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Game Prediction: #2 Ohio State Buckeyes at #5 Michigan Wolverines

Prediction for the huge matchup between the #2 Ohio State Buckeyes and the #5 Michigan Wolverines

It's been five years since both Ohio State and Michigan entered "The Game" ranked in the Top 5, but that is what we have this season. It's a huge matchup between the #2 Buckeyes (10-1) and #5 Wolverines (10-1). At least on paper this is the closest Michigan has matched up against Ohio State in years, but the Buckeyes are playing at a very high level right now.

The winner clinches the East Division championship and punches their ticket to the Big Ten Championship game, and puts themselves in prime position for a College Football Playoff berth.


Prediction: Ohio State 34, Michigan 24

This is a very intriguing matchup, and the fact is the Wolverines match up much, much better against the Buckeyes than did Michigan State. Unlike the Spartans, Michigan actually plays good defense. The question is will it be good enough for Michigan to pull off the upset and get their first win over Ohio State in a decade.

Ohio State's pass game is executing at an elite level right now, but the ground game has served as a tremendous complement the last two weeks, combining for 469 yards. Ohio State's defense shut down Michigan State, but up until that point it wasn't a strong unit. Was their success against the Spartans evidence the unit has turned the corner, or was it just a bad day and a bad matchup for MSU?

We'll find out against Michigan, who is coming off a dominant 59-point, 503-yard performance against Maryland. Michigan fields the best defense Ohio State has faced all season, but the Wolverines have been vulnerable in the pass game on a couple of occasions. Nebraska went for 291 and three scores through the air against the Wolverines, but Michigan did a good job holding Penn State wideout Jahan Dotson in check in a recent 21-17 victory over the Nittany Lions.

What this game really comes down to is whether or not David Ojabo and Aiden Hutchinson can be part of a suffocating pass rush, and whether Cade McNamara can make enough plays on the other side of the ball. At the end of the day I don't think the Wolverines are good enough on the back end defensively or can score enough to pull off the upset, but I do expect it to be a fun and entertaining game.


Prediction: Ohio State 39, Michigan 24

As I looked at this matchup on my laptop I actually snickered. Listening to Michigan fans with their chests puffed out about how good this Wolverine team is this year is great for them. They have a much improved team over the past few years and for that they should be commended. 

The kicker for all Michigan fans though is what you do against Ohio State. All head coaches are measured by how that final regular season game goes. Jim Harbaugh is winless thus far against the Buckeyes and this looks as though it is his best chance to win. The game is at home. They are ranked #5 in the CFP. The problem is that Ohio State might be playing the best of any team in college football right now, just in time for this rivalry game. 

The line is 8.5 but I do not think it will be that close after watching what OSU did to Sparty last week. Maybe this one is closer at halftime but in the end it will be Ohio State heading to the Big Ten title game.


Prediction: Ohio State 38, Michigan 21

The most important stretches of the game for Michigan are the first five minutes of the game and the last five minutes of the first half. Ohio State is firing on all cylinders right now, and in blowout victories over Purdue and Michigan State, the formula has been simple - the Ohio State offense starts fast and the Ohio State defense gets a quick stop on their respective opening drives, and then the Buckeyes pull away with scores at the end of first half. If Michigan can roll with the initial Buckeye punch, then they have a shot.

Ultimately, Michigan's best chance to win this game comes down to defensive ends Aidan Hutchinson and David Ojabo getting pressure on Ohio State quarterback CJ Stroud and forcing him into turnovers while the offense establishes the run behind the powerful Hassan Haskins and limits the Buckeye possessions. Though I think Michigan will keep this close for awhile at home, Ohio State ultimately just has too many weapons and QB Cade McNamara is not consistent enough for the Wolverines to keep up. Ohio State will pull away in the second half - with the aid of a big play on special teams - and move onto the Big Ten Championship. 

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Prediction: Michigan 28, Ohio State 25

This one could come back to bite me. This Michigan team just feels a little different. Their roster is good top to bottom. If they take care of the football, their run game and defense pull the upset. 

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