Ohio State vs. Michigan 2019: My Prediction

Last updated December 1, 2019

Before I begin, let me acknowledge a couple points.

First, this blog has historically had an almost “emo” poetry bent to it so I get this is an odd subject to chime in on.

Second, as I state in my bio, and despite my Michigan roots, I have been an Ohio State football fan from age 8, so yes, nothing you’ll be reading here is objective.

All that said, with a family full of U-M grads, and living in NYC where college football certainly isn’t King, it’s not all that often I get a chance to discuss “The Game,” let alone break down Xs and Os, so here comes an arm chair quarterback run down of how I see the rivalry playing out this year.

Which Michigan team shows up?

Ohio State has literally been running through opponents all season. Even the Penn State game (a season low 11 point OSU win) would have been a different game had the Buckeyes not lost 3 fumbles, including a major momentum breaking fumble as Justin Fields dove for a touchdown up 7-0 in the first quarter. That fumble gave PSU the hope they needed to avoid a blowout.

Despite things looking a bit rocky for the Buckeyes in half two of the PSU game, for the most part we’ve been watching a loaded Buckeye team perform consistently all year.

Michigan football has been another story. The Wolverines have flashed a Jekyll and Hyde personality.

Which version of U-M’s team will show up Saturday?

My take: Michigan rolls over teams that don’t have the ability to move the ball on the ground. Ohio State is not one of those teams.

It’s the run game, stupid

I was at the Michigan / Army game, a 24-21 double overtime war.

Army lost to San Jose State, Western Kentucky, Tulane, Georgia State, and Air Force after barely losing to Michigan.

In the Michigan Army game, Army rushed for 200 yards on 61 carries. Except Wisconsin, no team has rushed for anywhere close to that against Don Brown’s defense this year. You could make the case Army would have beaten Michigan if they’d simply never attempted a pass.

Wisconsin rushed for 359 yards against Michigan on their way to a 35-14 blow out victory.

As the chart below demonstrates, after that UW game, Michigan hasn’t faced another team with any real rushing attack.

U-M OpponentRush RankRush YardsOutcome
Middle TN#5367U-M
Army #3200U-M (2 OT)
Wisconsin #14359UW
Rutgers#10646U-M
Iowa#1011U-M
Illinois#7764U-M
PSU#61101PSU
ND#5047 U-M
MD#55129U-M
MSU#11154 U-M
Indiana #10497U-M
Ohio State #4264OSU

Facing opponents with no running game allows Don Brown, “Dr. Blitz,” to tee off on quarterbacks.

The result has been an impressive streak of beat downs, with Michigan seemingly on a roll.

But, now comes the logical question.

Where does Ohio State rank in rushing offense?

4th (282.1 yards per game).

The only teams ahead of OSU in rushing offense are the run happy service academy schools (Army, Navy, Air Force).

Has Ohio State faced any elite rushing defenses?

Yes.

Penn State (#4) and Wisconsin (#9).

Against Wisconsin, Ohio State rushed for 264 yards.

Against Penn State, a team only allowing 74 yards per game rushing entering the game, OSU rushed for 224 total and for 91 yards on its opening drive.

Where does Michigan rank in total rushing defense?

13th.

Don Brown’s D allows 104 yards rushing per game. When they get opponents beneath that number, they feast on the one dimensional ineptitude of middling teams.

Getting offenses in third and long obvious passing situations allows Brown to bring crazy pressure. Eventually he gets in the head of the opposing QB and they lose their will.

You saw this last week with Indiana.

IU scored a few times early and then got hammered into submission.

For U-M, the blowouts follow the blitzes and it’s the lack of a running game that sets up the QB crushing blitz packages Don Brown loves so dearly. This has been the blue print for success in Michigan’s current win streak.

Lest you think my running obsession is perhaps a bit reductionist, there are a number of storylines to follow Saturday.

Michigan’s emerging passing game vs. Ohio State’s first ranked pass defense is certainly one.

But at the end of the day, if Ohio State rushes for more than 200 yards in this Game, as they did against Wisconsin and PSU, they are virtually guaranteed of victory.

What will happen in The Game?

I think you’ll see a motivated Ohio State team get just north of 225 yards rushing and beat Michigan 45-24 on the strength of its wrecking crew defensive line eventually rattling Shea Patterson.

#GoBucks

Am I reasonable?

“If any man despises me, that is his problem. My only concern is not doing or saying anything deserving of contempt.”

Marcus Aurelius

Are you reasonable?

How reasonable?

Reasonable enough to call balls and strikes as to whether your behavior is “deserving of contempt,” as Marcus Aurelius seemed to believe he could do?

Ryan Holiday’s “The Daily Stoic,” gives us an article about how to deal with “rude and selfish people.”

All the tips assume it’s the other person that is rude and selfish.

As I write this, I am experiencing caffeine induced anxiety, which happens whenever I drink too much tea or coffee.

Only a day ago, I was calmer than I’ve been in a long time.

I don’t stay static on any front. Like the weather outside, I change from mood to mood.

The same can be said for my identity as reasonable.

Presented with two “micro crises” this afternoon, I behaved both reasonably, in a way I am proud of, as well as less than reasonably, in a way that I am not totally comfortable with.

The situation I am proud of will have someone saying nice things about me.

On the other hand, a guy in Silver Lake swears I’m a villain.

Who is right?

Both of them.

Of this much I am sure: the most reasonable people know just how unreasonable they truly are.

As you leave Detroit

As you leave Detroit,

Telegraph Road,

with it’s decaying motels, get drunk shack bars, and appliance stores,

turns into the gentler Highway 24.

With the scars behind you,

far away from the sprawl,

the farm towns appear.

Tidy houses overseeing,

tidy fields.

Highway 24 shines in the summer.

The Ohio state crews,

mowing the median and patching the damage their salt brought the winter before.

Like many,

I’ve left for the places TV endorses,

but those Ohio and Indiana and Michigan roads used to offer me so much.

Lovers and family and true vacations.

Better things than the roads I now drive,

in my now “better” places.

As I sit here today,

it seems my task,

is to once again view those familiar paths,

as good enough.

For a year

If I can embrace everything for a day,

I can embrace everything for a week,

and if I could embrace everything,

that has come into my life,

for a year,

maybe then,

I would have finally,

turned the page,

on the worrying,

the fidgeting,

and the fear,

that all float like clouds,

blocking,

my view,

of this breathtaking fortune.

Toy chickens

I have a new puppy named Ned,

and he’s teaching me lots.

Ned’s a mystic.

All dogs are.

But sometimes Ned gets afraid.

He doesn’t like his crate or rolling garbage bins.

Silly Ned.

There’s nothing to fear.

Ned’s just a dog.

He doesn’t know.

Just now, I made Ned’s toy chicken squeak.

He bounded over to investigate.

He loves his chicken,

especially when it squeaks.

He couldn’t see it was me was pulling the strings.

Just my foot pressing on the little horn sewn inside.

Doesn’t matter to Ned,

he loves that toy chicken all the same.

Got me thinking.

What are my toy chickens?

What are your toy chickens?

What are Neil deGrasse Tyson’s toy chickens?

And who honks those horns?

Ned swears that toy chicken squeaks.

He goes for it every time.

They aren’t men

For years,

Like a recurring dream,

I’d find myself drunk in a New York City bar,

wishing I’d stayed home,

to build something,

no one would pay for,

in silence.

Even today,

I think of giving it all up,

to drift free in a low rent wilderness,

Where the best women won’t have sex.

These pangs visit at night,

But I still wake up and grind,

for a small piece,

of all the disassembled empires,

chaos has handed down,

since many lines before my Grandfather.

I am running after,

a dying lady,

in a dirty dress.

Friends and enemies,

on either side of me,

nourished by applause.

What does it mean to be a man?

Men arrive when the fleeting longings of their nights,

grow big enough,

to fill their days.

 

A house like this

Tonight I prepare for bed in a southern mansion house,

with a grand staircase, bedroom fireplaces, and absentee Manhattan owners.

I’ve always wanted a house like this.

To live in a house like this,

to die in a house like this.

But what is a house like this?

If not a stage on which to play your little part,

with those closest to you,

who love, support, and shelter you.

To own a house like this is a blessing.

But one that pales in comparison,

to a happy family.

Because in truth,

a happy family is,

a house like this.

The odd flights

I tend to take the odd flights,

the ones with empty seats.

12:55 on a Wednesday,

to some place,

far away,

I’ve imagined as happy for me.

A place I could move,

stay awhile,

then fly away,

somewhere happier.

It’s the corporate flights I avoid,

7:15 on a Friday evening.

The lawyers and bankers,

on their way home,

marching to someone else’s routine.

I never wanted that,

so I fly mid-day.

And yet,

crammed in the middle seat,

on my way from New York to Chicago,

I find myself enjoying the satisfied energy,

of a day fully spent.

A banker on my left,

a lawyer to my right.

Neither want to talk to me.

But they teach me.

Happiness does not equal,

the absence of routine.

My bloody jaw

Just like cats sometimes do,

for their owners,

I leave what I’ve killed,

at her doorstep,

and say,

Look.

Look at me now.

At what I’ve done,

at who I’ve become.

But no matter how intense the hunt,

gifts from cats inspire humor,

never awe.

They end up in the trash,

not on the mantle.

Unwanted,

by a foreign species,

now closed,

to the possibility,

of any lasting value,

springing from the clutches of my bloody jaw.