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This Week's Question: Going Back to '04, How Many Games Would Michigan Have Won Had They Been Able to Swap QBs with Ohio State?

David Regimbal's picture
April 20, 2020 at 8:00am

Ohio State and Michigan form the greatest rivalry in college football, but it's been drastically one sided in recent years as the Buckeyes have won 15 of the last 16 matchups.

Domination so complete and tenured would make you think it'd be hard for a single player (one way or the other) to make a difference. But we're asking that question anyway — if Michigan had the ability to swap quarterbacks with Ohio State every year going back to 2004, how many of these regular season-ending matchups would they have won?

Let's see a break down of the matchups, results and quarterbacks for each game.

Year Ohio State QB Ohio State Score Michigan Score Michigan QB
2004 Troy Smith 37 21 Chad Henne
2005 Troy Smith 25 21 Chad Henne
2006 Troy Smith 42 39 Chad Henne
2007 Todd Boekman 14 3 Chad Henne
2008 Terrelle Pryor 42 7 Nick Sheridan
2009 Terrelle Pryor 21 10 Tate Forcier
2010 Terrelle Pryor 37 7 Denard Robinson
2011 Braxton Miller 34 40 Denard Robinson
2012 Braxton Miller 26 21 Devin Gardner
2013 Braxton Miller 42 41 Devin Gardner
2014 J.T. Barrett 42 28 Devin Gardner
2015 J.T. Barrett 42 13 Jake Rudock
2016 J.T. Barrett 30 27 Wilton Speight
2017 J.T. Barrett 31 20 John O'Korn
2018 Dwayne Haskins 62 39 Shea Patterson
2019 Justin Fields 56 27 Shea Patterson

Looking at the chart here, I could see every game involving Troy Smith going drastically different if he were suiting up for the Wolverines between 2004-06.

I'm not sure any quarterback could've saved Michigan between 2007-10, but the conversation changes when Braxton Miller gets involved in 2011. I think Miller could've led Michigan to a win over Ohio State in every game he started from 2011-13. 

But that's essentially when the conversation ends for me, with one outlier. Urban Meyer's recruiting created a drastic gap between the two programs, and the only conceivable win I see for Michigan after 2013 is the classic 2016 showdown. If you give Michigan J.T. Barrett and put poor Wilton Speight behind center in Ohio State's '16 offense, the Wolverines would've been dancing in Ohio Stadium as they inevitably earned their first College Football Playoff bid. 


What are your thoughts? How many wins would the Wolverines grab if the quarterbacks were swapped in this series?

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