Friday, November 23, 2012

Week 13 Predictions and Notes

The 109th meeting between Michigan and Ohio State is slated for this Saturday in Columbus. Michigan leads the all-time series 58-44-2, and before winning last season’s clash lost seven straight. The Wolverines’ last win in Columbus came back in 2000. Together, the Buckeyes and Wolverines share 18 national championships from 1901-2002, and a whopping 79 conference titles stretching from 1898 all the way to 2010. In fact, of the 115 Big Ten football titles ever awarded, either Michigan or Ohio State, or a combination of the two, have won well over half. And from 1968-82 the Wolverines and/or Buckeyes captured 15 consecutive Big Ten crowns. Needless to say, Saturday will be one of the biggest games of the year in all of college football. Fitz Toussaint is out of the game, and the season for that matter with a broken leg, which means both Thomas Rawls and Vincent Smith will need to step it up. If Hoke and Borges decide to go with the "double deuce" package (Gardner at QB, Robinson at RB) then the Buckeye defense might be just as confused as Iowa's defense was. This years version of "The Game" will be mostly played for pride--Michigan's chances for the Legends Division win are pretty slim, and obviously Ohio State is ineligible for the postseason, so naturally this matchup is the Buckeye bowl game. One more week of Big Ten play before all the regular season is over, and things could not be more exciting.  I have researched all my predictions for the Big Ten conference season games, and with one week to go I'm 33-11. Let's see how I can finish up:

Michigan at Ohio State--The one thing that makes this game more important than some have been is the presence and influence of Urban Meyer. Meyer came in to Columbus wearing shining armor, and that hasn't lost it's glean yet. Years of recruiting could be decided on this one, and since Michigan broke the "Streak" last season, Hoke can wipe some of that glean off. Ohio State has been some good teams this season, but they've also played down to the level of competition when the opponent isn't very good. Nevertheless, the tensity will be at an all-time high this season. Winner: Michigan

Nebraska at Iowa--As much as Michigan fans want and need Nebraska to lose this game, I don't see it happening. Taylor Martinez has evolved as a passing quarterback, and still dangerous with his legs. I do believe they outmatch the Hawkeye's in all three phases of the game, and if Nebraska wins, Kirk Ferentz could feel some more heat as head coach. In the past 4 times these two teams have played, the Huskers have won every time. I don't envision that changing. Winner: Nebraska

Michigan State at Minnesota--Michigan State needs to win to be bowl eligible, and that's on the positive side of this game. On the negative is all the hoopla the Gophers have been through this week with A.J. Barker and his quitting the team along with calling out HC Jerry Kill on tumblr citing abuse. Not too many teams out there are well equipped to handle that sort of turmoil and look past it to play well during the following game. As long as the Spartans can keep their turnovers down, they'll be ok. Winner: Michigan State

Illinois at Northwestern--The Wildcats might be able to get into a New Years Day bowl with a win against Illinois, and the way the Illini have played this season I don't see that as too much of a stretch. They haven't won since Week 3, and while they were competitive against Purdue last week, they still lost. Pat Fitzgerald's team has a real chance to finish with only 3 losses for the first time in a long time. Winner: Northwestern

Indiana at Purdue--Both teams could have done better throughout the season, and Indiana had some real opportunities against Michigan State, Ohio State, and Navy but just weren't able to capitalize. Both teams are 2-5 in the Big Ten, and although Kevin Wilson's job is likely safe for another year, I can't say the same for Danny Hope, win or lose. Winner: Purdue

  • Rumors are swirling in the Ohio State athletic office that Urban Meyer might honor Hayes by going for two on Saturday if the game is out of hand. Hoke was quoted in saying he'd be pissed if that happened, but it won't get to that point. I don't see it getting to that point either, but I can imagine the vitriol from Michigan fans if indeed that happened.
  • I'm sure we've all heard by now that there were a few select Buckeye fans who wrote a letter to President Obama, requesting that he use his influential power to lift the bowl fan currently in place. Yeah, I'm sure he has nothing better to do than cater to a bunch of nuts--literally.
  • It's official--both Maryland and Rutgers are now going to be Big Ten schools, effective in 2014. In other news, Indiana just beat Maryland on the football field. 
  • For those fans who were able to catch the "60 Minutes" segment last Sunday which focused mostly on Michigan football and the revenue stream it produces, how happy are you that we're one of the 22 solvent programs? And are you also wondering what the other 21 schools are, besides Alabama? I am.

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