One of the biggest rivalries in all of sports is Saturday afternoon, as the Ohio State Buckeyes and Michigan Wolverines meet in Ann Arbor. Simply called The Game. This isn’t like any Ohio State/Michigan game we have seen in about the last nine or eight years. Michigan is finally back to being a good team and Jim Harbaugh is a big reason for that. Maybe not a big reason, but the reason for why Michigan is suddenly a good team. Note that Harbaugh doesn’t even have any of his recruits in there yet, so the turnaround is quite astonishing in Ann Arbor at the University of Michigan. They are good, and maybe great, but they are not elite, at least not yet. Give Harbaugh a few years to recruit and look out, Michigan will be back to being a consistent top 5 team in college football. Just look at what Harbaugh has done with his starting quarterback, Jake Rudock. An average quarterback at Iowa throughout his career, he comes to Michigan and suddenly looks like an NFL prospect. Rudock came to Michigan as a graduate transfer.
Ohio State lost their first game since losing to Virginia Tech early last season. One loss and panic ensues. Ezekiel Elliot announced immediately following the game that he was departing to the NFL. Quarterback Cardale Jones did the same thing. Elliot was vocal about the inept play calling in that game against Michigan State, and he is right, it was downright terrible. With Jones, he pissed away a lot of money by not entering the NFL draft last season. I wasn’t so sure why he didn’t then and he is going to pay for it significantly. I didn’t like him as an NFL player last year and certainly don’t care for him now. Big risk taking him high in the draft.
Michigan is one week removed from a win against Penn State, 28-16. That looks like a big trap game for the Wolverines but they handled it well, beating them on the road and heading into Ohio State week with some confidence. The Buckeyes will need to find some confidence quickly, because following last week it looked dicey. J.T. Barrett will look for a big bounce back game after a very poor start against the Spartans. With a win from the Wolverines, the state of Michigan will sweep against the Buckeyes.
Ohio State Buckeyes vs. Michigan Wolverines College Football
Ohio State -1(-110)
Odds provided by Bovada.lv
Ohio State vs. Michigan Pick:
Michigan has gotten back to Michigan football. It is old school BIG 10. They run the football, mix in the passing game, and then play shutdown defense. The defense is playing fast and strong, suffocating opposing teams. You figure, if the Wolverines didn’t lose that Michigan State game they would be playing for something more than just winning a rivalry game. If you need a refresher, Michigan had a punt blocked on the last play of the game, that led to a Michigan State touchdown with no time left on the clock. The future is still bright in Ann Arbor despite the unfortunate loss. A win against the Buckeyes would be the official return of Michigan football. Michigan has really stuffed the run this season. Barrett is going to need to make some plays. The Wolverines are averaging only 100 yards against on the ground. They are surrendering just 14.9 points per game.
Like the Baylor and TCU game these teams are statistically even, down to the offense to the defense. Note that Ohio State allows just 14.1 points per game. The offenses? Ohio State is scoring 34.4 points per game compared to the 32.2 points for Michigan. The spread is identical to that Baylor and TCU game as well. This is one of those games that is just too hard to call on the side. Ohio State hasn’t looked right all season. I thought they were going to show up in a big game against Michigan State, but fell right over. They played uninspired football. Now there are players saying they are dipping to the NFL before the season is even done. Still, I expect a full effort in this rivalry game. You need to side with the better defenses in this game. I thought the total would be 51 or 52. The UNDER should be the play. Elliot will get his carries after crying last week, but look for Michigan to be up to the task.
PICK: UNDER 57 POINTS (-110)