It may not have been as easy as most expected, but Ohio State’s exactly where most pundits thought they’d be heading into the postseason, at least conference-wise.
OSU came into today’s Week 12 action needed to take care of business against Illinois and have Michigan lose to Wisconsin in order to claim the Big East title this weekend. Both came to fruition Saturday as the Badgers handled the Wolverines 24-10 while the Buckeyes throttled the Fighting Illini 52-14 in a game that wasn’t even as close as the final square may have indicated.
Following next weekend’s rivalry matchup with UM, OSU will move on to face No. 5 Wisconsin in the Big Ten championship game. If the Buckeyes can somehow manage wins in each of those two games, they could have an outside chance to become the first two-loss team to qualify for the College Football Playoff, although they would still need some help. Unbeaten UW, meanwhile, would, provided it gets past Minnesota, likely earn a playoff berth with a conference championship.
OSU will be making its third title game appearance since the inaugural one was played in 2011, while UW will be playing in its sixth. The two teams met in the 2014 edition of the game, with the Buckeyes’ 59-0 throttling of the Buckeyes providing the impetus for them to qualify for the first-ever playoff and, ultimately, win the national championship.
J.T. Barrett led the way to this latest title-game appearance for the Buckeyes, accounting for three touchdowns (two passing, one rushing) in the win. The seventh-year senior quarterback also became the first player in Big Ten history to throw for 100 career touchdowns.
On the ground, Mike Weber chipped in with 108 yards and a pair of touchdowns.