The look on Michigan senior safety Josh Metellus' face in the picture at the top says it all—a man defeated. A man that knows he's been beaten and can do nothing about it but chase.
The Wolverines have been chasing the Buckeyes for the better part of two decades now, falling to 1-15 since 2004 to their "rival," and it doesn't look like that will change anytime soon.
Not when OSU continues to put a more talented team on the field than the Maize and Blue. In this year's 247Sports.com college team composite rankings, Ohio State ranks second nationally and has 60 five- (13) and four-star (47) recruits—while Michigan is 11th overall, and has 40 five- (four) and four-star (36) recruits.
And not when Michigan doesn't have the coaching to bridge that gap.
That's the only way you beat teams more talented than you. On that day, your staff out-coaches theirs. Out-schemes them. Out-prepares them. Mines and develops your talent better than they do. That hasn't happened.
For the second year in a row, defensive coordinator Don Brown had no answers for the Buckeyes' offense, his unit yielding 118 points and 1,144 yards to Ohio State in back-to-back games. Michigan's offense remains on the upswing, but offensive coordinator Josh Gattis didn't call a perfect game either, nor did his players execute flawlessly.
That's what U-M had to have, because the defense was clearly outclassed—and why would anyone expect that to change?
The Buckeyes have always had more talent than Michigan, and Jim Harbaugh and Co. haven't figured out a way to overcome the skill deficiency.
Harbaugh is a great coach. A top-20 coach in college football that will continue to put Michigan in position to win nine or 10 games per year, out-recruiting everyone but OSU (and sometimes Penn State) in the Big Ten. If he coached in the Big Ten West he might already have two or three division titles. But he coaches in the East where Ohio State resides, and he can't beat OSU. That's not opinion or hyperbole. It's fact.
Close losses. Blowout losses. A loss when Michigan was the favorite. A loss when U-M was at home playing its best football of the year. No matter the circumstances, home or away, Urban Meyer on the sidelines or Ryan Day, senior quarterbacks or first-year signal-callers, it's five straight defeats for the Wolverines.
Ohio State currently sits fourth in the the 247Sports.com 2020 recruiting rankings. Michigan is 12th. The talent gap is not shrinking. (U-M was actually closer in team talent in 2018 than it is in 2019 and will be in 2020).
So what can Harbaugh do? Does he replace coaches? Does he move on from Brown? He probably won't, as Harbaugh reveres his defensive coordinator, but these last two losses to Ohio State have proven without a doubt Michigan doesn't have good enough coaching to make up the recruiting difference.
And with five opportunities to give recruits' reason to switch allegiances, U-M didn't make up any ground.
So what does the future of THE Game look like? Probably a lot like the present and the past—Michigan losing to Ohio State.