All that’s standing in the way of an Ohio State Buckeyes undefeated season is the Michigan Wolverines. For this rivalry, it doesn’t get any better.
At least the Wolverines (8-3) can take solace in the fact that the buck stops here for Ohio State (11-0). NCAA sanctions make this undefeated season a moot point in the eyes of the college football world.
Still, Urban Meyer’s squad has a myriad of milestones to play for. For starters, how about revenge over Michigan for last year’s loss? It would be Urban Meyer’s first and Michigan coach Brady Hoke’s first defeat in this rivalry.
It may lack some luster in the BCS department, but college football fans everywhere will turn in for “The Game.”
When: Saturday, Nov. 24 at 12 p.m. ET
Where: Ohio Stadium, Columbus, OH
Live Stream: Watch ESPN
Radio: Free Football Radio
Betting Line (via Covers)
Spread: Ohio State (-5) Over/Under: OFF
The undefeated team gets more than a field goal against their biggest rival, meaning the Buckeyes are favored a couple points on top of their standard three for being at home.
In a rivalry game, I’m originally inclined to lean towards the underdog, as the Wolverines are a strong candidate to keep this game close. In addition, taking Michigan gets significant underdog numbers of three of four as well.
Injury Report (via USA Today as of 11/19/2012)
No recent injuries to report.
As I’ve mentioned at the top of the page, Ohio State is ineligible for a bowl bid due to NCAA infractions. The potential undefeated season will not get a fair shake. Somewhere, Ohio State fans wince looking at all the one-loss teams at the top of the BCS Standings.
The Wolverines, though, are bowl bound and will play late into bowl season with a win over the Buckeyes. Also, a Big Ten Championship bid is unlikely, but not out of the question. They’ll need a win in “The Game,” and Nebraska to fall to Iowa.
If those dominoes can fall their way, then a Rose Bowl berth would be a fitting conclusion for Denard Robinson and Co.
Michigan Player to Watch: Denard Robinson, QB
What will Robinson’s role be in his last appearance in “The Game”?
Your guess is as good as mine.
Coach Hoke indicated that Robinson is close to 100 percent heading into the Ohio State matchup, but did not indicate if he would start at quarterback. Backup Devin Gardner has been impressive in relief, and Robinson’s nine touchdowns and nine interceptions don’t inspire anyone outside of Buckeye Nation.
With Gardner at the helm, we saw Robinson used in a role we’d likely see him play in the NFL: wide receiver. He caught two passes for 24 yards and was all over the field as a wideout, running back and offensive decoy.
Robinson has always been a human highlight reel with the ball in his hands. After so many memorable plays from him at the quarterback position, if he’s not calling signals against the Ohio State defense on Saturday, it will be awkward viewing.
Ohio State Player to Watch: Braxton Miller, QB
Call it a cop-out for picking both quarterbacks, but the Buckeyes will go as far as Miller will take them. He provides the spark for this relatively middling Ohio State offense, often using his legs to move the chains.
The Buckeye quarterback has registered over 2,500 yards and 21 touchdowns passing and rushing, all the while limiting his mistakes to a measly six interceptions.
He’ll need to continue being the Buckeyes’ “Superman” if Ohio State will end up undefeated. Not to mention, a Heisman invite in New York and an O’Brien Trophy could be in the cards.
Prediction: Ohio State 24, Michigan 20
An undefeated season with no reward will hurt Ohio State's motivation in this game, but not enough for the Wolverines to win the day.
If Michigan wasn’t dealing with an offensive transition, I would incline to go in its favor. Whichever quarterback Brady Hoke goes with will have issues against a Buckeyes defense that held opponents in check in big games. There’s no bigger matchup for them than “The Game.”
Mike Shiekman is a Breaking News Writer for Bleacher Report. Follow him on Twitter @TheRealShiek