Crediting Michigan’s Hot Start Shows Reason and Objectivity, Not Fear

Heading into the sixth week of the 2015 college football season, Michigan is playing the best football of any team in the Big Ten Conference. They’re displaying a better on-field product than both Ohio State and Michigan State right now. It’s okay to admit it – I’m a Buckeye fan who just typed those last two sentences and I feel completely fine.

It is critically important for Ohio State fans to realize that Michigan actually being a good team isn’t a bad thing – it’s an awesome thing! I know, at first glance, my argument may seem contradictory of my previous article about my general indifference towards the rest of the conference, but I really just want this to serve as comfort for all of my fellow OSU fans who like to share opinions online.

As an Ohio State fan, if you admit that Michigan is a good team playing inspired and impressive football, while being led by an excellent coaching staff, it doesn’t mean that you’re scared of the Wolverines. It doesn’t even mean that you think that Michigan can beat Ohio State. It simply means that you’re reasonable. It means that you can objectively watch and evaluate college football. And that’s how it should be.

Not every success by That Team Up North needs to be dismissed for some obscure reason. Likewise, not every struggle by the Buckeyes needs an excuse. Just call it how it is. Yes, Ohio State entered the season ranked No. 1 in the country and is undefeated – but Michigan is playing better football right now. The Wolverines just held three straight opponents scoreless – an impressive feat no matter who the games were against. Whether their shutouts were against BYU, Maryland and Northwestern, or against Wisconsin, Alabama and Oregon, it’s an incredibly difficult accomplishment – one that hasn’t happened since 1995. Don’t belittle the tremendous three-week defensive performance by trying to point out their opponents’ key injuries or lack of offensive firepower. Those are just biased excuses that make you look pathetic. Besides, OSU’s competition has been worse – and the Buckeyes have only held Hawaii scoreless.

The truth is that, right now, Michigan’s on-field performance looks exactly like the way we wish Ohio State had been playing through the first five weeks of the season. I can guarantee that if the Buckeyes had posted lopsided shutout victories over Hawaii, Northern Illinois and Western Michigan, the majority of Buckeye Nation would have been pounding their collective chests, referring to the team as an unstoppable freight train en route to its second consecutive national championship.

Ohio State fans should be reasonable and except the reality that Michigan is playing better than OSU right now, because that reality contains a silver lining for the Silver Bullets. Michigan performing so smoothly now, heading into Week 6, while the Buckeyes steadily gain momentum as the season progresses is actually an ideal situation for the Scarlet and Gray. The goal for any team, in any sport, is to progress throughout the season, weather any possible storms, and be at their best later in the year. The great part about OSU not looking as impressive as Michigan in Game 5 is that the two teams don’t face off until Game 12. That’s plenty of time for the more talented Buckeyes to hit their stride and beat the Wolverines who may have actually peaked far too early in the season.

So Ohio State fans can and should remain optimistic about the rest of the season. But don’t be such a homer that you deny giving Michigan credit for the outstanding results they’ve achieved up until the midway point of the season. The Maize and Blue are looking like a quality team, and that’s not a bad thing. They’ll have to face a hot Buckeye team with more talent and more momentum come November – the time of year that championships are actually played for.

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