Ohio State vs. Michigan: Prediction and preview
Ohio State vs. Michigan brings another edition of The Game to headline Rivalry Weekend across the country in Week 13. Kickoff from Columbus is set for 12 p.m. ET on FOX with Big Noon Kickoff and ESPN’s College GameDay broadcasting on-site.
Michigan vs. Ohio State preview
Let’s get the ramifications out of the way. First, Ohio State and Michigan landed at No. 2 and No. 3 in the latest College Football Playoff rankings. That means the winner will have the inside track to the No. 2 overall seed for the Playoff, even if TCU remains undefeated.
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In addition to Playoff seeding, winner of The Game Saturday will clinch the B1G East and head to Indianapolis for the B1G Championship Game. Michigan is trying to repeat as B1G champs while Ohio State is looking to get back to the title game since winning 4 straight from 2017-20. And it goes without saying, but the winner Saturday will also be heavy favorites in Indianapolis, regardless of the opponent.
As for the matchup in Columbus, all eyes will be on the status report of both teams. In Michigan’s Week 12 win over Illinois, Donovan Edwards was held out with an undisclosed injury. That absence was magnified by an in-game knee injury to Blake Corum.
The Wolverines will need every weapon at their disposal, but it is especially the status of Corum to keep an eye on. The Heisman-contending RB was in obvious pain against Illinois and was limited to 2 carries in the second half.
Michigan’s entire offensive identity has been based on using Corum as a workhouse. Without him — and Edwards — the Wolverines would need to lean on JJ McCarthy in ways they haven’t needed to this point.
As for Ohio State, the Buckeyes have their own issues in the backfield. Miyan Willams and TreVeyon Henderson have both been effective when playing, but the duo has also been in and out of the lineup.
The good news for Ohio State is true freshman Dallan Hayden has already seen important and significant carries for the Buckeyes, including in the game against Maryland. Hayden’s emergence will at least give Ohio State a player the offense knows it can trust in the showdown.
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In terms of the wide receiver position, it is probably safe for fans to expect Ohio State to roll out without star Jaxon Smith-Njigba. Head coach Ryan Day has remained hopeful that Smith-Njigba might return this season from battling a hamstring injury but it seems unlikely at this point.
Michigan vs. Ohio State prediction
No one ever wants to hear that injuries play a big impact on the outcome of games, but that is likely to be the case here. Whichever team gets their star running backs available is the team that has an edge on Saturday.
But even if Michigan has Blake Corum available, home-field advantage — and yes, revenge — factor into this one. Ohio State has not hosted The Game since 2018 and has not beaten Michigan since 2019. Those aspects are absolutely factors on Saturday.
Prediction: Ohio State 38, Michigan 28