COLUMBUS, Ohio — So many words have been spoken and written this week about Ohio State Football’s motivation for The Game and the goals and legacies at stake against Michigan on Saturday.
The Buckeyes’ pride and toughness challenges may have provided great inspiration over the past 364 days. However, the result on Saturday depends on the execution and hitting of the player opposite.
Can Ohio State’s overhauled defense stand the test it’s been preparing for since coach Ryan Day overhauled the coaching staff last winter? With Michigan still potentially able to move the ball, will OSU’s running game be efficient enough to help the passing game stay on rhythm and on schedule?
Once again we put Buckeye Talk tokens on the line and predict the outcome of Saturday’s game. We decided against the spread and total based on Ohio State being preferred at 7.5 points with an over/under of 56.5 total points.
Watch the video above for a more in-depth discussion of how the game will play out.
State of Ohio 38, Michigan 26
Any prediction in this game is complicated by the uncertain status of Blake Corum and Donovan Edwards, but Corum in particular. He’s the player Michigan knows can carry a game on his shoulders when the need arises. If neither can play or is significantly impaired, the Ohio State defense can win this game. The two biggest elements in Michigan’s favor last season — their own pass rush and OSU’s complete lack of confidence and cohesion — aren’t factors this season.
Game selection: State of Ohio -7.5 (15 buckeye talk marks)
About Below: Over 56.5 (15 BTT)
State of Ohio 52, Michigan 30
Back in 2018, I had this weird feeling that Ohio State might win convincingly, despite all the logic to the contrary. I thought about actually picking the buckeyes, but I knelt and played it safe. Then it came back to haunt me. I have the same feeling again. OSU is better defensively and that offense is due for a day to click again. Those two things – plus some ongoing running back injuries at Ann Arbor – put the Wolverines in a position where they may have to rely on JJ McCarthy’s arm, which hasn’t proved fatal. I don’t think OSU dominates from the opening jab. But I think things could play out like last time Michigan came to Columbus. It will be hard-fought for most of the afternoon before an avalanche of big games finally sees Ohio State ahead.
Game selection: State of Ohio -7.5 (14 BTT)
About Below: Over 56.5 (10 BTT)
State of Ohio 38, Michigan 23
The pieces match for the horse chestnuts in this one. Ohio State’s offensive tackles matchup against Michigan’s Edge Rushers is a lot better for Ohio State than it was a year ago. Ohio State’s defense is certainly improving under Jim Knowles, and while the Wolverines are efficient on the ball, the Buckeyes are less likely to be rolled over. I want Ohio State to win anyway, but when I add in the Michigan backfield injuries it makes it even easier to pick the Buckeyes to cover the spread.
Game selection: State of Ohio -7.5 (12 BTT)
About Below: Over 56 (6 BTT)
Results week 12
Previous bankroll: 79.10
Game selection: Ohio State -27.5 LOST -15
O/U: About 63.5 WON +9.09
Season record: 5-6-0 ATS, 5-6-0 O/U
New bankroll: 73.19
Previous bankroll: 97.19
Game selection: Ohio State -27.5 LOST -25
O/U: Over 63.5 WON +4.55
Season record: 4-7-0 ATS, 6-5-0 O/U
New bankroll: 76.74
Previous bankroll: 166.10
Game selection: Ohio State -27.5 LOST -12
O/U: Under 63.5 LOST -8
Season record: 4-7-0 ATS, 8-3-0 O/U
New bankroll: 146.10
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