We’ve been waiting for this game for weeks, okay more like several months. Since the summer, the lead up to the Michigan-Ohio State gave has never been so exciting. This is the biggest matchup between these two bitter rivals since 2006, where the stakes were pretty much the same as today. The winner was going to the National Championship and the loser had to settle for a bowl game. Ohio State ultimately won a close one and went to the National Championship, only to get pasted by Florida. The system is different now with a college football playoff, but I expect the loser of this game to get bumped out and replaced by Washington. A 1 loss Washington team will probably look better to voters than a 2 loss Michigan or Ohio State team. And don’t forget, there is still the conference championships so a lot may change in the next two weeks. It’s going to be a wild ride, so buckle up and settle in for what should be a classic at the Horseshoe in Columbus.
Ohio State won last year, 42-13, and have done so in nine of the last ten meetings. Overall Michigan has the series lead 57-41-6, but Ohio State has been the better team for the greater part of the last twenty-years. With Jim Harbaugh at the helm on the sidelines, the rivalry got a whole lot more serious last season. However, the end result was pretty similar to the last decade. The Wolverines are much improved from last season, though, which makes this game all the more intriguing. Both teams enter with a record of 10-1, but neither have been playing at their pinnacle of potential lately. Do you think they’ve been looking ahead to this game? I can say that players on both sides have been looking forward to this game weeks ago. The look ahead spot was always there for Michigan and Ohio State.
Some say that Michigan and Ohio State is the biggest rivalry in not only college football but all of sports. I can’t argue with them there. Michigan is coming off a closer than anticipating matchup against Indiana, which resulted in a 20-10 win for the Wolverines. Same story for the Buckeyes, as they struggled to put Michigan State away and were nearly upset in a 17-16 victory. Michigan State went for 2 to win the game late in the 4th but came up empty. They were that close to coming into this game with 2 losses but luckily pulled it out somehow. The Wolverines and Buckeyes avoided falling in their trap games, and now it’s time for The Rivalry.
Michigan Wolverines vs. Ohio State Buckeyes NCAAF Betting Odds:
vs. Ohio State -6.5(-110)
Odds provided by Bovada.lv
Michigan vs. Ohio State Pick:
The quarterback job for Michigan against Ohio State is a bit of a mystery right now. Starter Wilton Speight was unavailable last week after suffering an injury against Iowa the week before. John O’Korn who battled with Speight for the starting job in the summer got the start, and wasn’t playing great but made a couple of big plays when he needed to. By all indications, Speight has been practicing this week, so we’ll see if he gets the call. It would be a pretty big blow to the Wolverines if he is unable to suit up and play. Even if he does, it’s not going to be at 100%.
Michigan is going to need to find some offense in this game, but if they win, it’s going to be because of the defense. Michigan has a suffocating defensive unit, led by multi-position athlete Jabrill Peppers. Harbaugh has had him playing all over the field, including on the offensive side of the ball, but Peppers is a natural cornerback. He leads a defense which ranks 1st in college football with regards to yards allowed per game.
Michigan are allowing only 246 yards per game to lead the nation, including only 10.9 points a game which is also 1st in the country. The Ohio State offense has not been all there this season. Losing Ezekiel Elliott and a plethora of other talent has hurt them. Yes, the Buckeyes are averaging 42.3 points per game, but a lot of those points have come against bad defenses.
The Buckeyes only scored 21 points against Penn State in their only loss this season, and then they put up 24 against Northwestern in a narrow victory the next week. The flood gates opened against two bad defenses, Rutgers and Nebraska the next two weeks. But faced with a quality defense in Michigan State, they struggled again to sustain consistent drives on offense. The Ohio State defense has been very good, too. They are 4th in the country, allowing only 280 yards per game.
J.T. Barrett and whoever starts for Michigan are going to struggle in this game. These are elite defenses with NFL talent aplenty. I’m expecting this to be a nail biter, a defensive game that is going to have everyone on the edge of their seats. Turnovers and field position will prove important here, with points coming at a premium.
PICK: UNDER 45.5 POINTS (-110)