Can Ohio State football beat Michigan twice? The Buckeyes may need to for national title

Colin Gay
The Columbus Dispatch

Gene Smith has said he's open for Ohio State to face rival Michigan two straight weeks on the football field.

Once USC and UCLA join the Big Ten in 2024, the Ohio State athletic director said he's in favor of eliminating East and West divisions in the conference, bringing the possibility of a rematch between the Wolverines and the Buckeyes.

"It could happen," Smith said of a rematch between Ohio State and Michigan. "From a season-long scheduling point of view, when you bring in USC and UCLA and the fact that we're trying to do the best matchups the year before, (having) no divisions is better.”

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But with how 2022 is going, two Ohio State vs. Michigan games in the same season could happen sooner than expected.

No. 2 Ohio State vs. No. 3 Michigan: Fiesta Bowl?

In the second week of the College Football Playoff rankings, the committee placed Ohio State at No. 2 for the second-straight week after the Buckeyes beat Northwestern on the road 21-7.

However, the College Football Playoff committee also moved Michigan from No. 5 to No. 3 after the Wolverines beat Rutgers 52-17 in Piscataway, New Jersey.

Ohio State and Michigan are two of four undefeated teams left in college football along with No. 1 Georgia and No. 4 TCU.

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As the College Football Playoff rankings stand, Georgia and TCU would face off in what would likely be the Peach Bowl, while the Buckeyes and Wolverines would meet in the Fiesta Bowl after either Michigan or Ohio State plays for a Big Ten Championship.

Has Ohio State ever played Michigan twice in one year?

Since the Ohio State vs. Michigan series started in 1897, the Buckeyes and the Wolverines have never faced each other multiple times in one season.

"The Game" has been played outside of November 21 times — all in October — but not since 1933.

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How often has Ohio State and Michigan been ranked back-to-back in the College Football Playoff?

While Ohio State and Michigan have appeared back-to-back in numerous AP and USA Today AFCA Coaches polls, the Buckeyes and the Wolverines being ranked next to one another is a much more rare occurrence in the College Football Playoff.

Ohio State and Michigan have been ranked side-by-side by the College Football Playoff committee four other times in 2018 and 2016.

The last time the Buckeyes and the Wolverines were next to each other in the College Football Playoff rankings was after Ohio State knocked off Michigan 62-39. The Buckeyes came into the Big Ten Championship against Northwestern as the No. 6 team in the country, while the Wolverines stayed at No. 7. Even after the Buckeyes' 45-24 win against the Wildcats the next week, Ohio State and Michigan were back-to-back at No. 6 and No. 7 heading into the College Football Playoff.

During the 2016 season, the Buckeyes and Wolverines came into "The Game" as the No. 2 and No. 3 teams in the country, holding those rankings for two weeks before Michigan lost 30-27 in double-overtime.

College Football Playoff rankings: Week 2

  1. Georgia (9-0) 
  2. Ohio State (9-0) 
  3. Michigan (9-0) 
  4. TCU (9-0) 
  5. Tennessee (8-1) 
  6. Oregon (8-1) 
  7. LSU (7-2) 
  8. USC (8-1) 
  9. Alabama (7-2) 
  10. Clemson (8-1) 
  11. Ole Miss (8-1) 
  12. UCLA (8-1) 
  13. Utah (7-2) 
  14. Penn State (7-2) 
  15. North Carolina (8-1) 
  16. NC State (7-2) 
  17. Tulane (8-1) 
  18. Texas (6-3) 
  19. Kansas State (6-3) 
  20. Notre Dame (6-3) 
  21. Illinois (7-2) 
  22. UCF (7-2) 
  23. Florida State (6-3) 
  24. Kentucky (6-3) 
  25. Washington (7-2) 

Ohio State football's 2022 schedule

Michigan football's 2022 schedule

  • Sept. 3: Michigan 51, Colorado State 7
  • Sept. 10: Michigan 56, Hawaii 10
  • Sept. 17: Michigan 59, UConn 0
  • Sept. 24: Michigan 34, Maryland 27
  • Oct. 1: Michigan 27, Iowa 14
  • Oct. 8: Michigan 31, Indiana 10
  • Oct. 15: Michigan 41, Penn State 17
  • Oct. 29: Michigan 29, Michigan State 7
  • Nov. 5: Michigan 52, Rutgers 17
  • Nov. 12: Michigan vs. Nebraska, Ann Arbor, Mich.
  • Nov. 19: Michigan vs. Illinois, Ann Arbor, Mich.
  • Nov. 26: Michigan vs. Ohio State, Columbus, Ohio, noon

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