It’s finally time for The Game we’ve all been waiting for.
Following a full year of buildup for Ohio State’s shot at revenge after last year’s loss in Ann Arbor, the Buckeyes will look to prove they’re a different team than they were a year ago when they host Michigan at Ohio Stadium on Saturday. And the stakes couldn’t be higher, as the second-ranked Buckeyes and third-ranked Wolverines both enter the game with 11-0 records with a spot in the Big Ten Championship Game and a likely College Football Playoff berth on the line.
As we always do, we start this week’s episode of Real Pod Wednesdays by looking back at Ohio State’s game from the previous weekend – a game that was more competitive than anticipated at Maryland. All of our analysis regarding the 43-30 win in College Park and the weekend that was in college football, though, ties back into the season-defining game to come Saturday.
In the second half of the podcast, we turn our full attention toward this week’s game and discuss why this is the most important game of Ryan Day’s career and why we believe Ohio State should have a slight advantage in this year’s game – even though we both expect a one-score game that comes down to which team can make the clutch plays in the fourth quarter.
The full rundown of topics we’re discussing this week:
- 0:14: It’s the week we’ve all been waiting for, and it doesn’t get any bigger than this
- 1:49: Ohio State gets a bigger scare from Maryland than we expected, but that shouldn’t come as a shock
- 3:57: Who we expect to play the most at running back against Michigan after Dallan Hayden’s 146-yard, three-touchdown game against Maryland
- 11:53: Dawand Jones showed why he’s Ohio State’s starting right tackle, but OSU could have a tough decision to make at right guard
- 14:27: Lathan Ransom and Tommy Eichenberg continue to play like All-Americans despite injuries
- 16:46: Zach Harrison continues to play the best football of his career
- 18:48: The passing defense remains Ohio State’s biggest concern entering the biggest games of the year
- 22:45: Ohio State’s defense continues to make plays in clutch moments, which is a reason for optimism this week
- 23:52: How Ohio State plays the week before The Game isn‘t predictive of how Ohio State will play in The Game – and none of the top teams looked great last weekend
- 29:00: We don’t know who will win this game – and that’s the way it should be in this rivalry
- 30:12: Three reasons why Dan is 60% confident Ohio State will beat Michigan
- 32:14: Both teams have injuries at running back, but that hurts Michigan more than Ohio State
- 33:19: Why this is the most important game of Ryan Day’s tenure as Ohio State’s head coach
- 36:40: Michigan’s offensive line will give Ohio State’s run defense its biggest challenge of the year
- 37:42: Michigan’s defense is elite, but it has faced very little top competition
- 39:50: Neither team has a clear-cut advantage on either side of the ball
- 41:20: A legacy-defining game for C.J. Stroud, who has his chance for a Heisman Moment
- 44:47: Jaxon Smith-Njigba’s status for this week remains a mystery, though signs haven’t been promising
- 48:20: The Buckeyes we think will step up in a big way in The Game
- 51:19: If Ohio State wins, will Ryan Day issue a response to Jim Harbaugh’s “third base” trash talk?
- 53:28: We’ll see a bunch of notable Buckeyes play their final home game Saturday
- 56:59: Our score predictions for The Game – and why the only score that matters is who wins
You can listen to this week’s episode of Real Pod Wednesdays in the audio player above, while all episodes of RPW are available on Apple Podcasts, Spotify and Google Podcasts, among other podcast streaming platforms.