Three Big Ten Hot Topics For This Weekend

The CollegeFootballNews analysts each weigh in on three Big Ten Topics ... starting with The Rivalry. Does anyone pick Michigan?

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(i) Okay, who wins this edition of The Game between Michigan and Ohio State?

Phil Harrison

It's hard to pick against Ohio State when you compare the body of work of both teams, but as they say -- this is one of the rivalry games where you throw out the records. There have been many teams with bigger aspirations on both sides of The Game get waylaid by the other. Most

But here's the deal -- it's tough to take away scoring options from Ohio State because it can do damage through the air, via the ground, and has a dual-threat quarterback in Braxton Miller should things break down. Bottom line? Michigan might move the ball, but slowing the Buckeyes down enough to pull off the shocker will be a tall order.

And then there's the fact that generally the team that wins the rushing battle walks away as victors in this one. When you look at both teams, OSU has the better rushing attack and is one of the tops in the conference at stopping the ground game. Advantage OSU because it's November, it's cold, and breath will be visible and all that. OSU wins the rushing battle and beats back an inspired Michigan team that runs out of gas at the end.

Now … let's guess who Mr. Doan is going to pick. Hint, the colors are not Scarlet and Gray I'll bet.

Bart Doan

Men are predictable creatures. For the most part, we can settle any disagreement over a corner bar and a few pitchers, and there's not a lot of depth to us. So obviously, Phil is right, as I'm going with the colossal Maize and Blue upset.

It defies logic to think Michigan can win, and these teams aren't coming in with the same steam as the famed mid-90s Wolverine teams under Lloyd Carr that seemed to inexplicably cause Ohio State title shots and heartache that will never go away. The blueprint lies in ironically, Ohio State nearly tripping up Michigan from two years ago with a much inferior team. That game, the Bucks kept themselves in the game until the end with an array of defense-stretching play calling, first down throws, and went against the Jim Bollman narrative to that point.

Al Borges, who probably at this point is paying double for his meals in Ann Arbor when he goes out these days, needs some of that. Michigan needs to buck the recent predictable play calling of running the same thing the very play after it succeeds with it. The Wolverines need to move the pocket because they can't block. They need to throw on first down. They need to take consistent shots down the field. And a screen pass once every 70 plays or so wouldn't hurt either. I think Michigan pulls an epic one, however, and because this is The Game, everything up to this point will be forgotten if it happens.

Terry Johnson

I'll take Ohio State in a laugher.

Let's be honest: the Buckeyes have absolutely dominated this series in recent history, winning eight of the last nine meetings. In its lone loss, OSU still played well, and had a chance to win the game before coming up just short on its final drive.

While rivalry games usually have a way of producing the unexpected, Michigan simply doesn't have enough firepower on offense to keep up with Urban Meyer's squad. After all, the Wolverines have had trouble moving the ball recently, failing to reach 200 yards of total offense in three of their last four games. Unless UM had the most spectacular week of practice in college football history, it's tough to see them having much success against the Buckeye D – which ranks 12th nationally in total defense.

Even if – and it's a BIG if – Michigan manages to score a few points, it still has the Herculean task of shutting down the Ohio State running game. The Buckeye ground attack has been especially impressive on the road, averaging 342 yards per game and an amazing 7.3 yards per carry.

Either way you look at it, these factors all add up to an OSU victory. The only question is whether the Buckeyes move to 285-0-1 all-time when scoring 35 or more points. I predict that they will.


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