Yes, Urban Meyer’s mighty Ohio State Buckeyes are staring a two-year undefeated streak intently in the eye.
The Buckeyes have rightfully received the majority of praise and adoration from Big Ten media members. At the beginning of the season, the Buckeyes were sharing a portion of the attention with Gary Anderson’s Wisconsin Badgers and Pat Fitzgerald’s Northwestern Wildcats. The Buckeyes quickly disposed of both teams in back-to-back victories, seemingly distancing themselves from the rest of the teams in the Big Ten.
Since then, the Badgers have played solid football and deserve to be mentioned in the same class as some of the elite two-loss teams in the country like Texas Tech, Texas A&M and South Carolina. Unfortunately, it has been a different story for the Wildcats as they have still yet to win a game in Big Ten play, and just recently dropped a heartbreaker in Lincoln to the Nebraska Cornhuskers on a last-second Hail Mary.
The news now in the Big Ten is that there is another team that deserves to be mentioned with the Buckeyes in BCS conversations. Coach Mark Dantonio and the Michigan State Spartans have gone about their season in a typical workmanlike approach. The Spartans play outstanding defense, run the ball and they do not turn the ball over.
How boring, right? Not if winning is exciting. The Spartans have not lost a conference game this season and will most likely be favored in the remainder of games on their schedule. The remaining games on their schedule are at Nebraska, at Northwestern, and at home to finish their season against the Minnesota Golden Gophers.
Of these three teams, the Huskers may be the biggest threat and only because of the unknown that could arise if a healthy Taylor Martinez is available, along with the fact the game is played in Memorial Stadium. The Huskers should also challenge the impressive defensive line of the Spartans with I-backs Ameer Abdullah and Imani Cross.
While these are two capable running backs who may finally line up with their talented senior teammate Martinez, fans should not expect to see the Spartans’ defense be outgunned.
The Wildcats will compete in desperation to salvage a season that is far from what was imagined in Evanston this offseason. The fact that the Wildcats are without running back Venric Mark will really hinder their chances against the Spartans. The Spartans should be able to get a win on the road in Illinois.
Finally, the Golden Gophers have had an up-and-down season highlighted with an impressive victory over the Huskers. The Gophers have also become bowl eligible without their head coach Jerry Kill, who has been battling epilepsy all season. This should be another easy victory for the Spartans. Do not expect Dantonio to allow his team to let up in the last regular season game at all.
In fact, the only game that the Spartans have dropped was a nail-biter in South Bend against the Notre Dame Fighting Irish. If it were not for this loss, it is hard to say where the Spartans would sit in the ratings this season. They will most likely enter a Big Ten championship looking to hand the Buckeyes a loss, evening the two teams’ records and making a definite case for themselves as a top BCS team.