So far we've discussed eight of the fifteen games that we feel will define the National Champion this year. When we last left off we made our first voyage to Big Ten land as we debated Ohio State versus Nebraska and what impact that game might have on the Big Ten and the National Championship. Out of this fifteen game series we only hit the Big Ten twice and this game is the second one. The Wisconsin Badgers against the Ohio State Buckeyes.
Wisconsin Badgers at Ohio State Buckeyes
When: October 29th
Where: Ohio Stadium in Columbus, Ohio
There was a time last year when Wisconsin looked like it may be the best team in the Nation. They were running roughsot over their opponents and rolling up basketball type numbers as they put 83 on the board against Indiana and 70 on Northwestern. Right now, it doesn't seem that Wisconsin is high on a lot of minds but I believe that they may surprise some folks this year.
On paper their biggest losses are at QB, receiver (where they lose 3 of their top 5 in receptions counting the TE position) and LB (where they lose their two leading tacklers from last year). But they do return James White (1052 yards in 12 games as a freshman and averaged 130 ypg when he touched the ball more than 15 times) and Montee Ball (996 yards in 12 games and averaged 155 ypg in the last 5 games of the season). For my money that's the best 1-2 punch in college football and I would not want to face them this year.
Wisconsin's schedule sets up nicely as they play six games to start the year before they go to an opponents stadium. That's right, six games! Five at home and one at a neutral location against Northern Illinois. Their biggest games this year are October 1st against Nebraska, Oct 22nd at Michigan State (their only regular season loss last year) and Oct 29th at Ohio State. I think the key game for the Badgers this year is Ohio State.
I believe that when Wisconsin plays Ohio State on Oct 29th that the Buckeyes will be the strongest they've been all year. We all know about the five game suspensions for Ohio State. Their sixth game is against Nebraska and many of the players will still be getting their feet under them for the Buckeyes. By the eighth game, the Buckeyes will be at their most dangerous point the entire year and they will be hosting a Badgers team that has a very good chance of coming in to Ohio Stadium undefeated. In my opinion, this will be the game that defines the Big Ten season. Nebraska and Michigan State will contend, Iowa, Northwestern and Penn State could surprise but its the Badgers and the Buckeyes that will decide the fate of the Big Ten and if the conference can deliver a team to the National Championship Game.
15 Games That Will Decide The National Champion: