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Paul Finebaum thinks a Big Ten team can compete with Georgia in 2023, but it isn’t Michigan

This is so on brand for the SEC analyst.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: DEC 31 Semifinal Game Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl Photo by David J. Griffin/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

We made it so far into the offseason without having to write something dumb that ESPN SEC homer analyst Paul Finebaum had to say. He managed to get all the way to July 17, yesterday morning to be specific, but all good streaks have to end eventually.

Yesterday, while at SEC Media Day and appearing on ESPN’s “Get Up” morning show, Finebaum was asked which team in college football had the best chance to challenge a potential three-peat for the Georgia Bulldogs.

One of his answers was a Big Ten team, but it wasn’t the Michigan Wolverines, like you’d expect coming off consecutive Big Ten titles. Instead, his answer was the Ohio State Buckeyes.

“Outside (the SEC), I like Ohio State. There’s still an issue about how the quarterback situation will land, but other than that, they probably have as much talent, if not more, than anyone in the country.”

Finebaum also noted USC and Alabama as other teams that can challenge Georgia in 2023.

His OSU answer is a quite peculiar one. Keep in mind, this is the same program that lost to Georgia in the College Football Playoff last year (in hilarious fashion, might I add). It’s also the same program that lost quarterback CJ Stroud, three starting offensive linemen, top receiver Jaxon Smith-Njigba and former five-star defensive lineman in Zach Harrison to the NFL Draft.

Meanwhile, Michigan brings back just about everybody. Quarterback J.J. McCarthy, running backs Blake Corum and Donovan Edwards, wide receivers Roman Wilson and Cornelius Johnson — the latter of which went OFF against OSU on a bright, sunny November day — tight end Colston Loveland, and three of its five starting offensive linemen from a season ago are all back.

And that’s just on offense. When it comes to defense, the only starters set to be replaced are defensive end Mike Morris and defensive tackle Mazi Smith. Quite literally every other starter is back, and plentiful other contributors are back as well.

But sure, Paul, Ohio State has the best opportunity to upend a Georgia program coming off back-to-back national championships…

Give us a break.

On one hand, we shouldn’t be surprised by this statement. He’s made plenty of other stupid statements in the past — hell, he did that as recently as this week when he said he’d view Nick Saban’s legacy differently if Alabama misses the CFP again this year. But on the other hand, does anyone actually believe the Buckeyes are the team to potentially thwart the Bulldogs’ three-peat hopes?

This latest garbage from Finebaum is nothing but pure hatred and pettiness towards Michigan, but more specifically, head coach Jim Harbaugh. It’s no secret Finebaum has been a huge critic of Harbaugh’s over the years, even riling up Harbaugh enough to chirp at him by calling him the “SEC’s water carrier” several years ago. This just goes to show that there’s been no love lost, nor found, despite the Wolverines ruling the Big Ten the last two years.

At the end of the day, Michigan still has a lot going for it this year, no matter what Pete has to say in the middle of July.