With the Jim Harbaugh suspension and coinciding sign-stealing allegations bringing tons of outside noise to distract the program and the Buckeyes hitting their stride at the perfect time — could Ohio State have the edge on the Wolverines ahead of Saturday’s blockbuster matchup.
“I think it’s going to be a phenomenal game,” Klatt told Staples. “And by the way, the fan base confidence has flipped. Middle of the year, Ohio State, they’re like, ‘I don’t know if we’ve got it this year, Michigan is riding on high.’ Now, you get to this week after the Maryland game. After TreVeyon Henderson has done what he’s done in the last four weeks for the Buckeyes.
“I feel like the fan base confidence has flipped. Ohio State fans feel really good about their chances this week.”
The distractions swirling around Michigan, as well as Ohio State’s consistency and so dominance until now — those have come to together at the same time and all of a sudden everyone is wondering whether this is the end of Michigan’s reign over Ohio State.
It’s almost as if Michigan is already on its heels coming into The Game — and Klatt sees it from a mile away. Still, Klatt doesn’t expect another version of 2022’s edition of the matchup, which saw the Wolverines handle the Buckeyes 45-23.
“The layers to this year’s game are just deeper and more nuanced — and quite frankly — more entertaining than last year’s version, even though they were both 11-0 last year,” Klatt said. “Last year felt big, but this year feels even bigger. The pressure on Ohio State, namely Ryan Day, to beat Sherrone Moore. The distractions swirling around Michigan and the team that has been so consistent and so dominant up until now. Now, all of a sudden we’re wondering, well, can they protect the passer? is JJ [McCarthy] going to play better than he did against Maryland?
“All these things come up. These two teams obviously don’t like each other, and the fan bases don’t like each other. That’s an understatement and yet, it feels like it has gone to 100 this year. The environment, the vitriol — I can’t wait to get there.”
The Game will kick off at Noon ET this Saturday live on Fox. Michigan is a 3.5-point betting favorite, according to Vegas Insider. The over/under total is set at 47.5 points.