The time has come. It’s the busiest week of the college football season for many teams, and that certainly goes for the Michigan Wolverines as they take on their bitter rivals, the Ohio State Buckeyes. It will be a competition that will decide a lot for the rest of the season. The winner secures a spot in the Big Ten Championship and likely the College Football Playoffs.
Let’s take a deep dive into Rivalry Week and Michigan vs. Ohio State on Saturday.
#3 Michigan Wolverines against no. 2 Ohio State Buckeyes
- TV: FOX
- Stream: Sling TV
- Time: Midday
- Location: Columbus, Ohio
- Weather: 47 degrees, cloudy
- DraftKings Odds: OSU-7.5, O/U: 56, ML: OSU -295, ME +245
- Best Bet (15-18): OSU-295
This is one of the hardest games to try this season. Offensively, the Wolverines and Buckeyes couldn’t be any different. Ohio State quarterback CJ Stroud is one of the best deep ball throwers in the country with perhaps the best wideout in the country in Marvin Harrison Jr. They like to start football and shoot the scores through the air with big plays.
Then there’s Michigan, a ground-and-pound team that dominates possession and runs through their opponents. Heisman hopeful Blake Corum is having one of the best seasons for a running back this millennium, overtaking former Heisman backs like Reggie Bush, Derrick Henry and Mark Ingram. The Wolverines rely on a flex that doesn’t break through defenses to limit chances and get the ball back.
The problem is that both sides are going through some injuries and who knows who will play in this game? Corum left the competition last week with a knee injury. His status is up in the air, but many assume he’s playing in some capacity. The same goes for Donovan Edwards, who missed the last two games and was limited several times this year. Michigan’s top edge rusher Mike Morris also missed last week after being rolled up against Nebraska. The offensive line, despite being a Joe Moore Award semifinalist, has seen several different starting rotations.
On the Ohio State side, Jaxon Smith-Njigba, their top receiver in 2021, hasn’t seen the field much this season. Could he return for The Game? Then both running backs, Miyan Williams and TreVeyon Henderson, have been beaten up lately.
Michigan hasn’t won in Columbus since 2000, and last year’s win broke an eight-game losing streak against the Buckeyes. My heart cries out for Michigan, but my head leans towards the state of Ohio. I’m going to hedge my luck by betting some money on the Buckeyes on Saturday.
#5 LSU Tiger vs. Texas A&M Aggies
- TV: ESPN
- Stream: Sling TV
- Time: 7 p.m. ET
- Location: College Station, Texas
- Weather: 57 degrees, cloudy
- DraftKings Odds: LSU-10, O/U: 47.5, ML: LSU -390, A&M +320
- Best Bet (15-18): Morning +10
I’m going to dual screen Saturday night with a really fascinating game between LSU and Texas A&M. The Tigers moved up to fifth place after playing a Conference USA opponent in the penultimate week of the season. They are the highest-ranked two-loss team of the college football playoff era.
The Tigers lost to Florida State in Week 1 and then were beaten by 27 points at home to Tennessee. Another crazy fact is that this is the fourth and final away game of the season for LSU, battling some of the worst teams in the SEC. Arkansas was close to a touchdown two weeks ago, Florida came back to make it a game and Auburn even started 17-0 against the Tigers before LSU came back to win.
Texas A&M has been one of college football’s biggest disappointments this season after clinching the No. 1 league in the nation. His 20-3 win over UMass last week broke a six-game losing streak, but here’s one important thing — Jimbo Fisher is preparing his teams for these ranked games. The Aggies are 2-2 against top-25 opponents this season, losing to Alabama away by just four points in early October. Then Ole Miss came to College Station and walked away with just a three-point win.
I think this game on Saturday has the makings of a trap game for the Tigers. Her focus is all on Georgia and the glitz and glamor of a college football playoff spot. I have a feeling this may be a lot closer than expected, and the Aggies could very well cause a stir if LSU isn’t careful.
#15 Notre Dame fights the Irish against No. 6 USC Trojans
- TV: ABC
- Stream: Sling TV
- Time: 7:30 p.m. ET
- Location: Los Angeles, California
- Weather: 66 degrees, partly cloudy
- DraftKings Odds: USC-5.5, O/U: 64.5, ML: ND+180, USC-210
- Best Bet (15-18): USC-5.5
Notre Dame has quietly put together one hell of a season under first-year head coach Marcus Freeman. It was a roller coaster, losing at home to Marshall and a poor Stanford team earlier in the season. However, the Irish have three surprises against ranked opponents – BYU and Clemson at home and Syracuse on the road.
Meanwhile, freshman USC head coach Lincoln Riley turned a team that had won 4-8 the previous season into a college football playoff contender through multiple transfers. Quarterback Caleb Williams deserves more praise on the Heisman talk, and he threw for just 470 yards in a big win against UCLA last week. The Trojans’ only defeat came en route to Utah, one of the country’s toughest venues.
These two collide at the best time for both programs. Notre Dame could use another statement win to work towards a big 2023 season, while USC could use the same sentiment for this year. A win and a close game or loss for LSU could be enough to push the Trojans to No. 4 this weekend. This is probably the most important game on Saturday night for the losers from Michigan/Ohio State.