Michigan (10-1, 7-1) at Ohio State (10-1, 7-1)
When: Saturday, November 26th 2016
Where: Ohio Stadium, Columbus, OH
Time: Noon ET | TV: ABC
The Michigan Wolverines have a chance to earn a spot in the Big Ten Championship Game on Saturday if they can get by their long-time bitter rival, the Ohio State Buckeyes. This will be the 113th edition of the storied rivalry and a spot in the College Football Playoffs could be on the line here as well. The path isn’t as clear for the Buckeyes, who need to win this game and have Penn State lose to Michigan State later in the afternoon to win the Big Ten East. Ohio State almost blew their chances all together last week, but squeaked by the Spartans 17-16 in East Lansing. Mike Weber ran for 111 yards in the win against Michigan State to become the third freshman in program history to rush for 1,000 yards. Quarterback J.T. Barrett was held to 86 passing yards against the Spartans but added 105 on the ground for his second 100-yard rushing game of the season. Senior center Pat Elflein was named a finalist for the Outland Trophy, awarded to the nation’s most outstanding interior lineman, while Cameron Johnston was picked as one of three finalists for the Ray Guy Award, given to the top punter in college football. The Buckeyes are 18-1 in the month of November under head coach Urban Meyer.
The Wolverines might have been looking ahead to this game as well after a lackluster 20-10 victory over Indiana at home. The offense had some trouble as backup quarterback John O’Korn took over for the injured Wilton Speight and was just 7-of-16 for 59 yards against Indiana, which was the lowest passing output by a Michigan quarterback since 2001. Speight and O’Korn split first-team practice reps this week and a decision won’t be made until Saturday morning. De’Veon Smith was named the Big Ten’s co-offensive Player of the Week after accumulating a career-high 158 yards to go along with two touchdowns on Senior Day, and the Warren, Ohio native will get a crack at the Buckeyes in his home state. The Wolverines lead the nation in scoring defense (10.9), total defense (245.6) and pass defense (137.0). Only two opponents (Colorado, Michigan State) have scored more than 14 points against the Wolverines defense this season. Michigan has lost 11 of the last 12 meetings in this series including seven straight in Columbus.
This should be a terrific game with Harbaugh and Meyer matching wits and great defenses. I expect the Buckeyes to dominate on defense no matter who the Michigan quarterback is and come out with a victory that should clinch them a spot in the College Football Playoffs.
Pick: Ohio State -6.5