It’s supposed to be different this time around for Michigan head coach Jim Harbaugh.
Harbaugh hasn’t yet beaten Ohio State. Since he took the job in Ann Arbor on Dec. 30, 2014, Harbaugh has made Michigan a perennial 10-win team, but never a team worthy enough to play in the College Football Playoff. He’s been close, but never quite gotten the cigar. That’s because nearly every Thanksgiving weekend, the Wolverines have laid a dud against the Buckeyes.
This year, No. 6 Michigan (10-1, 7-1 Big Ten) will host No. 4 Ohio State (10-1, 8-0 Big Ten) inside the Big House, and it’ll be arguably Michigan’s best shot to beat Ohio State under Harbaugh. For that to happen, preparation is key, and he knows it.
“I see it in their eyes. I hear it in their voices,” Harbaugh said on Monday. “We’re all feeding off of each other like that. I look at them. It feels like I’m looking in the mirror. I’m seeing the same confidence in them that I feel inside of me.”
Michigan will be tasked with stopping the No. 1 offense in the nation, one that has averaged 49.2 points per game since Sept 11, when Ohio State suffered their only loss of the season, 35-28 to No. 3 Oregon. Since then, it’s been a different Ohio State and a different CJ Stroud. The redshirt freshman quarterback is now the betting favorite for the Heisman Trophy after his 432-yard, six touchdown performance against No. 7 Michigan State last Saturday.
However, Michigan has the No. 10 defense in the country, one that’s allowed just 178.4 passing yards per game and 16.3 points per game.
The winner of “The Game” will have a date with the winner of the Big Ten West in the Big Ten Championship Game on Dec. 4.
This one is big, but Harbaugh isn’t here for the hype.
“No need to hype it,” Harbaugh said. “It’s a Playoff game. It’s a rivalry game.”