Staff Predictions: That School Up North

class="st_facebook_hcount" displayText="Share">
/">Follow Noon | Givler | Axelrod | Birmingham
There is no need for a long intro. This is Ohio State against Michigan. Other rivalries try to say that they are bigger, the passion burns brighter and the hate runs deeper, but we all know better.

This year the Buckeyes are looking to finish the year undefeated and those dreams have stopped before with the Wolverines standing in the way.

Will the Bucks pull off the magical season and lay claim to being one of the nation's top teams, bowl game or no bowl game?

We take a look at how our staff sees things playing out in our Staff Predictions.

Kevin Noon - Publisher
This game is special if everything is on the line or nothing is on the line, it really doesn't matter in "The Game". The Buckeyes have plenty on the line however with a perfect season on the line and slim shot at an AP National Championship. The Wolverines needs the game too if they want to have a shot at Indy and the BCS berth in the Rose Bowl. Braxton Miller is coming off of his worst game of the year in a production sense but the Wolverines are not going to be able to just "copy" what the Badgers did last week, there is a little matter of having the same personnel to be able to pull that off and the Wolverine front seven is not as talented as the Badger front seven. The Wolverines will be able to do some things on offense with the Denard/Devin combo but the loss of starting RB Fitzgerald Toussaint will play a bigger role than people are expecting. Miller will have a couple of jaw-dropping plays and will punch his ticket to New York this year to watch someone else win the Heisman before he wins it in 2013. Ohio State 35 Michigan 24

Ben Axelrod - Lead Team Writer
Before the season, I set my Buckeyes' season prediction to 11-1, with that one loss coming to Michigan. And while I've been right through 11 games, I really just don't see any way Urban Meyer loses his first game to Michigan at Ohio State, with so much on the line. I realize that contradicts everything I said before the season, but like the Buckeyes have this season, I've adapted and adjusted, and see a extremely close, four quarter classic coming down to Braxton Miller making the play to win the game that he couldn't last year. Ohio State 38 Michigan 35

Marc Givler - Recruiting Analyst
The greatest rivalry in college football. Both Urban Meyer and Brady Hoke grew up on this game and now they meet head-to-head for the first time in one of the most highly anticipated showdowns in the recent history of this rivalry. Both teams have athletic quarterbacks capable of making big plays with both their arms and legs which will put a lot of pressure on the defensive back seven's of both squads. Ultimately, Meyer finds himself in a similar situation as Hoke last year, you never want to drop that first OSU/Michigan game as a head coach. Hoke knew he needed to set the tone last year and his team got the hard fought win at home. Meyer needs to set the tone for his tenure here at Ohio State and I see the Buckeyes winning in a similar fashion to what the Wolverines did a year ago. Ohio State 31 Michigan 27

Jeremy Birmingham - Team Writer
The 109th meeting between Ohio State and rival Michigan will not determine the Big Ten champion, but that doesn't take away its impact on the conference's race for supremacy. Brady Hoke has turned around a floundering program in two years time and will face off for the first time against Urban Meyer. In two years in the Big Ten, Hoke's Wolverines have won as many road games - four - as Meyer and the Buckeyes did this season in the conference. In his time at Florida, Meyer was 16-2 against rivals Florida State, Georgia and Tennessee, and has bested Penn State and Wisconsin as the Buckeyes' leader. For the Buckeyes to finish undefeated, they will need to trust Braxton Miller and open up the offense against an underrated Michigan defensive front seven the country's top-rated pass defense. Ohio State 38 Michigan 34

Andy McLachlan - Team Writer
For the Buckeyes, perfection is on the line. To go 12-0 after a miserable 2011 is every fan's dream but the Wolverines have no intention to start another losing streak against their arch rival. It's clear that Brady Hoke and Urban Meyer understand this rivalry. They've lived it, coached it and comprehend it. Will it mean Meyer won't cross the 50 yard line to shake Hoke's hand? Who knows but each of them get it. In this game, do not underestimate Devin Gardner's health compared to Braxton Miller. Gardner has taken a few shots over the past few weeks but has spent most of 2012 at wide receiver. Compare that to the beating Miller has taken this season and you find an advantage for Michigan. Miller cannot solely rely on his ability to scramble and utilize Carlos Hyde. Once again, a late second drive will be the deciding factor in the game. Except this year, Miller will make the pass needed for victory unlike last season. Ohio State 35 Michigan 34
Tom Levenick - Time and Change Contributor/Former Player
TSUN will be visiting The Horseshoe this weekend for the 109th playing of The Game. Michigan has improved steadily since their losses to Alabama and Notre Dame and their defense, led by linebackers Desmond Morgan and Jake Ryan leads the Big Ten in scoring defense. As always, Denard Robinson will be a challenge for the Buckeyes, but the addition of Devin Gardner will also add a new wrinkle for the Buckeyes pass defense. I expect a strong showing by Braxton Miller, Carlos Hyde and the Buckeyes offensive line after their disappointing performance against Wisconsin. The Game was rated as the number one sports rivalry in all of North America and this edition will show everyone why. The Buckeyes will win a close one. Ohio State 31 TSUN 21

Doug Bean - Team Writer/Social Media
Who has more to play for Saturday? That's what I ask myself about this game. Michigan held out faint hopes of reaching the Big Ten championship game and the Rose Bowl, but unfortunately for the Wolverines, they needed Nebraska to lose to pitiful Iowa. Ohio State has a perfect season on the line and a chance to wind up as the only undefeated FBS team in the country. This is the last game for the Ohio State seniors, while Michigan's seniors still have a bowl. Braxton Miller could be poised for another good game against That Team Up North's defense. Ohio State's defense appears to be peaking after struggling for much of the season. All that adds up to a Buckeyes victory. Ohio State 31 Michigan 17