This B1G title game is as good as it gets. You have national college football implications on the line. BCS National title hopes and Rose Bowl determination is at stake. So as much flak and critique as the B1G receives, and it’s well deserved at times, you can’t ask for a bigger and better B1G title game than #2 Ohio State vs #10 Michigan State. And really how weak is the B1G? Yes, it’s far below the SEC and the Pac 12, but it’s no worse than the ACC or Big 12. It’s not that bad.
ESPN College GameDay, the iconic college football pregame show, will make its final regular-season stop from the site of the B1G Title game, so what does that tell you? They choose the B1G Title game over the SEC and Pac12 counterparts. Michigan State finished with a perfect conference mark for the first time since their famous season of 1966. The Buckeyes are on a school record 24 game winning streak, tied for the fourth-longest winning streak in Big Ten history.
B1G Title game
SPREAD: OSU -5.5
TV: FOX 7:30 CST
They seem headed to the Rose Bowl whether they win or lose Saturday in the B1g title game. Their opponents in the B1G Title game in Indy, Ohio State moved up to #2 in the BCS last night, so if the Buckeyes beat a really strong Spartans team, ranked in the top ten, they’re in the national title game, played in the Rose Bowl, in Pasadena.
Unless Auburn beats Mizzou by like 60 in the SEC Title game, it’s hard to imagine OSU being relegated to the Rose Bowl if they get upset by MSU.
And obviously if Michigan State wins, they’re headed to the Rose Bowl automatically to play the Pac 12 winner, Stanford or Arizona State. So as much of a huge game as the Big Ten title game is, it’s weird that MSU likely goes to the Rose Bowl either way. This isn’t just speculation; the Citrus Bowl’s official account (yeah, I know it has a corporate name now, but I’d rather not use it because a game of that magnitude should not have a sellout name like that) tweeted yesterday that the consensus is both Michigan State and Ohio State will not be available to them. Of course, the Citrus Bowl also said that they’ll take the Spartans or Buckeyes without question, if either team became available. But it won’t happen.
For Michigan State, the school’s first BCS appearance in school history is imminent. Yes, MSU has zero BCS appearances while Illinois has 2. Weird fact but true. Especially crazy when you consider that MSU has won 11 games in three of the past four years. So this Rose Bowl berth is long overdue and well deserved. If Michigan St. wins either the Big Ten Championship or the Rose Bowl, it will be win #12 on the season- a school record.
This year’s MSU football slogan in “Chase it,” the 2011 slogan was “P4RB: Prepare for Rose Bowl,” now it seems inevitable. State last went to the Rose Bowl in 1988, the famous Spartans vs Trojans War, as MSU defeated USC 14-10.
Michigan State has probably the best defense in the nation. It’s led by Shilique Calhoun, the best DL in the B1G and Darqueze Dennard, the best DB in the league. Max Bullough and Denicos Allen are among the Big Ten’s best linebackers too. Also, keep an eye on DL Marcus Rush and DB Isaiah Lewis.
Ohio State preview:
This will be the first B1G title game featuring two teams ranked in the top 10. Then again, the B1g title game has only been around for three years. It’s the first time two 8-0 in conference teams have met since 2002 -Iowa and Ohio State. And the Spartans are the first team to ever to win all of their conference games by double digit points. They’ve gone 8 quarters without giving up a touchdown. In OSU you have the league’s #1 scoring offense, rushing offense and passing offense. In MSU, you have the #1 scoring defense, rushing defense and passing defense.
The OSU defense is not good. At all. They gave up over 600 yards to Michigan, a team with an offensive coordinator who is likely to get fired. The wolverines offense has been a joke this season, yet the so called “silver bullet” defense surrendered the second most yards in Ohio State history to them. The most occurred in 1980 when Illinois QB Dave Wilson through for 621 yards in the horseshoe. Yes, the Illini and Dave Wilson went off for 621 passing yards against them 33 years ago.
Even though I was on both B1G Title game media conference calls, I didn’t feel the need to include any quotes from anyone in this B1G Title game preview. Sorry, Mark Dantonio answered all the questions, but said nothing. Neither did Urban Meyer. It was over an hour and very very boring. Obviously, the B1G Title game will be really exciting, even though the pressers were not. The football will be great, despite the soundbites being anything but.
There were a couple amusing Ohio State notes from it though:
-A reporter wasted everyone’s time by asking Urban a question about individual awards. WTF?? WGAS Radio is on the air! And worse he was playful about it knowing that Urban hates those types of questions and never answers them. This is an alien spacecraft to me, the concept of anyone giving a shiz about individual awards and trophies. And worse that a media member would write about it. When you have all these other much more interesting topics to discuss instead of stupid awards crap. You have the BCS National championship implications, the fight with Michigan, the idiot moron with his double fingered salute to the crowd, the possibility of further discipline (Urban said there will be none), league discipline (the Big ten issued a statement condemning it, but won’t do anything about it, so it’s meaningless and pointless), the actual awesomeness of the B1G Title game itself. etc.
-Ryan Shazier said they are using the “nobody believes in us” motivation. I see where he’s coming from, as everyone seems to think a one loss SEC team is better than the Buckeyes, and no one thinks they belong in the national title game, but c’mon man! It’s unintentionally hilarious to hear “Ohio State football” and “disrespected underdog.”
B1G Title game prediction: Michigan State 27, Ohio State 17
Brutally Honest picks record: 74-28
Paul M. Banks is the owner of The Sports Bank.net, an affiliate of Fox Sports. He’s also an analyst for multiple news talk radio stations across the country; with regular weekly segments on NBC and Fox Sports Radio. Follow him on Twitter (@paulmbanks) and RSS Catch him Tuesdays talking Illini and Northwestern for KOZN 1620 The Zone, Fridays talking Chicago Bears for WAOR 95.7 The FanFollow paulmbanks