The time has come. It’s the biggest week of the college football season for many teams, and that is certainly the case for the Michigan Wolverines as they take on their bitter rival, the Ohio State Buckeyes. It’ll be a contest that will determine much for the remainder of the season. The winner secures 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.
No. 3 Michigan Wolverines vs. No. 2 Ohio State Buckeyes
- TV: FOX
- Stream: Sling TV
- Time: Noon
- Location: 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 most difficult games to try and break down this season. Offensively, the Wolverines and Buckeyes could not be any different. Ohio State quarterback C.J. Stroud is one of the best deep ball throwers in the country with perhaps the nation’s best wideout in Marvin Harrison Jr. They like to launch the football and run up the score with big plays through the air.
Then there is 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 bend don’t break defense to limit opportunities and get the ball back.
The problem is both sides are going through some injuries, and who knows who is playing in this game? Corum left last week’s contest with a knee injury. His status is up in the air, but many assume he plays in some capacity. The same can be said about Donovan Edwards, who missed the last two games and has been limited several times this year. Michigan’s best edge rusher Mike Morris also missed last week after getting rolled up on against Nebraska. The offensive line, while being a Joe Moore Award semifinalist, has seen several different starting rotations.
On the Ohio State side of things, Jaxon Smith-Njigba, its top receiver in 2021, has not seen the field much this season. Could he return for The Game? Then, both running backs, Miyan Williams and TreVeyon Henderson have been banged up as of late.
Michigan has not won in Columbus since 2000, its win last year broke an eight-game losing streak to the Buckeyes. My heart screams Michigan, but my head has me leaning toward Ohio State. I’ll hedge my happiness by putting some money on the Buckeyes on Saturday.
No. 5 LSU Tigers vs. Texas A&M Aggies
- TV: ESPN
- Stream: Sling TV
- Time: 7 p.m. ET
- Location: 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’ll be going dual-screen on Saturday evening starting with a really intriguing game between LSU and Texas A&M. The Tigers moved all the way up to No. 5 after playing a Conference USA opponent in the second-last week of the season. They are the highest-ranked two-loss team in the College Football Playoff era.
The Tigers lost to Florida State in Week 1 and then were blown out by 27 points at home to Tennessee. Another crazy fact is this is LSU’s fourth and final road game of the season, where it has 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 bringing in the No. 1 class in the country. Its 20-3 win last week against UMass broke a six-game losing streak, but here is this important thing — Jimbo Fisher gets his teams ready for these ranked games. The Aggies are 2-2 against top-25 opponents this season and lost to Alabama by just four points on the road in early October. Then, Ole Miss came to College Station and escaped with just a three-point win.
I think this game on Saturday has the makings of a trap game for the Tigers. Their focus is all on Georgia and the glitz and glam of a College Football Playoff spot. I have a feeling this one can be a lot closer than expected, and the Aggies very well may pull off an upset if LSU isn’t careful.
No. 15 Notre Dame Fighting Irish vs. No. 6 USC Trojans
- TV: ABC
- Stream: Sling TV
- Time: 7:30 p.m. ET
- Location: 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 together a heck of a season under first-year head coach Marcus Freeman. It’s been a roller coaster ride as it lost to Marshall at home and a bad Stanford team early in the season. However, the Irish have three upsets against ranked opponents — BYU and Clemson at home and Syracuse on the road.
Meanwhile for USC, first-year head coach Lincoln Riley has taken a team that went 4-8 last season and made them a College Football Playoff contender with the help of several transfers. Quarterback Caleb Williams deserves more praise in the Heisman conversation, and he just threw for 470 yards in a big win over UCLA last week. The Trojans' only loss came on the road to Utah, one of the most difficult places to play in the country.
These two collide at the best time for both programs. Notre Dame could use one more statement win to help push towards a big 2023 season, while USC could use the same sentiment for this year. A win and a tight game or a loss for LSU could be enough to put the Trojans in the No. 4 spot this weekend. For the Michigan/Ohio State loser, this is probably the most important game to watch on Saturday night.