It’s Finally Here…Michigan vs. Ohio State
Ok, we can finally talk about "The Game". Once again, it's Michigan against Ohio State.
What has been in the back of Wolverine and Buckeye fans all season long is now a reality. Both teams are 11-0 and are playing each other this coming Saturday in Columbus, Ohio for the Big Ten Eastern Division title, a berth in the Big Ten title game and a certain berth in the College Football Playoff.
This almost harkens back to the 1970's when it was "The Big Two and the Little Eight". Well this year, it's the Big Two, Penn State, and the Little Eleven. Both Michigan and Ohio State have shown that they are the two best teams, by far, in the Big Ten in 2022.
This is the first time since 2006 that both teams are undefeated at 11-0 heading into the end of season showdown. Ohio State won that classic in 2006, 42-39 in Columbus behind Heisman Trophy winner Troy Smith.
Given the schedules that both teams have played, it is not the biggest shock in the world that these two teams are 11-0. Michigan's non-conference schedule was widely criticized, and justifiably so, IMO. The Wolverines played Colorado State, Hawaii, and Connecticut. Now, UCONN is 6-6 and bowl-eligible. So that win looks better right now.
As for Ohio State, they have played Notre Dame, Arkansas State, and Toledo. The mere fact that the Buckeyes faced Notre Dame makes their non-conference slate better than Michigan's.
Now let's look at the teams themselves:
Ryan Day's Buckeyes have a legit Heisman Trophy contender in quarterback C.J. Stroud. He's been terrific for most of the season. And he's got weapons all over the field. Wide receiver Marvin Harrison, Jr. has been outstanding. But they are down to their third string running back in Dallan Haydan, as the top two guys (TreVeyon Henderson and Miyan Williams) are hurt.
The defense gave up 30 points to a pretty good Maryland offense. But the offense scored 43 to beat the Terrapins. They also have excellent special teamers in kicker Noah Ruggles and punter Jesse Mirco.
Jim Harbaugh's Wolverines have a Heisman candidate as well in running back Blake Corum. But he was injured in the Illinois game last week. Whether he plays or not is a huge key for Michigan. He does have competent backups however in Donovan Edwards (who's been hurt, too), Isaiah Gash, C.J. Stokes, and Tavierre Dunlap.
Sophomore QB J.J. McCarthy has pretty good stats, but hasn't shown the ability to throw the ball consistently down the field.
Michigan's offensive and defensive lines are among the best in the country. As are the specialists in punter Brad Robbins and kicker Jake Moody.
It stinks that both teams top two running backs are hurt. Whether TreVeyon Henderson or Miyan Williams plays for OSU, or if Blake Corum or Donovan Edwards plays for Michigan will be a key. Michigan's offensive and defensive lines are probably better than Ohio State. But Ohio State has the better QB in Stroud and they're playing at home in the Horseshoe.
I'll take Ohio State 31-20. What do you think?