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Nov 24, 2022

Tuesday, Dec 06, 2022 - 00:22:20

Clash of the Big 10 Titans

Clash of the Big 10 Titans

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COLUMBUS (AP) — The stakes could hardly be higher for this year’s edition of The Game.

A win for No. 2 Ohio State (11-0, 8-0 Big Ten, CFP No. 2) or No. 3 Michigan (11-0, 8-0, CFP No. 3) will mean a trip to Indianapolis for the Big Ten Championship — and keeping their national championship dreams alive.

While a scenario may exist that the loser of Saturday’s game could still backdoor its way into College Football Playoff, the more likely result is a consolation bowl game and 365 days of pain.

“When you lose this game, it’s a tough year,” said Ohio State coach Ryan Day, whose team had to swallow a 42-27 beating by the Wolverines in 2021. “There’s no hiding from that.”

Both teams come into the game unbeaten for the first time since 2006.

This will be the 13th time since 1942 they’ll clash as top-5 teams in the AP Top 25.

Arguably, it’s the biggest game in the series since 2016, when second-ranked Ohio State beat third-ranked Michigan 30-27 in double overtime.

“It’s like two superheroes going at each other,” Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh said.

Ohio State quarterback C.J. Stroud and Michigan running back Blake Corum are Heisman Trophy candidates whose teams expect them to take charge on Saturday.

It could be Stroud’s last chance to beat the Wolverines; he is eligible for the NFL draft in the spring.

For Ohio State, there is the revenge factor.

The Buckeyes were No. 2 last season when they were humiliated in Ann Arbor.

That loss snapped a streak of eight straight wins in the rivalry game, denied the Buckeyes a Big Ten championship for the first time in five years, and killed their hopes of getting to the CFP.

“It motivated us all offseason, so we’ve worked very hard to get to this moment right here,” Day said this week. “And now it’s time to go prepare the best we can, and that’s what we’re going to focus on physically, mentally and emotionally, to go play the hardest game we’ve ever played.”

Harbaugh last year earned his first victory in the series in six tries.

He’s every bit as confident this time.

He called his players “happy warriors on a happy mission.”

“I think you’re going to find we’re made of the right stuff,” he said.

BANGED UP

Corum, who was injured last week, said his left knee is fine and he expects to play.

The Wolverines are also hoping his backup, Donovan Edwards, as well as tight end Luke Schoonmaker and defensive end Mike Morris will play after missing last week’s game with undisclosed injuries.

“We’re not spending any time investigating whether (Corum is) playing or not,” Ohio State defensive coordinator Jim Knowles said. “Just assuming he’s going to play. He’s an exceptional back.”

NEXT BACK UP

Ohio State’s star running backs TreVeyon Henderson and Miyan Williams have battled various injuries all season.

Henderson had to leave last week’s game against Maryland, and finished it on the sideline wearing a walking boot.

Williams didn’t even dress for the game.

Their status for Saturday is unknown.

A pleasant surprise for the Buckeyes has been the emergence of true freshman Dallan Hayden, who turned in his second 100-yard rushing game in a row.

Hayden carried 27 times for 146 yards and three touchdowns in the Buckeyes’ 43-30 win over the Terps.

IT’S BEEN A WHILE

The Wolverines have not played at Ohio Stadium since 2018.

“Most of the players on this team haven’t been there, obviously last time was COVID and we weren’t able to go,” left tackle Ryan Hayes said. “I’ve heard stories. I’m expecting a loud, crazy environment. We’ve played in those games before. I think we’ll be prepared.”

LEBRON ON THEIR SIDE

Ohio native LeBron James said he wanted to make sure the Buckeyes had stylish footwear for the big game, so he provided specially-designed Nike cleats stamped with his logo.

* * *

AP Sports Writer Larry Lage contributed to this report

Michigan quarterback J.J. McCarthy (9) throws against Illinois in the first half of an NCAA college football game in Ann Arbor, Mich., Saturday, Nov. 19, 2022. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)

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Tags: last week’s game week’s game last week’s big ten championship for the first time the wolverines the wolverines in the series in ann arbor the buckeyes running back the buckeyes for the big

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College Football Playoff Rankings 2022: How a 12-team bracket would play out this season

Cade Stover, Ohio State Buckeyes, Kobe King, Penn State Nittany Lions. (Photo by Scott Taetsch/Getty Images)

This is how the College Football Playoff would have played out this year with a 12-team field.

Although the College Football Playoff is expanding in two years, let’s discuss what the 12-team format would have looked like, as well as what could have happened if this set-up was implemented for the 2022 college season.

The four teams left playing for a national championship this year are the SEC champion Georgia Bulldogs, the Big Ten champion Michigan Wolverines, the Big 12 runner-up TCU Horned Frogs and a one-loss, at-large team out of the Big Ten in the Ohio State Buckeyes. While all have a chance at winning it, there are a few teams on the outside looking in who would have loved the opportunity…

Here is 100 percent how a 12-team College Football Playoff would have played out this season.

College Football Playoff Rankings 2022: Proposed 12-team field

Before we begin, the proposed format that most people expect will be implemented as 2024 is as such: 12 teams are getting in, with half being the six highest-ranked conference champions and the other half being at-large bids. The four highest-ranked conference champions get a first-round bye into the national quarterfinals. Teams No. 5 through No. 8 will be hosting home playoff games.

Here are the 12 teams who would have made it in, in line with the proposed CFP rankings system.

  •  Georgia Bulldogs (SEC Champion): Bye
  • Michigan Wolverines (Big Ten Champion): Bye
  • Clemson Tigers (ACC Champion): Bye
  • Utah Utes (Pac-12 Champion): Bye
  • TCU Horned Frogs vs. No. 12 Tulane Green Wave (AAC Champion)
  • Ohio State Buckeyes vs. No. 11 Penn State Nittany Lions
  • Alabama Crimson Tide vs. No. 10 USC Trojans
  • Tennessee Volunteers vs. No. 9 Kansas State Wildcats (Big 12 Champion)
  • The four teams getting first-round byes would be SEC champion Georgia, Big Ten champion Michigan, ACC champion Clemson and Pac-12 champion Utah. While nobody has any issues with Georgia and Michigan getting the top two spots, Clemson came in at No. 7 in the final playoff rankings, while Utah came in at No. 8. TCU, Ohio State, Alabama and Tennessee all get hosed here.

    Conversely, the good news for the Horned Frogs, the Buckeyes, the Crimson Tide and the Volunteers is they would all get to host home playoff games vs. the other teams that are getting in. No. 5 TCU would host No. 12 Tulane, No. 6 Ohio State would host No. 11 Penn State, No. 7 Alabama would host No. 10 USC and No. 8 Tennessee would host No. 9 Kansas State. Got it? Cool.

    The exercise we are about to do is interesting in so many ways. We will see how the home-field advantage in the first-round could help propel some teams into the quarterfinals. The reseeding of the field could give us more intriguing matchups than we largely expected. Most importantly, the size of the field itself has tripled. Ultimately, all the outsiders are asking for is one more chance…

    So let’s get down to it with the four first-round games that will be played on college campuses.

    Next: 12-team College Football Playoff: First-round games

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