A win would:
- Give us our first win against Ohio in way too long
- Probably send us to a BCS bowl game
- Make us believe that Hoke really is a god and that a national title in 2013 is a strong possibility
A loss would:
- Simply ruin our season, there's a big difference between 9-3 and 10-2 with a win over OSU.
The stakes are high, and as usual there will be a lot of very talented recruits on hand to witness 'The Game'. A lot of them will be 2013 kids, as well as a lot of 2012 commits, but there are going to be some big time 2012 targets that Michigan would love to secure a commitment from this weekend.
I'll start with arguably the most important, Brionte Dunn. He'll be on campus for his 2nd visit in as many weeks and despite being an OSU commit, many people (incl me!) feel that Michigan is probably the favorite. He's enrolling early so a decision won't be too far away, this weekend could just seal the deal for Michigan.
Amara Darboh is first of our official visitors on Saturday, and Michigan is also in a fairly strong position for him. He visited Notre Dame last Saturday and it could well be a UM-ND battle, and I think UM will win this one.
Michigan doesn't necessarily need a 6th offensive line commit in this class, but if Joshua Garnett was to announce for the Wolverines, it would be very hard to turn him away. He's taking his official for the game, and I'm pretty optimistic about UM's chances here, especially after seeing a CBS recruiting analyst predict him to UM.
Jehu Chesson has flown under the radar recently in terms of Michigan's WR recruiting as the focus has largely been on Darboh, Payton and Diggs. But Jehu takes his official visit to A2 this weekend, and anything could happen here.
As mentioned above, there will be a lot of 2013 recruits at the game, but few of them will have an offer, unlike Laquon Treadwell. The WR teammate of Anthony Standifer has visited Michigan a couple times already this year and could be a good bet for the next 2013 commit. Shane Morris will be there, so if those two get talking, it can only be a good thing for UM.
A lot of people are already asking the question of whether to storm the field, but that really is premature. Despite their poor record, OSU is still a decent football team and probably has a more talented team overall than Michigan (based on recruit rankings). A win for the Buckeyes would put them to 7-5 and actually make the season not a complete disaster.
I haven't watched much of OSU's games this year, but what I have seen gives me at least some cause for concern. Braxton Miller is not a great passer, but he has the ability to buy a lot of time with his legs and then find open receivers. Examples - last plays of Purdue and Wisconsin games in regulation time. Michigan has to keep him contained, force him to make the tough throws.
Apart from him, the rest of OSU's offense is basically Dan Herron running it. Michigan did a good job against Rex Burkhead last week, but Herron is probably a little better, so that's something to watch out for. Still, I have faith in Mattison and his players to get the job done and hold OSU under 20 points.
On offense, I think the key to victory is pretty simple; don't turn the ball over. OSU's defense is good but not great, so if Michigan plays smart football and executes, they should be able to put up 30 points, which will almost certainly be enough for victory.
If the game were in Columbus, I think it would be really close, but given the home field advantage, the superior coaching and greater motivation, Michigan should win this game by around 2-3 touchdowns. I think both defenses will come out strong before Michigan gets going on offense in the 2nd quarter, taking a 10 point lead into halftime. A quick flurry of 3rd quarter TDs, help Michigan to run away with it...
Prediction: Michigan 35 ; Ohio 17