No. 1 Ohio State vs. No. 2 Michigan in the last epic battle of the series. Ohio State won a thriller, 42-39.
Earlier this morning on Twitter, Ann Arbor fan Chad Pelliccioni (@cpelli) replied to my daily Days Until... tweet with apparent disbelief at the suggestion that OSU can (WILL) beat AA this November—specifically citing the current disparity between the two schools' 2013 recruiting classes:
I then replied:
Chad was adamant in his reply, that AA is ahead for good:
@BlockONation We've got 11 in the ESPN 150, you're not catching up to that.— Chad Pelliccioni (@cpelli) June 21, 2012
He is correct. AA has the No. 1 rated class according to ESPN, and as of now, that class includes 11 of the ESPN 150 to just six for OSU. Expanding the comparison to the ESPN 300, AA has 15 and OSU has 10.
Overall, AA currently has 22 recruits and OSU has 12, and with a max of 25 slots per the NCAA, that means the Buckeyes have another eight slots or so to fill (due to scholarship reductions levied against OSU from the tatgate fallout), while AA's class is nearly full. While catching and passing AA again may not happen, it is possible.
Despite the fact that I personally believe ESPN recruiting rankings are inferior to both Scout and Rivals, I decided to play along and humor my buddy Chad anyway.
Here is a list of several top recruits in the ESPN 150 (I actually included one player in the top 200) that are considering Ohio State and could indeed give OSU a legit chance at repeating what they did with their 2012 class by committing to the Buckeyes.
Players are listed below as follows:
ESPN rank // Player Name // Position
No. 23 // Robert Foster // WR
No. 26 // Dorian Johnson // OT
No. 38 // Laquon Treadwell // WR
No. 58 // Derrick Green // RB
No. 60 // James Quick // WR
No. 63 // Vonn Bell // S
No. 66 // Alex Anzalone // LB
No. 190 // Shelton Gibson // WR
I won't kid myself here, or you either. Not every player listed above is going to commit to OSU, but six or seven of them might—and if they do, the Buckeyes 2013 class, which ESPN currently has ranked No. 7, will undoubtedly soar exponentially—possibly ahead of every team up to, and including, AA.
One thing is for sure—Brady Hoke and Urban Meyer are both succeeding at a high level on the recruiting trail, and when these players meet on the field in the coming seasons on the last Saturday in November, you can bet everybody will be watching.
Despite which team ultimately wins The Game this season and beyond (cough, Ohio State, cough...), the return of the greatest rivalry in sports (conceivably comparable to the days of yesteryear when Woody and Bo were pacing the sidelines) is a win-win for every fan of college football.