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12:00PM EST: Michigan -3 (3 Units)
Michigan has Ohio State's number and Harbaugh or not, we like that success to continue. These are two of the best defenses in College Football, but they've also had the luxury of playing in the Big 10. A terrible offensive conference this year. The Wolverines have been more physical and dominated the line of scrimmage each of the past two seasons against Ohio State. Ryan Day believes that's changed but we don't think so.
Ohio State has good numbers against the run this year, but they've struggled on the road. Excluding lost yardage from sacks; they went into Notre Dame and let up 176 rushing yards. At Purdue they allowed 145 and Purdue's starting RB had 18 carries for 110 yards. Held Wisconsin to 107 but their starting RB received just 10 carries but went for 50 yards. Then in their last road trip they got gashed for 239 yards by Rutgers. They did dominate Indiana way back in week 1 but that's all of their road games. Far from an Elite showing.
This Michigan rushing attack is also the class of College Football. Notre Dame brings a similar power rushing attack, but the Fighting Irish disappointed this year. Their offensive line underperformed and isn't nearly as dominant as Michigan’s.
Last year the Wolverines hit big run after big run against the Buckeyes. Much of it stems from Ohio State loading the line of scrimmage. They'll often leave 1 man back and have 10 defenders within 5 yards of the LOS. Michigan's power scheme is a match-up nightmare. They clear up running lanes and once they're past 5 yards there's only 1 man to beat. They ran for 252 yards on them last year and 297 the year before that. Blake Corum also got hurt on his 2nd carry last year and never returned. He's only one of the best running backs in the Country.
Michigan's passing offense is also much more efficient this year than last. J.J. McCarthy is completing 73.8% of his passes this season compared to just 64.6% last year. He doesn't lack playmakers out wide either. Roman Wilson is a big play just waiting to happen every week. Great deep threat with tremendous ball tracking skills. There's also Cornelius Johnson, the often-reliable strong handed receiver with great quickness off the snap. He also has Colston Loveland who's just an absolute Freak for a TE.
They have the weapons and when Ohio State is stacking the box to stop the run, they're going to get 1 on 1 opportunities. The Michigan offense is incredibly difficult to stop when they can run the football and we don't think Ohio State's figured that out yet.
Michigan returned 81% of its production from last year and now we're at the end of this year. This is an incredibly experienced and veteran group of guys. It's part of the reason they've kept on humming regardless of the Harbaugh controversy.
Defensively they're one of the best in the Country. They've played 6 Home games and have allowed 43 combined points in those games. They hold teams to just 235.5 yards per game. CJ Stroud struggled against this very same defense each of the past 2 years and with even better weapons at Wide Receiver. He's currently carving up the NFL if you hadn't noticed. Kyle McCord is having a good year numbers wise but he's no Stroud.
Ohio State's just struggled to run the football this year. They rank just 72nd averaging 147.8 rushing yards per game. They did find a bit of success the last couple weeks but that came against Minnesota and Michigan State. They're lucky to have half the defensive talent Michigan has combined. The Buckeyes certainly have the cats to make plays in the passing game and they're due to get theirs, but you aren't going into Ann Arbor and beating the Wolverines with a 1-dimensional offense.
This is also the biggest start of Kyle McCord's career. Going into Notre Dame earlier this year and squeaking out a 17-14 win was a good showing, but this game is twice as big. The Big 10 Title and CFB Playoff hopes are on the line. He's also on the playing on the road in one of the biggest CFB rivalries in College Football history. Michigan's team has been there and one it. Are the Buckeyes up for it?
3:30PM EST: Ok State -16.5 (3 Units)
BYU is just not a good football team. Whether QB Kedon Slovis returns from injury or if it's Jake Retzlaff, they're going to struggle to score points. Going back to their last 3 road games they've scored 7, 6, and 11 points. We can give them a pass against Texas, but West Virginia and TCU are far from strong defensive teams.
Mike Gundy's bunch was a bit slow out of the gate this year, which made sense with the amount of turnover, but he's got his boys humming lately, winning 6 of their last 7. Their defense has been respectable at home all year. In conference play at home, they kept an Elite Oklahoma offense to 24, Cinci to 13, Kansas to 32, and Kansas State to 21. Outside of Cinci those are very good offensive teams. BYU is closer to Cincinnati than anybody else.
Offensively the Cowboys have got it going on. They've scored 39 or more in 4 of their last 7, and 27, and 29 in another 2. They hit a weird blip against UCF a couple weeks ago and lost 3-45. That was on the road where they've struggled this season. The good news is that they're at Home today against a BYU defense letting up 30.2 points per game this season and 37 ppg on the road.
This is also a Win and In the Big 12 title game situation. Their win over Oklahoma proved massive. This adds some pressure, but it also adds intensity. With the Home Crowd behind them we trust they'll thrive in the moment instead of crumbling in it.
7:00PM EST: Florida +7 (3 Units)
Welcome to the swamp Tate Rodemaker. This is just his 2nd ever start and 1st road start of his career. His first start came back in 2020 against Jacksonville State when he was a freshman. He threw 12 passes for 58 yards that day. It doesn't get much bigger than this for a new signal caller. Going on the road into one of the most hostile environments in the Nation, in a massive Rivalry Game, with your Teams Playoff Hopes on the line. Maybe the kid has Dry Ice in his Veins but that's a whole world of pressure.
The one thing he has going for him is that he's been at Florida State for 4 years. He at the very least understands the offense. The problem is he's never had to run an offense with 89,000 people going absolutely nuts. Florida may be 5-6 this year but this is an absolute treat for them to close out the season. For starters a win makes them bowl eligible. Doubt they care about that as much as they revel in the chance to ruin the Seminoles undefeated season. They're playing with nothing to lose and with a chance to crush their rivals’ hopes and dreams. This may be the hardest Florida plays and the loudest the Swamp is all year.
Florida can bang too; this isn't just some feel good pick. The swamp has its reputation for a reason and Florida is 4-2 at Home this year with 1 of those losses coming to Georgia. The other came to Arkansas 39-36 in Overtime after Florida missed a game winning 44-yard field goal with 3 seconds left. They handled Tennessee and their inexperienced signal caller back in week 3 if you recall that Pick.
Last week they nearly went into Missouri and beat a very good Tigers team. Mizzu hit the game winning field goal with 8 seconds to go. A week prior they lost 52-35 @ LSU but that was a 3-point game with 10 minutes to go in the 4th. They're just 1-4 on the road this year and their road struggles have become a growing theme in recent years. At the Swamp, however, they're still an incredibly tough team to beat.
The biggest difference is their rush defense. They allow just 117.8 rushing yards per game at Home compared to 210.5 on the road. They allow 354.5 total yards per game at Home compared to 471.3 on the road. That's going to be a deciding factor in this game. FSU has a solid ground game led by future NFL RB Trey Benson. He's without a shadow of a doubt the focal point of this FSU offense today. The Seminoles only average 109.8 rushing yards per game and if they can't run it's going to be on Rodemaker to win this football game. Which is exactly what we want.
Florida is without their starting QB Graham Mertz as well. Redshirt Freshman Max Brown gets the nod. This is his 2nd year with the program, and he beat out former four-star prospect Jack Miller for the back-up Job. He's a dual threat playmaker. Something starting QB Mertz never brought to the table. The Dual Sport athlete will be making plays with his legs and Florida is plenty familiar with how to Utilize guys like that. It provides an unknown element to the Florida offense. They haven't had a running QB all year so there isn't much for FSU to prepare with. They'll most certainly look back to last year with Anthony Richardson.
FSU snapped a 3 game Florida win streak between these two last year winning 45-38 at Home. Now Florida gets them at Home in a revenge spot with nothing to lose. Two young QB's but only one of them must contend with the swamp.
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