Week 13 NCAA Football Picks: Michigan Wolverines vs Ohio State Buckeyes
Wednesday, November 21, 2012
by Frank Martin
Ohio State is not eligible for the postseason this year. That means no Big Ten championship game and no BCS bowl at the end for a team that has yet to take a loss. The annual showdown with Michigan on Saturday in Columbus is big enough with the postseason still on the table, but this year the 20th-ranked Wolverines represent the Super Bowl for Ohio State. Michigan Wolverines snapped a seven-game losing streak in the series last season. The Buckeyes are one of two teams in the FBS entering the weekend undefeated (along with Notre Dame) and will challenge a stout Wolverines defense with Braxton Miller and the spread offense.
Ohio State Buckeyes coach Urban Meyer is getting his first taste of the rivalry but is well aware of the tradition and the pressure to win this game. Michigan coach Brady Hoke earned the respect and adoration of the Wolverines faithful by snapping the seven-game losing streak and will be trying to guide his team to its first win in the Horseshoe since 2000.
Michigan Wolverines (8-3, 6-1 Big Ten): The Wolverines will know by the time they take the field if they have a shot at the Big Ten championship game and the BCS bowl that goes to the winner. Currently tied with Nebraska atop the Legends Division, Michigan needs the Cornhuskers to lose at Iowa on Friday. Either way, the Wolverines will throw a new-look offense at the Buckeyes. Quarterback Devin Gardner took over when Denard Robinson went down with nerve damage in his throwing elbow and stayed at QB when Robinson returned last week. With Robinson serving as wide receiver, running back and option quarterback, Michigan rolled up 513 total yards in a 42-17 victory. Gardner threw for three touchdowns and rushed for three more. Hoke has suggested that Robinson may be able to throw some passes this week, though Gardner will likely start under center.
Ohio State Buckeyes (11-0, 7-0): If it weren’t for the sanctions stemming from the end of Jim Tressel’s tenure, Meyer’s team would be fighting Notre Dame for the top spot in the BCS standings this week. Meyer has been quick to dismiss the what-ifs and focus on this week. Michigan has not faced a quarterback as dynamic as the Buckeye’s Miller, who has guided his team to the top scoring offense in the Big Ten at 38.2 points. Miller is a lot like Robinson at Michigan but has taken a big step forward this season and enters the final game with 1,850 passing yards and 1,214 yards on the ground. He will be looking to bounce back after a sub-par performance in last week’s 21-14 overtime victory at Wisconsin. Carlos Hyde scored the overtime winner in that game as Miller was held out of the end zone for the first time this season.
1. Ohio State has not finished undefeated since the 2002 squad won the National Championship.
2. Robinson totaled 337 yards of offense and five touchdowns in leading the Wolverines to a 40-34 victory in last season’s meeting.
3. Robinson needs one passing touchdown to become the first player in Big Ten history to post 50 passing TDs and 40 rushing TDs in his career.
NCAA Football Prediction: Ohio State 27, Michigan 24.