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John Davis still owns a physical piece of the Big Tens Game of the Century. It sits in a plastic baggie in his mothers closet.Davis was a high schl senior in Columbus, Ohio, in 2006, when he worked all summer in a TV repair shop to afford tickets to the Michigan-Ohio State game that season. After the No. 1 Buckeyes held off the No. 2 Wolverines 42-39, Davis and thousands of other fans ran onto the Ohio Stadium field and dug up their own souvenir patches of grass.Davis grabbed a hunk of turf near the 50-yard line. Ten years later, that once-pristine soil has degraded to become a few clumps of dirt, but the memories remain fresh. Hands down the best game Ive ever seen and the best game Ive ever been to, said Davis, now 28.No. 3 Michigan and No. 2 Ohio State lk headed for another potential classic in the Horseshoe on Saturday (nn ET, ABC/ESPN App), and it naturally conjures up thoughts from a decade earlier. This will be the first top-five matchup between the two schls since Nov. 18, 2006, which featured the only showdown of Nos. 1 vs. 2 in 112 versions of the series.Even if Saturdays game turns into an instant classic, it would have a hard time matching its 2006 predecessor in hype, drama and circumstance. That game came before the College Ftball Playoff and Big Ten division era, meaning the winner would head straight to the national title game. It carried the tinge of tragedy, as Michigan legend Bo Schembechler died a little more than 24 hours before kickoff. The outcome decided the most recent Big Ten Heisman Trophy winner. And the game itself so thoroughly lived up to expectations that some called for a rematch in the BCS championship.It was one of those moments when you knew and you could feel that everybody in the entire country was watching you, said Doug Datish, the starting center for Ohio State in 2006. You could feel the enormity of it.It was a moment when two old archrivals std atop the college ftball world.Ive never seen anything as big as this gameThe collision course between Ohio State and Michigan became apparent early on in 2006.The Buckeyes entered the season ranked No. 1 in both major polls and dispatched No. 2 Texas 24-7 in Austin in Week 2. The Wolverines, who were 14th in the preseason, beat the new No. 2 team, Notre Dame, 47-21 in South Bend in Week 3. From there on, each ripped through the Big Ten schedule.Maybe four or five weeks into the season, guys in our locker rm started talking, said David Patterson,?who played defensive tackle for the Buckeyes. Hey, Michigan might be undefeated. We might both be undefeated.The Wolverines climbed to No. 2 in the second week of the BCS standings on Oct. 22, and the two teams would stay 1-2 until their season-ending clash the Saturday before Thanksgiving. It was the first time since 1973 that the two teams entered The Game undefeated. ESPNs College GameDay headed to Columbus, along with an HBO documentary crew. Ohio State issued a record number of media credentials, and the traditional nn kickoff time was moved to 30 p.m. ET to increase exposure.Ohio State fan Austin Capell, who was in sixth grade at the time, remembers his elementary schl outside of Dayton playing Buckeye Battle Cry over the loudspeakers the Friday before the game and O-H-I-O chants breaking out all during recess.Ive never seen anything as big as this game, said Bruce Madej, who served as Michigans sports information director from 1982 to 2010. It was wild.Michigan-Ohio State week is always intense on both sides. Buckeyes head coach Jim Tressel had former coach Earle Bruce deliver a fiery address to the team on Sunday night, and former star linebacker Jack Tatum gave a speech on Thursday night. The Wolverines had their own motivational speaker lined up for a Thursday talk: Bo Schembechler.The legendary coach was in pr health, and he skipped an appointment with a cardiologist to speak to the team, said his son, Shemy Schembechler. As late as Thursday afternn, Shemy Schembechler said, Michigan coach Lloyd Carr tried to talk Bo out of the speech and to visit his doctor instead.But Bo said, Im speaking to the team if its the last thing I do, Shemy recalled.Tom Slade, a Michigan quarterback from the early 1970s, had just died of leukemia a few days earlier. Schembechler told the Wolverines about the bond he still had with Slade and stressed how loyalty and brotherhd defined a Michigan man.It was a heartfelt speech, a pretty amazing speech, said Leon Hall, former Michigan cornerback now with the NFLs New York Giants. A lot of the reasons we are who we are at Michigan is because of him. The next morning, Schembechler died of a heart attack while preparing to tape his weekly TV show. Carr called a team meeting to break the news to the players.He told us that it doesnt change anything, said Garrett Rivas, the place-kicker for the 2006 Wolverines. We werent going to go Win for Bo, because thats not the way he would have wanted it. He wouldnt have wanted to take anything away from the rivalry. Suddenly, the immensely hyped game tk on new meaning for the Wolverines.There was a pall over the game, just because he was such a significant part of not just Michigan but the Big Ten and nationally, Big Ten commissioner Jim Delany said. I remember there was kind of a depressed feel about it, a sadness.Youve got to win that last game of the yearThe bus ride from Ann Arbor to Columbus for a Michigan-Ohio State game is always interesting. Madej remembers rocks being thrown at the team bus, and one year a stone shattered a window. On a later trip, Madej and offensive lineman Jeff Backus decided to count how many middle fingers they saw aimed at them from Ohio State fans.We stopped counting when it got over triple digits, Madej said.The 2006 trip, though, brought a different feel. For one, former Michigan quarterback Chad Henne recalls, there was a TV news helicopter following the bus all the way down U.S. 23. Fans lined the sides of the highway and overpasses with banners cheering the team on. Even Buckeyes fans held signs of support for Schembechler, who after all was from Barbeton, Ohio, and got his coaching start at Ohio State. With Michigans help, the Buckeyes put together a pregame tribute to Schembechler, followed by a moment of silence.The reception we got was amazing, Hall said.A spot in the BCS title game was on the line, but Tressel didnt talk about that all week with his team. He remembered the 2003 Michigan game, when the defending national champion Buckeyes, ranked No. 2 in the BCS standings, lost their chance to repeat when they fell to the Wolverines. Tressel thought they had focused t much on the bigger picture before that loss.We didnt make that mistake the rest of the time we were there, he said. So really in 2006, we didnt talk about the championship game at all. We talked about the Ohio State-Michigan game.The Wolverines and the Buckeyes had two of the best defenses in the country that season, and their games over the years were known for being low-scoring, physical affairs. The first signs that things would be different this time came early, as both teams marched for touchdowns on their opening possessions.The Buckeyes tk a 14-point lead in the second quarter on a trick play. Wideout Ted Ginn Jr. lined up as a tight end on second-and-inches and streaked free for a touchdown pass after a fake handoff.We had worked on that play all year and we had never run it, Datish said. I remember when that play call came in, I thought, I guess thats why we put that thing in.Michigan answered every big Ohio State play and cut the lead to four points twice in the third quarter. The Buckeyes, though, had Troy Smith.Smith had been nursing a sore thumb for a few weeks and didnt play well the previous week against Illinois. Against Michigan, he threw for 316 yards and four touchdowns, wrapping up the Heisman in the process. Tressel recalled Smiths performance as one for the ages.I was able to channel some of my teammates energy and their vigor in wanting to get the game going, Smith said. I used that to block out whatever I was going to think about my thumb.Michigan lked to have gotten a crucial third-down stop in the fourth quarter, but Shawn Crable was called for a helmet-to-helmet hit on Smith as the quarterback ran out of bounds. The penalty gave Ohio State a first down, and theyd go on to score for a 42-31 lead.The Wolverines would score again, but the onside kick failed and Ohio State ran out the clock.We all had a sick feeling in our stomach, knowing we had let an opportunity slip away, Rivas said. I had a sour, disgusted taste in my mouth.Ohio State fans jubilantly rushed onto the field, many of them like Davis taking chunks of grass home as mementos. The schl switched to synthetic Field Turf before the 2007 season.It was an amazing sight, said Malcolm Jenkins, an Ohio State DB now with the?Philadelphia Eagles. Fans literally tore up square ftage of grass, threw them over their shoulders and walked out of the stadium. It was a magical day.How magical? The numbers 4-2-3-9 -- the same as the final score -- were drawn in the Ohio Lotterys Pick 4 game that evening. The Buckeyes were going to the national title game. Even more important, to them, they had beaten their rival.Whenever you get a chance to play in a national championship, its always cl and fine and dandy, Smith said. But Im from Ohio. If you want to feel safe around these parts, youd better pull out all of your tricks for that game, because its pretty important. Youve got to win that last game of the year.But should that have been the last Ohio State-Michigan game that season?Ohio State and Michigan were thisclose to a rematchTalk of a potential rematch began sn after the final horn. Recent precedent existed. Florida State beat Florida in its 1996 regular-season finale, and then the Gators got a rematch and downed the Seminoles 52-20 in the Sugar Bowl for the national title. Five years after the 2006 game, LSU and Alabama would stage a second meeting in the BCS championship game.Michigan had an argument, having lost to the No. 1 team on the road by three points. But neither Carr nor the Big Ten publicly lobbied for the Wolverines.There was a system in place, Delany said. That would have been a mindless waste of energy, I would think.Urban Meyer had no such qualms. The day after the Michigan-Ohio State game, the then-Florida coach called the idea of a rematch unfair and said, If they do that, we should go to a playoff next year.Urban Meyer, he campaigned pretty much, Henne said. Coach Carrs a traditionalist and he did it his way. Thats the only thing that kind of bugged me, that we kind of sat back and let it go on and we got pushed out.Back in 2006, the Big Ten still finished its schedule before Thanksgiving week and did not have a championship game. Michigans season was over a full two weeks before Florida bolstered its case by beating Arkansas in the SEC title game. That lag was one of the reasons the Big Ten eventually extended its season past Thanksgiving and expanded to form divisions and a title game, said Ohio State athletic director Gene Smith.It was hard to break away from that tradition, but I think its better for our league, Smith said. We needed to have a presence in that same window of time.In the end, the Gators edged out Michigan for the No. 2 spot by 0.0101 points in the BCS formula.Florida was a gd team but it was kind of like, well, we probably deserved it, Henne said. But we had our one opportunity and we lost.Ohio State players had no interest in playing Michigan again.That game went down to the wire, Jenkins said. It was emotionally draining, and it would be hard to get another game to replicate that.I dont think the fans or anyone wanted to see that, Patterson said. But lking back, maybe that would have worked out better for us.The BCS system was vindicated when Florida clobbered Ohio State 41-14 in the title game and Michigan lost by two touchdowns to USC in the Rose Bowl. That also would begin the decline of the Big Ten as a whole and signal the ascendance of SEC dominance. The Buckeyes would lose again in the 2007 BCS title game, to LSU, and the Big Ten went through a national championship drought until Ohio State won it all in the 2014 season.Michigan, meanwhile, tk nearly a decade to fully recover. The Ohio State game was the first of four straight losses, as the Wolverines were stunningly upset by Appalachian State to open 2007 and then fell to Oregon. Carr resigned after that season, and the program then wandered the wilderness under Rich Rodriguez and Brady Hoke until favorite son Jim Harbaugh came home.Can any game ever top The Game from 2006?There are significant differences between this years game and 2006 because of the playoff and Big Ten divisional system. Both teams have a loss this time around, and its highly unlikely anyone will call for a rematch.Still, the echoes are there.You have two iconic head coaches and unbelievable talent on both teams, Gene Smith said. The fandom will probably be the same, at the highest level, and the demand for tickets will be the same. As far as the game itself, the magnitude will be very similar.You cant get more electric than The Game, Tressel said. This week will probably be 2 against 3. You cant get much bigger than that. It will be a special day.John Davis will be there again. While he wont be taking any of the playing surface home this time, Davis is hoping The Game he witnesses in 2016 lives up to the one in 2006. We all are.Without a doubt, lking back now, that game was in line with the hype, Rivas said of the 2006 classic. It was all that and then some.Michael DiRocco, Tim McManus,?Jordan Raanan and?Adam Rittenberg contributed to this story. kiestore.com/Twins-Phil-Hughes-Kids-Jersey/" target="_blank">Phil Hughes Jersey . Instead of dwelling on the negative, Oates focused on what was gd about the clubs recent play. It worked. kiestore.com/Twins-Addison-Reed-Kids-Jersey/" target="_blank">Addison Reed Jersey .ca NBA Power Rankings, ahead of the Miami Heat and San Antonio Spurs. kiestore.com/Twins-Eddie-Rosario-Kids-Jersey/" target="_blank">http://www.twinsrkiestore.com/Twins-Eddie-Rosario-Kids-Jersey/ . Reassurance came from Paul Tesori, his caddie and close friend whose newborn son is in intensive care in a Florida hospital. 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Same old result.Full of new star power -- and dominant on the inside -- the U.S. mens basketball team opened its bid for a third straight Olympic gold medal Friday night with a 111-74 exhibition romp over Argentina.A game that was over almost before it began showed the U.S. has to improve its shting and conditioning. It also showed that there is plenty of talent among a group of players that seem to want to play well for each other and their country despite the absence of Olympic stalwarts Kobe Bryant and LeBron James.Theres a willingness from these guys to work on anything we need and to work hard, coach Mike Krzyzewski said. These are very gd guys.A U.S. team that hasnt lost a game in 10 years had little trouble with Argentina, which some consider a medal contender in Rio. Paul George scored 14 first-half points, Kevin Durant added 12, and the U.S. blew open the game early before an appreciative crowd on the Las Vegas Strip.Even with Bryant retired and James taking this Olympics off, there was no real talent drop off on a team heavily favored to win gold once again. The depth of the U.S. showed as coach Mike Krzyzewski rotated players in and out, searching for the right combinations on a team with 10 new players from 2012.Nothing is for sure, Durant said. We want to get this gold and right now we have a job to do. We have to prepare the right way.Count the Argentines among those who were impressed at the first real game for the Olympic team.Obviously, they have the best talent and the best size in the world, Argentinas Luis Scola said. Thats a big difference in their favor.The game was the first of five exhibitions the U.S. will play before traveling to Rio to defend the gold medal. The U.S. team has spent the last week practicing in Las Vegas in preparation for the tour and the games.There werent any opening night jitters, though the U.S. shot only 45 percent and missed all but 14 of 41 3-pointers. With DeMarcus Cousins pulling down 15 rebounds in just 16 minutes, the U.ddddddddddddS. dominated inside, outrebounding Argentina 53-30.The big thing is getting in shape and they are not there where they will be, Krzyzewski said. But we really have an inside presence on the boards.For Durant the game was a chance to play with a pair of his new Golden State teammates, Draymond Green and Klay Thompson. It was also a chance for Durant and Carmelo Anthony -- the only two players from the 2012 team -- to demonstrate that this will be their team in Rio.Both players cheered from the bench as the minutes were spread around, jumping up to clap for teammates. Every U.S. player got quality time, with Greens 12 minutes the least played by any American.Were going to have fun and were going to enjoy ourselves, Anthony said. If its not fun its not worth it. Were going to enjoy ourselves but at the same time were going to be focused in trying to get that gold medal.Durant finished as the games high scorer with 23 points, while George had 18 and Carmelo Anthony 17. Andres Nocioni had 15 for Argentina, while Manu Ginobili added 11 for Argentina, which lost to the U.S. in the semifinals of the 2012 Olympics.Though at times little defense was played, there was plenty of offense to keep the crowd at the new T-Mobile Arena happy. The teams combined to put up 70 3-point attempts, 41 of them from the U.S.Oddsmakers had made the U.S. a prohibitive 29.5-point favorite in what at times lked a lot like an NBA All-Star game. But while the U.S. team is loaded with 12 NBA players, the Argentines had only three on their roster and the talent difference showed.While the team is full of new players, the gold medal run will be the last for Krzyzewski, the national coach for the last decade. His teams have lost only one game during his reign, which will end after the Olympics with San Antonio coach Gregg Popovich taking over. ' ' '