Welcome to Gleitman’s Gameday Guide, presented by Steamboat Dry Goods, a quick-hitting resource for fans on Buckeye Scoop as they prepare for the upcoming Ohio State game and the national slate of college football each week.
This guide will include my five players who must step up each week for the Buckeyes to win, score prediction and how it plays out, and “brave and bold” predictions for the upcoming contest. Additionally, I’ll look at the national and Big Ten games to let you know my picks (straight up and vs. the spread), as well as who I am picking as my four teams to advance to the College Football Playoff each week.
This week, Gleitman’s Gameday Guide looks at the Buckeyes next game, THE GAME, at Michigan, as well as the rest of college football in week 13.
FIVE PLAYERS WHO MUST STEP UP FOR OHIO STATE TO WIN
The Buckeyes are a 8-point favorites in this one, as Michigan is a good team at 10-1 and this is a rivalry match-up. Here are five players that need to step up to ensure Ohio State advances to 11-1, earns a trip to Indianapolis, and keeps their CFP hopes alive:
- QB CJ Stroud: Was lights out against Purdue and Michigan State the last two weeks. If he can light up the scoreboard and not turn it over, this should result in an Ohio State victory.
- LT Nicholas Petit-Frere:Michigan has an excellent duo of defensive end pass rushers in Aidan Hutchinson and David Ojabo. NPF will have to step up and neutralize whichever one is across from him throughout the day.
- RT Dawand Jones: See above, as Dawand will have to handle whoever NPF does not draw.
- DE Tyreke Smith/Zach Harrison: Yes, there are other ends that play, but these two may be participating in THE GAME for the last time. They need to step up to get pressure on Cade McNamara, as well as be stout against a solid Michigan run game.
- RB TreVeyon Henderson: I still think running the ball will be a key to this game, so it is imperative that Henderson be patient, find the right holes, and go for a couple of big hitters.
This will be covered in our weekly staff picks, but I want to provide it here as well:
For weeks, maybe even months, I have felt this game was going to be a tough one for Ohio State, and I still feel that way during game week. Win or lose, I think this is going to be a game decided by single digits, and Vegas agrees with me, setting the line at around eight (depending on the book you look at).
For Michigan, on defense, the keys to victory will be limiting the Ohio State run game to make the Buckeyes one-dimensional, getting pressure on/disguising coverages on CJ Stroud, and giving up 3s not 7s in the red-zone. That was ultimately the formula for Oregon, Nebraska, and Penn State in making the OSU offense look human, so if UM if able to do that, they will have a shot to win this one in the fourth quarter.
On offense, I think the number one thing for the Wolverines is to keep Cade McNamara clean. Ohio State’s defense has been most effective when they are getting to the passer and protecting their back seven in the passing game. If the UM O-Line can keep McNamara clean, I think he’ll be able to have success in the short and intermediate passing game, especially against the OSU linebackers and safeties. Additionally, UM needs to be able to run the ball, as that is their strength and it will also help them keep the Ohio State offense off the field. If they are able to have success in the passing game, I think it will loosen up the box a bit for Haskins, Corum (if playing), and Edwards to do their thing.
For Ohio State, the key to the offense is not getting behind the chains due to penalties and negative plays, as well as being efficient in the red-zone. In order to do the latter, they need to achieve balance and be able to establish the running game, which starts at the line of scrimmage against a very good UM front seven. Additionally, the line needs to keep Hutchinson and Ojabo out of the backfield. CJ Stroud has proven he can shred you with a clean pocket but has made some (redshirt) freshmen mistakes at time when under duress. Remaining somewhat balanced, limiting penalties/negative plays, keeping Stroud clean, and converting for touchdowns when they get inside the 20 is the name of the game.
When it comes to the Silver Bullets, it’s the inverse of the Michigan offense. They must stop the run first and foremost. Then they need to be able to get consistent pressure on McNamara via a four-man rush or various blitzes throughout the day. If they can make Michigan one-dimensional via the passing game and get after McNamara, it is game over and likely a blowout.
In sum, I think this game will be very close. I am going to predict Michigan getting out to a 14-0 lead early, only to have Ohio State score 14 unanswered points before a Wolverines field goal before the half to lead 17-14 at the break. I think the Buckeyes will make the necessary adjustments from there and pull away a bit in the second half, outscoring UM 14-7 in the third quarter and 10-7 in the fourth to seal the victory and head to Indianapolis.
Ohio State 38 Michigan 31
BRAVE AND BOLD PREDICTIONS
While the score prediction is straight forward, here are three “brave and bold” predictions each week that I’ll make about things that happen in the game:
- As mentioned above, I think Michigan jumps out to a fast lead, let’s call it 14-0. This is based on a hunch and a dream I had this week where that scenario occurred.
- I think Cade McNamara is going to have a solid day, but I think he’s going to make a very costly mistake in the second half of this game. I see the Michigan QB throwing a pick-six, with Ronnie Hickman grabbing it out of the air on a pass down the seam and taking it to the house.
- TreVeyon Henderson has been fairly quiet since the second half of the Penn State game. I think he has a THE GAME moment in this one, rushing for at least 122 yards, which would be one more than Zeke Elliott ran for in 2014, his first year as starting tailback in this rivalry game.
Every week I will pick every Big Ten game and a few select national games both straight up and against the spread (LW SU: 13-2; LW ATS: 11-4; TOTAL SU: 120-57; TOTAL ATS: 94-81-2)
- Ohio State at Michigan (+8): Ohio State Straight Up & Michigan Against The Spread
- Iowa at Nebraska (+1.5): Nebraska SU & ATS
- Maryland at Rutgers (+1.5): UMD SU & ATS
- Penn State at Michigan State (+1): PSU SU & ATS
- Northwestern at Illinois (-6.5): Illinois SU & NW ATS
- Indiana at Purdue (-15): Purdue SU & IU ATS
- Wisconsin at Minnesota (+7): Wisconsin SU & Minnesota ATS
- Ole Miss at Mississippi State (-1.5): MSU SU & ATS
- Boise State at San Diego State (+2.5): Boise State SU & ATS
- UNC at NC State (-6): NCST SU & ATS
- Alabama at Auburn (+19.5): Bama SU & Auburn ATS
- Oregon State at Oregon (-7): Oregon SU & Oregon State ATS
- Oklahoma at Oklahoma State (-4): OKST SU & ATS
- Texas A&M at LSU (+6.5): TAMU SU & LSU ATS
- BYU at USC (+7): BYU SU & ATS
COLLEGE FOOTBALL PLAYOFF PICKS
The latest College Football Playoff rankings came out this week and the top six in order were Georgia, Ohio State, Alabama, Cincinnati, Michigan, and Notre Dame. But here are my weekly rankings for the CFP heading into this week’s slate of games:
- Georgia: Continue to prove they are the clear number one. (Last Week: 1)
- Ohio State: Dominated Michigan State. The CFP finally moved them up to where I have had them for a few weeks. (Last Week: 2)
- Cincinnati: Another win and this one was a dominating victory. (Last Week: 3)
- Alabama: Nice win against Arkansas and now they get Auburn in a rivalry game. (Last Week: 4)
- Michigan: Losses to Oregon and Sparty have them in position to make the CFP field if they can beat Ohio State. (Last Week: NR)
- Oklahoma State: This one will sort itself out as they play Oklahoma—a win could put them in position to make the CFP after championship weekend. Notre Dame is at 7, Baylor is at 8, Oklahoma is at 9 and Oregon is at 10 for me. (Last Week: NR)
Be sure to check out the Buckeye Scoop Staff Picks feature this week to learn how you can win a prize pack giveaway from Steamboat Dry Goods by predicting the score of the Ohio State game!
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