Michigan relied on the big play to pull away from Ohio State last weekend, as the Wolverines won 45-23 behind five touchdown plays of at least 45 yards. It was an impressive showing from Michigan’s offense, which was without star running back Blake Corum, who will miss the rest of the season due to injury.
Thanks to the 22-point win over Ohio State, Michigan (12-0, 9-0 Big Ten) enters the Big Ten Championship game against a Purdue team (8-4, 6-3 Big Ten) with a significant margin for error. Even if the Wolverines lose on Saturday night, they’ll still likely qualify for the College Football Playoff with Ohio State at No. 5 in the latest rankings. The Buckeyes, No. 6 Alabama, and No. 7 Tennessee aren’t in action Saturday, making it unlikely that any of those programs leap Michigan in the rankings.
Kickoff for Michigan-Purdue is scheduled for 8 p.m. ET, and the game will air on FOX.
Wolverines big favorites
While Michigan can lose and still likely make the field, beating Purdue all but ensures the Wolverines earn the No. 2 seed for the College Football Playoff. That would likely mean avoiding undefeated and top-ranked Georgia in the semifinals. The Bulldogs defeated Michigan 34-11 in last season’s semifinals, and they went on to beat Alabama to win the national championship.
Michigan is also a heavy favorite against the Boilermakers on Saturday, making a loss and subsequent slide down the rankings unlikely. Most mobile sportsbooks, including Barstool Sportsbook, BetMGM, BetRivers, Caesars Sportsbook, and PointsBet, list the Wolverines as 17-point favorites over Purdue. FanDuel has Michigan as a 16.5-point favorite.
The Boilermakers are a solid team, ranking in the top 50 offensively (32nd) and defensively (49th) in ESPN’s efficiency metrics. They’re not quite Michigan, but Purdue is a bowl team capable of pulling an upset if it plays its best.
The Michigan moneyline ranges from -800 to -1115 at mobile sportsbooks, and the total for the game is 52 at multiple sportsbooks.
Losing record for Michigan State
Michigan State (5-7, 3-6 Big Ten) dropped its final two games of the season, losing 39-31 to Indiana in double overtime and 35-16 to Penn State. The Spartans picked up somewhat notable wins over Illinois and Wisconsin this season, but they fell well short of preseason expectations. At the very least, many expected Michigan State to finish with a winning record.
The Spartans likely aren’t going to a bowl game, even though some 5-7 teams will compete in bowls. It was a disappointing season for Mel Tucker’s group. Michigan State finished the season 5-6-1 against the spread, according to The Action Network.
Photo: Adam Cairns/USA TODAY