I have to get a couple of points in before I start breaking down this Saturday.
1. Please don't take what Rich Rod said out of context ("Get a life"). It's just a media ploy to stir up drama by putting that in the headlines. Read the whole story before you make up your mind what he said.
2. Go Texas Tech! These guys are the real deal and yet they can't get any love. They've been predicted to be upset in almost all of the games they were favored in and they have been slotted to lose by 6.5 this week against an Oklahoma team that, until recently, has shown it can't play defense. If it were just Graham Harrel and Micheal Crabtree against OU's defense, the Raiders would have my vote.
3. Arizona is favored by three over the Beavers. USC fans keep praying...
But seriously, on with THE GAME:
Michigan Offense vs. Ohio State Defense
This really isn't a contest and you know what I'm going to write before you see it at the bottom of the paragraph. Michigan is going to have to be able to roll out points early to be able to pull this miracle off. Sheridan will most likely get the start this week but I see him coming out early if the offense begins to stall. Look for a lot of quick plays early on to try to throw the OSU defense off balance.
If the ball is in Ohio State territory it will be a four-down situation almost without a doubt. Rich Rod has already shown he's not afraid to go for it this season and he knows that he can call this a season saved by pulling the unthinkable.
On the flip side look of Ohio state to rush five and six men early on in this game. They will want to get into the young QB's head early and throw the offense off tempo with multiple looks from different angles. Expect to hear laurenitis' number called often in this game.
Ohio State Offense vs. Michigan Defense
On this end the battle will be a little closer if a couple of things fall in place for Michigan.
First and foremost the secondary CANNOT get burned on the deep ball. Although Pryor was famous for being Athletic in High School, he's shown already that he has the arm to throw the distance. The safeties have to have their heads in the game for the full 60 minutes to give the defense any chance at stopping Pryor.
The linebackers cannot over commit. This has been Michigan's problem with mobile QB's in the past. When the pocket starts to move the linebackers over-pursue and leave wide open gaps in the middle.
Patience is what this unit needs more than anything. Hold position until Pryor commits to run (which he does often) and give him those 2-3 yard gains all day. Bend but don't break. If Pryor gets to the 2nd level he's shown that he has the strength to break tackles, something Michigan hasn't done well all season.
Taylor, Graham, boys, keep doing what you're doing up front.
I can really sum this battle up in two words: Zoltan Mesko. This kid is a difference maker for the Wolverines and has made game-changing plays on fourth down to keep drives alive. He has the leg to put the ball inside the opponen's 20 from almost anywhere on the field. The punting game has been the rose among the thorns for Michigan and could very easily decide the outcome in late-game situations.
I wanted to put coaching in here too but I hate Jim Tressel too much to write about him. I respect what he's done for his program and what he'll probably be doing a while longer, but I still maintain he's the Antichrist.
Ohio State is the by-the-numbers victor of this game. They should win it. Plain and simple. But there have been a few games down the line of this rivalry that one team was a heavy favorite and came out with their tail between their legs. Good luck to everyone this Saturday, and by everyone I mean GO BLUE!
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