The Game is indeed a big game this year, as No. 2 Ohio State and No. 3 Michigan go head-to-head with a lot on the line.
The winner advances to the Big Ten championship game and is one win away from a college football playoff bid. The loser will need help to get into the playoffs.
Ohio State is the 7 1/2 point favorite.
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So the smart folks in Vegas have their picks, but what about the pundits at The Columbus Dispatch and the Detroit News? Here’s how they view the game:
Ohio state beat writer
Wouldn’t this score be funny? Much depends on the health of running back Blake Corum (and Donovan Edwards). If so, this is closer to a 50-50 game. But I suspect Corum won’t be complete if he plays, and quarterback JJ McCarthy hasn’t been consistent enough as a passer. CJ Stroud should be able to take advantage of the Michigan secondary as long as his protection holds. The Buckeyes are home, highly motivated and more talented across the board. This is not a sure thing, but I suspect OSU will rise to the occasion.
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Ohio state beat writer
There’s no shortage of motivation for the Buckeyes as they seek to avenge a particularly crushing loss in last season’s rivalry, a nail-biting defeat that kept them from making the college football playoffs for the first time during Ryan Day’s tenure. that come out laser-focused on Saturday. But the excitement is only one reason Ohio State bounces back this November. His running defense, porous in the previous meeting with Michigan, is much improved under Jim Knowles and he bottles his shoulders enough to make the Wolverines go too high in the air for their liking.
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If the shoe fits … . Ohio State hasn’t lost at home to Michigan since 2000, which is why I give the Buckeyes the lead in a showdown that will last into the final minutes of the fourth quarter; unless Michigan tailback Blake Corum is less than 95 percent healthy, in which case OSU will win by at least two touchdowns. A lot hinges on the outcome: CJ Stroud’s Heisman Trophy hopes, Ryan Day’s reputation in big games, and a trip to the Big Ten championship game. Buckle up your chin strap. The game could be a game for the ages.
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This bout against undefeated rivals will live up to its billing. While Michigan brings in one of the best rushing games in the country, Ohio State has a track record of rushing stops when it counts, allowing seven rushing touchdowns all season with opponents averaging 3.1 yards per carry. And while Michigan has one of the best defenses in the country, this year has yet to see an offense quite like Ohio State’s. Expect the latest edition of “The Game” to look close all the time, but it will end with the Buckeyes heading back to the win column and heading into the Big Ten championship game.
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Angelique S. Chengelis
Beaten Michigan writer
Ohio State 31, Michigan 20
The first of many storylines is the status of Blake Corum, who has led Michigan’s offense this season. QB JJ McCarthy is unflappable, but he and his receivers have a big game to play against an Ohio State defense determined to stop Michigan’s running game. Both UM’s offensive line and OSU’s defense under Jim Knowles are better than last year. Michigan needs to be able to pressure CJ Stroud. UM’s secondary has given up big plays, but its defense has usually been able to stop opponents when it counted, particularly on fourth down.
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This article originally appeared on The Columbus Dispatch: Ohio State vs Michigan Prediction in Big Ten Football Action