Ohio State vs. MeatChicken Preview
(2)Ohio State Buckeyes 10-1 vs.
(3)University of Michigan Wolverines 10-1
November 26, 2016
12:00 PM - ABC
The Drama: 'The' Game
I’m having déjà vu all over again. In 2006 the #1 ranked Ohio State Buckeyes hosted the #2 ranked Michigan Wolverines in a game that would send the victor to the national championship game. 2016 reflects that game as #2 Ohio State hosts #3 Michigan in a game that will send the winner to the Big Ten championship game and likely a spot in the college football playoff. I know the Buckeyes need some help from our Spartan friends to get to the Big Ten championship but my point is clear; The Game is truly for all the marbles. The two best defenses in the country face two of the highest scoring offenses in conference history, questions surround the passing game on both teams and the coaches are heralded as the second coming of Woody and Bo. The Game is truly THE Game again.
The Buckeyes will win because: Wide Receivers
The Buckeye receivers must step up their game this week in order to have a chance to win. The Wolverines have the best pass defense in the country and it goes without saying that OSU has struggled passing the ball against aggressive defenses. How much is this onus on the player’s skill sets and how much is on the coaching scheme? Whatever it may be the problem must be corrected for Ohio State to come out on top. Curtis Samuel is a proven weapon and why his number isn’t called more often is a bit of a mystery. The Buckeye receivers need to pick up some big plays early in order to open up the running game allowing OSU to control the clock.
The Buckeyes will lose because: Offensive Line
Michigan lost starting quarterback Wilton Speight to a broken collarbone two weeks ago. John O’Korn took over the quarterback duties last week and had a fair game in some unforgiving weather. O’Korn will be the key to a Wolverine victory on Saturday and if he can get comfortable in the pocket then the Buckeyes will be in trouble. Michigan has always been able use the short passing game to move the ball effectively against the Buckeyes and with weapons like Jabril Peppers, Jake Butt and Amara Darboh stopping the passing attack will be essential. The biggest worry for Buckeye fans may be the ability for J.T. Barrett to pass the ball. The weather looks to be cooperative so neither quarterback should be hampered by the wind or rain. With the exception of the Oklahoma game, OSU has struggled offensively against strong defenses that like to rush the quarterback. Michigan blitzes relentlessly and Barrett has struggled under this type of pressure. Ohio State’s offensive line has to play better in order to give time for Barrett to run the offense. If the Wolverines are able to sack Barrett more than five times, Ohio State will lose.
The spotlight is on: Jake Butt
The Michigan tight end is the best in the country and can wear down a defense as effectively as a great running back. I don’t know if OSU has an answer for Butt.
“Water Cooler” Stat of the game: 11
This Saturday will mark the 11th meeting when both teams have been ranked in the AP Top 5. OSU leads 6-3-1.
The Bottom line: Not In My House
The knot in my stomach began to tighten as the seconds wore down from last Saturday’s game signaling the start of Meatchicken week. It happens every year but never ceases to amaze me that the emotions are still so intensely fierce. This game is going to cause a lot of ulcers. The Wolverines and the Buckeyes are mirror images of each other both boasting strong defenses, strong running games and questions about the passing attack. On paper neither of these teams seem to have a weakness yet if you’ve watched the Buckeyes in the second half of the season you will know that this Ohio State team suffers from horrific self-inflicted wounds. Scheming and play-calling have frequently been questioned, soft secondary coverage, poor offensive line blocking, stupid penalties and the worst special teams I have ever seen out of an Ohio State squad are just a few things Buckeye fans should be worried about. Putting the concerns aside, playing in the Shoe is a huge advantage for the Buckeyes and the thought of Urban Meyer losing at home to That Team up North is inconceivable. With the way Ohio State has struggled against aggressive teams it would be foolish to think the Bucks will blow out the Wolverines but Coach Meyer has a way about getting teams motivated and prepared for big games and they don’t come much bigger than this one.
Prediction: Ohio State 30 TBGUN 27