Tomorrow is The Game. I’ll be there, sitting in the Horseshoe in Section 12A. The game will have the traditional noon start and the weather will be crisp and cold, with highs in the 30s and lows in the 20s.
Other than the start time and the weather, I don’t think there is much that is predictable about this edition of The Game. Michigan has a great offensive player in lightning quick QB Denard Robinson, who is rewriting the Michigan record books. Robinson is easily the most explosive offensive player that Buckeyes will have faced so far this year. With Robinson at the helm, the Wolverines have scored points in bunches. Michigan’s offense will pose tremendous challenges for the Ohio State defense. No team that has faced Michigan so far this year has shut down the offense, and I don’t expect the Buckeyes to do so, either.
On the other side of the ball, it is fair to say that the 2010 Michigan defense is not very good. In fact, for those of us who grew up with the rivalry in the ’70s when Michigan always fielded a stout, hard-hitting defense, Michigan’s current defense is virtually unrecognizable. The 2010 Wolverines have given up an average of more than 39 points per game in Big Ten play and have — statistically, at least — one of the worst defenses in college football. In last week’s Michigan loss, Wisconsin ran the ball again, and again, and again, and Michigan simply could not stop them. You have to think that Ohio State will be able to move the ball and put points on the board.
There is a lot to worry about in this game. Teams that can score always have a shot at an upset; if Ohio State gets sloppy and puts the ball on the ground or wastes scoring opportunities, Michigan could get ahead and stay ahead. Although Ohio State is a prohibitive favorite, this rivalry has seen lots of upsets over the years, and Michigan may be due. The Wolverines have lost six in a row to the Buckeyes, and must be wondering whether a loss tomorrow would cost head coach Rich Rodriguez his job. Let’s hope that this year isn’t the year the Wolverines break the streak.