The time has come. It’s the biggest week of the college football season for many teams, and that’s certainly the case for the Michigan Wolverines as they take on their bitter rival, the Ohio State Buckeyes. It will be a game that will determine a lot for the rest of the season. The winner will secure a spot in the Big Ten Championship and likely the College Football Playoff.
Let’s take a deep dive into rivalry week and Michigan vs. Ohio State on Saturday.
number 3 Michigan Wolverines vs. No. 2 Ohio State Buckeyes
- TV: FOX
- Stream: Sling TV
- Time: Afternoon
- Place: Columbus, Ohio
- Weather: 47 degrees, cloudy
- DraftKings Odds: OSU-7.5, O/U: 56, ML: OSU -295, MICH +245
- Best Bet (15-18): OSU-295
This is one of the hardest games to try to break down this season. Offensively, the Wolverines and Buckeyes couldn’t be more different. Ohio State quarterback CJ Stroud is one of the best deep ball throwers in the country with arguably the best wideout in the country in Marvin Harrison Jr.
Then there’s Michigan, a ground and pound team that dominates possession and runs through their opponents. Heisman hopeful Blake Corum is having one of the best seasons for a running back in this millennium, outpacing former Heisman backs like Reggie Bush, Derrick Henry and Mark Ingram. The Wolverines rely on a turn that doesn’t break the defense to narrow down chances and get the ball back.
The problem is that both sides are injured and who knows who is playing in this game? Corum left last week’s game with a knee injury. His status is up in the air, but many assume he’s playing in some capacity. The same can be said about Donovan Edwards, who missed the last two games and was capped several times this year. Michigan’s leading rusher Mike Morris also missed last week after rolling against Nebraska. The offensive line, although a Joe Moore Award semifinalist, has seen several starting rotations.
On the Ohio State side, Jaxon Smith-Njigba, the top receiver in 2021, hasn’t seen much of the field this season. Can he return for The Game? Subsequently, both running backs, Miyan Williams and TreVeyon Henderson have been beaten up lately.
Michigan hasn’t won in Columbus since 2000, last year’s win broke an eight-game losing streak against the Buckeyes. My heart screams Michigan, but my head leans toward Ohio State. I’ll hedge my luck by putting some money on the Buckeyes on Saturday.
number 5 LSU Tigers against Texas A&M Aggies
- TV: ESPN
- Stream: Sling TV
- Time: 7 p.m. ET
- Place: College Station, Texas
- Weather: 57 degrees, cloudy
- DraftKings Odds: LSU-10, O/U: 47.5, ML: LSU-390, A&M +320
- Best Bet (15-18): A&M +10
I’m going to dual-screen on Saturday night, starting with a really intriguing game between LSU and Texas A&M. The Tigers moved all the way to No. 5 after playing a Conference USA opponent in the penultimate week of the season. They are the highest ranked team with two losses in the College Football Playoff era.
The Tigers lost to Florida State in Week 1, then were knocked out at home to Tennessee by 27 points. Another crazy fact is that this is LSU’s fourth and final road game of the season where it struggled against some of the worst teams in the SEC. Arkansas was within a touchdown two weeks ago, Florida came back to make it a game, and Auburn even started 17-0 against the Tigers before LSU came back to win.
Texas A&M has been one of the biggest disappointments in college football this season after clinching the nation’s No. 1 league. Last week’s 20-3 win against UMass snapped a six-game losing streak, but here’s this important thing: Jimbo Fisher is preparing his teams for these ranked games. The Aggies are 2-2 against top-25 opponents this season, losing to Alabama by just four points in early October. Then Ole Miss came to College Station and escaped by just three points.
I think this Saturday game is the makings of a trap game for the Tigers. Their focus is all on Georgia and the glitz and glamor of a College Football Playoff spot. I have a feeling this one could be much closer than expected, and the Aggies could very well get upset if LSU isn’t careful.
No. 15 Notre Dame Fighting Irishmen vs No. 6 USC Trojans
- TV: ABC
- Stream: Sling TV
- Time: 19:30 Dutch time
- Place: Los Angeles, California
- Weather: 66 degrees, partly cloudy
- DraftKings Odds: USC-5.5, O/U: 64.5, ML: ND +180, USC -210
- Best Bet (15-18): USC-5.5
Notre Dame quietly put in a great season under freshman head coach Marcus Freeman. It was a rollercoaster ride as it lost to Marshall at home and a lousy Stanford team early in the season. However, the Irish have three setbacks against ranked opponents: BYU and Clemson at home and Syracuse away.
Meanwhile, USC freshman head coach Lincoln Riley has picked a team that went 4-8 last season and made them a contender to the College Football Playoff with the help of several transfers. Quarterback Caleb Williams deserves more credit in the Heisman conversation, and he just threw for 470 yards in a big win over UCLA last week. The Trojans’ lone loss came on the road to Utah, one of the toughest places to play in the country.
These two collide at the best time for both programs. Notre Dame could use another statement win to push for a big 2023 season, while USC could use the same sentiment for this year. A win and a tight game or a loss to LSU could be enough to put the Trojans in fourth place this weekend. For the Michigan/Ohio state loser, this is probably the most important game to watch on Saturday night.