It didn't matter who spoke on Monday afternoon during Michigan's scheduled media availability — senior captain linebacker Josh Ross, senior captain center Andrew Vastardis, senior wide receiver Mike Sainristil, head coach Jim Harbaugh — everyone knows what's at stake on Saturday.
Ross can't wait for this weekend. He's already preparing for Saturday's game. You could see it on his face. And it's only Monday.
Sainristil didn't have much to say about last year or other previous matchups. He knows that this Saturday is all that matters right now.
Vastardis also talked about preparation and getting everyone ready for the biggest game of the year — by a landslide.
Even Harbaugh let his true thoughts about the game flow.
"In the College Football Playoff world, this is the start of the playoffs," Harbaugh said. "The team that wins will advance and the team that doesn’t won’t. It is that, it’s also the big game, The Game, the rivalry.”
It is all of those things. A Big Ten East crown is on the line. The right to play for a Big Ten title in Indianapolis is on the line. A potential seat at the CFP table is on the line. Jim Harbaugh's legacy is on the line.
He's already behind it at 0-5 against Ohio State, but 0-6 would be devastating, especially considering how this year has played out. Most people didn't have Michigan winning more than eight games. Almost no one saw 10. Literally no one saw 11 with a win over Ohio State ensuring a trip to Indy and potentially the playoff. And all of that can happen on Saturday. And Harbaugh and Co. know it.
"There’s no need to hype it," Harbaugh said. "The things we just talked about. It’s a playoff game, it’s a rivalry game — it’s at the highest level."
Michigan will be an underdog at home but that doesn't matter. Not in this one. Not against OSU with literally everything on the line. Everyone rooting for and covering Michigan has been saying this for a long time but it's never been truer...
It's time to put up or shut up.