Ohio State had everything to lose, and that’s exactly what happened

No. 3 Wolverines run over No. 2 Buckeyes, possibly knocking their rival out of the CFP in the process

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Michigan thumped Ohio State.
Michigan thumped Ohio State.
Photo: Getty Images

The annual pissing contest of the Big Ten’s only two good teams took place Saturday, and like last year, it was Michigan emphatically stomping Ohio State. Unlike a season ago, this was in Columbus, and despite what B1G commissioner Kevin Warren will tell you, this game was not an instant classic for anyone not wearing maize and blue.

The Wolverines took a 24-20 lead in the third quarter, extended it 31-20 early in the fourth, and it was a one-score game for all of 12 seconds from there on out. The 45-23 win featured the best game of quarterback in J.J. McCarthy’s career, and ditto for running back Donovan Edwards, who had 216 yards in the starring role with Blake Corum banged up.

Of the sophomore’s two bills on the ground, 160 came on two plays in the fourth quarter. The first, a 75-yard run, broke the game open, and the second, an 85-yard sprint, pushed it to three scores.

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The Buckeye defense allowed 530 yards of total offense, giving up more than 250 both in the air and on the ground. Heisman candidate C.J. Stroud threw two fourth quarter interceptions, including a panicked underhand toss that was picked in the red zone. Hopefully he didn’t turn on the USC-Notre Dame game later in the day, as the Trojans looked impressive enough to steal OSU’s spot in the College Football Playoff, with Caleb Williams striking the Heisman pose and making a bid for the sport’s most distinguished individual award.

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While I’d like to sit here and heap more praise on Big Blue, their fans are more than willing to pat themselves on the back, so I’ll let them enjoy the W short of removing a rib. What I’d like to point out is how fraudulent Ohio State and the Big Ten appear to be.

Jim Harbaugh’s team has one more hurdle left to return to the CFP, and it’s 8-4 Purdue, who made the conference title game because Iowa gagged against Nebraska. Penn State got 10 wins by pummeling the shitty teams, but was outscored 85-48 against OSU and U-M in their two losses. And they’re the only other top 25 team that the B1G has to offer. Michigan State and Mel Tucker didn’t qualify for a bowl game. The most impressive non-conference W in the entire Big Ten is Ohio State’s 21-10 win over Notre Dame.

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Ohio State could not afford to get outclassed at home with TCU staying perfect and USC looking better against a Fighting Irish team that’s miles ahead of where it was Week 1 at the Horseshoe. Shit, had Stroud and Co. punched in a garbage time TD to make it seem like the stadium wasn’t sobbing for most of the final quarter, I could see an argument.

There will be no bigger Utah and Kansas State fans next Saturday than Buckeye faithful. And if they’re not, the only explanation is hubris.

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A quick word on the ‘Let’s do away with divisions’ crowd

The Utes needed to win, Oregon to lose, Washington to win, and UCLA to win to come out on top of the confusing as hell tiebreaker for a trip to the Pac-12 title game. Whatever the three-way tie rules are, they weren’t on Oregon’s side.

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This formula will in no way lead to outraged fans even though the Ducks beat the Utes this season.