clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Ohio State looks vulnerable, but will they crumble vs Michigan?

When 10-1 doesn’t feel like 10-1, articles like this are written

NCAA Football: Ohio State at Michigan State Mike Carter-USA TODAY Sports

Rivalry games.

It’s usually best to forget about who has what record and which program recently had off the field adversity.

All the sensible variables you can compile to accumulate a case as to who should win and lose can be put on the back-burner.

“This opponent has a great record, you are what your record says you are,” Jim Harbaugh said about Ohio State on Monday.

A win is a win, Jim is right. But man, OSU has made wins hard to come by at times this season:

  • Beat Penn State 27-26: Aided by PSU coach James Franklin dialing up a 4th and 5 draw with the game on the line late in the 4th.
  • Beat Nebraska 36-31: A late TD put the Cornhuskers within five, but with three minutes left, OSU got a first down and ultimately ran out the clock
  • Beat Maryland 52-51: A back and forth affair led to overtime, where Maryland opted to go for the 2-point conversion to win the game, QB Tyrrell Pigrome had a wide open receiver in the end-zone but missed his target by a sizable margin and OSU somehow survives what could have easily been a loss.

Sometimes it’s better to be lucky than good, not that OSU isn’t “good”, but they probably owe James Franklin and Maryland’s QB a couple Christmas cards.

It isn’t just the fact that OSU has had a few close games, it’s also concerning, if I were a Buckeye, to know that Michigan beat Nebraska 56-10, Maryland 42-21, and Penn State 42-7.

The teams Ohio State struggled to beat, Michigan demolished.

Worth noting, but don’t read too much into it.

Then there’s the OSU loss to Purdue, one that shocked just about everyone in the nation. The Boilermakers took it to the Buckeyes, winning 49-20. During the onslaught, Haskins threw 73 passes. 73! And still could only muster 20 points.

Ohio State v Purdue Photo by Michael Hickey/Getty Images

The close losses, the slobber knocking Purdue gave them, those are red flags.

What’s become OSU’s bread and butter now appears to be deteriorating.

The Buckeyes are losing battles in the trenches all the time. Not some of the time, it’s a majority of the time. Maryland was running all over OSU with running back Anthony McFarland rushing for well over 200 yards by the time the second quarter ended. Ouch.

Gaping holes are being created versus the Buckeye defense, and if .500 clubs can take it to them in the trenches, it would be a surprise if Michigan didn’t do the same. And the deficiencies don’t stop there, teams like Purdue and others have shredded them through the air.

Even when objectively pointing out their flaws, the team still has loads of talent, especially on offense:

- Quarterback Dwayne Haskins has thrown for 3,685 yards, 36 TD’s and 7 INT’s along with a 69.3% completion percentage

- Running J.K. Dobbins and Mike Webber have combined for over 1,600 yards and 12 touchdowns

- Receivers K.J. Hill and Parris Campbell are up to over 1,400 yards, 128 receptions, and 14 TD’s combined

The talent must be respected and taken note of, so should their deficiencies, but this season has featured a plethora of off-field distractions for the Ohio State players that need to be mentioned as well.

First, Urban Meyer was suspended, you know why. And since he was reinstated he said that he has a cyst in his brain that gives him bad headaches when he is stressed out. He’s had this for over a few years, but looks to be getting worse by the looks of things. It’s truly a concerning development.

If that isn’t bad enough, enter hot-take enthusiast, Colin Cowherd, who says Meyer is done after this season.

If Meyer is in fact done after this season, if that rumor Cowherd spewed out has any substance to it, it’s worth wondering how it has impacted the OSU locker room.

The head honcho has health problems and there are rumblings he may not be back, those reports cannot be good for the psyche of a locker room.

Even Meyer’s demeanor seems different on the sideline this season. Maybe it is because of the headaches, or maybe it’s because he doesn’t like what he is seeing out of some of his players. Either way, throwing a headset down as he did in the video below and proceeding to yell is something we don’t usually see Meyer do.

Michigan will be facing a vulnerable Ohio State team, but that doesn’t matter, you have to expect the unexpected in football. You have to expect the Buckeyes to play their best game of the year.

Michigan needs to prepare like OSU is the best team on the planet. They can’t give OSU an inch, because the Buckeyes will try to take three feet.

OSU will have home-field advantage, but that advantage aside it’s hard to really say if they even have a position unit that is better than Michigan’s. That matters, especially if Michigan executes properly.

Michigan has the more talented roster, the better defense, but that won’t mean much if they can’t get the W.

The Buckeyes might not crumble vs Michigan, but they should be the underdogs heading into this one. All that really matters, though, is what they’ll be heading out of it.