(8)Ohio State vs. (4)Wisconsin
(Favorite: Ohio State - 5 1/2)
Roy Hall (2002-06) Ohio State
Bbaver: The Pick: Ohio State- I realize Wisconsin hasn’t played anybody, but all they can do is beat up on the teams they have on their schedule, and that they’ve done. The Badgers lead the nation in multiple defensive stats, and they pound the ball with Jonathan Taylor, behind an O-line where only the center is shorter than 6’6”, with no linemen weighing less than 315 lbs. If it’s JT behind center, he needs to have some success through the air. If it’s Haskins, he’s going to have to avoid INTs. With Haskins’ big arm, he has no fear of throwing into coverage, and that’s a double-edged sword. Regardless of who the Bucks go with, the OSU coaches have to trust their tailbacks. It’s a crime that they have kept a leash on Dobbins. Wisconsin is not going to make many mistakes and they are going to test the Buckeye linebackers in the short passing game. I think the Buckeyes are the safer bet, but I think it’s a toss up. I’ve got it Ohio State 31 Wisconsin 27, but little would surprise me in this one.
Cory: You are going to look below and see that I picked Wisconsin to win this game. I am not bad person, I promise. Let me justify this pick. The game with Wisconsin will be the toughest one for the Buckeyes thus far. Imagine the best parts of Iowa, Michigan, and Penn State all rolled into one football team. That team is what Ohio State will face this weekend in the Big Ten Championship game. It's easy to look at Wisconsin's schedule and say the Badgers have played nobody, but three of their final four games, including this week's game, came against ranked teams. Wisconsin also had no trouble with Iowa, and controlled the game all the way through against Michigan. Offensively it's no secret - the Badgers love to run the ball. They've amassed almost 3,000 rushing yards as a team, with 1,806 of those coming from Jonathan Taylor. Alex Hornibrook is not a great passer but he's been good enough, and his average yards per attempt of 8.84 shows the Badgers can hit on some deep plays when needed. Wisconsin has an offensive line which most teams could only dream of having. Defensively the Badgers are stout, as usual. Only one team, Northwestern, has scored more than 20 points against Northwestern this season, and that game was in September. Since then the Badgers have given up just 11.25 points per game.
I think Wisconsin is good enough to get it done against Ohio State because the Badgers embody the best parts of Iowa, Penn State, and Michigan, all three of which gave Ohio State trouble. Wisconsin will use play-action, and misdirection, and the Badgers will throw to their tight ends. This style of offense has given Ohio State fits all season. On the other side of the ball, the health of Buckeyes quarterback J.T. Barrett is a concern. While it was nice to see Dwayne Haskins play well against Michigan in relief of Barrett, we cannot expect that to happen again if Barrett has to leave the game. I worry that the reliance on Barrett in the running game will ultimately lead to some bland play calling, and Wisconsin will be ready for it. Wisconsin 24, Ohio State 17
Dave: Ohio State 32 Wisconsin 28
Gregg: Twice before a team has made it to the Big Ten championship game unbeaten, both times that team lost. Will Wisconsin be the third or can they remain the only unbeaten team in the playoffs this year. I do believe they are a better team than most of the national media is giving them credit for but at the same time I think the Buckeyes will beat them if they play at their best level. The Badgers have an outstanding running back in Johnathan Taylor but they had Melvin Gordon back in 2014 and the Buckeyes found a way to shut him down. The only question mark for the Buckeyes may be the health of JT Barrett. He as removed from the Michigan game in the 3rd quarter yet the Buckeyes managed the victory in Ann Arbor. Haskins has played quite a bit this year in a back-up roll and he has done well playing with the 2nd team. I have to think he would do just fine with the first team. I believe OSU wins this game and gets into the playoffs by the thinnest margin. I don't think a 59 point victory is needed but it would help if Ohio State has the largest margin of victory in all the championship games. The national media will have a field day with it, and there will be chaos in Alabama but face it Saban. If you want to play in the big games at the end of the year, you have to play in them during the regular season, I am hoping this is a lesson to them to not schedule FCS schools moving forward. As Steely Dan sings, "They call Alabama the Crimson Tide, call me Deacon Blues". It will be 'Bama singing the blues Sunday afternoon. Ohio State 31 Wisconsin 17
Jason: It comes down to this for the Big Ten conference. For Wisconsin, it’s a win and you’re in scenario. For the Buckeyes, it’s win and you’re probably in. Everyone remembers 2014 when Ohio State stomped Wisconsin in Indianapolis 59-0, locking up their spot and eventually going on to win the national championship. They don’t need to do that this time but a convincing win would help. Ohio State brings an offense the likes that Wisconsin has not seen. They will bring speed and tempo and enough power to keep them honest up front. If J.T. Barrett is healthy, they bring a 3 man attack on the ground with Barrett, J.K. Dobbins and Mike Weber, all have the ability to get downfield and make explosive plays.
Wisconsin is a ball control offense, win the battles at the point of attack and control the line of scrimmage on both sides of the football. They will need to win the time of possession and keep the explosive Ohio State offense off the field. The Badgers boast the best pass catching tight end in the Big Ten in Troy Fumagalli so they will give Ohio State some of the same looks as Iowa did, throwing underneath and try to exploit the linebackers. If they try to go downfield, QB Alex Hornibrook has a little trouble avoiding the turnover and RB Jonathan Taylor, although explosive has a penchant of putting the ball on the turf. If Ohio State can force a couple turnovers, it could be a long day for the Badgers. If they can go on long drives and control the line of scrimmage defensively and slow down the Ohio State run, then it’s a four quarter game. Wisconsin will be tested, but are they up for the challenge. Both teams will be motivated but Ohio State is too talented and the front four of the Buckeyes is just too good. They will come after Hornibrook and come after him hard. No one has run successfully on Ohio State all year, and it won’t change on Saturday. The Buckeyes jump out early and control the game start to finish. Ohio State 41 Wisconsin 17
Joe-S-U: Ohio State
John: J.T. Barret is the key to this one. If his scoped knee holds up, and Ohio State can use it’s full playbook against the Badgers, I think the Bucks win. Given the Badgers D I’m not sure Haskins can keep them off balance enough with his legs, although He does throw a better ball than JT. Regardless, I don’t see a repeat of 59-0. I think this one will be close into the fourth quarter, but J.T. and the OSU offense does just enough. Ohio State 24 Wisconsin 21
jOShUa: We are finally here, and I am glad I get to watch Ohio State play in Indy after not making it the previous two years. The downside is that I am not sure which Ohio State team is going to show up because Wisconsin, although their schedule is questionable, they are still undefeated. Also, with the uncertainty of JT Barrett, I think this adds to the drama a little bit as well going into this game. The key to stopping Wisconsin is slowing down Taylor, and forcing Hornibrook to make mistakes. Wisconsin’s defense creates the bigger challenge, but I think since we are a speed offense, that helps us out playing indoors. I don’t expect another 59-0 game, but I think the Buckeyes will be focused and ready, and will start off slow, make the adjustments, and take care of business. Playoffs? I hope so. Ohio State 42 - Wisconsin 24
Dr. Mark: OSU 24-21 could go to OT – Bucks have to be faster than Wisconsin - have to open up playbook
PJSBuck: Well, for those who like in-the-trenches, hard-nosed football don't miss THIS game. Also, the Badgers will be the most fundamentally sound team we have faced all year. This Wiscy QB (Hornibrook) HATES pressure and is bad when forced out of his comfort zone - something we must exploit. The other problem is Wiscy is very balanced on offense - we will have to be very disciplined on defense. Regarding our offense, I kind of hope JT plays and kind of don't. The reason is I am not hating on JT, but when JT is in Urban will run the QB keeper ALL DAY. Gee, do you think possibly, just MAYBE, Wiscy will be looking for that if JT starts/plays???? Also, we will never know if JT would have won this game for us if he stayed in but clearly that 3rd and 13 pass by Haskins to Austin Mack was a/THE critical play up to that point in the game. I think this Big Ten Championship game will be MUCH tougher than the last time we played them. I am going with Ohio State 24 Badgers 21 in an old fashioned defensive struggle.
Pia Pete: Wisconsin beats OSU to get into the playoffs.
Coach Rick: I think this game comes down to the tale of two schedules. When you look at the two, I think OSU and the east top to bottom was the better half. The positive for Wisconsin is that they have a lot of confidence coming into this game because of the weaker schedule. I do not think it matters in this game who the quarterback is for OSU because of the growth in the O-Line. I see it as an OSU win 35 to 21.
Steven: This one should be entertaining, win or lose. If by chance Ohio State loses, fans can solace themselves with the fact that the loss will more than likely shut Alabama out of the playoff. Anything less than a pounding of Wisconsin and the Bucks watch the playoff games on TV. Still in my heart I know the Bucks can win... but was all know they can yak up a loss just as easily. The dome will help them as it favors the speedier team. It will come down to the Buckeye defense containing Jonathan Taylor and Troy Fumagalli. Badger QB Hornibrook can be contained if you take away his weapons. If you get enough pressure on him, he'll throw up some real head scratching passes and interceptions can be Wisconsin's undoing. Taylor is much like Saquon Barkley but without as much publicity. They guy is special and containing him will be a chore. The guy can run inside or out, and reminds you of JK Dobbins a bit, but a little more North-South and not as much lateral quickness. The guy has breakaway speed, though. On offense, all we need to do is dominate the line of scrimmage and let Weber and Dobbins wear down the Badger defense. Let's not force another comeback from a third double-digit deficit. Let the first series just be run plays and we'll be just fine. Bucks 31-28. Will it be enough to make the playoff? I'm not sure, but an Auburn, Oklahoma, Miami (or Clemson) and OSU playoff certainly would keep my eyes glued.
Trout: It's going to be a tough game for the Bucks. Although the Buckeyes are clearly the better team on paper, the Badgers usually play them tough. Not to mention, they are fighting for a playoff spot as well. It will be a tough and sloppy game. I think a thing that will hurt the Buckeyes is Urban's tendency to shrink the playbook and relay too much on JT in big games.. Having said that, I still think the Buckeyes are going to win due to them having more talent on both sides of the ball. Although he has had many highs and lows in his career, JT is still one of the best quarterbacks in Ohio State history. Also, JK Dobbins and Mike Weber are two great backs that could be future Heisman contenders. Plus, the OSU defense line is the best front four in the country. It will be too close for comfort, but I think Ohio State gets the job done and keeps their small playoff hopes alive. (Ohio State, 31-24)
Final Score: Ohio State 27 Wisconsin 21