Prediction, Preview, and Odds
#145 Ohio State vs.
#146 Michigan
Saturday, November 27, 2021 at 12:00pm EST
Written by Jordy

Coach Jim Harbaugh will have a crack at changing the narrative that the Michigan Wolverines can’t win the big one when heading into a Big Ten Conference showdown with the rumbling Ohio State Buckeyes. The Buckeyes covered as 20-point favorites over Michigan State last week withouto much as breaking a sweat. It was an absolute demolition job in a 56-7 rout at Oshio Stadium.

Michigan didn’t beat a ranked opponent, but they did manage to roll over Maryland as 16-point favorites on the road.

Ohio State put the country on notice

Michigan State looked like they didn’t even belong in the top-25, much less the top-10 in last week’s shellacking at the hands of the Buckeyes.

Whew.

Ohio State didn’t just drop the microphone on the Spartans. They dropped the entire mic stand after posting a 56-7 victory at home.

Keep in mind, that was the same Michigan State team that handed Michigan its only loss of the season. The players are going to go out there and play regardless, but that win over Michigan State had to be one of the most terrifying sights of the season for Wolverine fans.

C.J. Stroud is officially the favorite to win the Heisman Trophy, and he showed why by throwing for 432 passing yards and six touchdowns all over the Spartans defense. It was like watching a video game in real life.

But man, this Michigan defense is built differently.

Unlike the Spartans, they can actually defend against the pass, and their run defense is good enough to stand its ground. Opposing teams are only averaging 306.7 yards of total offense against the Wolverines this season, which is the third-best in the conference. So Stroud and the offense will certainly have a fight on their hands.

And so will the defense.

Michigan is ranked second to Ohio State in scoring offense, and their rushing attack is almost as nasty as Wisconsin’s. The Buckeyes seemed like they’ve cleaned up their struggles against the run, but this will be the most powerful ground game they’ve faced all season.

Can Harbaugh win the big one?

Don’t think for one second that coach Jim Harbaugh hasn’t heard the whispers—unless you’re listening to daytime talk shows and then it’s shouts—that he can’t win the big one.

Look, even the most diehard Michigan and Harbaugh fans have to admit there’s some truth to that statement. The team hasn’t won or even competed for a national championship since he took the reins of the program.

And here we are again with the Wolverines boasting a viable playoff-contending record with the Buckeyes once again staring them right in the face.

So what are you going to do this time, Coach?

The Buckeyes are coming into Michigan Stadium on Saturday after just obliterating Michigan State. That offense is humming so loudly they’ll be able to hear it all the way back in Ohio. But the Wolverines can put a stop to it. Unlike the Spartans, they have a stingy defense that isn’t going to let C.J. Stroud use and abuse them for another Heisman vote. They’ve only allowed 11 touchdown passes all season with opponents averaging only 178.4 yards through the air.

Generally speaking, there’s usually nowhere to go with the ball against this defense.

Oh yeah, and they can actually run the football, too. As long as the defense keeps it close, they can stick to being balanced and not force Cade McNamara to drop back to pass too many times. They’ll be in good shape as long as they don’t have to abandon the running game entirely to play catch-up.

The Wolverines are still hoping to get running back Blake Corum back in the lineup to reignite the one-two punch he had with rushing leader, Hassan Haskins. However, he’s still listed as questionable to play in this game.

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The real Michigan Wolverines will show up right on time in a home game against the Buckeyes.

They haven’t been able to win the big game under coach Jim Harbaugh, and they aren’t going to start winning now. This Ohio State offense is straight off the set of a horror film. Quarterback C.J. Stroud is on the path towards winning a Heisman Trophy and running back TreVeyon Henderson is leaving his footprints on the backs of opposing linebackers and defensive linemen.

Sure, Michigan has a defense good enough to slow down the offensive firestorm being unleashed by the Buckeyes, but they aren’t built to stop it.

And it’s time to put the whole loss to Oregon earlier in the season to rest.

The comparisons to Stroud then and now aren’t even close, and he still threw for 484 yards and three touchdowns in that game.

But the defense for the Buckeyes is settling down to the point where they’re only allowing an average of 3.1 rushing yards per carry. So it won’t be all sugar and rainbows running the football against this group like it was for the Ducks. That defensive front has turned from putty to brick in a matter of months, and it’s going to make life difficult on the Wolverines’ run game.

Cade McNamara can move the ball with his arm but not enough to make up for the damage Stroud does on the other side. I’m laying the points and sticking with Ohio State.

Prediction: Ohio State Buckeyes (-8.5)

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Yes, I know both of these teams can play defense, but the offenses on the field will steal the show in this much-anticipated meeting. C.J. Stroud was handing out touchdowns like free food samples in the middle of a mall. This Ohio State offense is as dangerous as it’s ever been with a legitimate playmaker under center throwing to the likes of three future NFL receivers in Jaxon Smith-Njigba, Garrett Wilson and Chris Olave.

There’s literally talent all over the place for Stroud to dish out the pain through the air. But Michigan will get on the board as well against an Ohio State secondary allowing an average of 251.2 passing yards per game. Give me the over in this battle between the top-two scoring offenses in the Big Ten Conference.

Prediction: Over (64.5)
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Written By Jordy McElroy , "Jordy"

Born in Germany and raised in the beautiful state of Tennessee, Jordy McElroy is a storyteller of sports, a sports betting enthusiast, and a semi-deep thinker. Being a New England Patriots fan means he's a six-time Super Bowl winner as well, which means you'd have to be a fool to ignore his advice. Prior to joining our team here at Winners & Whiners, Jordy’s work appeared on CNN.com, FOX Sports, Bleacher Report, USA TODAY, and BJPenn.com. There are no beaches where he comes from -- just rolling hills, green valleys, and all the Sun Drop you can drink.