Mailbag: What if Michigan beats Ohio State?

There is a lot to talk about as the season winds down. Ohio State and the BCS are on the minds of many, as is the always-anticipated Buckeye-Wolverine clash this Saturday.

So, let’s dig into this week’s cards and letters in my mailbag.

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If Michigan can beat Ohio State this weekend, will the Wolverines crack the Top 25? Also, what bowl do you see them possibly playing in if they get the job done? – Eric

No way Michigan cracks anyone’s top 25 with a win over Ohio State. Yes, it would be impressive and a stunning upset. But the 7-4 Wolverines, losers of four of six, have had too many tough losses to get into the Top 25. Still, to ruin Ohio State’s 23-game winning streak and kill its BCS title game hopes would ease some of the pain for Wolverines fans. Heck, who am I kidding: It would ease all of it!

Why would the Buckeyes not leap Florida State in the BCS standings if they win out? – Anthony Brown

Yes, the Buckeyes have better foes left to play (Michigan and Michigan State) than Florida State (Florida and ACC title game), but pollsters (Harris and Coaches) won’t penalize the Seminoles if they win out. And, that’s two-thirds of the BCS formula. I can’t speak to what the computers would do. No one knows!

With all the talk about the strength of the SEC and its schedule, I couldn’t help but notice teams like Idaho, Chattanooga and Georgia Southern on the schedules of what we would consider to be traditionally top-ranked SEC schools. This late into the season, should there be a rule prohibiting these type of non-conference matchups? – Mark Harris

Look, the Big Ten just chooses to play non-conference patsies almost exclusively in September. The SEC opts to spread non-league cupcakes throughout the three-month schedule. That allows for some enticing SEC matchups in September. It’s a good idea. And it’s an idea the Big Ten may adopt.

[ MORE: Where does your team land on our latest Big Ten Bowl Projections? ]

Both division winners deserve to go to a BCS bowl. The team that loses the BIG Championship should not be penalized. This is what happened two years ago when MSU won the division but lost to Wisconsin in the league title game. Michigan ended up going to a BCS bowl—and Michigan State didn’t. – D. Glowacki

I couldn’t agree more. I think it’s a joke that a team gets knocked down for losing its league title game. Meanwhile, a team that doesn’t even win its division is rewarded a BCS bowl slot over a division winner. Huh? You are better off not winning your division than winning your division and losing the league title game. It just makes no sense.

You think Nebraska would have won a few more games with Ron Kellogg III as starting quarterback? I don’t. This squad is being held together with tape and bailing wire due to the inordinate amount of injuries. You wrote that to induce controversy. The truth is, the NU coaching staff handled the QB situation after the Taylor Martinez injury as well as possible. – Mark Luebbe

I just think it would have been interesting to see what would have happened with Kellogg at the controls. He’s a much better passer than Tommy Armstrong. And this offense needed a passing threat more than an athletic quarterback who could run, what with Ameer Abdullah already in the backfield.

How tough will it be for Ohio State to go from playing four consecutive games vs. lesser foes to playing a rival like Michigan? – Stephanie

A breeze. Ohio State is coming off relatively easy wins vs. Penn State, Purdue, Illinois and Indiana, outscoring those teams, 221-63. I don’t think that will impact the Buckeyes one iota when they play Michigan. This is a rivalry game that OSU wants to win not just for bragging rights—but to stay in contention for the BCS title game. The Buckeyes are playing their best football of the season, hitting on all cylinders on offense and playing great defense. They’ll be ready for the Wolverines, who aren’t playing well.

[ MORE: How did we do? Week 13 Big Ten picks revisited ]

Best food scene you’ve seen (for purchase, not tailgating) within walking distance from a Big Ten stadium? School with the best food for the media (hoping it’s not generic/boring pizza)? – Jonathan

Great question! You can walk to Mickies Dairy Bar from Wisconsin’s Camp Randall Stadium. It’s a great breakfast place. There are myriad places in the Haymarket section near Nebraska’s Memorial Stadium. Barry’s is a good place. Stella is a good joint that’s in the shadow of Kinnick Stadium in Iowa City. Those are just a few. What Big Ten press box has the best grub? I’ll go with Ohio State. No hot-dog-and-chips meals in Columbus. No sir. Always a top-notch spread. And they hand out McFlurry’s the entire game. It’s a fat man’s dream.

Can Michigan State beat Ohio State in Big Ten championship game? – Don Swanson

In a word: Yes. That Michigan State defense gives the Spartans a chance in every game. And, you know the adage: Good defense typically stops good offense. The Spartan offense also is playing well, as Connor Cook is developing as a passer and Jeremy Langford has emerged as one of the Big Ten’s top backs. He has 1,076 yards rushing and leads the Big Ten with 15 rushing TDs. Gotta like the Spartans’ chances.

Carlos Hyde missed three games and has played in eight. Against Florida A&M, he had only five carries. And he had just eight carries vs. Purdue. So, basically, Hyde has played six games but has rushed for over 1,000 yards. How is Hyde not considered the best RB in the Big Ten? Had he played in all 11 games, he’d be going after 1,500. – Charlie McNeil

I think if Hyde had played in every game, he may be approaching 1,800 yards. The guy has been a beast when he has played. He has 138 carries for 1,064 yards and 13 TDs, averaging 7.7 yards per carry. No doubt, Hyde could be considered the Big Ten’s top back. Too bad he was suspended for the first three games. But most feel Nebraska’s Ameer Abdullah should get that honor. He leads the Big Ten with 1,483 yards, averaging 6.4 yards per tote with seven scores.

About Tom Dienhart senior writer Tom Dienhart is a veteran sports journalist who covers Big Ten football and men’s basketball for and BTN TV. Find him on Twitter and Facebook, read all of his work at, and subscribe to his posts via RSS. Also, send questions to his weekly mailbag using the form below and read all of his previous answers in his reader mailbag section.

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Your Opinion?
Show Comments (14 Comments)
dickpatten7 on 11/25/2013 @ 4:32pm EDT Said:

my reply is I doubt they can beat Ohio State this year. I love the Michigan team, believe me I think I am the biggest supporter they have in Concord NH, and it has upset me so bad to see this team play like this. It is disgusting, there is so much talent on there, there is no need of it. Someone is not doing their job to rally the team. I feel like someone is being paid under the table to not encourage this team. I shouldn’t s ay it, but what else do you think. Personally I think Gardner should give back the # 98 uniform. I think it went to his head. This team has either to many big heads to begin with. I think Brady Hoke needs to sit his coaches down and say either get your special teams straightened out or your fired. I mean it. I am sick of seeing these kids or young men wasting their time and becoming the laughing stock of state of Michigan llet alone the whole Big Ten. Next year can you see it, Michigan losing to Maryland or Rutgers. Plus the start the year off with Appalachian State. History repeats or does it stop? Michigan wake up and stop being the laughing stock of your home state. Show them who is boss on Saturday, send Ohio State packing to the Capital One Bowl.

Dirk on 11/25/2013 @ 7:21pm EDT Said:

Are Michigan and Ohio State playing this weekend? Why? Doesn’t mean anything. The real question is if Ohio State will rest some key players for the next week. By the way–who will Michigan’s September Heisman be next year?

Spartan in Los Angeles on 11/25/2013 @ 8:10pm EDT Said:

Now that’s funny Dirk made my day Go Green

Mike on 11/25/2013 @ 9:01pm EDT Said:

Denardo thinks, or thought, Michigan is the best team in the big ten!! That should count for something. That was a gem of a statement!!

Big Brother on 11/25/2013 @ 9:13pm EDT Said:

it will be Le’Veon Bell, Dirk

matt on 11/25/2013 @ 10:00pm EDT Said:

those who think abdullah is the best back in the big ten are crazy, and I agree with taking hyde out of the mix for best back for missing 3 games, after all they did the same thing with borland, whether either deserved it or not.

the best backs in the big ten are on the same team, wisconsin. I cite as my evidence: 1 both backs’ YPC 2 they split carries evenly with each other 3 they have an average passing attack as a compliment, so they consistently face 8 man fronts, something neither abdullah nor hyde can boast.

Also based on the eye test, I would trow langford into consideration. realistically its a 5 man race for best back, despite my personal belief, this year SHOULD end in a tie, same with the best linebacker race.

Kim on 11/25/2013 @ 11:19pm EDT Said:

First of all, the bowl game that Ohio State plays in is decided not this week but rather in the conference championship game. The OSU-Michigan game has basically come down to which team and its fans has bragging rights for the year. It is a rivalry game. The only bowl game that a Michigan win could keep OSU from is the BCS championship. The Rose Bowl will be decided the following week.

Mike S. on 11/26/2013 @ 11:05am EDT Said:

To Stephanie- Hate to tell you this but, Michigan IS one of those “lesser foes” that you speak of. OSU v Michigan has become a regional rivalry. UM attaches itself to OSU as the “Big 2, little 10”, in hopes that it can stay relevant.

JP on 11/26/2013 @ 11:27am EDT Said:

Good one Dirk!

Grant on 11/26/2013 @ 1:11pm EDT Said:

matt, are you trying to say that Nebraska has a better than average passing attack? I don’t think so. Abdullah has seen just as much fronts as Wisconsin. And if you look at the numbers, just because the Wisconsin backs split time, they still have almost as much rushes as Abdullah. You could make the case for either of those 3 I think. But unlike Wisconsin, when Nebraska needs a gut to go to they go to Abdullah, and only Abdullah.

Doug on 11/26/2013 @ 6:59pm EDT Said:

Eric, no need for you to worry if Michigan will be ranked if they beat OSU, just pray M keeps it within 4 TD’s

Doug on 11/26/2013 @ 7:00pm EDT Said:

dhani, Bell is doing rather well in the NFL, how is shoelocks doing? HAHAHHAH

Fowith on 11/26/2013 @ 9:34pm EDT Said:

Doug you know why MARK and Dhani cant post anymore, I am the only Michigan man left read the Free Press more Doug

keypounder on 11/27/2013 @ 1:36pm EDT Said:

Michigan has newspapers??????????

The biggest question will be the over-under on how many times that team from up north fumbles