Michigan center Miller has disliked Buckeyes for years
Ann Arbor — Michigan center Jack Miller's dislike of Ohio State has its roots in the 2002 national championship game.
Miller's late father, P.J., was friends with Rob Chudzinski, the former Browns coach and Miami alum.
"I grew up a Miami fan," said Miller, a native Ohioan. "I didn't dislike Ohio State, really, until that game. Then growing up in Cleveland, I found a way to dislike them as I grew."
Now, Miller faces that dislike when Michigan plays at No. 7 Ohio State on Saturday.
The Buckeyes, the East Division champions who will play for the Big Ten title, are in the national playoff discussion. The Wolverines, with speculation swirling around the future of coach Brady Hoke, will try to win in Columbus for the first time since 2000 and become bowl eligible.
Ohio State has won nine of the last 10 meetings and is favored by 20 points.
"I'll say it the most diplomatic way I can — I'm not a big fan of Ohio State," Miller said. "I never have been, ever since they beat Miami in the 2002 national championship. I've always disliked them.
"I don't like the Horseshoe. And I don't like 'Carmen, Ohio.' That's kind of how I feel about it."
Michigan last defeated Ohio State in 2011, Hoke's first season.
Going back to Ohio after a victory certainly has a different feel.
"When I lived in Cleveland, it was complete Buckeye territory, and winning means a lot," Miller said. "It's bragging rights, for sure. When I go home to Toledo now, where my family lives, it's kind of half and half. I get supported half the time, and people don't like me the other half of the time, so it's a nice bragging right to have for a full year."
Miller did admit his girlfriend is an Ohio State student. She will be cheering for Michigan, though. Miller said it would be a deal-breaker if she didn't.
"Yes, it would," he said, drawing laughter.
Running back Derrick Green, originally ruled out for the season after breaking his collarbone Oct. 4, had a chance to return before the end of the season, according to Hoke.
But he will not be available Saturday
De'Veon Smith has moved into the role as lead back and leads the team with six touchdowns. Drake Johnson also has seen increased playing time.