By Andrew Cheigh
Last weekend, the No. 3 Michigan Wolverines barely survived a scare against Illinois, as they won on a game winning field goal by Jake Moody with just nine seconds to go. Now, they must turn their heads to perhaps the most historic annual rivalry in the college football realm, as they take on the No. 2 Ohio State Buckeyes in a matchup known as “The Game”.
With both teams looking to secure a spot in the Big Ten Championship Game and College Football Playoffs, stakes are higher than ever. There is even more significance to The Game this year. A second consecutive win by Michigan over Ohio State would signal that they are officially the class of the Big Ten East, ending the reign of the Buckeyes. As the Wolverines make their trip to The Horseshoe, they are looking to pull off an upset as 7.5 point underdogs. Jim Harbaugh, the famous coach of the Michigan football team, said during his press conference that it’s “a real honor to be in this position, to be able to test yourself physically, mentally, emotionally. We know it’s our toughest test of the year. And I think we’re gonna find that we’re made of the right stuff.”
Comparing the two teams’ talent levels, Ohio State is clearly the stronger team. According to the 247Sports team talent rankings, the Buckeyes are ranked third, while the Wolverines sit at 14th. Ohio State’s defense is ranked third in the Big Ten conference, whereas Michigan’s is ranked fourth. Though Michigan has a potential Heisman winner in star running back Blake Corum, Ohio State leads the Big Ten in team yards per carry at 5.53, while Michigan sits at 5.51 yards per carry. The Ohio State quarterback, CJ Stroud, is the second-ranked passer in the Big Ten, while JJ McCarthy of Michigan is ranked 10th. If Michigan can somehow pull off this win, however, it would not only prove that the team can hang with the best, but that they may also be the best despite their lack of talent. Additionally, a win would show that Michigan is a rising program that is stronger than Ohio State. There is much at stake in this year’s rendition of The Game that will take place tomorrow at 12:00 PM Eastern Time.