Michigan and Ohio State will continue one of college football’s biggest rivalries this weekend with major implications heading into this year’s game.
Saturday’s matchup will decide the Big Ten East Division champion and play a major factor into the College Football Playoff rankings. The Wolverines currently hold the final playoff spot and the Buckeyes ranked No. 10 overall, but could make a jump in the poll with a win on Saturday and an additional victory in the Big Ten Championship Game the following week.
Ohio State was favored in 51 consecutive game, which was the longest active streak in college football, dating back to the 2015 College Football Playoff championship.
However, Michigan opened as 3.5-point favorites and the spread has since which has since grown to 5.0. The Buckeyes have won 13 of their past 14 games against Wolverines, as well as every game played between the two teams in Columbus since 2000.
But this year’s Michigan team is different having won convincingly in every game since its Week 1 loss at Notre Dame, while Ohio State continues to deal with off-field distractions, as well as having already suffering an upset loss at Purdue.
The Wolverines are aware that they’re favored and feel confident heading into this year’s matchup.
“Yeah, I do,” Michigan running back Karan Higdon said when asked if he expected to win this year’s matchup. “That’s how I feel. I believe firmly in my brothers, this team and this coaching staff. As a captain, I’ll take that stand.”
Higdon’s promise drew comparisons to his head coach, Jim Harbaugh, who famously guaranteed a victory at Ohio State when he was a starting quarterback for the Wolverines in 1986.
“I don’t think about that,” Harbaugh said Monday. “It’s been a long time since. There’s not much to say about that. I can’t remember what it was or what it was that really made me say that or do that.”
This should be the year that Harbaugh finally beats Ohio State as a head coach. Michigan is the better football team and looks poised to make a College Football Playoff appearance. This is the most talented team of his short tenure and the one in which the expectations should be met. Expect a typical late-November Big Ten football game with lots of running plays and punts before a few late scores.