Going on the road to Wisconsin for a night game is never easy. Given the Badgers two weeks to prepare due to a bye week, and you have a recipe for potential disaster for the #2 ranked Buckeyes.
While Ohio State has mostly dominated opponents so far, this is a very young team, and Wisconsin took advantage of that early in the game with jet sweeps and other plays to keep the Ohio State defense off balance.
Also, freshman Alex Hornibrook played very well, and this kid is poised to become a star in the Big Ten in years to come. He’s big and has real poise in the pocket, and he completed big passes against the Ohio State defense for most of the game.
Meanwhile, JT Barrett struggled in the first half. He’s inconsistent as a passer, and how he plays might determined whether the Buckeyes can win another National Championship this year. But Barrett is a competitor, and he came up big in the second half as the Buckeyes rallied to a win in overtime.
There was plenty of hype leading up to this game, and frankly it was justified. While Michigan has been a miserable mess against Ohio State since Jim Tressel arrived at the beginning of this millennium, things were poised to become more interesting with the arrival of Jim Harbaugh.
Ohio State is the reigning national champ, and Urban Meyer is now the king of the hill in Columbus, but Harbaugh gave Michigan fans hope.
Many thought it might take a couple of years for Harbaugh to compete with the Buckeyes, but as this season progressed, attitudes started to change. The Buckeyes were sleepwalking through their schedule, while Michigan rolled off three straight shutouts. Suddenly, many of the talking heads started calling Michigan the best team in the Big Ten.
Then Michigan State spoiled some of the hype. They miraculously beat Michigan on a wild final play, and then stunned Ohio State last weekend with some serious defense and an assist from Ohio State’s coaching staff.
Still, this was shaping up to be an epic battle that would kick off a new phase in the iconic rivalry. Would we have another ten-year war reminiscent of Woody and Bo?
Mississippi vs. Alabama, 6:30PM ET
Alabama doesn’t look as dominant as it has in year’s past, and bettors have taken notice. The spread in this game has been bet down from one key number of 17, to another key number in 14. The Rebels have fared well against the Tide, covering in all four of their last four meetings with ‘Bama in Tuscaloosa. They’re also 6-2 against the spread in their last eight meetings overall with the Tide, while the road team is 5-0 against the number in the last five meetings between these two teams. Ole Miss has a balanced offensive attack thanks to quarterbacks Bo Wallace and Barry Brunetti, who is a running threat. The Rebels enter tonight’s game with plenty of confidence and should stay within two touchdowns of a Tide team that didn’t look sharp defensively two weeks ago versus A&M. FREE PICK: OLE MISS +14
Wisconsin vs. Ohio State, 8:00PM ET
The Buckeyes have been flat-out dominant in their first three games and own the fourth-highest scoring offense in the country (52.5 points). But Braxton Miller is set to return tonight following a sprained left MCL injury suffered a few weeks ago. Rust might be a factor in the early going, which could give Wisconsin confidence for the rest of the game. The underdog is 10-3 against the spread in the last 13 meetings between these two teams and the Badgers are 4-0 against the number in their last four games overall. They’re also 7-3 against the spread in their last 10 conference games and have rushed for 387 yards or more in three of their four games. Look for Wisconsin to give Ohio State its first challenge of the season. FREE PICK: WISCONSIN +6.5
Bengals vs. Browns, 1:00PM ET
The Bengals are coming off two emotional victories against Pittsburgh and Green Bay, and now has to travel to Cleveland and play a team in the Browns that they’re expected to beat. There’s always value in the home underdog, especially one in Cleveland that shocked bettors a week ago by beating Minnesota outright as a 6.5-point dog. The line in this game has been bet down from 5 to 3.5 despite the public siding with Cincinnati. The underdog is 10-1-1 against the spread in the last 12 meetings between these two teams and the Bengals are just 2-5-1 against the number in their last eight games versus the Browns. Look for a confident Cleveland team behind Brian Hoyer to keep this game within a field goal. FREE PICK: BROWNS +3.5
Seahawks vs. Texans, 1:00PM ET
The Seahawks look every bit a Super Bowl contender in the early going. They suffered no letdown last Sunday when they thumped a brutal Jacksonville team a week after crushing division rival San Francisco on Sunday Night Football. But the Seahawks have never been a team that travels well and the Texans are licking their wounds after being embarrassed in Baltimore last week. Houston knows it can’t afford to fall behind in the AFC South, especially with Indianapolis playing Jacksonville this week. Look for the underdog Texans to win outright as a small home dog. FREE PICK: TEXANS +1
Ok – every weekend is great for tailgating at a major college football game, and Columbus ranks up there as one of the most iconic college football spots in the nation.
But this past weekend was particularly good, as the Ohio State Buckeyes had their backs up against the wall versus the Purdue Boilermakers, a team that has given the Buckeyes fits in recent years.
The Buckeyes were 8 points down late in the game, and their star quarterback, Braxton Miller, was on his way to the hospital for an injury he suffered in the third quarter. But backup quarterback Kenny Guiton found some magic in the past minute to miraculously tie the game with a touchdown and two-point conversion, and then led the Buckeyes to the win in overtime. I wish I was there.
Well, Jerod Morris was there courtesy of La Quinta to enjoy the game and all the tailgating leading up to it. Check out his diary of a very fun 36 hours.
Michigan Wolverines head coach John Beilein yells to his players during the first half of their Big Ten men’s NCAA basketball tournament quarterfinal game against the Illinois Illini in Indianapolis March 11, 2011. REUTERS/Brent Smith (UNITED STATES – Tags: SPORT BASKETBALL)
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