What is arguably the biggest matchup in the Big Ten this week is the Ohio State Buckeyes vs. Wisconsin Badgers. Heck, this may be the biggest game in all of college football this week (SEC fans have an argument for the highly-touted LSU vs. Georgia game), this may even be the biggest game for the Big Ten all season.
OK, so that’s a lot of hype, but there are a lot of implications on this early matchup between two of the top powers in the Big Ten. A loss could potentially eliminate one of the teams from any chance of participating in the Big Ten championship game and a loss for Ohio State may end any hope they had of playing for a National Championship. So, perhaps it is worth the attention and excitement that is surrounding this contest.
Much of the attention in Columbus has been given to the quarterback controversy that no one would have every envisioned occurring. Is Braxton Miller the best quarterback to lead the Buckeyes? This is a question that would have been laughed at prior to the start of the 2013 season. Miller is, of course, the reigning Big Ten Offensive Player of the Year. In Miller’s period of recovery from knee injury, senior quarterback Kenny Guiton has been nothing short of spectacular.
This is a situation where Buckeye coach Urban Meyer will be earning some of that $4 million he makes annually when he decides who will play and who will not. Some would ask why not have both talented players on the field at one time? That would create a real challenge for the new Badger 3-4 defense and is something that fans may get a glimpse of. Meyer’s response to this question was simple: If Miller was a better running back than the current Buckeye running backs, he would line up there; and if Guiton was a better wide receiver, he would be catching balls. It turns out that Meyer’s Buckeyes are just too deep; what a curse they have in Columbus.
For the Badgers, there is no question what their offense will be doing on Saturday. They will be doing the same thing they have done forever, pounding the football down their opponents throats. The Badgers will put their massive offensive line up against the highly-regarded Buckeye defensive line and dare the defenders to try and stop them. Carrying the ball for the Badgers, fans should expect to see a lot of Melvin Gordon. Often times James White may receive more carries, but in this game, Gordon’s size may prove to be a useful tool against a very talented Buckeye defense. Along with White and Gordon, fans will be treated to the running skills of Corey Clement. The luxury of having three outstanding running backs is similar to the luxury of having two quarterbacks worthy of starting.
This matchup will feature a Badger team desperately trying to control the clock on the road in a hostile environment. The Badgers will ask quarterback Joel Stave to take care of the ball. Also, the Badger defense will look to take advantage of any confusion that the Buckeyes may have by shuffling two quarterbacks in practice this week and most likely in the game on Saturday.
This should be a great game to watch, expect one of the two Buckeye quarterbacks to step up and win the game for his team and possibly take a slight lead in the race for the top quarterback spot on the team.