COLUMBUS, Ohio — What's brewing with the 2013 Ohio State Buckeyes ...
BUCKEYES BUZZ: Every politician between here and Siberia seems to have some sort of a just-for-fun wager or proposes a silly bit of legislation surrounding every major sporting event.
Ohio Gov. John Kasich joined the fray on Friday.
In a resolution he signed, Kasich referred to Saturday's game day as "Scarlet Letter Saturday" and urged all Ohioans to avoid using the letter 'M' when possible.
Of course, the Buckeyes' colors are scarlet and gray.
Each time the first letter of the word Michigan appears in the proclamation, it is in red ink and is crossed out.
The one-page decree opens with six paragraphs beginning with "Whereas." It points out "in the only instance in American history when two states went to war with each other, the state beginning with the letter "M'' lost."
It also says, "Whereas, in 2013, the United States Fish and Wildlife Service suggested adding the wolverine to the threatened species list under the Endangered Species Act."
It closes, "NOW, THEREFORE, We, John R. Kasich and Mary Taylor, Governor and Lieutenant Governor of the State of Ohio, do hereby recognize Saturday, Nov. 30, 2013, as SCARLET LETTER SATURDAY throughout Ohio and encourage all Ohioans to avoid using the letter 'M' when possible."
At the bottom is an official seal of the state of Ohio — contrary to popular belief, it does not include a football or a picture of Woody Hayes — along with Kasich's signature.
HIS SEAT'S NOT EVEN WARM: Brady Hoke is 26-11 in his three years as the head coach at Michigan.
At some places that would be grounds for a statue outside the stadium.
But Michigan, like Ohio State and a select few other universities, isn't content just winning more games than it loses and occasionally contending for a conference title.
No wonder that Michigan AD Dave Brandon wrote on a blog post this week that Hoke's job is not in jeopardy and that he will continue to lead the Wolverines "well into the future."
Brandon's vote of confidence came a day after Jabrill Peppers, one of the nation's elite recruits in the 2014 class, hedged on a verbal commitment to Michigan by saying he intends to take official visits elsewhere because of "rumors about Coach Hoke possibly not being there."
"There is no question about it. Brady has done a great job rebuilding the program and reshaping the culture to the level it was under coaches Bo Schembechler, Gary Moeller and Lloyd Carr," Brandon wrote. "Anyone making efforts to stir up a coaching controversy at Michigan is ill-informed and is likely promoting a personal agenda that is not in the best interest of Michigan football."
There is clearly an element of Wolverines fans whose voices are growing louder. They do not believe Hoke is doing a good enough job. Should they lose again on Saturday for their fifth loss in their last seven games — and a second consecutive loss to the Buckeyes — it won't be hard to hear the critics.
Hoke was asked earlier this week to evaluate the program over his tenure.
"The No. 1 goal has always been to play for our seniors and to do everything we can as coaches and as underclassmen to represent the seniors," he said. "At the same time, the seniors have to do a great job representing that senior class."
The goals remain the same for the Wolverines, he said, as they always have.
"Is the goal always to win the Big Ten championship? No question about it. And we won't make excuses nor back down from it," Hoke said. "Have we played and coached as well as we've needed to? Obviously not. And those are things that we've got to keep working at every day because that's all you can do."
Brandon said everyone needed to be patient.
"The depth that this program needs to be a consistent winner is coming, but it doesn't happen overnight or in one or two recruiting classes," Brandon wrote. "It takes time and probably a little more time than we all anticipated. However, the only threat to our continued success in recruiting is the same old, tired tactic being used by some who wish to see us fail — to try and scare young recruits into believing that our coach 'is on the hot seat' — which simply isn't true."
Hoke is only halfway through a six-year deal he signed in 2011.
"I know that Brady Hoke will finish his career at Michigan as one of the most successful coaches in our program's storied history," Brandon wrote.
REVISITING "THE GAME": Each day this week, Periscope looks at another great Ohio State-Michigan showdown from the past.
It never gets old, even though it's been 63 years since it was played and only a handful of players who saw action that day are still alive.
The temperature hovered near 10 degrees and winds whipped the snow at 28 mph when No. 1-ranked Michigan came to No. 3 Ohio State to play on Nov. 25, 1950.
Columbus was paralyzed by one of the worst snowstorms ever to hit the area. Yet Michigan and Ohio State played on. Several inches of snow obliterated the yard lines at Ohio Stadium. Long-snappers said when they looked back between their legs they couldn't even see the punter. And punters played a huge role.
Michigan's Chuck Ortman punted 24 times for 723 yards. Ohio State's Vic Janowicz, who won the Heisman Trophy that year, had 685 yards on 21 punts.
(To put that into perspective, Ohio State's current punter, Cameron Johnston, has punted 34 times in 11 games THIS SEASON.)
The teams frequently punted on first down, just to avoid a turnover. Ultimately, it was such a change of possession — a blocked punt, of course — that provided the difference.
On third-and-6 at the Ohio State 13, Buckeyes coach Wes Fesler instructed Janowicz to punt with Ohio State holding a 3-2 lead. Only 47 seconds remained in the half and it was likely that Ohio State could have run out the clock. But Michigan's Tony Momsen — whose older brother Bob played for the Buckeyes — blocked the kick and fell on it in the end zone, closing the scoring in a 9-3 Michigan win.
Michigan won the infamous "Snow Bowl" — despite not having a first down and not completing a forward pass — going 0-for-9 through the air.
Fesler was fired, and a young coach from Miami University named Wayne Woodrow Hayes was eventually hired to take his place.
In time, with Hayes adding fuel to the fire, the rivalry became "The Game."
STATS TO KNOW: The Wolverines lead the all-time series 58-44-6 and have actually won more games in Columbus in the series than Ohio State has: 27-24-2.
Ohio State's biggest margin of victory is 38-0 in 1935, while Michigan won the 1902 game, 86-0.
The Buckeyes' longest winning streak is six in a row, 2004-09 (which would have been seven in a row but the 2010 game was vacated due to NCAA sanctions). The Wolverines won nine straight from 1901-09.
When both teams are ranked, which is not the case this year, Michigan is 20-17-4.
GOING IN STYLE: The Big Ten has announced that it still has a limited number of suites available for conference championship game, but both the general public tickets and the team ticket blocks have sold out.
The third annual Big Ten Football title game is scheduled for Saturday, Dec. 7, at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis, and will feature Michigan State facing Ohio State.
If you're interested in a suite, contact the Indiana Sports Corporation at (317) 237-5036.
Every game ticket also provides complimentary admission to the Big Ten Fan Fest held at the Indiana Convention Center on Dec. 6-7.
The winner of the Big Ten Football Championship Game earns the Amos Alonzo Stagg Championship Trophy and a chance to play in one of two historic games in Pasadena, California — the 100th Rose Bowl Game on Jan. 1 or the Bowl Championship Series National Championship Game on Jan. 6.
The Spartans and Buckeyes will meet for the first time since the 2012 Big Ten opener, when Ohio State edged Michigan State, 17-16, in East Lansing, Michigan
In a back-and-forth game, Buckeyes quarterback Braxton Miller connected on a 63-yard scoring pass to Devin Smith to take a 17-13 lead in the third quarter. The Spartans added a fourth-quarter field goal, but Ohio State held on for the victory in Urban Meyer's first Big Ten game as a head coach.
Follow Rusty Miller on Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/RustyMillerAP