Michigan’s going to beat Rutgers by a lot of points Saturday afternoon.
That’s no secret.
As a fan of the Wolverines, you might be keeping your eyes on other games around the country more so than U-M’s game in New Jersey.
Plenty of games include College Football Playoff implications and one Big Ten game could be pivotal in locking up the Big Ten East for the Wolverines.
Here’s your guide to Saturday!
No. 10 Ohio State at No. 18 Michigan State
Kickoff time: Noon EST
Who should you root for? Michigan State. If the Spartans can overcome the Buckeyes at home, then Michigan would be wins over Rutgers and Indiana away from clinching the Big Ten East. In the event Ohio State wins, though, it likely all comes down to the season’s final game in Columbus — unless OSU slips up against Maryland. The Buckeyes winning wouldn’t be bad, necessarily, as it would give Michigan a top-10 win in Columbus and bolster its reputation to the College Football Playoff committee. The path to Indy gets a lot simpler with a MSU win, though.
Prediction: Michigan State 26 Ohio State 17
Wisconsin at No. 20 Penn State
Kickoff: Noon EST
Who should you root for? Similar to the Iowa/Northwestern game (below), this game depends on who you’d rather see Michigan play in a potential Big Ten Championship game. Iowa ended Michigan’s undefeated campaign in 2016, so maybe avoiding them is best; therefore, root for the Badgers and get a rematch of a game U-M dominated, 38-13. On the other hand, if PSU wins, then that 42-7 win looks even better. This one could go either way — just watch it for the entertainment of James Franklin calling timeouts before the game starts and Paul Chryst’s extraordinarily bad play-calling with Alex Hornibrook.
Prediction: Penn State 27 Wisconsin 17
Northwestern at No. 21 Iowa
Kickoff: 3:30 p.m. EST
Who should you root for? It depends on the opponent you’d like Michigan to play most in the Big Ten Championship Game — if it gets there. An Iowa win and losses by Purdue (at Minnesota) and Wisconsin (at No. 20 Penn State) would bolster the Hawkeyes to No. 2 in the West, tied with the Badgers and Boilermakers. Regardless, Northwestern will walk away, win or lose, as the No. 1 team in the West. If the ‘Cats wins, they’ve got a substantial one-game (at least) lead on the division. If they lose, a Purdue win would tie it for first, same goes for Wisconsin. So, who do you want to play most? If it’s Northwestern, cheer for the Wildcats. If it’s any other team, root for the Hawkeyes.
Prediction: Iowa 24 Northwestern 20
No. 16 Mississippi State at No. 1 Alabama
Kickoff: 3:30 p.m. EST
Who should you root for? Alabama. At this point, so long as ‘Bama keeps winning, the SEC won’t find a way to get two teams in the College Football Playoff. That includes a win over Georgia in the SEC Championship Game. Per usual, the Tide should cruise over a — spoiler alert — over-ranked SEC team on Alabama’s schedule.
Prediction: ‘Bama 41 MSU 17
Oklahoma State at No. 6 Oklahoma
Kickoff: 3:30 p.m. EST
Who should you root for? The most popular argument following Tuesday’s release of the College Football Playoff rankings was making a case for Georgia and Oklahoma to get in over Michigan in the event all three win out. Pretty simple, the Sooners lose and the Big 12 is out and so are they. No. 9 West Virginia could find a way in but it’d have to beat the Sooners twice. It doesn’t push Michigan forward but it gives them one less playoff contender to worry about.
Prediction: Oklahoma 56 Oklahoma State 27
No. 24 Auburn at No. 5 Georgia
Kickoff: 7:00 p.m. EST
Who should you root for? War Eagle! If you’re a Michigan fan, you need a miracle in Athens and not for the home team. Auburn’s fallen off but found its way into the Top 25 at No. 24 following a win over Texas A&M in a battle of, Who’s More Overrated? Keep an eye on this one as the Tigers are still stacked with talent and a good quarterback. That being said, the Dawgs are much stronger.
Prediction: Georgia 31 Auburn 13
Florida State at No. 3 Notre Dame
Kickoff: 7:30 p.m. EST
Who should you root for? Forget the, “a Notre Dame loss hurts Michigan’s strength of schedule.” Sure, the schedule’s strength might take a minor hit and the loss to the Irish might not look as excusable if they lose to an abysmal FSU team. Regardless, Michigan would unquestionably move up to No. 3 and therefore be in a position to #AvoidBama. Buuuuut, that’s probably not going to happen in South Bend Saturday night.
Prediction: Notre Dame 31 Florida State 10
No. 2 Clemson at No. 17 Boston College
Kickoff: 8:00 p.m. EST
Who should you root for? As hard as it might be to root for the team that rosters A.J. Dillon — a long-time Michigan commit that flipped late, and happens to be real good — you’re going to want a Clemson loss. That’s solely because the ACC’s only shot for the Playoff is a miracle amount of losses in the top-10 to push Syracuse forward … or Clemson. The Tigers would likely find a way back into the Playoff, but Michigan would move up to No. 2 or 3 if it wins out in that situation. Which means … avoiding that four-seed against Alabama. You don’t want ‘Bama, folks.
Prediction: Clemson 48 Boston College 24