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OTB Staff Predictions: #4 Michigan At Rutgers

Rutgers v Michigan Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

Dave White: Last week I predicted the upset and that didn't go well. This week? I'm really nervous. Harbaugh is looking at this as a big game in the recruiting wars. Chris Ash is still without his two best players and the offense doesn't have the talent to get into a shootout. Early on, the evening crowd should be a factor, and the defense showed it could hang in the first quarter last week--before they got worn down. If the offense can't move the ball and sustain drives, it's going to be a long night. Harbaugh wants to put up 90 points. He wants to outscore Ohio State. This hurts to type. And I really hope I'm wrong. Rutgers 18 Michigan.... 62.

Aaron Breitman: I'm cautiously optimistic that the Rutgers defense will put up a respectable performance and keep the score somewhat close in the first half. It's the first night home game of the season and first ever "Stripeout" this weekend, so the crowd should be fired up, barring a full-on Hurricane. If Martin can bust a long run or two early, hopefully they can get a few points on the board to gain some confidence. Either way, Michigan has an elite defense and far too much talent for Rutgers to compete for 60 minutes. I fear Harbaugh will look to embarrass Rutgers in front of so many New Jersey recruits and run up the score as much as possible. I think both scenarios work out to some degree and Michigan wins it going away. Michigan 42 Rutgers 10

Bob Cancro: Deep breath, everyone. Urban Myer likes Chris Ash, respects Chris Ash. And he beat us by 176 points. Jim Harbaugh has no friends outside of Ann Arbor. And even that is questionable. The talent gap is clearly wide, with Rutgers suffering from losses at key spots creating even more of a deficit. Harbaugh is a nutjob and mean-spirited; he will not relent. As always, Rutgers will fight; they will “grind” and they will play hard. Just not enough. That being said, I don’t think Michigan is in the same class as Ohio State and on Nov. 26 I want Urban and the scarlet & gray to show everyone how true that statement is. But first things first: wear your right color for your section, be in your seats early....

....cheer til the end. And prepare for a tough night. Michigan 48 Rutgers 7

Matthew Pisani: Well, last week was ugly. Unbelievably ugly. I did not even want to finish watching that game. I have been looking forward to this game since two years ago when I jumped the barriers and rushed the field with my fellow students and alumni and student athletes. Unfortunately for us, Jim Harbaugh is now the coach of Michigan and this team is nothing like the team we saw here in Piscataway two years ago. This team is dominant on defense and can score points if needed on offense. The Wolverines just beat #8 Wisconsin at the Big House by a score and got a few key interceptions. With the way Laviano moved the ball last week, a pitiful 33 yards on 12 attempts, I do not see this boding very well for the Scarlet Knights. We need a playmaker; Robert Martin cannot do it all himself. Michigan will load the box to stop the run and make Laviano throw, which none of our quarterbacks can seemingly do. It will not be as ugly as last week, but a blowout nonetheless. Michigan 38 Rutgers 10

Jim Hoffman: Two years ago was a magical evening, and the feeling of excitement when Kemoko Turay blocked the field goal attempt was unbelievable. That was then, this is now. Michigan was not the #4 team in the country, and we were not playing them a week after playing the #2 team in the country. Ah, memories... Anyway, I think that the team will do much better at home against Michigan than they did away against tOSU. How much better? Some, but still not enough to win. I am hoping Chris Laviano has gotten angry at all of the noise about him being a sub-par QB, and the rest of the offense wants to show they can do more than they did in The Horseshoe last Saturday. I think a large crowd will provide excitement, along with a rare nighttime game (just think how much they have saved without using the lights yet this year!) Michigan 35 Rutgers 14

Griffin Whitmer: I’m never picking against this team in black uniforms. There will finally be a sellout crowd (they are predicting one) and there will be an energy that this specific team has never seen. Last year, Rutgers took #4 Michigan State down to the wire. They wound up in the College Football Playoff and many believe Michigan is destined for the CFP as well. As for Michigan, I have nothing nice to say about them so I won’t say anything at all. Rutgers 21 Michigan 20.

Andy Egan: Last week’s massacre reminded me of the Sam Jackson line from the first Avengers movie: “Last year, Earth had a visitor from another planet that had a grudge match that leveled a small town. We learned that not only are we not alone, but we are hopelessly, hilariously outgunned.” I see some reason for hope to avoid a repeat evisceration against this Michigan team, however. First, Michigan is not the same level of intergalactic mutant destroyers that Urban’s Buckeyes are (yet -- maybe next year). Very few teams -- if any -- outside of Tuscaloosa are at that level. Second, Michigan hasn’t really had to play in a challenging away environment yet. Our fanbase has a lot of work to do to in showing up in force and being loud for noon kickoffs, but we pack the Point for bigtime night games against hated conference rivals, and some (most) of our finest moments have come in that snake-pit raucous environment. This week will be no different. Michigan wins, but it’s close; think the Iowa game, but with more scoring on both sides. Michigan 31, Rutgers 24.

Scott Logan: If there’s one positive about this matchup, it’s that it will take place in the friendly confines of High Point Solutions Stadium. But that’s about it. Last week, the defense caved in after a strong first quarter, and the offense was nothing short of nightmarish for 60 minutes. Yes, I know we were up against the No. 2 team in the nation last week, but Michigan isn’t much of a downgrade. My heart wants to focus on the potential of an amped up Rutgers squad playing under the lights, the Scarlet Knights’ victory over Michigan in 2014, and the near-upset of fellow fourth-ranked team Michigan State last year. But my head focuses on a team already without some of its top players that even struggled at times in victory going against a much different Wolverines team than the Brady Hoke-led dumpster fire that visited two years ago. I truly wish to be wrong. Let’s just hope Rutgers can squeeze out a few points and the stripeout looks cool. Michigan 48 Rutgers 14