Sunday, June 23, 2024

Michigan-Ohio State 2023: 6 burning questions for Saturday


Rivalry Week is upon us within the faculty soccer world.

Whereas each recreation issues, this week one recreation definitely stands out.

The annual tilt between Ohio State and Michigan.

There isn’t a scarcity of storylines as this recreation looms. From the continued allegations relating to sign-stealing at Michigan, to the 2 coaches concerned, to the Heisman trophy race, to even the upcoming NFL Draft, there are a selection of speaking factors to look at forward of this tilt.

So let’s dive into the largest ones. Listed here are the six burning questions that might be answered Saturday in Michigan-Ohio State.

How may this recreation impression the Heisman race?

The Heisman Trophy race has seen some shifts over the ultimate few weeks of the school soccer season, and in the mean time LSU quarterback Jayden Daniels is the odds-on favourite to carry dwelling the {hardware}.

However Saturday in Ann Arbor affords just a few completely different gamers a possibility that Daniels won’t have down the stretch.

An opportunity at a showcase recreation.

LSU’s closing recreation of the 2023 common season kicks off similtaneously Ohio State-Michigan, and whereas Daniels takes on an unranked Texas A&M staff, it’s doubtless the majority of the voters will likely be tuned into some of the crucial video games of the season.

That would see an enormous shift in Heisman sentiment come Sunday morning.

Will Ohio State extensive receiver Marvin Harrison Jr., extensively thought-about top-of-the-line gamers in all of faculty soccer, ship a Heisman second? If the Wolverines emerge victories, might it come on the backs of working again Blake Corum, or quarterback J.J. McCarthy? Can one in all these gamers ship an enormous efficiency on this contest?

And guide themselves a visit to New York Metropolis within the course of?

Will the actual J.J. McCarthy please arise?

Talking of the Michigan quarterback …

Typically, it’s troublesome to disregard the looming specter of the NFL Draft when discussing faculty soccer.

Notably on the subject of the quarterback place.

Waiting for subsequent April for a second, whereas the dialogue relating to QB1 between Caleb Williams and Drake Maye will garner the majority of the headlines, the extra fascinating debate could heart on simply who emerges as QB3 within the incoming class of passers.

There was a time, within the not-to-distant previous, when McCarthy was the frontrunner in that dialogue. A powerful begin to the season, together with a formidable four-touchdown effort towards Michigan State, propelled McCarthy into the draft dialogue.

However that dialog has shifted in current weeks. McCarthy has not thrown a landing cross since that recreation towards the Spartans, which happened earlier than Halloween. Complicating issues is the truth that McCarthy has virtually performed the position of spectator the previous two weeks for the Wolverines. Towards Maryland final week he accomplished simply 12 of 23 passes for 141 yards and an interception, and two weeks in the past towards Penn State McCarthy hit on simply 7 of 8 passes for 60 yards.

And he didn’t try a cross in your complete second half.

Ohio State options top-of-the-line defenses within the nation, towards each the run and the cross. This recreation affords McCarthy an opportunity to reestablish himself within the draft dialog, if he can put collectively the form of recreation he has previously. A 12 months in the past towards the Buckeyes, McCarthy accomplished 12 of 24 passes for 263 yards and three touchdowns.

An effort like that, towards this 12 months’s Ohio State protection, will surely be noteworthy.

So, too, would one other recreation the place he serves as a spectator.

Which protection reigns supreme?

Right here’s a storyline that some faculty soccer followers may love.

Two of one of the best defenses within the nation are set to sq. off tomorrow.

Michigan enters this week because the top-ranked scoring protection within the nation, permitting simply 9 factors per recreation.

Ohio State is true behind them, permitting 9.27 factors per recreation.

In relation to dashing protection, Michigan ranks eighth within the nation, permitting simply 90 yards per recreation on the bottom. The Buckeyes are nineteenth, giving up simply 108.5 yards per recreation on the bottom.

As for the passing recreation, issues are flipped. Ohio State has one of the best passing protection within the nation, by way of yardage allowed, as opponents common simply 144.4 yards per recreation towards the Buckeyes.

Michigan is true behind them, having allowed 144.8 passing yards per recreation this season.

These are two unimaginable defenses. So factors could come at a premium.

Which means when you, or somebody you understand, loves defensive soccer, this recreation is a must-watch.

What occurs to Jim Harbaugh if the Wolverines lose?

In some ways, the storylines write themselves.

Ought to Michigan win on Saturday, with the suspended Jim Harbaugh watching the sport on tv. the main focus will shift to Ryan Day and his tenure at Ohio State.

But when the Wolverines lose …

In spite of everything, Harbaugh is serving his second of two suspensions this season, and the present suspension will likely be seen in a a lot completely different mild if Ohio State prevails Saturday afternoon. The main focus will turn into “Harbaugh can’t beat the Buckeyes with out dishonest,” given the swirling allegations of sign-stealing surrounding the Wolverines.

And a Michigan loss doubtless accelerates the notion of Harbaugh heading again to the NFL.

What occurs to Ryan Day if the Buckeyes lose?

It could be time for a bit Ohio State historical past lesson.

That includes John Cooper.

Cooper was the pinnacle coach at Ohio State for 13 years, and through his time in Columbus he loved a successful proportion of .715. He received 111 video games at Ohio State, second solely to the legendary Woody Hayes. Cooper additionally led the Buckeyes to ten-straight bowl video games.

Nonetheless, he by no means received a nationwide title. Nor did Ohio State win an outright Massive Ten title throughout his time in Columbus.

Making issues worse? His report towards Michigan was a paltry 2-10-1. On a number of events, Ohio State had the prospect to cap off an ideal season with a win over their rivals, and on a lot of these events the Wolverines spoiled Cooper’s celebration.

There was the 1993 season, when the Buckeyes entered their rivalry recreation ranked fifth within the nation, and simply wanted to beat Michigan to advance to the Rose Bowl. They had been shutout by the unranked Wolverines 28-0.

There was the 1995 season when Ohio State, then ranked second within the nation, misplaced to the 18th-ranked Wolverines 31-23. The next season the Buckeyes had been ranked second within the nation as soon as extra, and had already wrapped up a bid within the Rose Bowl. However Michigan ended any probabilities of a nationwide title for Cooper, because the Wolverines received in Columbus by a closing rating of 13-9.

If you wish to keep at Ohio State, and construct a legacy, you have to beat Michigan. Particularly within the massive video games.

Ryan Day, the present Ohio State head coach, has a 1-2 report towards Michigan at this level in his profession.

There are already rumblings that Day must be on the new seat, from retailers starting from our associates at Land-Grant Holy Land to ESPN analyst Paul Finebaum, who theorized final summer time that Day may not survive 2023.

Might a 3rd loss to the Wolverines tip the scales?

How will this recreation impression the Faculty Soccer Playoff?

Massively, is the reply right here, whatever the end result.

The staff that wins this recreation takes a large step nearer to the Faculty Soccer Playoff, and sure begins subsequent week as the brand new No. 1 staff within the rankings. They’ll head to the Massive Ten Championship Sport, the place they are going to tackle an Iowa staff that doubtless performs the position of “pace bump” en path to the Playoff.

As for the loser?

They’ll want some assist to maintain their Playoff hopes alive.

Now, that’s what occurred a season in the past. Michigan throttled Ohio State 45-23 final 12 months, punching their ticket to the Massive Ten Championship Sport towards Purdue. As for Ohio State, they got a reprieve from the Choice Committee, and acquired into the Playoff forward of a pair of multi-loss convention recreation champions. Kansas State received the Massive 12 title recreation however completed with three losses on the 12 months, whereas Clemson received the ACC Championship, however completed with two losses.

The trail for the loser is a little more daunting this 12 months. Heading into the ultimate weekend of the common season Washington, Florida State, and Georgia are all undefeated, and even when these groups had been to lose this weekend, they’d doubtless get into the Playoff with a win of their convention title video games over the loser of Michigan-Ohio State.

Then there are some one-loss groups, resembling Oregon, Alabama, and Louisville. Take Alabama, for instance. Say they beat Auburn within the Iron Bowl, after which beat Georgia within the SEC Championship recreation. It will be exhausting for the Choice Committee to cross on the Crimson Tide for the staff that loses between Ohio State and Michigan.

So, there’s a lot at stake.

Including to the drama? That is the ultimate 12 months below the present Faculty Soccer Playoff format. Subsequent 12 months the discipline expands to 12 groups, which might make it a lot simpler for the loser of a recreation like Michigan-Ohio State to get into the sector.

Which makes this 12 months’s installment of the sport that rather more dramatic.

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