The showdown between No. 2 Ohio State and No. 3 Michigan has finally arrived, and the stakes couldn’t be higher. At stake are bragging rights, the Big Ten East, and possibly a place in the college football playoffs. For Ohio State, revenge is also a big factor as the Buckeyes prepare to host the Wolverines on Saturday after last season’s embarrassing loss to their archrival.
But even though they look like 11-0 East teams, there is a big difference in their resumes. That difference lies in the out-of-conference victory over Notre Dame, which Ohio State achieved in the first week. While Michigan blasted through a ludicrous list of Colorado states, Hawaii and UCLA without a conference, the Buckeyes tested themselves against a quality contender who had a solid season unnoticed.
The Fighting Irish climbed to 15th in the college football playoff rankings this week and have a chance to rise even higher if they beat No. 6 USC on Saturday night. If Ohio State doesn’t beat Michigan, Buckeyes fans should turn into serious Notre Dame fans on Saturday night. If Notre Dame defeats USC, it will remove the Trojans from the fight for CFP. as well as make Ohio State’s week 1 victory over the Fighting Irish even more impressive.
In this case, the Buckeyes would have a real chance to make the CFP a one-loss team. What if Michigan loses? Lucky, as a drowned man. The Wolverine’s best win — and only win against a ranked team — will be an October 15 home win over Penn State.
Michigan has no one to blame but itself for why the stakes are so high here. The Wolverines were supposed to play UCLA this season, but canceled their series with the Bruins in 2019 and reportedly paid 1.5 million dollars for it. Instead, they added a game with Hawaii.
UCLA is ranked 18th this week while Hawaii is ranked 127th on CBS Sports 131. Even if Michigan played UCLA and lost in week 2, this wouldn’t hurt Wolverine’s CFP hopes. A road win over Ohio State and a Big Ten Championship win the following week would absolutely ensure the Wolverines make it to the college football playoffs as a one-team losing team.
On the other hand, a win over the Bruins in Week 2 would give Michigan the same airbag that Ohio now enjoys.
Instead, the Wolverines painted themselves into a corner with a poor schedule and unnecessarily upped the ante on the biggest game of their season. If Michigan loses to Ohio State, its hopes for a national title are likely to end. If the Buckeyes lose, at least they can turn on the USC-Notre Dame game and cling to hope a little more.
Now that the stakes are clear, let’s dive into this week’s Big Ten list for our final round of elections this season.
Record 2022: 37-31-2
No. 3 Michigan in Ohio No. 2
Ohio State is significantly better defensively than last season, when Michigan ended an eight-game losing streak by physically dominating the Buckeyes 42-27. With the status of Michigan running back star Blake Corum in question after he was injured last week, getting 30 could be a problem for the Wolverine this time around. The Buckeyes can use their defense, home advantage and vengeance to lean on Michigan in this game. The Wolverines are number one in the national all-defense rankings, but what strong attacks did they play? Ohio State ranks second in the nation in offensive scoring and has an elite spot in the red zone. The Buckeyes have the firepower to break off late and cover the spread. Choice: Ohio State -7.5
Michigan State 11th in Pennsylvania
Cup eligibility is on the line for the Spartans, though it’s not clear if that will be enough motivation for a team that just lost at home to Indiana. Beating the Hoosiers would have been an easy route to six wins. Michigan State now faces the unenviable task of hitting the road to face a Pennsylvania State team that has quietly reached the top of the regular season with 10 wins. While it’s easy to imagine the Nittany Lions leading this game by 21 or 24 points, it’s also easy to imagine Sean Clifford throwing one or two unnecessary old-time steals that keep this game close while the redshirted senior plays. his last home game in Beaver. Stadium. Before the loss in Indiana, Michigan State won three of its four games, with victories over Wisconsin and Illinois during that period. The Spartans can cover this huge number. Choice: Michigan State +18
Minnesota in Wisconsin
The search for a coach in Wisconsin is coming to an end, and interim coach Jim Leonhard is apparently still in a good position to get a full-time job, look for the Badgers to play some inspired football here. The victory would make Wisconsin 5-2 under Leonhard after Paul Krist was sacked midseason and the provisional tag was removed. Although Wisconsin has looked bad for the past two weeks, it has won both of its home games under Leonhard with double-digit wins over rivals Maryland and Purdue. Another strong home game here seems likely against Minnesota, who are leading 2-2 on the road. Choice: Wisconsin -3.5
Iowa in Nebraska