Big Game, The Big House

Campus Clash

(9) Ohio State Buckeyes at (24) Michigan Wolverines

Ohio State: Here they are, champions of the Big Ten East and it’s been quite the season with the early season loss to the Oklahoma Sooners at the shoe in week two, the winning streak that followed that defeat, the big win over Penn State where they were down by 18 and found a way to come back and the following week later, they were embarrassed by the Iowa Hawkeyes. Despite that, here they are with two losses on their record and believe it or not, they’re still in contention to make the playoffs because if they win the Big Ten title game in Indianapolis, the committee will have a situation on their hands come Selection Sunday when the official bracket for the playoffs are announced. There are sometimes when I just don’t know about this team because there were games when they dominated and won and then, you have games where they took their opponent too lightly and it ended up hurting them. When J.T. Barrett is taking care of the football, he’s connecting with his receivers and he has control of the game, the Buckeyes will win. When he struggles, they lose. This team goes as far as he takes them. I really didn’t know what to make of this defense in 2017 after all they lost last year, but the one thing I will say about an Urban Meyer coached team is that whenever they have a small weakness coming into the season, they always find a way to improve as the year goes along. It’s the season finale and they’ll be going into enemy territory in Ann Arbor.

Michigan: A year with some high expectations has turned into another disappointing season that won’t result in a playoff appearance. At this point, I wouldn’t be surprised if the university and Jim Harbaugh decided to part ways after this season. Has he been a good coach? Absolutely. He’s rejuvenated a legendary football program after it was down for many years under Brady Hoke and he’s won games, but he hasn’t won the “big games”. His teams have never beat Ohio State, they’ve defeated Michigan State one time only, Penn State once and Wisconsin, once. Let’s look back at their game against those Wisconsin Badgers. They didn’t look bad at all throughout the game. Brandon Peters was playing productive football at the quarterback position prior to this game and he even attacked some soft spots in that Badgers secondary. When he was injured and John O’Korn came in and it all went down hill from there. They’re 8-3 and that’s good and all, but if you can’t win those big games against the top tier teams in your conference, nothing else matters. Since they won’t be in the hunt for the playoffs this year, this doesn’t mean that they can’t spoil things for their biggest rivals in the Ohio State Buckeyes and I know this is a game they’ve had circled on their calendars dating back to their last meeting last year.

Ohio State Player To Watch: Parris Campbell– From the moment I saw him in their opener against Indiana, I knew he was going to be a big playmaker for them this year. He’s versatile and can return kicks as well as play all over the offense in the slot and outside on the perimeter. He’s a guy that you can trust to make a nice catch on third down to convert the chains.

Michigan Player To Watch: Chris Evans– Whenever they moved the football down the field, he had something to do with it. He’s a different type of running back with the speed to break away on the outside, create mismatches over the middle and he can get those yards in space. Look for him to keep the Buckeyes defense on their toes.

Final Analysis: I know you all remember the classic we saw last year. That game had so much hype and build up coming into the matchup and it lived up to the hype. This year, it isn’t as hyped, but you have to love a rivalry game nonetheless and when these two battle, it’s always a memorable game. Ohio State has to start quickly and not look back along with rushing whoever Michigan will play at quarterback. Michigan would want nothing more than to beat their rival for the first time under Jim Harbaugh and get a win in the series for the first time since 2011.

Prediction: Ohio State 38 Michigan 20