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Fact or Fiction: Michigan can compete with Ohio State this season

National recruiting director Mike Farrell and national recruiting analyst Adam Gorney tackle three topics daily and determine whether they believe the statements or not.

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1. Michigan can compete with Ohio State.

Joe Milton
Joe Milton (AP Images)

Farrell’s take: FACT. Ohio State turned it on after a sluggish start against Nebraska and Michigan looked amazing against a Minnesota team that looked lost. So after just one game, can we tell anything? I thought the Ohio State defense looked a bit slower than expected and the Michigan offense looked faster and more powerful than I expected. The talent gap isn’t as big as it appears on paper. Justin Fields makes Ohio State the clear favorite but I liked what I saw from Joe Milton. The Wolverines can give the Buckeyes a run.

Gorney’s take: FACT. This might be a major overreaction from one game but Michigan’s offense looks much more capable of fast-strike scores under quarterback Joe Milton and everyone seems comfortable running Josh Gattis’ offense so the Wolverines might be able to keep pace offensively with Ohio State. Let’s remember the Buckeyes have absolutely dominated Michigan over nearly the last two decades and this Ohio State team isn’t going to show all its cards in the season opener but the Wolverines looked very impressive against a good Minnesota team and it’s no longer a lock that Ohio State rolls them.

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2. The loss of Jaylen Waddle will be the reason Alabama doesn’t win it all.

Jaylen Waddle
Jaylen Waddle (AP Images)

Farrell’s take: FACT. I now have Clemson winning it all after picking Alabama at the start of the season. Jaylen Waddle is so important in this offense and on special teams that he will be hard to replace. John Metchie is a great athlete and looks good but it’s a drop down from Waddle and with an average defense by Alabama standards I’m going with Trevor Lawrence and his team.

Gorney’s take: FICTION. I am not discounting Waddle’s injury because he is one of the best receivers in the country but Alabama still has so many weapons the Crimson Tide can still win the national championship. Running back Najee Harris has 14 rushing touchdowns (to compare, Clemson’s Travis Etienne has five) plus no one is stopping DeVonta Smith and John Metchie will step it up as well. Waddle’s loss is major and Alabama might not win the title because Clemson and Ohio State are great and there are others that can beat the Crimson Tide but Alabama still has so much talent it can still get it done.

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3. Penn State got robbed against Indiana.

Michael Penix Jr.
Michael Penix Jr. (AP Images)

Farrell’s take: FICTION. Was it a two-point conversion? Likely not. But the call on the field was a score and it was too close to overturn. But the reason I say fiction is because Penn State blew it with clock management and deserved to lose. The Nittany Lions had this game won and salted away and James Franklin’s snatched defeat from the jaws of victory somehow. Indiana fought and deserved the win.

Gorney’s take: FACT. Penn State looked terrible for long stretches. The Nittany Lions’ offense sputtered way too often. Way too many mistakes were made - from the players and the coaches. Clock management was terrible late in the game. So many things went wrong - and still Penn State should have escaped Bloomington with that victory because Michael Penix was short of the goal line on the two-point conversion and anybody with two eyes could see the ball bounced into the pylon and he was short. Penn State outgained Indiana 488-211 and lost. That’s incredible. The Nittany Lions screwed up so many things in that game but the right call is the right call and the refs blew it. Yes, Penn State should not have been in that position but it still got robbed.

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