Staff Predictions: Michigan Wolverines

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It's here, the game that fans of both Ohio State and "that school up north" wait for all year long. One group of fans will be happy for the next year while the other set of fans will take to message boards, talk radio and local "drinking" establishments to complain about how they were wronged. How does our staff see this game shaping up? We make our picks in the game that only needs to be called "The Game".

Kevin Noon - Publisher
They say with Ohio State vs. Michigan you need to throw out records and I will do that. What I will not do is throw out common sense and common sense shows me that these two teams are going in very different directions. The Buckeyes are winners of 23 games in a row and the Wolverines would be happy just to rush for 23 yards in a game. The Buckeyes are still in the middle of the National Championship picture while Michigan fans are talking about tough choices that will need to be made as they try and design their "dream coaching staff".

In all seriousness however, Braxton Miller and Carlos Hyde should be able to move the ball against the Michigan defense but let's not start talking about a 60-point output, there are some players on the Michigan defense in the front seven. The secondary is ripe to be exploited however and it will be key for Corey Brown and Devin Smith to be involved in the game as the Buckeyes look to take the attack vertical. On the other side of the ball, the Wolverines are a wreck, they can't run the ball, protect the quarterback and passing hasn't always come easy. Ohio State's defensive line should buy stock in a poster company because there will be many Zach Boren-esque poses coming on Saturday as Devin Gardner will spend more time on the turf than upright. This one will be the most lopsided 28-point victory that you can imagine as the Buckeyes will dominate every facet of this game. Ohio State 38 Michigan 10

Patrick Maks - Staff Writer
The last time Ohio State played Michigan in Ann Arbor, Mich., might evoke poignant memories for some members of a Buckeyes team that's won now 23-straight games under the direction of coach Urban Meyer. In what was a dismal 2011 campaign marred by NCAA violations, a 40-34 loss to the Wolverines might've been the lowest moment in a season that saw Ohio State finish 6-7 (the seven losses being a program-worst since 1897). Things, of course, have changed a bit. The Buckeyes have the chance to finish back-to-back undefeated regular seasons with a win against their archrival and it might happen given the way Michigan has played of late. While Ohio State sits near the top of the BCS standings and is gunning for a spot in the national championship the unranked Wolverines have sputtered into mediocrity. But if there's anything that usually rings true about "The Game," it's that anything can happen. Meyer's squad is by far the better unit, I think that's pretty obvious. Ohio State, though, needs to approach this game as if it were a title bout. Otherwise, it'll find itself in a street fight. Ohio State 42 Michigan 21

Andrew Holleran - Staff Writer
Does Ohio State just need to play "well" to win this one? It appears so. But how do you define playing "well"? Is it how the Buckeyes have played for the past month and a half? Ohio State has looked great since they escaped Evanston, Ill. in early October. But who have they really played? As putrid as Michigan has looked this season, from a talent perspective, they are far better than any team Ohio State has faced since it played Wisconsin.

I do believe that all Ohio State has to do to win is put together an effort that equates to, say, a 7 out of 10. But in doing so, they can't turn the ball over more than twice, and they can't afford to let Devin Gardner get out of the pocket and make plays. Those are the two keys to the game: 1) Ball security and 2) Pressuring and containing the quarterback that wears No. 98. Do that, and Ohio State will finish 12-0 in the regular season for the second consecutive year. As far as the actual game goes, I expect a fast start from Brady Hoke's squad, and for it to be about a one-score differential through three quarters. But the Buckeyes' secondary will force a turnover late, and Braxton Miller will evade a Michigan defense one too many times. Does a victory result in a Gatorade bath for Urban Meyer? Ohio State 34 Michigan 24

Marc Givler - Recruiting Analyst
I have tried all week to come up with reasons why this game will be a nail biter for Ohio State and the only thing that comes to mind is that 'this is The Game' and that we have seen some incredibly unexpected things happen in this series over the years.

With that being said, all logic points to Ohio State being able to control the line of scrimmage with their defensive front against a reeling Michigan offensive line that has had a difficult time winning the line of scrimmage against all of its opponents, none of which have Ohio State's talent upfront.

Ohio State hasn't been held under 31 points all season and has only been held under 40 twice so the Buckeyes offense will certainly put up some points on Saturday. Still, I do have a lot of respect for this rivalry and strange things can happen when these two teams meet. While I don't think we're going to see a 1969 type of outcome, I do think the Michigan defense will come ready to play and that the Wolverines will at least keep this thing respectable with the Buckeyes slowly pulling away.
Ohio State 35 Michigan 20

Andy McLachlan - Team Writer
During fall camp, there were hopes that Saturday would be part one of a two-game series but once again the Wolverines didn't live up to their preseason hype. Quarterback Devin Gardner is expected to play but will certainly be less than 100 percent. Without him, Michigan would have to turn to true freshman quarterback Shane Morris, who has only attempted nine passing plays this season. One team has won 23 straight and has a shot at the BCS title. The other appears to be going through the motions and preparing for a Dec. 27 bowl. So much for the greatest rivalry in college football.
Ohio State 44 Michigan 10
Tom Levenick - Time and Change Contributor/Former Player
Ohio State travels to the Big House in Ann Arbor Michigan to take on TSUN in the 110th playing of THE GAME, the greatest rivalry in College Football. There are so many factors playing into this game. The Wolverines are experiencing a "heartbreaking" season and a victory over the Buckeyes will put salve on some of those wounds and maybe even salvage a coaching job or two. TSUN also could enhance their bowl game possibilities with a win over Ohio State and an 8-4 record versus a loss and a 7-5 record. Let's not forget the 1969 game, when our great No. 1 ranked Buckeyes, led by Rex Kern and crew went to Ann Arbor sporting a 22 game winning streak and returned to Columbus with their tail between their legs after a 24 to 12 defeat at the hands of the Wolverines. The scenario is very similar.

The 2013 Buckeyes, currently possess the longest winning streak in Ohio State football history as well as the longest current winning streak in NCAA football with 23 wins in a row. They still have a legitimate shot at playing for the BCS Championship. Oh how the Wolverines would like to spoil our party. However, the only thing that will be spoiled this weekend is Michigan QB Devin Garner's pre-season prediction that he guarantees that Michigan will beat Ohio State this year. Sorry Devin. The Buckeye defense will continue its improvement and hold the Wolverines down. Conversely, the Buckeye offense will explode with Braxton Miller and specifically Carlos Hyde making a point against TSUN. Also, expect big plays from Dontre Wilson, Devin Smith and Jeff Heuerman. The Buckeyes will win convincingly.
Ohio State 48 Michigan 20