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SI: UM-Penn State one of 13 ‘pivot-point’ games for ’17

The Detroit News

Michigan-Ohio State will always be “The Game,” a showdown circled on each team’s schedule.

But, for Michigan, a game scheduled more than a month earlier is a contest in which its season could hinge.

Michigan’s game Oct. 21 at Penn State is one of 13 “pivot-point” games Sports Illustrated has circled for the college football season. These are games, writes Andy Staples of Sports Illustrated, “upon which a team’s season might turn.”

Staples writes that’s true for both the Wolverines and Nittany Lions.

“The loser of this game last year (Penn State, which lost 49-10 in Ann Arbor) won the conference,” Staples writes, “but that required an unusual confluence of circumstances. For Penn State to defend its title, it probably needs at least a split between this game and its game at Ohio State the following Saturday. On paper, this feels like the easier of the two.

“Michigan, meanwhile, has November matchups with Wisconsin and Ohio State. A loss at this juncture could cripple the Wolverines’ Big Ten title hopes.”

The game in Happy Valley is the only “pivot point” game involving two Big Ten teams. Ohio State’s Sept. 9 game at home against Oklahoma also made the list.