Gives Game Prediction

The various writers for all give their predictions for The Game ... most pick wrongly, but read on to see their various reasons (mainly homefield advantage) and how they see the game going.

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Past TQs
- Should Louisville be No. 3?
- The nat'l title game will be ...
- The best one-loss team
- Rule changes to help the flow
- The Midseason Stuff
- The real top five ranking
- The early coach of the year is ...?
- These three teams are for real, these three aren't
- After 2 weeks, who's better, who's worse?
- 10 Greatest Quarterbacks of All-Time
- 10 Greatest Defensive Players of All-Time
- 10 Greatest Regular Season Games of All-Time
- 10 Greatest Playmakers of All-Time
- 10 Worst Heisman Winners
- 10 Greatest Bowl Games
- All-Time Offensive Team
- All-Time Defensive Team

Pete Fiutak       
Q: Simple ... Michigan or Ohio State?

A: Since I'm doing the write-up tomorrow, doing the Stream-of-Consciousness notes for it and get the final say on the prediction and what might happen before it goes up on CFN and Fox, I'm going to pull a Herbstreit before a game he's doing and not make the pick right now. With that in mind, I think this is as dead-even as a game can get.

While I'm convinced there are the two best teams in America, they're hardly be-all-end-all flawless, and each still has something to prove. Ohio State hasn't really played anyone of note since the Texas win in early September, while Michigan, for the most part, has been able to tame the last few months off since the win over Wisconsin. I know Penn State isn't bad, but it's not last year's Penn State team. 

Ohio State's defense and Michigan's offense are a bit underappreciated and should play bigger roles than their more celebrated counterparts on the opposite sides of the ball. As crazy as this sounds this late in the season, I don't think we really know enough about either side. Michigan hasn't faced an offense since Notre Dame, and Ohio State hasn't dealt with a polished, poised offense since, well, it hasn't.

This much appears to be certain: this should be the most important Michigan - Ohio State game ever, which is certainly saying something for college football's greatest rivalry.

Richard Cirminiello      
Q: Simple ... Michigan or Ohio State?

A: Conventional wisdom says to go with the Buckeyes.  Me too.  Obviously, this is an epic and near even match up with historical implications, so one break or one bad bounce could completely shift the balance of power.  However, Ohio State has three big edges that’ll tip the scales in its favor: playing at the Horseshoe, having Jim Tressel, who’s 4-1 in this rivalry, on its sidelines and Troy Smith.  Home field and head coaching advantages are huge in clashes of this magnitude, but both pale in comparison to the importance of No. 10.  Smith is so much more than a magician in cleats.  He’s a big game winner, which is exactly what every coach craves in his signal caller.  He’s proven time and time again, most notably in this series, that when the Buckeyes need to make a pivotal play, he’s more than capable of delivering.  There’ll be so many delicious games-within-games this weekend, including the battles in the trenches, Leon Hall vs. Ted Ginn, Mike Hart vs. the Ohio State front seven…but when the recap is done, Troy Smith will have taken one big stride toward the school’s seventh Heisman Trophy.  Oh, and Anthony Gonzalez, not Ginn will be the Buckeyes’ other hero on offense.  

Ohio State 30 Michigan 20                       

John Harris         
Q: Simple ... Michigan or Ohio State?

A. I haven’t wavered since the spring on the number one team in the nation – Ohio State, and I’m not in the mood to waver now.  Why?  Because I’m not in the mood, that’s why.  But, really, why?  Okay, here’s why.

 1.  Columbus, Ohio – Ohio Stadium – self-explanatory
2.  Ohio State QB and Heisman front runner Troy Smith makes mincemeat of Michigan every year.  It’s a pre-Thanksgiving ritual.
3.  Ohio State RB Antonio Pittman is the most underrated running back in the nation
4.  Who does Michigan choose to focus on in the pass game – Ted Ginn or Anthony Gonzales?  Smith will find the one UM leaves open.
5.  With Mario Manningham not completely at 100%, Michigan can’t stretch the defense vertically, even with WR Steve Breaston (more a horizontal stretch player).
6.  Ohio State’s depth in the front seven will keep guys fresh against one of the most powerful offensive lines in the nation.  Linebackers will be able to fill backside gaps and not allow RB Mike Hart to gain a ton of yardage on cutback runs.
7.  Ohio State will make something happen on special teams, a return or a block, to change the game.
8.  This isn’t 1996.

That all being said, the Buckeyes take care of business on their way to Glendale.  Now, don’t get me wrong, Michigan is going to be the most physical team Ohio State has seen this year, and if the zone running game gets rolling to force the Buckeye safeties to move forward before going back, Michigan QB Chad Henne could find success on play action deep down the middle of the field.  The Bucks might get beat deep once, but that’s it.  Smith will take what the Wolverine defense gives to him, and don’t be surprised to see him get 8 to 10 carries on designed runs to keep Michigan honest…and also open up the middle of the field on the option pass that has killed teams this year.  Bucks – 27 vs. Michigan – 21

Matthew Zemek       
Q: Simple ... Michigan or Ohio State?

A: I trust Troy Smith, who has been kryptonite for Michigan two years running.

I don't trust Chad Henne, who needs to play off the charts for his team to win.

Michigan must not only beat Ohio State. The Wolverines have to beat OSU straight-up. Why? Because if this game is decided by broken plays that require improvisation and think-on-your-feet creativity, Smith will carry the Buckeyes.

It's really rather simple: Michigan is an outstanding team that, in any other year, would be headed for Lloyd Carr's second national title. But in Columbus against a team that has a plan B if things don't go perfectly on the chalkboard, the Maize and Blue only have a plan A. It might be good enough, but Troy Smith's improvisational ability--which has sunk Michigan the past two seasons--gives OSU a huge and fundamental amount of leverage.

OSU, 27-16.

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