Michigan State's out of the way. Four lightweights in front of us. The next test is Michigan.
In my opinion (and about half the country's as well), these two teams are on a collision course to be #1 and #2 on November 18th. I watched ABC tonight and heard about the overpowering defense of Michigan and listened as they talked about how UM "could be the best team in the country". But I also heard them talk about "who should be #2", which says that there is NO discussion over #1, it's a foregone conclusion.
However, we now have two games to start comparing Ohio State to Michigan. Both have played Penn State and both have played Michigan State. So let's get down to it, shall we??? Yes, I've cherry-picked a few stats favorable to the Buckeyes to start.
-Michigan TDs scored against MSU, PSU - 6
-Ohio State TDs scored against MSU, PSU - 9
-MSU, PSU TDs allowed by Michigan - 3
-MSU, PSU TDs allowed by Ohio State - 1
-Margin of victory for Michigan - 12.5
-Margin of victory for Ohio State - 26.5
The Buckeyes are dominating these three, clearly. There's also a few stats that are AMAZINGLY close!
-Ohio State rushing against MSU/PSU - 324 yards
-Michigan rushing against MSU/PSU - 327 yards
-Ohio State passing against MSU/PSU - 345 yards
-Michigan passing against MSU/PSU - 336 yards
But when you get down to a few more in-depth stats, you see where the battle will unfold. It's in the DEFENSIVE passing game vs. DEFENSIVE running game.
-MSU/PSU rushing yards allowed by Ohio State - 102 per game
-MSU/PSU rushing yards allowed by Michigan - 23 per game
-MSU/PSU passing yards allowed by Ohio State - 120 per game
-MSU/PSU passing yards allowed by Michigan - 229 per game
So there it is. Michigan stops the run, but gives up a lot of passing yards. Ohio State stops the pass, but allows a lot of rushing yards. Now you look at each teams weapons and the picture gets clearer.
Mike Hart will get his yards, but Chad Henne will not. Troy Smith will get his yards, but Antonio Pittman will not.
Which means that Michigan will be relying on Mike Hart and Ohio State will be relying on Troy Smith.
I like those odds.