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Preview: Ohio State Buckeyes

God, this is going to hurt...

Michigan has been a disappointment this year without a doubt. However, their compatriots to the South have been something of a disappointment as well, though not to nearly the degree of the Wolverines. Ohio State entered the year returning nearly everyone off a team that had played for the national title the past two years, yet got destroyed in Los Angeles, and went down on their home turf to Penn State. that said, Michigan doesn't stand a real chance...

Offense
Terrelle Pryor's ascent took place a year earlier than expected, but take place it did. He is now the triggerman for Ohio State, and does just about everything from running to passing to just handing the ball off to Beanie Wells. Speaking of Wells, he's done it all for Ohio State - on the rare occasion he was completely healthy. The two areas of weakness for the OSU offense are the wideouts and offensive line. The line has ranged from bad to mediocre all year, with brief forays into the area of "passable." They are the most culpable party for each of Ohio State's losses. Their pass blocking has improved since the USC game, helped in large part by Terrelle Pryor's ability to move the pocket and escape pressure. However, the run blocking still leaves something to be desired, though Pryor and Beanie can make do with the holes that are opening up in front of them. The wideouts are talented but inconsistent, with problems ranging from drops to missed cuts.

Michigan's defensive strength is the line, which should help them against OSU's offensive weak point, the O-line. However, many schools have schemed to minimize Michigan's advantage here (most frustratingly Toledo) with all manner of half-rollouts and quick passes, which are the strength of Pryor's game, unfortunately. Ohio State also seems poised to attack Michigan's weak safeties and linebackers. I've had nightmares for weeks thinking about the Wolverines' poor tackling against the Buckeyes.

Defense
The Ohio State defense has been pretty good for most of the year, with a few notable exceptions. Those exceptions include USC, who simply had their way with OSU - on both sides of the ball - and teams with mobile quarterbacks, like Ohio and Illinois. Other teams have been able to move the ball on the ground against Ohio State, however. Through the air, Malcolm Jenkins and a rotating cast of nickel players have shut down opposing passing attacks.

Alas, Michigan has neither the plethora of talent that the Trojans boast, nor the mobile signal-caller of Ohio or Illinois. I don't particularly fancy the though of Nick Sheridan slinging the ball into the teeth of that Buckeye secondary, either. This essentially boils down to Michigan's only hope being a healthy Brandon Minor, and a host of short passes (many of them screens) and maybe a guest appearance by Justin Feagin running the zone-read. Ohio state has had their share of missed tackles this year, too, and strong running by the likes of Brandon Minor and Greg Mathews should result in some YAC.

Special Teams
This section hasn't appeared in any previews so far this year, but the Ohio State special teams have been notable in their boom-or-bust characteristic (sounds familiar, no?). Of course, Ohio State's ST units haven't been as volatile as Michigan's and have been much more heavy on the good things, like blocked punts and returns for touchdown.

Michigan's main goal in this facet of the game is to not have a punt blocked, and not lose the ball on a return. Playing against a coach like Tressel, special teams play and changing field position should be a huge factor.

Predictions
Michigan's only passing touchdown comes either in the first quarter or on a screen pass.
Stevie Brown intercepts a pass, but makes enough mistakes in coverage to make up for it.
Michigan keeps this one a little closer than the experts think, losing 31-17.

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“Preview: Ohio State Buckeyes”

  1. Anonymous I know nothing. Says:

    I predict that I am going to start drinking tomorrow at about 9AM. I will also predict that UM will not score 17 points, and OSU will not hit 30. Pryor is going to throw about 4 passes, Beanie runs for 150, we kick a couple of field goals, and OSU wins 22-6, in a game that is less watchable then last years game. And what is going to suck is if we do pull the upset, I won't remember any of it, cause I am going right to Vodka.

    Here's to next year. (I hope I'm wrong).