This article originally appeared at ohiostate.scout.com
Thoughts on Last Week –
I should have known better than to think that the Buckeyes wouldn’t struggle against Michigan State in bad weather. That game probably took a few years off my life, as I sat and watched in disbelief as the Spartans lined up for the two point conversion to take the lead in the 4th quarter. Thankfully they didn’t give the ball to LJ Scott, and decided to test our secondary otherwise I am not sure we could have driven down the field to score again the way the offense was struggling.
Thankfully that game is over and we can move on and continue our journey to the playoff if all the stars align this week.
On Michigan –
I am driving up to Ohio this weekend for Thanksgiving with my family and will make a detour in Columbus to sit amongst friends and watch the Buckeyes take on the Wolverines on Saturday. I have been at every home Michigan game since 2000, and the Buckeyes are 7-1 in those games with the lone loss coming in John Cooper’s last season at the helm. The Buckeyes are also 4-0 under Urban Meyer against Michigan, and 1-0 against current head coach Jim Harbaugh.
This game will come down to whose defense plays the best. Both offenses have regressed a bit since the beginning of the season, with the Buckeyes struggling to throw the ball and Michigan trying to get a new quarterback confident in running their offense in only two weeks’ time. The Wolverines do however have quite the stable of running backs with De’Veon Smith, Chris Evans, Ty Isaac and Karan Higdon all having over 400 yards this season. Michigan will start John O’Korn at quarterback as Wilton Speight deals with a broken collarbone he suffered in the loss to Iowa. O’Korn was 7-16 for only 59 yards last week against Indiana and struggled quite a bit when pressured. The Buckeyes defense will look to make him uncomfortable early and often to keep him off his game and force the Wolverines to rely on the run. I expect to see a lot of misdirection plays and running back screens out of the Wolverines this week to try and keep the Buckeye defense off balance.
The Buckeye offense is going to have to show up in a bigger way this week as they are facing the #1 defense in the country. The Wolverines are only allowing 245 yards per game of total offense and also lead the country only allowing 10.9 points per game. The Buckeye defense is not far behind only allowing 279 yards of offense per game and 13.0 points per game. I don’t expect there to be a lot of big p
lays on either side of the ball, and this game will come down to the 4th quarter for sure. It might be the team that has the ball last wins, and I just have faith that J.T. Barrett can lead this team to victory in a must win for the Buckeyes.
Prediction: Ohio State 24 – Michigan 20
A Fan’s Playoff Predictions –
1.) Alabama – Alabama didn’t look all that great against Chattanooga over the weekend, and that might be because they knew that minimal effort would win that game, and Auburn comes to town this weekend for the Iron Bowl. Even if Alabama loses they still go to the SEC title game against Florida. If they happen to lose both games though, chaos.
2.) Ohio State – It wasn’t pretty, but the Buckeyes escaped East Lansing with a 17-16 win and continue to play their way into the playoff discussion. Everything is on the line this week against Michigan, a loss and they don’t go, a win and a Penn State win, things might get dicey.
3.) Clemson – Clemson just needs to win against in-state foe South Carolina this week and then beat either UNC or Virginia Tech in the ACC Championship game to secure their birth in the playoff. South Carolina is having a down year, but don’t count them out in a rivalry game.
4.) Oklahoma – Why is Oklahoma here? They are currently on an eight game winning streak, and if they get by Oklahoma State next weekend they will finish the season 10-2 with losses to Houston and Ohio State. They have gotten way better since their loss to the Buckeyes, and Baker Mayfield and Dede Westbrook along with Perine and Mixon are a dangerous mix.
A Fan’s Heisman Standings –
1.) Lamar Jackson – Many people are going to want to drop Jackson from the top spot after Louisville’s loss to Houston last Thursday. However, the Heisman is given to the best player in the nation, and without Jackson I don’t even think Louisville is even in the discussion for a major bowl bid, so he still tops my list.
2.) Jalen Hurts – It wasn’t a great day for Hurts in their win over mighty Chattanooga, but he still had three passing touchdowns. He has accounted for 30 touchdowns so far this season for Alabama, who need to get by Auburn this weekend to finish the regular season undefeated yet again.
3.) Baker Mayfield – Mayfield was sidetracked by the weather like so many were this weekend, however he still had a 169 yards passing and two touchdowns. He also ran for two more increasing his season total to 44 total touchdowns while leading the Sooners on an eight game winning streak.
4.) Curtis Samuel – The Heisman is given to the most valuable player in the country, and some might argue that Curtis Samuel has been that for the Ohio State Buckeyes this year. Samuel has 650 rushing yards and 790 receiving yards for the Buckeyes and 14 total touchdowns and is a do-it-all back for Ohio State this season.