From Marvin Harrison Jr. to Ryan Day to Jim Harbaugh, several key storylines dominate this weekend’s matchup between the No. 2 ranked Ohio State Buckeyes and the No. 3 ranked Michigan Wolverines.
•Does A Loss Put Ohio State Head Coach Ryan Day On The Hot Seat?
The Ohio State Buckeyes lost to their bitter rivals last season for the first time in eight years, causing a stir around Columbus. With the Wolverines ranked No. 3 in the country heading into “The Game”, would a loss put Ohio State head coach Ryan Day on the hot seat?
As surprising as it sounds, the answer is yes. The Buckeyes have not lost back-to-back games in this series since the 1999 and 2000 seasons. Simply put, losing The Game two times in a row is a fireable offense in Columbus.
Now, that is not to say that Ryan Day deserves that short of a leash. By all accounts, he is a great guy and a strong leader of young men. His play calling can be stale at times, and the overall decision-making leaves room for improvement, but the key question to ask is this: “if Ryan Day is fired, are you positive that you would find better?”.
Ohio State is one of the top jobs in football, college and pros included. There would be no shortage of great options to replace Ryan Day. Some, myself included, already see a potential successor on the coaching staff. Lead recruiter and wide receiver coach Brian Hartline will be an elite head coach sooner than later. Maybe a loss to Michigan changes “soon” to “now”.
•Would Jim Harbaugh Leave Michigan To Become Head Coach Of The Indianapolis Colts?
Let’s stick with the head coaches in this matchup, but this time turn our attention to Michigan’s Jim Harbaugh. Harbaugh exercised his demons last season, finally defeating the Ohio State Buckeyes and leading his team to a College Football Playoff berth.
The Wolverines failed to advance in the playoffs, but if you ask Michigan and Ohio State fans, one thing they both agree on is that The Game outweighs everything else. Michigan could have gone 1-11 last season, but as long as that one win was against the Buckeyes, Harbaugh’s seat would be nice and cool.
Okay, maybe that is exaggerated a tad but not much. So, what happens if Harbaugh wins again in 2022? The chase for a National Title will always be enticing, but could he look for a new challenge elsewhere after beating the Final Boss two times in a row? If he loses, will the talks heat up on Michigan’s side about replacing him?
One option that has been at the forefront of the discussion the past month is the Indianapolis Colts. Upon firing Frank Reich, the questions surrounding the future of the franchise began swirling. Jeff Saturday took over as the interim head coach, but few expect him to become the full-time leader in the locker room.
Instead, Jim Irsay could look to a familiar face in Jim Harbaugh. Harbaugh spent four seasons with the Indianapolis Colts from 1994-1997, leading the franchise to an AFC Championship Game and earning Pro Bowl honors in 1995. Harbaugh lived his dream by serving as the Michigan head coach, maybe he wants to do the same with the Colts.
•Is Ohio State Wide Receiver Marvin Harrison Jr. The Best Player In All Of College Football?
Marvin Harrison Jr. is not NFL Draft eligible in 2023, as he is currently only a sophomore with the Ohio State Buckeyes. However, that does not change the fact that MHJ has been the single most impressive football player in the country this college football season.
The team’s stat leader in every category last year, Jaxon Smith-Njigba, was expected to take over the No. 1 role in 2022. Thanks to lingering injury issues, JSN has only appeared in a few games, never once looking like the player he was the season prior. Lucky for Buckeye fans, they had an even better player waiting in the wings.
Marvin Harrison Jr., son of Colts’ legend Marvin Harrison, has solidified himself as one of the best pass catchers in the country. Nobody has been more of a difference-maker than Harrison Jr. He is the top option for quarterback CJ Stroud and anytime the offense needs a big play, they look to their superstar on the outside.
What makes Marvin Harrison Jr. so special is his blend of physical traits paired with upper-echelon route running. His game is reminiscent of his father’s, with only one stark difference. Harrison Jr. is built much, much bigger. He possesses the traits of Marvin Harrison while in a body comparable to Randy Moss.
In the modern era, Keyshawn Johnson is the only wide receiver to come off the board at No. 1 overall. We are still 17 months away from the 2024 NFL Draft, so things are bound to change around the college football world. As of today, though, there is a strong case for Marvin Harrison Jr. being one to follow Keyshawn Johnson’s footsteps.
•Will Michigan Running Back Blake Corum Be Healthy Enough To Make An Impact?
Blake Corum served as the second of a two-headed rushing attack last season. With Hassan Haskins departing to the NFL, Corum assumed the top spot on the depth chart heading into the 2022 season. He has not disappointed.
In 11 games, the junior running back has 1457 rushing yards and 18 touchdowns. Corum is the focal point of an offense that averages well over 30 points per game. The offensive line deserves its fair share of credit, but Corum’s patient approach and wrecking ball running style is what makes the unit special.
He is dealing with a leg injury suffered during last week’s contest vs. Illinois. While Corum has shrugged off any concerns about the ailment being a long-term one, there has been zero confirmation that he will suit up Saturday against the team’s arch-rival. For what it’s worth, I expect Corum to play, but the level to which he plays, that is tougher to predict.
If Corum is forced out of action or is limited in any capacity, the Wolverines will likely turn to a committee approach. The challenge is already tough enough at full strength, but the Michigan Wolverines will have their work cut out for them if Blake Corum is unable to be his usual self. Monitor this closely as kick-off approaches.