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J.J. McCarthy believes Michigan's better than last year

11-0 vs. 11-0. Michigan will have to be at their very best next Saturday.

Illinois v Michigan Photo by Aaron J. Thornton/Getty Images

Michigan beat Ohio State 42-27 last season, the first time they beat the Buckeyes since 2011. Michigan then won the Big Ten Championship, their first since 2004. Those feats catapulted the Wolverines into the College Football Playoff, their first appearance in the playoff era. In short, it was a great 2021 for Michigan.

As sweet as last season was the Wolverines had a regular season loss to Michigan State and their season ended at the Orange Bowl in the CFP Semifinals with a 34-11 loss to Georgia.

Head coach Jim Harbaugh said in July that there was a really good continuation from last year’s team.

“Players that were on the team, they put in that work, they know what it was like, that good feeling of taking care of your business and having that success and being rewarded for it,” Harbaugh said.

Michigan has been rewarded for its hard work. The team is now 11-0 heading into their matchup against 11-0 Ohio State. It’s hard to win every Saturday and their ability to remain undefeated during a season that began with sweltering heat and now features ice and snow — yeah, it’s been a journey.

After a win wear Michigan had to scratch and claw out a 19-17 last-minute victory over Illinois, quarterback J.J. McCarthy why Michigan can beat Ohio State again this season.

“Because we’re better than last year. We’re hungry and we want it more than anything so we’re gonna give it everything we got.”

If Michigan is indeed better than they were last year then they’ll have a realistic chance at seizing victory in a hostile environment at Ohio Stadium. It won’t be easy, but things rarely are in football.

“It’s everything we’ve worked for all year. This is exactly what we want, 11-0 vs. 11-0, us vs. them. Who’s gonna be the better guy, who’s gonna win up front, who’s gonna win in the pass game, all that, who’s gonna win defensively. We’re ready for it.”

The Game, Michigan vs. Ohio State, the Saturday after Thanksgiving, noon on Fox, will be the highest-rated game of the season. This will mark the first time since 2006 that Michigan and Ohio State will square off both with an 11-0 record. A win and Michigan heads to the Big Ten Championship and likely the College Football Playoff. It doesn’t get any better than this.