Michigan vs. Ohio State: Latest Spread Info, BCS Impact and Predictions
In case you haven't heard, the Michigan Wolverines and Ohio State Buckeyes sort of don't like each other.
"The Game" is one of college football's most storied rivalries and a must-watch matchup for any college football fan. This season's edition should be yet another exciting chapter as both teams are putting together noteworthy seasons.
The Buckeyes (11-0, 7-0) are one of two undefeated teams remaining in the country. If it weren't for NCAA sanctions, Ohio State would be playing for its right to play in the National Championship game opposite Notre Dame at this point.
The Wolverines (8-3, 6-1) haven't quite lived up to the expectations that were placed on this team at the beginning of the season. Michigan started the season ranked as high as No. 8, but needed a strong second half of the season to get back to No. 19 in the current BCS rankings.
With plenty of animosity to go around, this should be an intense game that will highlight this great rivalry.
Here's a look at all you need to know about this year's edition of "The Game."
When: Saturday, Nov. 24 at 12 p.m. ET
Where: Ohio Stadium, Columbus, Ohio
Live Stream: Watch ESPN
Radio: Free Football Radio
Spread: Ohio State -3.5 (via Covers)
This game should be a nail-biter and the line is indicative of that.
Who ya got?
These teams went down to the wire last season in Ann Arbor and most of the key players in that game will be back again this year.
According to Covers, the Wolverines are 0-5 against the spread in their last five meetings against the Buckeyes. The favorites are 4-1 in that same time span. The Buckeyes might cover here, but the oddsmakers made things interesting with this line.
It's easy to envision the margin of victory being around three for either team. If you like trends, go with Ohio State. If you like this one to be close, go Michigan with the points.
Over/Under: 55 (via Covers)
The result of this game may be a toss up, but the over/under should not. This will go way over the total.
Both Michigan and Ohio State feature good defenses, but they both have the playmakers on offense to bust the game wide open.
The Wolverines struggled to put up points at times early in the season. However, during the last three games they've been firing on all cylinders. In those three games, the Wolverines have averaged 38.3 points per game.
The Buckeyes, on the other hand, have been electric all season. The Braxton Miller-led unit is averaging 38.2 points per game, which is good for 18th in the nation.
The defenses will have their moments, but this should go over 55 total points.
Had the Buckeyes taken a cue from the Miami Hurricanes and self-imposed a bowl ban last season, this game would have huge implications for the national championship game.
As the situation stands, Ohio State has been banned from postseason play this year and can't be ranked by the BCS. However, the possibility of ending the season atop the AP Poll is still at play. If the Buckeyes can close out the season undefeated, they could have a case.
For the Wolverines, they need a win and a Nebraska loss to Iowa to get into the conference championship game. Asking Iowa to beat Nebraska is a stretch, but all they can do is take care of their business.
Keys for Michigan Victory
Defensively, the Wolverines have to take away Braxton Miller's ability to pass.
As hyped as he's been all season, Miller is still developing as a passer. Last week, Wisconsin held Miller to 48 yards on 23 carries and he was held to only 97 yards through the air on 10-of-18 passing. Michigan will need to load the box and keep a spy on Miller at all times.
Offensively, Michigan needs to be balanced enough to keep the Buckeyes on their heels.
Hoke asked about starting QB vs. OSU: "It's day to day."— Rachel Lenzi (@RLenziBlade) November 21, 2012
While there are advantages to Hoke being secretive about the starter, it needs to be Devin Gardner for the Wolverines to have the best chance of pulling off the upset.
Denard Robinson has been the face of Michigan football throughout his four years in the program, but the Michigan offense has looked too good with Gardner behind center to make the switch now.
If Hoke sticks with Gardner at quarterback and continues to mix Robinson in at running back and wide receiver, the Wolverines will be very dangerous on Saturday.
Keys for Ohio State Victory
For the Buckeyes, this game comes down to what the offense and defense do on first down.
On offense, they need to be successful on first down to put Miller in a position to succeed. When the Buckeyes create 2nd-and-short and 3rd-and-short situations, Miller can use his running ability to find open receivers and hit them in stride.
On 3rd-and-long situations, Miller is less effective because teams are able to sit back and force him to make throws from the pocket. The Buckeyes will need a big performance on the ground from Carlos Hyde and Miller to open up the offense.
Defensively, the Buckeyes must limit big plays. This is a defense that has been solid for most of the season but was hurt by big plays against Cal, Nebraska and Indiana. With Robinson and Gardner at quarterback the Wolverines are able to rip off big plays when they are available. The Buckeyes need to keep everything in front of them.
This one will be a dandy.
This is a bitter rivalry and both teams have something on the line. The Buckeyes have been out of the national spotlight for much of the season because of the bowl ban, but this will have a big game atmosphere despite the 12 p.m. start time.
In the end, this could come down to who has the ball last. The Buckeyes are explosive and feature a physical defense. The same can be said for the Wolverines, though, so it will come down to who makes just one more play.
With both teams relatively even, the Buckeyes get the slightest of advantages because this one is in the Shoe. Expect the Buckeyes to edge out their rivals from up north by the slimmest of margins.
Predicted Score: Ohio State 33, Michigan 30
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