Big Ten Championship: Ohio State vs. Wisconsin fearless prediction and game preview.
Big Ten Championship: Ohio State vs. Wisconsin Broadcast
Date: Saturday, December 7
Game Time: 8:00 ET
Live Stream: fuboTV (click to watch for free)
Venue: Lucas Oil Stadium, Indianapolis, IN
Ohio State (12-0) vs. Wisconsin (10-2) Game Preview
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Three Reasons Why You Should Watch The Big Ten Championship
– Okay, okay, we already did this a few weeks ago and there wasn’t anything pretty about the 38-7 Ohio State win. Army-Navy is the last game of the regular season, but this is the last game to determine the final piece of the overall College Football Playoff and New Year’s Six puzzle.
Keeping in mind that the College Football Playoff committee can do whatever it wants to, most likely, Ohio State is in no matter what happens. The overall resumé is too impressive and the team is too good to keep it out of the final four even if it loses by 20. However, if the Buckeyes lose and Clemson and LSU win, they could fall to the No. 3 seed – which doesn’t matter too much – it’s the same as the No. 2 spot.
For the crazy part of this puzzle, if Georgia beats LSU earlier in the day, Ohio State could win, be the No. 1 seed, and end up being “rewarded” by playing the No. 4 seed … LSU. Or, if LSU wins in a blowout and Ohio State squeaks by, there could be a change at the top spot which means the No. 2 team would get Clemson.
For Wisconsin, it’s Rose Bowl or bust. Win, and it’s off to Pasadena. Lose in a good fight, and it should get the nod as long as it’s ranked higher than Penn State – the Badgers are 8, Penn State 10 – in the final CFP rankings. Get annihilated, and Penn State is likely off to the Rose Bowl and the Badgers will go off to a New Year’s Day bowl in Florida somewhere.
Make sense? It’ll all be clearer by the time the ball is kicked off.
– It’s Heisman finalist time. LSU QB Joe Burrow and Oklahoma QB Jalen Hurts will have already made their final statements once the Big Ten Championship gets humming, but Wisconsin RB Jonathan Taylor has the potential to make big push into the top three with a special performance, and Ohio State might have three guys – QB Justin Fields, DE Chase Young, and RB J.K. Dobbins – who could end up in the top five.
– How much have these two programs dominated the Big Ten recently? Since the start of the Big Ten Championship eight years ago, these two programs have taken up nine of the 16 available spots, and 2015 – Michigan State 16, Iowa 13 – was the only time one of these two wren’t in it. Each team is shooting for its third Big Ten title in the championship era.
CFN Podcast: Big Ten Championship Discussion
Why Wisconsin Will Win
– The Wisconsin offensive line needs to have a HUGE game. Chase Young wore the Badger offensive line as a hat in the first matchup, coming up with four sacks as he took over every time it seemed like Wisconsin was going to make a move. It wasn’t just him, though – the Buckeye D held the Badgers to just 191 yards of total offense. If the UW front five doesn’t dominate, forget it.
– Jonathan Taylor needs to have a HUGE game. That starts with the offensive line doing its part, but Taylor needs space to move. Not counting his first game as freshman when he ran the ball just nine times, Taylor has been held to under 100 rushing yards in just seven games in three years.
Ohio State stuffed him for 41 yards in the 2017 Big Ten Championship, and this year he couldn’t get going with just 52 yards on 20 carries. Wisconsin is 21-2 over the last three seasons when he runs for 130 yards or more.
– The Wisconsin defense needs to have a HUGE game. It actually did okay at times in the first meeting. It got gouged on the ground, but with five sacks, it was able to bother Justin Fields enough to be a problem.
Wisconsin is No. 1 in the nation in third down conversion defense, and that leads to the key to Wisconsin being Wisconsin – the team is No. 1 in the nation in time of possession. Ohio State had the ball for almost four minutes more in the first game. This time, the Badger D has to get off the field on third downs.
Why Ohio State Will Win
– J.K. Dobbins. Jonathan Taylor might be the marquee running back, but Dobbins has been the star the last two times these two have played. Dobbins ripped through the Badgers for 163 yards and two touchdowns this year, and took over the 2017 Big Ten Championship with 174 yards on just 17 carries. He’s coming off a 211-yard, four touchdown day against Michigan, helped because …
– The Ohio State offensive line has been fantastic. Georgia, Alabama, and LSU have all come up with special seasons from their respective offensive lines, but Ohio State’s is playing as well – if not better – than all of them.
Michigan’s defense hadn’t allowed more than 130 yards on the ground over an eight-game span, and didn’t give up more than five of those. Ohio State ran or 264 yards.
This group will give up sacks – partially because Justin Fields moves around to keep plays alive – but it pounded away once on the Badgers, and it can do it again.
– The defense that was picked apart way too often last season went from giving up over 400 yards per game to leading the nation allowing just 232 yards per outing. It’s No. 1 in the nation in total D, No. 2 in pass defense, No. 2 in sacks, No. 2 in tackles for loss, No. 4 against the run, and No. 4 in scoring defense. Michigan might have been able to move the chains a bit last week, but it had a decent day and still got rocked by 29 points.
What’s Going To Happen
It’s not going to be an Ohio State coronation … at least for a half.
The Buckeyes are going to care. They’ve made a habit to stay mentally sharp no matter what the opponent – this was an emphasis following key lapses in each of the previous two seasons – and they’re certainly not going to let down now with the Big Ten title on the line.
Wisconsin’s offense will get Taylor going for a few drives, but like the first game, the Ohio State offensive front will take over and Dobbins will rip off yards in chunks.
Tight at halftime, the Buckeyes will open it up in the second half against a Badger secondary that isn’t quite as strong as the stats, but …
They’ll end up as the No. 2 seed as the CFP committee will like LSU’s win over Georgia better.
Big Ten Championship: Ohio State vs. Wisconsin Prediction, Line
Must See Rating: 5
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Big Ten Championship Championship History
2017 Ohio State 27, Northwestern 21
2016 Penn State 38, Wisconsin 31
2015 Michigan State 16, Iowa 13
2014 Ohio State 59, Wisconsin 0
2013 Michigan State 34, Ohio State 24
2012 Wisconsin 70, Nebraska 31
2011 Wisconsin 52, Michigan State 39