This is the one week of the year I become an unabashed, slobbering Ohio State fan.
Any other week of the year, I maintain an arm's length from total Buckeye infatuation, and look with disdain upon the army of non-Ohio State grads who live and die with the fortunes of Ohio State football.
Especially when said scarlet and gray-bleeding ITT Tech grads rag on me when I root for Bowling Green, my mid-major alma mater.
"Hey, at least I graduated from the school I root for," I want to say.
But this week is different. This week, state pride is on the line. This week, Michigan is the enemy.
Too often, when John Cooper was in charge, I paid for it. Now, with Jim Tressel, I can shrug my shoulders when Ohio State barely clips a MAC school and reap the benefits when the Buckeyes beat Michigan and go on to win a bowl game.
Tressel is 3-1 against Michigan and 3-1 in bowls.
This might be the swan song for Lloyd Carr, Michigan's embattled coach who has the reverse record against Ohio State in the past four years.
If Ohio State wins and Carr gets the axe, I'll probably gloat. That is, until the Wolverines steal away Browns defensive coordinatior Todd Grantham as their new head coach. So maybe I should cool my heels.
Michigan has a nasty way of luring top football talent away from northern Ohio.
Not that any of that matters right now. If you defected up north, you are a traitor to Ohio and deserve no better football fate than a native Michigander.
During Michigan-Ohio State week, we pay homage to Woody Hayes, the ultimate rivalry-embracing coach. I am happy to announce that, just like Woody, I have never bought gas in Michigan.
But just between you and me, that's only because it's usually cheaper in Ohio.