Colin: Michigan officially printed up Revenge Tour T- shirts and then saw their top ranked defense give up the most points in 120 years against Ohio State. All things considered, is this the most devastating loss in Michigan history?
Baver: I can’t stop smiling...how ‘bout you? Dennis Dodd had posted a piece last week entitled “Chase Winovich's play and mouth have written checks Michigan must cash vs. Ohio State”. Umm....I guess that didn’t happen. And I’ve heard comments from maybe a dozen Michigan fans admitting that it was much worse than the score. A few of them even noted that UM got lots of help from the referees, yet it mattered not. It was utter humiliation.
When you bring up the Revenge Tour eggs smeared all over their faces...add to it the hype from the 24/7, modern day media & internet blitz....and add to that what Ohio State physically did to that Michigan team on that field this past Saturday, it probably tops the list of UM’s most devastating losses. But you still have several other quite enjoyable UM humiliating losses to choose from, like Kordell’s Hail Mary in ‘94, and the bumbled punt on the last play of the game against Sparty in 2015, and of course their 2007 loss to D1-AA school Appalachian St. Good stuff.
Colin: No sacks, not even a hurry...how could Chase and company have such a lackluster performance in the one game they had to win?
Baver: It’s hard to reconcile, my friend. And that specific stat is nearly impossible to figure. Even with Winovich at less than full-go...Devin Bush? Uh...Rashan Gary? Uh...Khaleke Hudson? For no UM defender to even register a QB-hurry against a much-maligned OSU O-line boggles the mind. Seems like the phenomenon where the person in icy cold water forgets how to swim.
Colin: Once again, as an underdog, Urban Meyer absolutely destroyed an opponent. Does any other coach compare to him in this regard?
Baver: Let’s put this into perspective. Urban has now been an underdog in 7 games at Ohio St, winning all 7 of ‘em. The spreads in each of those games ranged from 2½ to 8 pts (with Bama being an 8-pt fav over OSU in the 2014 playoff). With charts that give you win-probability based on the Vegas spreads, the odds against winning all 7 of those games is around 1100 to 1. A lot of good coaches thrive as the underdog, but nothing like this. And Urban is 10-0 in his 10 OT gms as a CFB head coach (4-0 before arriving here, and 6-0 in OT gms at OSU). It’s no wonder the rest of the CFB world hates him.
Colin: Is Dwayne Haskins Jr the best quarterback in OSU history?
Baver: Yes. The kid’s been remarkable.
Colin: TV ratings for Ohio State have absolutely dominated the entire season. How much money will be left on the table if we don’t make the playoffs?
Baver: A lot. You called it in 2014, Colin, basically saying, “Forget about it TCU...the almighty dollar will rule the day.” And it of course did. But OSU didn’t leapfrog Oklahoma in this week’s playoff ranking, and the Sooners will be playing a higher ranked team than the one Ohio State is playing. And a win allows OU to avenge their only loss. If Bama, Clemson, Oklahoma and Ohio St each win Saturday, it’s going to be hard for the committee to explain itself if they slide Ohio St into that 4th slot without OSU laying the wood to N’western.
Colin: Tell me about this Northwestern team.
Baver: On paper NW look like a middle of the road Big Ten team, but they know how to win. Pat Fitzgerald has developed into an elite coach. They are 7-1 in their last 8 games with their only loss being a 10-pt loss to playoff-bound/undefeated Notre Dame. And they only lost by a field goal at Michigan...the same place where UM trounced Penn St 42-7. The Wildcats play a bend-but-don’t-break style on D keeping everything in front of them. They don’t have anything close to the personnel that Ohio St has but they are far more disciplined, having the fewest penalties in the country, while OSU ranks 124th nationally in that category. NW have a great set of LBs in Blake Gallagher, Paddy Fisher and Nate Hall. And their true-frosh tailback Isaiah Bowser, a kid no when else in the B10 had any use for, has really come on.
Colin: So, how does this one play out?
Baver: It wouldn’t be a total shock to see N’Western pull it off Saturday night, as we’ve all seen this Buckeye team struggle mightily in several games this season. If OSU starts slow, I think they may be in for another dog fight like they were in against Nebraska and Minnesota. But I tend to think Ohio State will ride a good deal of the momentum they gained from their destruction of Michigan. If the Bucks do get up 3+ TDs or so, Urban likely goes for blood in an effort to impress the committee. I’ve got Ohio State winning 38-21 and then anxiously watching the selection show Sunday at noon.