Coach Urban Meyer was blown away with the way Ohio State fans descended on California’s Memorial Stadium for a game in September.
The Buckeyes’ traveling sea of scarlet erased any significant home-field advantage for Purdue and Illinois, as well.
Nobody is predicting that Ohio State will have anywhere close to as many fans as Michigan for Saturday’s game at Ann Arbor. But the Wolverines’ disappointing season has many wondering how many seats that normally would be occupied by maize-and-blue-clad fans will end up going to Buckeyes’ fans instead.
Unlike most years, tickets to The Game are not hard to find. StubHub.com had more than 5,700 tickets available as of yesterday afternoon for as little as $75, or $20 below face value. Meyer was asked on the Big Ten coaches teleconference yesterday about the possibility of a large contingent of Buckeyes fans in Ann Arbor on Saturday.
“I’ve witnessed some things this year that I have not seen before,” he said. “Cal-Berkeley might have been the best example I’ve ever seen. I looked up there and couldn’t believe it. Some of the other (road games), as well. I imagine it’ll be a lot more difficult with this one, but yes, it means a lot.”
Michigan coach Brady Hoke also was asked about the chance of a larger-than-usual OSU throng.
“It would be disappointing,” he said. “You’ve got 18 seniors who are playing their last game. There’s a bunch of them who have been a part of a lot of good things that have been accomplished on campus, on the football field.”
But he also seemed resigned to the possibility of Michigan fans selling their tickets.
“People are fickle,” he said. “That’s just the way it is. It’s the world we live in.”
A big Ohio State crowd wouldn’t be unprecedented. In 1969, facing the prospect of 40,000 unsold seats, Michigan athletic director Don Canham turned over tickets to Ohio State, much to the chagrin of Wolverines coach Bo Schemblecher. Michigan’s upset of the top-ranked Buckeyes ignited the “Ten Year War,” and that ceased to be an issue for Schembechler again.
Meyer said backup cornerback Armani Reeves practiced on Sunday, a good sign for his availability against Michigan. The sophomore missed Saturday’s game against Indiana with an unspecified injury. He’s a key player on special teams.
Starting cornerback Doran Grant missed the second half of the Indiana game because of an injury. With both Grant and Reeves out, freshman Cam Burrows filled in and played well.