Play OSU Twice? Great if 'win both' Hoke says

Michigan and Ohio State could play twice this season for the first time in the history. Is it a good thing?

CHICAGO -- Michigan and Ohio State could play twice this season. And U-M coach Brady Hoke is all for it-- as long as his team wins.

"I think it would be fun," Hoke said at Big Ten media day on Thursday. "It would great. As a long as we win both. It's never fun when you lose them."

This will be last season that rivals Michigan and Ohio State can play each other twice in the regular season. Yes, twice, as both teams are set to join the same division in 2014. But that's next year, and this season if all the cards fall right, the biggest rivalry in college football could be showcased on both Nov. 30 in Ann Arbor, Mich. and the following Saturday on Dec. 7 in the Big Ten Championship Game in Indianapolis.

Michigan leads the all-time series 58-44-6. However, OSU won last year in Columbus, Ohio, 26-21, and are the preseason favorites in the Leaders division and to win the Big Ten Championship Game in Indianapolis. Michigan is the preseason favorite to win the Legends division. Their annual fall matchup is known as "The Game" and this could be the first time the Wolverines and Buckeyes could play each other two times in the same season.

"I mean, that would be great," Michigan junior quarterback Devin Gardner said. "The greatest rivalry in football (and) the one opportunity we will be able to do it. You know? It would be great for me as a first time starter. You know? My first year in football starting in four years. It would be great for me to make history and our teammates. And that would be history for our team. And they would have to talk about our team a lot around Schembechler Hall."

While the possibility of playing OSU twice in one season is enticing, senior offensive tackle Taylor Lewan is taking a one game at time approach before thinking about the possible rematch scenario.

"If you overlook any team, any game--this is college football. At anytime the script can be flipped," Lewan said. "We can be losing to someone that people think we shouldn't be losing to or should lose to. My biggest goal is August 31 (against Central Michigan.) If that situation happens (against OSU), that's going to be a cool situation for the fans and for the players and for the coaches for the first time for that.

"It's an intense game. It's the rivalry. It's 'The Game.' So I have always been excited for it. I am looking forward to it this year. …I think you should always want your last game to be against Ohio."

"The Game" is known for its physical style of play, but Hoke says if they were to play the Buckeyes twice he wouldn't be worried because of Michigan's improved depth compared to years past. He also noted that he doesn't think the game will lose any luster in a possible rematch.

"I don't think so," Hoke said on his players' staying intrigued. "How could it be? How could when you're playing for a championship and an opportunity? … the emphasis we all have on that football game—which is what makes it the greatest rivalry in sport. But I think we could rile them backup and get ready to go."

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