Beating Ohio State is much more than a Michigan problem in the Big Ten

Sporting News

Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh made the media rounds Wednesday, and he answered the most obvious question when it comes to the 2020 season.

"We've got to beat Ohio State," Harbaugh told Mike Tirico on NBC Sports Network's "Lunch Talk" radio show. "Nothing makes us angrier than that, or me. That's what we're working toward every day. We've beaten everybody else, but we haven't beaten them.”

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Harbaugh has a 47-18 record in five seasons with the Wolverines, but the most frequent citation is an 0-5 record against Ohio State. The Buckeyes have dominated The Game for the past eight seasons and are coming off a third straight Big Ten championship.

That speaks to the larger issue within the Big Ten. Ohio State isn't just Michigan's problem. The Buckeyes are everybody's problem.

Here's a team-by-team look at every Big Ten team's last win against the Buckeyes:

Big Ten vs. Ohio State

TEAM

LAST WIN

LAST ROAD WIN

LOSING STREAK

Indiana

1988 (41-7)

1987 (31-10)

25

Minnesota

2000 (29-17)

2000 (29-17)

11

Northwestern

2004 (33-27)

1971 (14-10)

8

Illinois

2007 (28-21)

2007 (28-21)

9

Wisconsin

2010 (31-18)

2003 (17-10)

8

Nebraska

2011 (34-27)

-

5

Michigan

2011 (40-34)

2000 (38-26)

8

Michigan State

2015 (17-14)

2015 (17-16)

4

Penn State

2016 (24-21)

2011 (20-14)

3

Iowa

2017 (55-24)

1991 (16-9)

0

Purdue

2018 (49-20)

1988 (31-26)

0

Maryland and Rutgers have yet to score their first victory against the Buckeyes. There are a few striking statistical trends to take away from that conference dominance.

— Ohio State had a 78-11 record in Big Ten play in the last decade, the best conference record among any FBS school. Alabama is second at 76-11.

— Since Urban Meyer took over in 2012, Ohio State has lost one Big Ten home game, a 17-16 loss to Michigan State at Ohio Stadium on Nov. 21, 2015.

— The Buckeyes lost just three Big Ten games at The Shoe in the 2010s. Michigan State won twice (2015, 2011) and Penn State also beat Ohio State in 2011.

That says the Big Ten-wide problem is winning at Ohio State. The Buckeyes' only conference losses in the past three years were road slipups at Iowa and Purdue — mind-boggling blowouts that kept Ohio State out of the College Football Playoff.

Rutgers, Iowa, Indiana, Nebraska and Michigan all visit Ohio Stadium this season.

That will be the biggest hurdle for Michigan given that its last win at The Shoe was in 2000. Drew Henson led the Wolverines to a 38-26 victory in John Cooper's final season with the Buckeyes. It's been that long.

The gap between that win in 2000 and Harbaugh's guarantee to beat Ohio State as a player in 1986 is 14 years. Now, Michigan is looking for its first win at The Shoe in 20 years.

That's a problem Harbaugh is still trying to solve as a coach.

"That's what we have to do," he said. "Beat them, win a championship, get ourselves into the playoff, win a national championship."

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