ANN ARBOR, Mich. (WXYZ) — It’s rivalry week in college football, and Saturday at noon, one of the game’s biggest matchups kicks off at the Big House.
The University of Michigan takes on the Ohio State University. It’s their first time squaring off since 2019. Last year’s game was canceled because of the pandemic, and with The Big Game comes lots of preparation for police and local businesses.
The maize and blue versus the scarlet and gray have a storied history. It’s a matchup Amber Bathish says has made for very busy Saturdays at Amer’s Deli since 1988.
“So to see Ohio State come every other year (is a) great great feeling, and you have to build enough inventory, build enough staff. I mean, people are excited. They’re amped up all week,” Bathish described.
They’re so amped up, alumnus Dr. Emilio Justo and his daughter, Annalise, flew to Ann Arbor his 2-time alma mater from Phoenix.
“This last decade has been kind of pathetic, and so we’re really looking for revenge tomorrow. It’s going to be an uphill battle,” Justo said.
Ohio State fans Shawnee Barko and Rob Fryer, an OSU alumnus flew into town from California.
“We hope that (OSU winning streak) continues,” Barko said.
“We still want the W. We’re starting to feel bad a little bit, but we still want the W,” Fryer said.
Barko chuckled, “No. I’m not feeling really bad about it.”
It’s a rivalry so big, ESPN College Gameday is in town. Host Desmond Howard played for Michigan, Kirk Herbstreit played for Ohio State, and Rece Davis anchored sports in Flint.
He acknowledges those ties make covering this game that much more personal.
“it’s great to be back. I don’t have the same level of emotional investment as those two might have in the outcome of the game. I get to stick it to either one of them. Whoever loses is going to get the business from me,” Davis joked.
Campus police mean business.
Deputy police chief Melissa Overton tells 7 Action News, “We prepare by working closely with our local, state, and federal partners. Safety is our top priority.”
She added, “Also follow our social media via Twitter and Facebook, we push out safety messaging days before the game, covering things such as child ID wrist bands, where to park, prohibited items, etc.”