The Wolverines have had a roller coaster year starting with their opening night lost to #2 (then #1) Alabama and then three weeks later to #1 (then #11) Notre Dame to drop to 2-2. Since then they have won six of the seven, only losing to Nebraska in Lincoln and that was after losing QB Denard Robinson to a nerve issue in his throwing right elbow.
Now they have a two quarterback offense with Jr. QB Devin Gardner and Robinson. Gardner who has led the offense these past three games, with outstanding performances (combined passing 46 for 70 for 834 yards, 7 touchdowns a QB Rating of 190.2 and rushing 28 carries for 106 yards, but 6 rushing touchdowns) all wins, while Robinson was healing.
Robinson was under center for the first eight games and has seen his performance slip from last year (89 for 166 and 1,319 yards, 9 touchdowns, but 9 interceptions to go along with 144 rushes for 1,044 yards and 6 touchdowns). Denard is not certain what position he will play at the next level, but got a chance Saturday to play a part time tailback (13 carries for 98 yards) and did very well, especially after RB Fitz Toussaint went down. This Saturday he will line up at both of these, plus some WR, as will Gardner, when Robinson goes back to his desired position.
Defensively they need to find a way to stop the scarlet and grey’s version of Robinson in QB Braxton Miller, which will fall into the hands of LB Jake Ryan and DB Jordan Kovacs, who lead a defense that ranks 17th in points scored with just over 18 points a game. Their opponents rank 18 in points scored at just over 38 points a game and 9th in rushing yards with 245.5 yards a game, which will be a challenge for the 51st ranked rushing defense allowing 151.4 yards a game.
On top of needing a complete effort vs. OSU, they need some help from a Hawkeye team they beat 42-17 to get to the Big ten Championship team. Read the Game of the Week below for my prediction
Here is this week’s look at the Top 5:
1. Notre Dame (11-0) – Talk about the luck of the Irish, getting both of last week’s #1 and #2 to lose, and now they only have to beat a Barkley less Trojan team in the Coliseum. The Irish can smell the beach in Miami as they win by two touchdowns and start packing.
2. Alabama (10-1) – As lucky as the Irish were, the Tide got more, after their unexpected loss to Texas A&M the week before. Now they have to get through the Iron Bowl vs. Auburn and then the SEC Championship vs. #4 Georgia. Tide beats up the Tigers in one of the most lopsided since 2008 when the Tide rolled 36-0. I see Alabama winning, by almost that much, 30 points.
3. Ohio State (11-0) – The Buckeyes kept their perfect season in tact by defeating the Badgers in OT as they try to complete a perfect season in Urban Meyer’s first season. See below for prediction in the next match up in “The Game”
4. Georgia (10-1) – The Bulldogs are assured of the SEC title game, but need to beat Georgia Tech to keep any title hopes alive. They get the job done and then get ready for the Tide. Bulldogs win by 17 points.
5. Oregon (10-1) – They need a lot of help after being in the driver’s seat. They get Oregon State Saturday in this season’s version of the Civil War in Corvallis, OR. The Beavers are going to get a mad Ducks team as Oregon needs help from various sources to get into the PAC 12 game, let alone a BCS game. Hard to imagine how one game changed their season. Ducks win by 21 in a high scoring affair.
After weeks of having a favorite, but when they would lose another would jump in and take his place. Well for this week, there is no clear cut favorite, or even a majority candidate. This is shaping up to be as close as was the contest in the 2009 Heisman race, when Alabama RB Mark Ingram won by 28 points.
Ranking of candidates this week:
1. Manti Te’o – Sr. LB Notre Dame
2. Johnny Manziel – FR QB of Texas A&M
3. Colin Klein – Sr. QB Kansas State
4. Braxton Miller – So. QB Ohio State
5. Aaron Murray – Jr. QB Georgia
#20 Michigan at #3 Ohio State – Saturday 12 noon, November 24, 2012 at Ohio Stadium.
Michigan has been battling back from early losses to #1 Notre Dame and #2 Alabama and injuries to All Everything QB Denard Robinson but a late season loss to #14 Nebraska ruined their Rose Bowl and Big Ten Championship chances. Short of a miracle of Iowa beating the Cornhuskers and the Wolverines winning on Saturday, they will watch Nebraska play Wisconsin for the right to play in the Rose Bowl.
The Wolverines have uncovered a two QB system now that Robinson is coming back from nerves issue and Junior QB Devin Gardner has excelled in the Pro-Style offense. If Michigan, who will line both up in different formations, can cause the Buckeyes some trouble, they have a good chance of defeating their opponents.
Ohio State is on the verge of a perfect season and a possible share of the AP title, if Notre Dame loses, leaving them the only undefeated team in the country. If QB and Heisman candidate (on again) Braxton Miller can create the chaos like he did last year, when the Buckeyes almost won, and they can keep LB Jake Ryan out of the backfield, they should cruise to their perfect season
Prediction: As hard as it is for me to say, the team down south wins a close one 34-31 in the “Shoe”