will you be rooting for Michigan when they play Alabama this Fall?"
The question was proposed in a manner that displayed the benefit of an undefeated Ohio State football team facing a Michigan team with a win over Alabama on its schedule. The responses were fast and furious, but also clear and cut. Of about 85 respondents, only a dozen or so admitted that they would root for Michigan.
In fact, they didn't answer with just a simple no, some took it a few steps beyond that.
"Not even if my hair was on fire and if Michigan won I would get a bucket of water."
"My innermost self can not root for Michigan in anything....ever."
"I will be cheering for Michigan to be pounded into oblivion every week."
"I would rather wear Oprah's panties... As a ski mask... While she's still in them... Than root for Michigan."
You get the idea.
There was enough interest in the topic that we wanted to secure a larger sample size, so we asked the question in our front page poll last Monday.
"With the bowl ban, some people think that the Buckeyes can still win an AP national championship. A win over an undefeated Michigan, which itself owns a victory over Alabama would make an AP championship much more realistic, so will you be rooting for Michigan against Alabama?"
Of the 1,559 people who responded, 53% said that they would not be rooting for Michigan, and 47% said that they would.
The numbers break down a bit further:
34% said "No, I just can't root for Michigan no matter what the circumstances."
19% said "No, though I won't be broken-hearted if they win since the Buckeyes will have something to gain too."
23% said "Yes, I want the Buckeyes to play for something, so I'll root for Michigan, no problem."
24% said "Yes, it will be really tough, but it will be worth it if OSU can win an AP national title."
Even though it would benefit them in just about every way conceivable, the majority of Ohio State fans just can't find it in their scarlet hearts to root for Michigan football.
However, if you look at the numbers a different way, 66% of Buckeye fans won't be upset if Michigan wins, which might be a first because Buckeye fans have been taught from birth to take delight in the misery of the Wolverines.
Rooting for Michigan in situations that will help Ohio State is a danger that has plagued Buckeye fans for decades, which is why it is rarely toyed with.
It's like being lactose intolerant but drinking a glass of milk because it will get you a promotion.
There is tremendous danger in this, because just like the results of that glass of milk, rooting for Michigan can explode in your face if the Wolverines were to actually get by Ohio State and still be undefeated.
Sometimes it's just easier to stomach if the Wolverines get that first loss out of the way, that way Buckeye fans can breathe a little easier.
Basically what we wanted to know with this poll question was whether or not years of schadenfreudenal sustenance based on the Maize and Blue hate pyramid could be set aside for one Saturday in September. Especially against Nick Saban.
And apparently it can. A little, at least.
Just don't expect most Buckeye fans to be actively rooting for the Wolverines, and certainly don't expect anybody to be upset when they lose.
After all, it's hard to change a person's DNA, especially when it comes to rooting for Michigan.
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