Michigan-Ohio State preview

November 25, 2016

It will be just like old times in Columbus on Saturday afternoon (Noon ET; ABC) when the Buckeyes host the Wolverines with just about everything that matters on the line. For 3rd ranked Michigan, a win over OSU and they are off to next weekend’s Big Ten championship game in Indianapolis, likely against Wisconsin with a ticket to the 4-team national playoff waiting if they can hold serve. On the other hand, #2 Ohio State could actually stamp its ticket to the national playoffs simply by beating the Wolverines. That’s because Ohio State is currently tied with Penn State in the Big Ten East standings, but lose the tie-breaker if the Lions beat Michigan State later Saturday evening. However, even though they won’t necessarily win the conference championship, Ohio State is almost guaranteed a CFP playoff spot because they will still have only one loss if they defeat Michigan.

The fact that they both control their own destiny to the national playoff is about the only thing similar between the Wolverines and Buckeyes as they have been put together in very different fashions. On hand, Michigan is a veteran team with as many as 19-20 seniors who either start or play in the regular rotation. That includes a posse of potential second-day picks at the 2017 draft including TE Jake Butt, WRs Amara Darboh and Jehu Chesson, DEs Chris Wormly and Taco Charlton, DT Ryan Glasgow, and CB Jourdan Lewis. The Wolverines best pro prospect, though, is junior OLB/SS/RB/KR Jabrill Peppers who if he isn’t the best player in college football period is at least the most versatile. Indeed, how many OLBs are their team’s primary punt and KO returners; or more to the point, how many OLBs rank 5th in the country in PR average. And when the picking actually gets underway on April 27th, no one should be totally surprised if Peppers comes off the board with the first 2-3 picks. The big question for the Wolverines is who starts at QB: incumbent starter sophomore Wilton Speight, who has missed the last couple of weeks with a collarbone injury, or senior John O’Korn, a grad transfer who once started at Houston.

In contrast, Ohio State has about as young a roster as there is among the major national contenders. Indeed, the Buckeyes have just one senior considered to be more than a fringe prospect, although veteran C/G Pat Elflein is actually one of the better interior offensive linemen in the country with top 100 potential. At the same time, though, OSU juniors like RB Curtis Samuel, OG Billy Price, DE Tyquan Lewis, ILB Raekwon McMillan, and CB Gareon Conley, along with redshirst sophs CB Marshon Lattimore, FS Malik Hooker and DE Sam Hubbard each has some first or second day potential for the upcoming draft should any opt to turn pro winter this winter. Needless to say most, if not all will indeed turn pro, but Buckeyes’ fans can only imagine the powerhouse they’d have next year if most were to return, especially with star junior QB J.T. Barrett likely to return as he really isn’t an elite pro prospect at the position. Prospects to watch:

MICHIGAN                                                                          OHIO STATE

#8 QB John O’Korn, 6-5, 230                                             #16 QB JT Barrett, 6-2, 222, JR
#4 RB De’Veon Smith, 5-10, 230                                        #4 RB  Chris Samuel, 5-10, 200, JR
#82 WR Amara Darboh, 6-2, 215                                       #54 OG Billy Price, 6-3, 315, JR
#86 WR Jehu Chesson, 6-2, 200                                        #65 C/G Pat Elflein, 6-2, 300
#88 TE Jake Butt, 6-5, 250                                                   #6 DE Sam Hubbard, 6-5, 265, RSO
#71 OT Ben Braden, 6-5, 325                                               #59 DE Tyquan Lewis, 6-4, 265, JR
#78 OT Erik Magnuson, 6-5, 305                                        #5  ILB Raekwon McMillan, 6-2, 245, JR
#67 OG Kyle Kalis, 6-4, 305                                                  #2 CB Marshon Lattimore, 6-0, 195, RSO
#43 DE Chris Wormley, 6-4, 305                                         #8 CB Gareon Conley, 6-0, 195, JR
#33 DE Taco Charlton, 6-5, 285                                           #24 SS Malik Hooker, 6-2, 205, RSO
#96 DT Ryan Glasgow, 6-3, 300
#73 DT Maurice Hurst, 6-2, 290
#99 NT Matt Godin, 6-5, 295
#5 OLB Jabrill Peppers, 6-1, 210, JR
#9 OLB Mike McCray, 6-3, 240
#42 ILB Ben Gedeon, 6-2, 250
#26 CB Jourdan Lewis, 5-9, 175
#8 CB Channing Stribling, 6-1, 185
#25 SS Dymonte Thomas, 6-1, 195
#44 FS Delano Hill, 6-0, 215
#91 P/K Kenny Allen, 6-2, 210

Should be fun people. Enjoy