2023 OSU Football | Early Preview | “That State Up North” Game

May 26, 2023

Andy Billman

3 Things To Think About “The Game” on November 25th at Michigan

1 – No more “underdog” role for Michigan 

Even though Michigan was ranked in the top 5 in both games the last two seasons, the Wolverines were seen as the clear underdog in both games against the Buckeyes.  In this year’s version of “The Game”, that will not be the case.  Michigan has a roster full of players returning who won big last year for the Wolverines, who play in key positions.  So in other words, there’s pressure on Michigan not only to win against Ohio State but some will be expecting a national title.  Expectations like that can put undue pressure on a team and could help in a victory for Ohio State.

2 – McCarthy 

It is hard to pinpoint the last time this was the case, but heading into the season, Michigan does have a clear quarterback advantage over Ohio State.  JJ McCarthy, by some experts, has him listed as the best quarterback in the Big Ten and even some have him listed as a possible first-round selection in the 2024 NFL Draft.

McCarthy last year performed better over CJ Stroud because of big pass plays, three plays over 40 yards for touchdowns. McCarthy does have a knack for the big play, so even in late spring, a big focus for Ohio State has to be how to stop the big plays from the Wolverines. 

Whoever ends up being the quarterback for Ohio State in the fall, against Michigan, the quarterback must limit mistakes (two interceptions for Stroud last year against ) and get the ball to the star wide receivers stars, especially Marvin Harrison Jr. and Emeke Egbuka.  OSU’s wide receivers can win this game alone with their talent. 

3 – It is all about Michigan  

This entire season, in my eyes, is about the Buckeyes winning in Ann Arbor.  Period. 

At some point for any Ohio State coach, the Michigan game feels suffocating with the amount of pressure to win.  In 2023, that type of pressure will be on Ohio State Head Coach Ryan Day.  Coach Day is going to feel both losses coming into the game, and that can start to unravel any talented Buckeye team in a big spot.  This year, I would think the entire off-season program would have to be focused on how to beat Michigan.  It is that critical.  Coach Day can lose a game or two, but if you beat the Wolverines in Ann Arbor, it heals all wounds and more than likely sets up Ohio State for a National Championship playoff berth.   He should be focused and planning all season about beating Michigan, not Indiana on September 2nd. 

Ohio State fans should be excited about other match-ups like Notre Dame, Penn State, and Wisconsin, but those are all appetizers.  With the losses in back-to-back years to “The Team Up North”, the other games are just the filler, not the main course. 

The 2023 Ohio State football season is all about beating Michigan, period. 

Next, we break down Coach Ryan Day and how he is close to being compared to John Cooper! 

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