A quick glance at Ohio State’s 2010 schedule reveals a few obvious big games:
Sept. 11 home vs. Miami(FL)
Oct. 16 at Wisconsin
Nov. 13 home vs. Penn State
Nov. 20 at Iowa
Nov. 27 home vs. Michigan
Which of those games will ultimately define the season? My answer may surprise you.
It’s the mid-October trip to Madison to face Bret Bielema and the Badgers.
Sure, the early season clash against the Hurricanes is sexy. It’s the first time the teams have met since their epic 2002 Fiesta Bowl—arguably one of the greatest college football games ever played.
And of course, “The Game” features one of the most heated rivalries in college football, though the Bucks have had the upper hand on Michigan since The Vest took over.
Thus, it is my prediction that the Badgers will give the Scarlet and Gray their biggest challenge in 2010. The Badgers return 10 starters on offense, including quarterback Scott Tolzien and reigning Big Ten Offensive Player of the Year John Clay.
And although the Badgers will have some new faces in the secondary, this game reeks of a prototypical Big Ten slug-fest between two of the conference’s heavyweights.
In last year’s game, the Buckeyes won handily 31-13, thanks to 21 points from their defense and special teams. The Ohio State offense was largely stuck in the mud that game, something that will have to change if they expect to win in Madison, which will be rocking on a mid-October Saturday night.
Another thing of note—following their national championship in 2002, the Bucks saw their 19-game winning streak and repeat hopes end at the hands of Lee Evans and Wisconsin.