Michigan Football: Predictions for Wolverines' Rivalry Game vs. Ohio State

Nicholas GossCorrespondent INovember 21, 2012

SOUTH BEND, IN - SEPTEMBER 22: Head coach Brady Hoke of the Michigan Wolverines gives encouragement to his team against the Notre Dame Fighting Irish at Notre Dame Stadium on September 22, 2012 in South Bend, Indiana. Notre Dame defeated Michigan 13-6. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

The next chapter of the epic rivalry between Michigan and Ohio State won't impact the BCS title picture, but it still has the potential to be the most exciting college-football game of the weekend.

Michigan needs a win to earn a spot in the best bowl game possible, and the Buckeyes have a perfect record to protect.

Let's look at three predictions for the latest chapter of the best rivalry in college football.

 

Devin Gardner will shine

With Devin Gardner playing well at quarterback, the junior has plenty to prove this week against a talented Buckeyes defense.

He threw for 314 yards with three touchdowns and an interception last week in a convincing 42-17 victory over Iowa. He should achieve similar success this weekend.

If Gardner can prove that he can win important games on the road, his teammates will have a lot of confidence in him ahead of the Wolverines bowl game and going into next season, when he will likely lead the offense as a senior.

Gardner will excel in the passing game, but for the Wolverines to win, they need a strong performance from their running backs. Having a balanced offense is the only way for Michigan to beat Ohio State.

 

Ohio State's rushing attack will dominate

Ohio State has the ninth-best rushing attack in the nation, averaging 245.5 yards per game, and they also have the 18th-highest scoring offense.

The Buckeyes have scored 29 or more points in eight of their 11 games this season and will not have much trouble scoring plenty of points versus Michigan if they run the ball well.

Behind a big and talented offensive line, quarterback Braxton Miller and running back Carlos Hyde will have plenty of room to run. These two players should be able to gain well over 150 rushing yards combined against the Michigan defense.

The Buckeyes will dominate the line of scrimmage and use their rushing attack to win the possession battle.

 

Ohio State will win by more than a touchdown

The Buckeyes have won seven of the last eight games in this rivalry, and their average margin of victory is 15.7 points (includes vacated win in 2010).

Don't expect a small margin of victory in this game, especially since Ohio State has won by an average of 15.1 points per game this season.

After getting destroyed by Alabama in the season opener, Michigan has gone 8-2 but has very few, if any, quality wins.

The best opponents that the Wolverines have played are Alabama, Notre Dame, Nebraska and Northwestern. The Wolverines are 1-3 in these matchups and will lose another game to a quality opponent on Saturday.

Expect Ohio State to beat the rival Wolverines and finish the season undefeated.