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Rodriguez not wrapped up in first-year trend

Posted by ESPN.com's Adam Rittenberg

Most of the evidence heading into The Game on Saturday at Ohio Stadium doesn't favor Michigan coach Rich Rodriguez, but history will be on his side.

The last six Michigan coaches have won their first matchups against Ohio State, most recently Lloyd Carr in 1995. Other first-time winners include Gary Moeller, Bo Schembechler and Fritz Crisler.

"Like we need any more [pressure], right?" Rodriguez joked when asked about the trend on the Big Ten coaches' teleconference. "Every season and every game that you play with them is a different scenario. Sometimes you can throw out statistics and try to make a correlation, but it's just the way it happened. There's been a lot of success in the first game there, but every situation has been different.

"I know our current players have not gotten a win against Ohio State. That's something they all certainly would love to have."

Four of the last six Ohio State coaches have lost their first matchups with Michigan, though current coach Jim Tressel prevailed in 2001 with a 26-20 win. Tressel is 6-1 against the Wolverines.

Is he concerned about the trend for Michigan first-year coaches?

"The fact that it's Ohio State-Michigan, you're concerned and understand that this is just a whale of a football game," Tressel said. "I didn't know any statistics when it was my first game here, and I'm sure those statistics didn't have much to do with it. It'll be taken care of on the field."