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- American college football coach, professional football coach, television sports announcer
Michigan hosts Ohio State on Saturday in a divisional match that may well decide who from the Big Ten heads to the College Football Playoff.
And with a game featuring two teams ranked in the top six of the playoff rankings, there is plenty on the line in this one. Much more than in the usual rivalry game when these two Big Ten programs meet.
Former college football head coach Lou Holtz said that this game has a similar feel to the Michigan-Ohio State game in 1968 when he was an assistant with the Buckeyes. Ohio State won that one in a romp, 50-14.
Holtz remembers that after scoring a late touchdown, Ohio State went for two points when the game was already settled and done. The reason, Holtz said, is because the Buckeyes couldn’t go for three points.
That story illustrates the deepness and fierceness of the rivalry between these two programs.
“This is a very good Michigan football team; I think it is very similar to the type of football team that Jim Harbaugh had at Stanford which was so successful. They’re good on offense, they’re pass is average but they’re averaging 31 points a game,” Holtz said on the ‘Crowd’s Line.’
“Their defense is No. 8 in pass defense, No. 9 in pass efficiency. An excellent punter averaging 44 yards per punt. [Cad] McNamara their quarterback is not that impressive. He doesn’t have stats: 2,142 yards, 14 touchdowns and only two interceptions. [Hassan] Haskins the running back is outstanding, almost 1,100 yards.
“It’s a rivalry game, it will be closer than you think. The winner of this football game will probably go on to win the Big Ten and be one of the final four. Will it be Ohio State? Or will it be Michigan? I think it will be Ohio State but it will be a lot closer than people think. It will be Ohio State 34, Michigan 27. But, Michigan protects the football maybe a little bit better than Ohio State so there is a possibility of an upset, but I don’t think so.”
Holtz’s host on the show doesn’t disagree. Mark May is certainly not a fan favorite of Buckeye Nation. But the former Pittsburgh offensive lineman and NFL star might endear himself a bit with this pick.
Ohio State wins, and they do so in the ‘Big House’ comfortably.
“I think it is Ohio State,” May said before launching into his foundation for the pick.
May said that Ohio State “just toyed with Michigan State 56-7. That score could have been 80-7, they were hitting on all cylinders.” He said the line is not indicative of where he thinks the game is going.
“I don’t think that’s quite near enough. I’ve got the Buckeyes, believe it or not, Buckeyes fans, yes I’ve got Buckeyes beating Michigan by more than the spread,” May said.
“I’ve got Ohio State winning this game 40-26.”