No. 2 Ohio State plays host to No. 3 Michigan on Saturday in the 117th playing of The Game as one of the most intense yearly rivalries in college football takes center stage with significant stakes for both teams on the line. Yes, in case you may have forgotten, the rivalry is so big that they call it The Game, and everybody knows exactly which game The Game is.
The stakes in this one are simple, and they’re high. The winner earns the Big Ten East crown and moves on to the Big Ten Championship Game with its perfect record still intact. The loser suffers its first loss of the season and then must sit at home crossing its fingers, hoping enough things break its way so that it can still squeeze its way into the College Football Playoff.
But even if these two teams weren’t undefeated with everything left to play for, they’d still approach this game the same way. Seasons are defined by this rivalry. Hell, careers are, too. John Cooper won 111 games with the Buckeyes, including three Big Ten titles and a Rose Bowl, but if you bring his name up to an Ohio State fan, the only number they’ll tell you about is Cooper’s 2-10-1 record against The Team Up North.
This game is, and always will be, everything to Michigan and Ohio State fans.
How to watch Ohio State vs. Michigan live
Date: Saturday, Nov. 26 | Time: 12 p.m. ET
Location: Ohio Stadium — Columbus, Ohio
TV: Fox | Live stream: fuboTV (Try for free)
Ohio State vs. Michigan: Need to know
Michigan leads the all-time series: One reason Ohio State fans might be bitter about John Cooper’s record against Michigan? Well, if you remove the Cooper era, the Buckeyes are 49-49-5 all time against the Wolverines. But, unfortunately for them, the era counts, so Michigan has the 59-51-6 edge. More importantly than the overall history, Michigan won last season’s meeting, ending an eight-game win streak in the series for the Buckeyes.
Questions about Blake Corum’s health: It’s the biggest question heading into The Game. Blake Corum, Michigan’s Heisman-hopeful running back, missed the second half of the team’s win against Illinois last week, and it probably isn’t a coincidence that Michigan nearly lost the game. Corum has been the focal point of Michigan’s offense all season, and if he’s unavailable, or even less than 100%, it will have an impact on this game.
Ohio State eyes fifth Big Ten Championship Game in six years: I’ve mentioned Michigan won last year’s meeting, and the victory not only ended Ohio State’s win streak in the rivalry but it ended Ohio State’s dominance of the Big Ten East. The Buckeyes had won the division four straight years, and a win here would give the Buckeyes their fifth division title in six season. However, on the other side of that coin? A Michigan win would improve Jim Harbaugh’s record in the rivalry as a coach to 2-5 while it would drop Ryan Day to 1-2. It’d be kind of funny to think about this rivalry featuring two coaches with a losing record against the other team, wouldn’t it?
Ohio State vs. Michigan prediction, picks
I don’t know who is going to win this game. I’ve played both sides in our expert picks. I took Ohio State straight up but the Wolverines against the spread. The truth is, my level of confidence in both picks is low. I do like the under quite a bit, however. The way I see things, if Michigan is to win this game, it’ll have to do so on the ground, which should keep the score low. Meanwhile, Ohio State hasn’t faced many defenses like Michigan’s. When it has, we’ve seen its offense struggle. At the same time, if there’s going to be a blowout, I have to assume it would be in Ohio State’s favor, but that only happens if Michigan doesn’t score. All of these scenarios end with the total finishing below 56 points. Prediction: Under 56
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