It’s time, once again, for The Numbers Game. How does underdog Michigan stack up against the heavily favored Ohio State Buckeyes? Let’s take a look at the breakdown:
[table id=17 /]
Difference between 0-10 in national rank: Push
Difference between 11-25 in national rank:
Difference between 26-50 in national rank:
Difference between 50-100 in national rank:
Difference greater than 100 in national rank:
Well, the good news is that these offenses are very comparable — both rely on a strong running game to overcome middling passing attacks, which each team falling right in the neighborhood of 30 points per game scored.
The bad news: that’s pretty much the only thing remotely comparable between Michigan and Ohio State. The defensive numbers are particularly jarring — Michigan gives up nearly as many yards passing as Ohio State does total. Oof. Add in huge Buckeye advantages in turnover margin and red zone play, and a relative wash in special teams play, and this doesn’t look pretty for Wolverine fans hoping for a huge upset.
Unfortunately for Michigan, Ohio State’s biggest weakness — their average passing game — happens to go against Michigan’s biggest weakness. The Wolverines have made some pretty sub-par quarterbacks look like All-Americans, and as much as I’d like to say differently, Terrelle Pryor is not a sub-par quarterback. The only somewhat-bright side: Pryor has thrown nine interceptions this year, so Michigan will have an opportunity to get a timely turnover or two. However, it’s hard to feel optimistic about the Wolverines’ chances in the turnover battle when you look at the teams’ relative turnover margins.
I’ll try to put this in the most optimistic, glass-half-full way possible: If Michigan wins on Saturday, it will defy all conventional wisdom and go down as one of the biggest upsets in the history of the rivalry.