Winning the state of Ohio will be crucial for Mitt Romney in his quest for the White House. In fact, no Republican candidate has ever been elected to the nation's highest office without proving victorious in the Buckeye State.
But there's something that is holding Romney back in Ohio, and it has nothing to do with politics.
Romney, who was born in Michigan, has admitted to being a Michigan Wolverines fan, and the Ohio Democratic Committee is doing all it can to exploit Romney's maize and blue allegiance.
The group took out a full page ad in The Lantern, Ohio State's student newspaper, and printed the following Romney quote:
"I have been a Michigan and a Wolverine fan for a long time."
Additionally, the Ohio Democratic Committee has been running this video on its website.
Ohio State-Michigan often rates No. 1 in the rankings of college football rivalries and has been the subject of an HBO documentary.
Ironically, Romney's Michigan roots aren't even helping him in his home state with recent polls showing that he trails President Obama there.
This isn't the first time the Buckeyes-Wolverines rivalry has been part of presidential politics. In 2004, Democratic candidate John Kerry committed a campaign gaffe for the ages. At a rally in Michigan, Kerry told the crowd: "I just go for Buckeye football, that's where I'm coming from."
The subsequent booing made Kerry realize that his campaign tour had crossed state lines, and he followed up by saying: "But that was while I was in Ohio. I know I'm in the state of Michigan and you got a great big M and a powerhouse of a team."
Kerry still ended up losing Ohio and its 20 electoral college votes, which was the difference in George W. Bush winning re-election.