Needless to say, a lot can and will change between now and Nov. 25, but FanDuel has released some 2023 Game of the Year early college football odds, and Michigan has opened as a 1-point favorite over bitter rival Ohio State. Michigan hasn't closed as a home favorite in the series since a 40-34 victory way back in 2011.
It seems impossible to conceive, but there are rumors that Buckeyes coach Ryan Day might be in some trouble if Ohio State loses in the rivalry game for a third straight season.
All Day has done is lead the team to a 42-6, two Big Ten titles and three trips to the College Football Playoff – but has yet to capture a national championship. The Buckeyes probably would have won it all this past season if they had held a big fourth-quarter lead against eventual champion Georgia in the 42-41 Peach Bowl semifinal loss. Ohio State likely would have beaten TCU in the title game given how easily the Horned Frogs were dismantled by the Bulldogs.
Day will have to replace star quarterback CJ Stroud, among others. Kyle McCord, who started against Akron in 2021, is battling Devin Brown for the starting quarterback job in the spring. The winner will have arguably the nation's top receiver, Marvin Harrison Jr., at his disposal. Oddsmakers clearly expect McCord to win the job, as he's +2000 for the 2023 Heisman.
Ohio State has frankly been pushed around in the past two meetings against Michigan, including a 45-23 loss in Columbus last season despite the Wolverines essentially playing without star running Blake Corum, who had only two early carries before being injured. His backup, Donovan Edwards, gashed the Buckeyes for 216 yards and two scores on 22 carries – including touchdown runs of 75 and 85 yards in the fourth quarter to blow it open.
Both Corum and Edwards are back, as is coach Jim Harbaugh and quarterback JJ McCarthy. Michigan won its second straight Big Ten title in 2022 and reached the College Football Playoff semifinal for a second year in a row, but was upset by TCU 51-45 in the Fiesta Bowl semifinal as a nearly double-digit favorite. Corum and McCarthy are both +3000 to win the 2023 Heisman.
The last time Michigan was favored against Ohio State was in 2018 at Columbus at -4.5, but the Buckeyes rolled 62-39. There are no season win totals or Big Ten futures odds out yet. It might be a pick'em to win the Big Ten, although Ohio State is +750 to win the national title and Michigan is +1000. As has been proven, a team doesn't need to win its conference to reach the playoff. The 2023 CFP will be the last with the four-team format before the field expands 12 in 2024.
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