Every Ohio State-Michigan football game is a huge deal, but this year the stakes are truly monumental.
Why it matters: A year after the pandemic canceled the 2020 rivalry game, this Saturday's contest in Ann Arbor will have major postseason implications for both schools.
State of play: The Buckeyes and Wolverines each enter with an impressive 10-1 record and a shot at reaching the College Football Playoff.
- They're ranked No. 2 and 6 respectively in the latest AP Top 25 poll as well as No. 2 and No. 5 respectively in this week's CFP rankings.
Lightning preview: OSU has been powered by a high octane offense that leads the nation in scoring.
- Freshman quarterback C.J. Stroud has overcome early doubts to develop into a Heisman Trophy candidate.
The other side: The Wolverine offense is capable of putting up big rushing numbers, but Michigan has been especially dominant on the defensive end — holding opponents to fewer than 20 points in nine of the team's 11 games this season.
The stakes: Saturday's winner heads to the Big Ten championship game and would be favored to win the conference title and a playoff berth.
- The loser would have two losses and fall out of playoff contention.
The big picture: This rivalry has been particularly one-sided in recent years.
- OSU has won the last eight contests and 15 of the last 16.
- The Buckeyes have outscored Michigan 331-216 in those eight victories.
👋 Everett, editor for Axios Local, here. As a Michigan grad, falls have recently not been all that fun. This year is an exception, but even then, the threat of The Game looms.
- So while this is my favorite Michigan team in about a decade, one that's the best reflection of coach Jim Harbaugh, I also live with the knowledge that some of the worst Saturdays of my adult life are a result of this rivalry game.
- It's hard to get hopes up, but that's the beauty of college football. Go Blue and whatnot. Miracles do happen.
Yesterday, we asked readers to predict the game score. Here are a few guesses:
- Matt S.: OSU 49, Michigan 21
- John R.: Michigan 32, OSU 28
- Tammy D.: OSU 18, Michigan 17
Email us at [email protected] and send us your score predictions.
- The Axios Columbus newsletter subscriber with the closest guess wins some Axios swag!
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