TBHR Roundtable: THE GAME

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No. 3 Michigan at No. 2 Ohio State
The Big House Report (TBHR) staff make their final regular season game predictions as the Michigan Wolverines travel to Columbus to take on the Ohio State Buckeyes:

Derek Devine – @DerekWDevine

I’m conflicted. My head and heart are not in the same place. As you’ll see below, Von sets the tone for predictions as he predicts a game “With Speight” and one “Without Speight.” There is no denying that Michigan has a better chance to win this game if Wilton Speight is on the field. He’s been at the helm all year, and has taken some MAJOR strides in developing into an All-Big Ten type of quarterback.

However, I’m not going to allow one player to persuade my prediction one way or another. It’s up to the team to find a way to beat Ohio State. No man is more important than the team.

The Team, The Team, The Team.

Michigan finds a way to win this game because Michigan has to win this game. MLive.com beat writer Nick Baumgardner said it best:

“For Michigan, the losing against Ohio State has to stop. This program isn’t going to take the next step most everyone believes is inevitable under Harbaugh until it does. That’s not hyperbole, it’s reality.”

Jim Harbaugh, his coaching staff and his players, find a way to win—as a team. Michigan guts out a victory over Ohio State in Columbus because of better coaching, better execution and more heart.

Speaking of heart, I’m honestly not sure mine can handle another loss to the Buckeyes. Pray for me, I’ll be an emotional wreck win or lose on Saturday.

Go Blue.

Michigan 23, Ohio State 21

 

Von Lozon – @Von_Lozon

This will be different from last year’s game — if Speight plays — but the result remains the same.

“The Game” will feature Michigan and Ohio State both being in the AP top 3 for just the second time ever, the first being in 2006 when OSU was No. 1 and UM was No. 2. A shot at the Big 10 Championship is up for grabs for Michigan, while Ohio State will need a win and a Penn State loss to Michigan State in order to make the trip to Indianapolis. Plenty is on the line this weekend to say the least.

Michigan’s offense, minus De’Veon Smith, looked like garbage last weekend at home against Indiana. With Wilton Speight out, John O’Korn took over at quarterback and was bombarded by IU defensive lineman and horrible weather conditions. He looked nervous, had no pocket awareness and threw errant passes throughout the entire game. It could be a mess in the Horseshoe if Speight is to not play.

The UM offense will go up against another godly OSU defense that ranks third in the country in passing yards allowed and 18th in rushing yards allowed. Meanwhile, UM has given up the fewest passing yards and the 10th fewest rushing yards in the country. This is bound to be a great game.

At the end of the day, I picked OSU at the beginning of the season to defeat the Wolverines. I think playing in Columbus will cause some problems for UM and I don’t believe they will be able to overcome the adversity of being in a tough environment and potentially be playing the backup quarterback. If Speight plays, this game is actually close. If O’Korn is starting, it’s going to be a tough game to watch.

Ohio State 37, Michigan 28 (With Speight)
Ohio State 37, Michigan 10 (Without Speight)

 

Kate Elizabeth Queram – @KateElizabethNR
I never feel good about this game – I literally can’t remember the last time I did, if ever – and I’ve sort of ignored it since the beginning of this season, figuring that by the time it rolled around it’d be clear, one way or the other, how it would go. Of course that’s not true, it’s never clear how this one will go, because it’s a rivalry game filled with palpable hate and thick history and so records and statistics and logic sort of go out the window by the time they kick the ball.
But it’s clear enough, I think. With a healthy Speight, The Game’s probably a toss-up; an even match between two really good teams that could go either way. With a tentative O’Korn leading an offense that seems to rely mostly on the run, I think it tips to the bad guys.
I don’t feel great about saying any of this out loud and I’d like to be wrong. And just in case superstition matters, I painted my fingernails blue and waited for them to dry before crossing all my fingers. Go get ’em.
Ohio State 35, Michigan 21 (Without Speight)

If Speight persists despeight his injury then it’s anyone’s guess, which means I default to the good guys

Michigan 35, Ohio State 31 (With Speight)

 

 

Kullen Logsdon – @kullen_logsdon

Here we are. The final week of the regular season and that means this Saturday we have the glory of taking in the greatest rivalry in sports, the greatest spectacle on turf, “The Game.”

Now, there are a couple different ways I see this playing out. Rumors are that Speight is getting better and he will be ready to go on Saturday. If that’s the case, I see Michigan regaining its confidence on offense and finding a way to win this game. Ohio State’s run defense has been weak at times this year and I see Michigan taking full advantage with its stable of backs. With the run game clicking, Speight would only have to make a handful of throws and could easily do so with the safeties collapsing in to cover the run.

Without Speight, I don’t see Michigan having much of a chance. Without a viable passing threat to keep the Buckeye secondary honest, the run game will be stuffed against an eight-man box and the Wolverines will be unable to score many points.

This could very well be the biggest game in Michigan football history. If the Wolverines can pull it out, it will turn the tide in the rivalry and put Michigan back among the nation’s elite. This game is everything for the program.

Michigan 24, Ohio State 21 (With Speight)
Ohio State 21, Michigan 13 (Without Speight)

 

Chad Finley – @FinFive1

This prediction is only if Wilton Speight plays the whole game. After watching John O’Korn last week, I am not confident he can lead Michigan to a victory over its rival. I am more at ease with Speight because of his decision making and his accuracy. It will take him making on point throws as the defense is coming right at him to move the chains. The Buckeyes can be beat by throwing those short passes and letting the speedy receivers like Darboh and Chesson out run the secondary. This game will require every player to be at the top of their game, playing smart, penalty free football. I expect a close battle all day long. The defense must show the world why they are one of the best in tne nation by shutting down the quick scoring Buckeyes. I look for Jabrill Peppers to do it all but sell hot dogs in this highly important rivalry match up.

Michigan needs this win. Wolverine nation needs this win. I, being a Michigan fan living in the state of Ohio, need this win more than you know. Finish this great season strong and get a victory that sends you into the Big Ten title game and a possible college football playoff game. Go Blue!!

Michigan 31, Ohio State 23

 

Patrick Connors – @TheRealPConnors

Folks, it’s here. The week we’ve all been waiting for. Since the moment Coach Harbaugh was hired, this is what we’ve been waiting for. Michigan. Ohio State. 2 versus 3. Huge national and playoff implications. This what we’ve wanted, and now we’re almost there. 

Listen, there are match ups all over the field that we should watch out for. Will Wilton Speight be healthy enough to give it a go? Can Ohio States vaunted secondary continue to make plays? Can the Michigan defense make life miserable for JT Barrett? Can Jabrill Peppers get himself back in the Heisman talk? Will Curtis Samuel finally have his name brought up in the Heisman talk? 

Ultimately, it’s going to come down to 2 match ups that will determine the outcome. The first one is who will win the special teams battle? Michigan has been fantastic in all facets of special teams this year, but Urban Meyer is known for having great special teams play. More specifically, when Ohio State punts the ball to Michigan. Cam Johnston is Ohio States punter and he does the rugby style punt and he’s one of the best in college football. But he will be kicking to Jabrill Peppers and let’s not forget Michigan has done a great job of getting to punters this year. This is a huge matchup because if Michigan can win, it gives the offense great field position and maybe even a punt return for Pep. If Ohio State wins, Michigan has poor field position and this game will come down to field position. 

The next matchup is the Michigan front four versus the Ohio State front five. Let’s be clear, Michigan HAS to win this matchup. Not draw. Win. And win thoroughly. This Ohio State offensive line was bullied last week by Michigan State who didn’t even have Malik McDowell. In their loss to Penn State, PSU continuously controlled the LOS. Michigan needs this battle if they want to come out victorious.

Last year was last year and it was a worst-case scenario for Michigan and they were exposed and blown out. This year is different. Michigan has the talent to win this football game and they have the right coaches to do it. Will they? I believe so.

Michigan 24, Ohio State 21

Craig Compton – @CraigCompton_
Great offenses….great defenses….great special teams. The x-factor?…The Michigan coaching staff. In order for the Wolverines to win this one, I believe Harbaugh and the staff will need to have their best game to date. Both teams are loaded with great offenses, defenses, and special teams, but something has to give. I have two scenarios for you this week.
1.) Wilton Speight doesn’t play: Michigan struggles on offense all day. Their defense holds for about three quarters before the wheels fall off. Their offense can’t do what they did against Indiana and rely on just one player. Michigan loses, 35-10. 
2.) Wilton Speight plays: This is a great game. Think back to the 06′ matchup between these two teams. Very similar to this year. I think this game is a slugfest, a back and forth game. Michigan goes up ten in the fourth quarter, before allowing a touchdown with minutes left. Jabrill Peppers accounts for multiple touchdowns, and Jake Butt has a career day. Michigan wins this one, 38-35. 
David Mormino – @BookOfMormino

I’m nervous. I’m anxious. I’m not well. You know what that means, right? It’s Hate Week.  Essentially, the playoffs start Saturday at noon for Michigan. 

Time and time again we’ve seen Buckeye running backs torch Wolverine teams. Whether it was Chris Wells, Carlos Hyde, Ezekiel Elliot.. it happens a lot. The newest Buckeye running back is a product of Michigan, and a Michigan pipeline, Mike Weber. The Cass Tech grad has surpassed the 1,000 yard mark already this season, and will look to build on that on the biggest stage of his young career. He faces a fearsome defensive line, hungry linebackers, and a defensive backfield that likes to come up and make plays. No easy task. 

However this Michigan team has its own troubles to worry about. Malik Hooker is a near-lock first-round pick. Nick Bosa has been everything he was hyped up to be. Raekwon McMillian is an animal. This on top of the fact the Wolverines aren’t sure who will be calling signals under center. I’m not saying Ohio State is impervious to losses — we’ve seen it happen already this season — but having your backup quarterback start his second game for your school on the road, against the second-ranked team in the country isn’t necessarily a recipe for success. 

There will be blood. This game isn’t for the faint of heart. We are about to be treated to the second edition of the Ten Year War. These teams hate each other, and for good reason. I can’t say with confidence Michigan will win this game. But I can’t say with confidence Ohio State will win, either. I need some time to think about this. 

Thought about it long and hard. Buckeyes come out as victorious by a last-second field goal, and march on to the College Football Playoff. NOT SO FAST MY FRIEND. This goes against everything I’ve said, but methinks the Wolverine special teams, and their defense, is enough to hold off the Buckeyes. What say you? 

Michigan 28, Ohio State 24

Derek Devine
Institutional voice of Alma College during the day, Michigan fanatic at night. Taking TBHR to the next level one post at a time.