Part 2 of 2 - Baver Answers Colin’s Questions - *chigan Week. Read Part 1 HERE
Colin: What’s the injury status for both teams heading into the Game and who is worse off if their guys don’t play? And if the weather is bad who does that favor?
Baver: Michigan’s stud DE Chase Winovich is listed as questionable. Reports indicated that his parents were escorted from the stands to the UM locker room following Chase’s injury and exit from the Indiana game. That sounds pretty bad and tells me Winovich is likely out. OSU Left Tackle Thayer Munford is questionable, but in the post-game when asked about him, Urban said, “Uh, MC...L...err ankle...I just don't know”. If it is an MCL, Munford is almost certainly out. In the same post-game presser, Tim May asked Urban if Terry McLaurin left the game because of a “head bump”, to which Urban said he didn’t know. If we’re talking concussion-like symptoms, McLaurin may need to be cleared by a doctor to play tomorrow.
If UM doesn’t have Winovich, I’d say that more than offsets the loss of Munford, if Thayer can’t go. McLaurin is a jack of all trades and the Buckeyes really need him - I sure hope he is available tomorrow. Neither Urban nor Hairball will tell you the truth regarding the status of their guys, so we’ll have to wait until the game is underway to see if these guys play. Oh, and Urban says Mike Weber is good to go...but again if Weber was out, we wouldn’t be made aware of it.
As of early Friday morning, the forecast is calling for rain Saturday in the a.m. and possible rain during the game with moderate winds. Rhythm means so much to Haskins’ game and it’s a major drop off for this Buckeye offense if he is out of rhythm. The more wind and rain would hurt the Buckeyes more so than UM.
Colin: Michigan loves throwing to their tight ends which is a huge weakness for this OSU squad. Are we doomed? How many points do we have to score to win this game?
Baver: Ohio St has a better shot than most are giving them tomorrow, but the odds are rightfully against them. And it would shock no one to see UM TE’s Sean McKeon and Zach Gentry both do damage against this OSU defense. I don’t have a great feel as to whether this will be a higher or a lower scoring rivalry game, but I think the more Michigan scores, the more Ohio St’s offense will respond. So, it’s hard for me to put a number on the points OSU needs to rack up to win this one.
Colin: Does any Buckeye fan actually want the Buckeyes to make the playoff? And if we do win the next two, do we get in?
Baver: Most Buckeye fans I talk to would rather see OSU in the Rose Bowl and save the possible embarrassment if they had to play Bama. Call it a cliché, but right now I really only care about beating Michigan. Looking back, I honestly think I got more joy out of beating Michigan these past two seasons than I did when OSU won the 2014 Nat’l Title game. I will worry about the playoff if the Bucks beat these bastards once again. But I’d put their chances of making the playoff at 70% or so if OSU beats UM and then tops N’western a week later.
Colin: So how does this game playout and what is your call?
Baver: Jeff Brohm at Purdue and Matt Canada (the acting head coach at Md) are brilliant offensive minds. And the Buckeye defense got embarrassed by both of them. The good thing about tomorrow’s matchup is that the UM offense is more old school, and won’t cause OSU as many problems from a creativity standpoint as those two teams did. But Shea Patterson has proved to be the real deal and this Michigan offense has come a long way. OSU’s D-line has to play up to their potential. If they do, this will be a very interesting game. If we see the same problems with this Buckeye D that we have seen in 5 of the last 6 games, UM will end Ohio St’s 6 game winning streak against them.
On the other side of the ball, Michigan may blitz Haskins repeatedly, much like Penn St did. If they do, Urban, Day, and Haskins had better be ready with the right play calls, and Ohio St absolutely has to execute them. If Haskins gets out of rhythm for an extended period of time, OSU will almost certainly get beat. The Ohio St O-line will have to dial it up a notch to protect him.
Going with my head as opposed to my heart, I have it: Michigan 28 Ohio State 20. But I am usually wrong in predicting an OSU loss. And it would not shock me to see Harbaugh and his team implode in a big game once again, and for Urban to remain unbeaten in this game that means everything to Buckeye Nation.
For those headed to the game, cheer your asses off.
Read Part 1 HERE