Ohio State fans need to root for Michigan before the regular-season finale.
It’s true every year, but even more so this fall with the Buckeyes already taking a loss and needing impressive wins on their College Football Playoff resume.
The Big Ten is better when Michigan is good. Heck, college football in general is much better off when the Wolverines are relevant. UM is a storied program and Harbaugh is a household name, so it all works.
Michigan losing 3-5 games per season isn’t great for anything big picture. That’s especially true now for a Buckeye team looking to regain momentum in the months ahead, with College Football Playoff hopes firmly on the line. But, when you dissect the schedule, Ohio State will have very few chances to make legit statements as things unfold.
The next month should be a relative cakewalk before a road matchup at Indiana on October 23. But the Hoosiers (having just lost to Cincinnati and also facing Penn State between now and then) could be a three-loss team by the time that game rolls around. A victory in Bloomington might not end up holding as much weight.
Beating a potential Top-10 Penn State team in the Horseshoe certainly would. Ohio State would then be sizeable favorites throughout November (we'll see what Michigan State ends up being down the line), leading up to the November 27 showdown in Ann Arbor…
This is where OSU needs Michigan to be a formidable, nationally-ranked opponent with postseason goals as well. First off, “The Game” is just better that way. Secondly, Ohio State might very well need another quality win on the resume before a potential Big Ten Championship.
The Wolverines staying unbeaten from here on out, or even just a one-loss team, could be a little more difficult though. Michigan should get to nine wins… but also has road games at Wisconsin (Oct. 2) and Penn State (Nov. 13) to deal with.
No matter what you think of the Maize and Blue… Ohio State fans should definitely be rooting for Harbaugh’s bunch to somehow remain unscathed. That sets up a culminating slugfest that could leave a lasting impression with CFP committee members. Hold your breath!
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