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So much is on the line in Big Ten title game

Penn State v Ohio State Getty Images

Did even the most rabid Ohio State fan think the Buckeyes would be where they are today when it was announced that Urban Meyer was coming to Columbus a couple years ago?

Almost two full seasons after taking over a program that finished 6-7 back in 2011, Meyer has Ohio State on the verge of its first appearance in the BCS title game since 2007.

The Buckeyes have won 24 games in a row under Meyer.

Ohio State’s offense is averaging 48 points per game and it topped the 40-point mark in conference play six times. The Buckeye defense has been better than many expected, allowing an average of just 20 points while finishing fifth in the nation in rushing yards allowed per game. Quarterback Braxton Miller has had an outstanding season, passing for 1,759 yards and 17 touchdowns and rushing for 891 yards and eight scores. If not for missing three early-season games, he would be the hands-down favorite to win the Heisman Trophy. And running back Carlos Hyde has been a beast, rushing for 1,290 yards and 14 touchdowns.

All No. 2 Ohio State (12-0) has to do now to put a capper on another perfect regular season is beat No. 10 Michigan State (11-1) in Indianapolis on Saturday in the Big Ten title game.

That won’t be easy.

The Spartans defense is downright nasty. It leads the FBS in total defense (237.7), pass efficiency defense (91.79) and rushing defense (64.75) and is third in scoring defense (11.8 ppg). All star corner Darqueze Dennard is a Thorpe Award finalist, while Max Bullough is one of the country’s finest linebackers. Miller and Co. will have their hands full trying to move the ball on this unit.

The Michigan State offense is, well, fairly bland. But sophomore quarterback Connor Cook has quietly put together a nice season with 2,119 passing yards, 17 touchdowns and just four interceptions. As usual, the Spartans can run the ball, too, with Jeremy Langford leading the way with 1,210 yards and 16 scores.

If Michigan State can rein in the dynamism of Miller and Hyde and win the field position battle, this could be a classic. The Spartans have a chance to spoil Ohio State’s national title dreams and send the winner of the SEC title game to Pasadena to face (most likely) No. 1 Florida State for the BCS title. Plus, it would clinch Michigan State’s first Big Ten title since 1987.

A win for Ohio State would continue an amazing run — 25 wins in a row — and give the Buckeyes a shot at their first national title since 2002. With Ohio State’s program starting to turn into a juggernaut under Meyer, it may be just a taste of what’s to come.

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24 Responses to “So much is on the line in Big Ten title game”
  1. 4buckiz says: Dec 6, 2013 7:50 PM

    Let’s go bucks!

  2. spunhead73 says: Dec 6, 2013 8:05 PM

    Bucks are overrated.

  3. operwapitsai says: Dec 6, 2013 8:11 PM

    go green

  4. derekgorgonstar says: Dec 6, 2013 9:01 PM

    osu schedule

    -cal – winless in conference
    -purdue – winless in conference
    -illini- winless in conference til they closed season vs purdue
    -florida a&m
    -san diego state

    sound like the #2 team in the country?

    p.s. buckeyes, at least stop getting players arrested

  5. BrownsTown says: Dec 6, 2013 9:14 PM


  6. thefiesty1 says: Dec 6, 2013 9:24 PM

    Go Spartans. Put them in their place. The Capital One Bowl.

  7. bricktop02 says: Dec 6, 2013 9:25 PM

    Let’s go Spartans!!!!

  8. buckeyeluvn says: Dec 6, 2013 9:26 PM

    I love the hatred for the Buckeyes! Most people dislike things or people they are envious of! Go Bucks!!

  9. be4bama says: Dec 6, 2013 9:30 PM

    Tell me about it buckeyeluvn

  10. howintensive says: Dec 6, 2013 9:44 PM

    Technically MSU won a big ten title in 2010 when it was shared with OSU and Wisconsin. So it should read “first outright title.”

  11. dmvtransplant says: Dec 6, 2013 10:33 PM

    @ howintensive

    In 2010 the Sugar Bowl picked OSU over the Spartans, because they were a bigger drawn in terms of fan attendance and ticket sales

  12. youcantmakemepickausername says: Dec 6, 2013 10:33 PM

    derekgorgonstar says: Dec 6, 2013 9:01 PM

    osu schedule

    -cal – winless in conference
    -purdue – winless in conference
    -illini- winless in conference til they closed season vs purdue
    -florida a&m
    -san diego state

    sound like the #2 team in the country?

    Wow, you might be on to something! I had no idea Ohio State played an eight game schedule when everyone else played at least 12!

  13. derekgorgonstar says: Dec 6, 2013 10:52 PM

    Good point. I forgot the barnburner with that epic Northwestern squad.

  14. palmbeachbuckeye says: Dec 6, 2013 11:12 PM

    Fact… OSU Strength of Schedule is HIGHER than FSU. Fact…. OSU was force to schedule SDSU after Vandy cancelled at the last minute very late last season with NO notice. Fact.. FSU, Bama, and Auburn have WORSE non conference games than OSU. Fact.. Buffalo (8-4) is a bowl team and SDSU (7-5) is as well. Fact..when Cal was scheduled nearly a decade ago they were a good team. Not OSU’s fault they are god awful right now. Fact.. OSU schedules a Home-Away series annually.. FSU, Bama, Auburn refuse to do the same and will not and have not left their home states for an away game (except for neutral site) in many years… Fact.. OSU is top 5 in rushing defense and top 10 in scoring defense.

  15. joerevs300 says: Dec 6, 2013 11:35 PM

    All I want for Christmas is a MSU win over OSU.

  16. jrs45 says: Dec 7, 2013 12:23 AM

    I think it’s gonna be close but in the end OSU by 10.

  17. txnative61 says: Dec 7, 2013 1:57 AM

    So MSU plays in the Rose Bowl either way. Ha!

  18. sportsguy3434 says: Dec 7, 2013 1:59 AM

    Get your facts straight. Bama plays better non conference teams than OSU. The past 4 years have been @VT, Michigan, @PSU, PSU so they DO leave their state to beat up on B10 teams and they DON’T NEED BRADY HOKE GOING FOR 2 AT THE END OF THE GAME TO WIN. FSU does have a lower SOS but beat a hot Clemson team on the road.

    Using SDSU, Buffalo, and Vandy to show SOS only kills your argument.

  19. vincentbojackson says: Dec 7, 2013 3:19 AM

    Classic matchup.

    Strength vs. strength – OSU offense vs. MSU defense

    Weakness vs. weakness – OSU defense vs. MSU offense

    I’ll always take the better defense in championship game, especially one that’s getting 5 points.

  20. dollarsigndollarsign says: Dec 7, 2013 6:48 AM

    Hahaha typical Bama fans. Saying that they leave the state for non conference games. I guess they did. But VT was at a neutral field in Atlanta (SEC country) and the Michigan game was at Jerry’s World in Dallas (much closer to Bama than Michigan).

    I’ll give you @Penn State…but let’s not claim that Bama “travels” outside the state. Would love to see bama schedule MSU, OSU, or Wiscy in November in B1G Country

  21. wisconsinhillfolk says: Dec 7, 2013 9:56 AM

    The team that goes to the Rose Bowl is the B1G Champ. 2010 doesn’t count for MSU. They’ve never legitimately won a RB. Half the team in ’91 or ’92 was juiced. Wisconsin has been to 6 and won 3 since the Spartans even sniffed one.

    MSU is an also-ran program. Accept it.

  22. sportsguy3434 says: Dec 7, 2013 10:49 AM

    I am not a Bama fan. I have said positive things about FSU as stated above and the PAC 12. People try to say that they won’t play b10 teams or teams from the north or whatever and it is not true. Don’t whine about neutral site when you are invited AND ACCEPT an invitation to an early season marquee game. If you don’t want the game, then decline. If you want a game closer to home get Irsay to host one in Indy. That would seriously be awesome. In the meantime schedule AND WIN some quality non conference games. Also, kudos to b10 schools Michigan, Nebraska, and MSU for scheduling decent non conflict games that are a challenge. OSU should do the same. Teams really only need one great non conf opponent. The problem is outside of UW and ND you are loosing to them.

    The bottom line is that the b10 is about the 4th best conference. For your sake schedule better opponents, WIN, and don’t make excuses. The conference has to be better.

  23. watchfullhose says: Dec 7, 2013 1:06 PM

    You’re giving Bama credit for old games, then you forget the home and home series OSU just completed with USC and Texas…typical. OSU has some great upcoming home and home series scheduled over the next 6-8 years. Too bad the sec doesn’t EVER schedule home and home series with decent teams.

  24. watchfullhose says: Dec 7, 2013 1:06 PM

    How do you figure the Big ten is the 4th best conference? That’s completely laughable.

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