One of the biggest rivalries in all of sports writes its newest chapter on Saturday afternoon, as No. 9 Ohio State travels to The Big House to take on No. 24 Michigan.
Kickoff is scheduled for Noon ET and will be broadcast nationally on FOX. If you don’t have cable or can’t get to a TV, you can still watch the game on your computer, phone or streaming device by signing up for one of the following cable-free, live-TV streaming services. They cost a monthly fee but all come with a free trial, so you can watch today’s game at no cost:
FuboTV: Fox (live in 70-plus markets) is included in the “Fubo Premier” channel package, which is $19.99 per month for the first two months and $39.99 per month after that. It comes with a free 7-day trial, and you can watch on your computer via the FuboTV website, or on your phone, tablet or streaming device via the FuboTV app
DirecTV Now: Fox (live in 39 markets) is included in all four channel packages, ranging from $35 to $70 per month. It comes with a free 7-day trial, and you can watch on your computer via the DirecTV Now website, or on your phone, tablet or streaming device via the DirecTV Now app
Sling TV: Fox (live in 17 markets) is included in the “Sling Blue” channel package for $25 per month. It comes with a free 7-day trial, and you can watch on your computer via the Sling website, or on your phone, tablet or streaming device via the Sling TV app
While Ohio State has the Big Ten East all wrapped up, this still remains a must-win game if the Buckeyes want to have a shot at making the playoff. According to FiveThirtyEight’s predictions, Urban Meyer’s team currently has a 28 percent chance of cracking the selection committee’s Top 4. A win moves them up to just 36 percent (and 62 percent if they also win the Big Ten championship), but a loss drops them all the way to four percent. Moreover, an Ohio State loss could mean potential disaster for the conference, as a Buckeyes win over Wisconsin in the Big Ten title game would likely result in no B10 playoff team for the first time since the new format was implemented.
So, while Michigan don’t have a lot on the line, there are several ways in which they can play spoiler against their hated rival.
And if the Wolverines are going to throw a wrench in Ohio State’s playoff plans, it’s imperative that they slow down an offense that ranks third in the country in points per game (44.9), fourth in yards per game (546.2) and fifth in yards per play (7.0). Fortunately for Michigan, defense has been their calling card this season. Especially dominant in the trenches, they rank first in America in sack percentage and fourth in run stuff rate.
While it’s going to be a wonderfully intriguing matchup of strength vs strength whenever Ohio State has the ball, the Buckeyes’ defense–which is seventh nationally in opponent yards per play–holds a significant advantage over an inconsistent Michigan offense that ranks 85th in that same stat.
The latter is a large reason why Ohio State is favored by 12.5 points even on the road, though in rivalry games as massive as this one, it’s typically best to expect the unexpected.