Colin: Where does this rank in the all-time OSU v Michigan match-ups?
Baver: The Ten Year War saw unbeaten, untied OSU & UM teams face each other in ‘70, ‘73, and ‘75. Then you had the #1 vs #2 match-up of unbeatens in 2006. Does it rank up there with those games? Ask me after we know the outcome of The Game tomorrow, LOL.
Colin: What is the best-case scenario for Ohio State in this game?
Baver: 1) Ideal weather conditions; 2) JT Barrett clicking with his WR’s and getting Ohio State’s vertical passing game in gear. 3) The OSU defense completely shutting down De’Veon Smith and Chris Evans; thus, leaving it up to O’Korn or Speight having to beat Ohio State, the nation’s leader in pass defense efficiency, through the air. 4) Mike Weber letting loose.
Colin: What is the worst-case scenario for the Buckeyes?
Baver: 1) The weather unexpectedly turning bad; 2) UM’s offense hitting the Bucks with several big plays, similar to the way Sparty did this past Saturday; 3) Jabrill Peppers having a Charles Woodson kind of game. 4) The turnover margin favoring Michigan to the tune of +2 or better.
Colin: What is your best guess, realistic scenario for this game?
Baver: With expected mild November weather, I think the Buckeye offense will probably have more success against the vaunted UM defense than most are expecting. I think JT bounces back, and throws the ball much better tomorrow. And I think it will be tough sledding for a UM offense that will likely be missing Wilton Speight. But I think we’ll see a tight game headed into the 4th quarter. Then, I foresee Urban Meyer and this Buckeye team doing what they usually do in tight games….making big plays late and getting it done.
Colin: Which Wolverine should the Buckeyes fear?
Baver: Buckeye fans are probably sick of hearing this, but it’s Jabrill Peppers, far and away. Is he Heisman-worthy? Probably not, but if Michigan is to break the Buckeye jinx, he will have a big part in the upset. I think he worries me most on punt returns, but he also has 16 tackles for losses on the season, which is pretty crazy.
Colin: Which Buckeye should SCuM fear?
Baver: JT Barrett. Everybody and their brother and sister, myself included, has commented about his inaccuracy this year, and I am guessing UM will underestimate him. As I mentioned, the weather conditions for Saturday look to be mild for late November, and my guess is that JT brings it tomorrow…with his legs and his arm. If he does, Michigan does not win this game.
Colin: What is your favorite Dead Schembechler song?
Baver: “Chad Henne”, without a doubt. Seems like yesterday, the entire crowd at the Newport sang the backup vocals on that one in November 2006. Can’t believe it’s been 10 years. “I Hate Michigan” comes in at #2. Classics.
Colin: Will you be watching any other games this weekend? And give us an update on your picks.
Baver: Not a good year outside of Buckeye games (18-19-1 overall), but I continue to have the pulse on the Buckeyes. I’m 8-3 on the season, 18-6 over the last two seasons, and 26-12-1 picking OSU games against the spread over the last three seasons. I have spent the whole week obsessing about The Game and haven’t dove into Vegas spreads yet on any other game. I’d probably stay away from betting this one, but having to make a call, I’ll take the Bucks laying the 6 ½. Urban lives for big games and I stopped doubting him in marquee matchups after the Bama upset in the 2014 Playoff. The call: Ohio State 27 Michigan 17.