Michigan Wolverines vs. Ohio St. Buckeyes
While many of the faces have changed the significance hasn’t waned one bit as the Michigan Wolverines and the Ohio State Buckeyes meet for the 2011 version of “The Game”. The Wolverines are -8.5 point favorites over the Buckeyes with an over/under point total set at 45.
It has been seven years since the Michigan Wolverines have defeated the Ohio State Buckeyes and two Head Coaches later UM feels this is their best chance to end the losing streak. Brady Hoke has taken the Wolverines from also ran to contender in just one season and turned the program around just like everywhere he has been but at Michigan only one thing really matters, beating Ohio State. QB Denard Robinson is one of the most exciting players in the nation but throwing the football he has completed just 54.1 percent of his passes for 1,889 yards with 15 touchdowns and 14 interceptions while rushing for 993 yards and 14 touchdowns. Fitzgerald Toussaint has rushed for 891 yards and nine touchdowns and Michael Shaw has found the endzone three times. Junior Hemmingway leads Michigan with 30 catches and a touchdown, Jeremy Gallon has 28 catches, and Kevin Koger and Roy Roundtree have 17 catches each. The Michigan defense has seven interceptions, 19 fumble recoveries, and 24 sacks for a plus six turnover ratio. Kenny Demens leads Michigan with 78 tackles, Jordan Kovacs has 60 tackles, and Thomas Gordon has four fumble recoveries. It’s been a long dry spell against the Buckeyes for Michigan and it will be a raucous crowd in the Big House.
The Ohio State Buckeyes have a chance to salvage what has been a tumultuous and substandard year and turn the conversation more to what has been accomplished on the field as opposed to who will be coaching the Buckeyes next season. With talks with Urban Meyer confirmed though no offers or decisions made, Ohio State still faces a very uncertain future with NCAA sanctions looming. QB Braxton Miller is athletic but his passing leaves a lot to be desired as he has completed 48.6 percent of his passes with nine touchdowns and three interceptions while rushing for 595 yards and six touchdowns. The Ohio State receiving numbers are so low they show just how little of a factor the passing game has been as Jake Stoneburner has 13 receptions with seven going for touchdowns, Devin Smith has 11 catches, and DeVier Posey has just four catches after being suspended for much of the year. The OSU defense has 12 interceptions, four fumble recoveries, and 22 sacks for a plus four turnover ratio but it has been clear the struggling offense has put a lot of weight on the defense. Andrew Sweat has 68 tackles and Jonathan Hankins has 61 while John Simon has six sacks and Bradley Roby and Orhian Johnson have three interceptions each. While it’s been a rough year for the proud program at Ohio State a win in Ann Arbor would make it a successful year for the Buckeyes.
Michigan is 4-0 against the spread in their last four home games, 6-2 against the spread in their last eight games overall, and 5-14 against the spread in their last 19 games against a team with a winning record. Ohio State is 22-8-1 against the spread following a loss, 20-8 against the spread following a game which they didn’t cover, and 35-17-1 against the spread against a team with a winning record. Ohio State has covered in the last four meetings of these two and in five of the last six at Michigan.
My pick on this game will be on the total which is set at 45. I see the number being low but three of the last four games between these two has ended lower than this and we have two defenses which allow just over 35 points per game combined.