The Game: Ohio St. and Michigan's undefeated seasons on the line
👋 Howdy, Everett here. I'm a 30-year-old Michigan alum coming to terms with Saturday being the biggest football game of my life.
What's happening: The Game. Undefeated Michigan vs. undefeated Ohio State, Saturday at noon in Columbus or on Fox.
Why it matters: The matchup has been played since 1897, and this is the first time both teams go into it unbeaten since 2006.
- The winner clinches a spot in the Big Ten Championship with an excellent shot at making the College Football Playoff.
- The loser waits for their postseason assignment, likely the Rose Bowl.
Between the lines: This has not been much of a rivalry. Michigan won just once between 2004 and 2019 and churned through some truly awful coaches (both on and off the field) to try to return to form against OSU.
- So last year's 42-27 drubbing in Ann Arbor not only saved coach Jim Harbaugh's job, but finally made the matchup relevant again.
The latest: It's unclear if four top Michigan players — running backs Blake Corum and Donovan Edwards, plus edge rusher Mike Morris and tight end Luke Schoonmaker — will play Saturday.
- Harbaugh is being coy about their injuries, particularly with Heisman candidate Corum, who seemed to hurt his leg last Saturday against Illinois.
How Ohio State wins: By doing what it has done all season. Relying on an explosive offense and trusting the defense to limit the big plays.
- Ohio State leads the Big Ten in touchdowns scored this year by a whopping 17 and is first in most passing categories, even while missing star wide receiver Jaxon Smith-Njigba for most of the season.
- Yes, and: One could argue the Wolverines have no shot if just Corum doesn't play — if all four don't play, this might be over by the first quarter.
How Michigan wins: Corum is healthy, a run-first offense dominates the trenches and the best defense in the Big Ten shuts down star Buckeye QB and Heisman-candidate C.J. Stroud.
- This is likely the only winning scenario for the Wolverines, who will struggle against a large deficit.
- Quarterback J.J. McCarthy has thrown for more than 230 yards one time this season. Going down a few scores early could spell trouble.
The bottom line: My stomach has hurt all week despite an intentional avoidance of cheese.
- But if that's the price to pay for an actual rivalry, I'll take it!
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