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November 23, 2012The only championship on the line Saturday in Columbus will be a share of the Legends Division title, and there are no rings for Legends Division co-championships (at least not in Ann Arbor). At stake, then, is Ohio State's undefeated season that nobody is supposed to acknowledge, and bragging rights.
The Wolverines could well be headed to the Capital One Bowl, win or lose. The Buckeyes are headed - well, to their couches, win or lose, and to Ebay to sell their gold pants should they pull it out, thanks in large part to the former head coach they'll honor during Saturday's game.
The "In Tress we Trust" shirts and mud flaps have given way to Urban Meyer tobacco pouches, etc., but they'll bring them out for one more day to honor their 2002 national champions.*
Michigan, meanwhile, hopes to spoil the party with its first win in Columbus since 2000, and prove that they - not Legends champion Nebraska, which they probably wouldn't be had Denard Robinson not been hurt in the first half against the Cornhuskers - are the Legends' best.
Congratulations to last week's winner. This week's wins - well, there are no trophies for second place, the plaque for the alternates is in the ladies' room, blah blah blah.
Chris Balas: Michigan won't be playing for the Big Ten title, but you won't know it by the way they play Saturday. Brady Hoke knows the rivalry, gets the rivalry and will win more than his share in this rivalry during his tenure as U-M's head coach.
Michigan 27, Ohio State 23
John Borton: The Snakepit awaits. Tens of thousands of Skoal-chomping truckers (and their husbands) sit in mouth-breathing anticipation of vomiting profanity-laced commentary on the gladiators from That School Up North. Thank heaven for Woody Hayes, so they at least learned a little geography.
Michigan 34, Ohio State 31
Michael Spath: Denard Robinson probably never expected to be in this role in his final regular-season game as a Wolverine, but Robinson's willingness to move to running back/wildcat QB provides Michigan the chance in this game that it didn't look like it had just a few weeks ago. The Maize and Blue will have an opportunity to win in the final minutes, but the Buckeyes have been finding ways to come out on top in every close contest this season, and will find one more way.
Ohio State 28, Michigan 27
Andy Reid: Michigan. Ohio State. What else needs to be said? This is, as college football fans, what you've been waiting for all year. Potential Big Ten Championship or no, the Wolverines are always going to sell out in this game. And while it be a little more high-scoring than Brady Hoke would like, he'll certainly enjoy the win.
Michigan 38, Ohio State 35
Tim Sullivan: Michigan's victory over Ohio State last year sealed a successful debut for Brady Hoke (and the Sugar Bowl was just a cherry on top), but the task will be taller this year. The Buckeyes are still mediocre defensively, but no longer hapless on offense. With Terrelle Pryor being paid in the NFL now (above the table, for a change), it actually looks like Braxton Miller's trajectory is to far outdo the former five-star's production in Columbus. He'll be too much for the U-M D, and the Devin Gardner-led offense won't be able to do quite enough to outscore them.
Ohio State 28, Michigan 23
Kevin Minor: The Wolverines have not been victorious in Columbus since 2000, but all bad things must come to an end. The undefeated Buckeyes are certainly a formidable foe, but are far from invincible. They were outplayed by Wisconsin in a 21-14 overtime victory a week ago, and have been taken to the brink by below average Indiana and Purdue squads.
Devin Gardner has been a revelation for Al Borges's offense in the last three games and, with a healthy-enough Denard Robinson adding versatility out of the backfield, Michigan will be able to move the ball against Ohio State's defense.
Michigan's defense will struggle in its own right against OSU's thunder and lightning combination of sophomore quarterback Braxton Miller and junior running back Carlos Hyde, but will do just enough to facilitate a high-scoring Maize and Blue triumph.
Michigan 31, Ohio State 25