Over the past four years, the SEC has been the premier college football conference. It has claimed the last four national championships, and there has been an SEC program at the top of the rational rankings every week since December 7th, 2008. But with Alabama’s loss to South Carolina last weekend all that came to an end, and now it is the Big Ten’s Ohio State Buckeyes that sit atop college football’s mountain.
Behind junior quarterback and Heisman hopeful Terrelle Pryor the Buckeyes have rolled to a 6-0 record, including an impressive win over the Miami Hurricanes. The team now sits in the driver’s seat for the race to the national championship game.
But how long will the run at the top last?
Even the BCS, which provides the only ranking that REALLY matters, is projected to have Boise State, not Ohio State, as the number one team after the first standings are announced. Meanwhile, Ohio State, who is ranked number one in all of the major polls, could actually find itself as low as fifth in the BCS standings.
But a win on the road at Camp Randall Stadium over the eighteenth ranked Wisconsin Badgers could be all it takes for Ohio State to jump into the BCS lead.
As for the Badgers, who have not beaten Ohio State since 2004, a victory over the top-ranked Buckeyes would catapult them back up the rankings and into the BCS conversation, a welcome outcome after the fell at the hands of undefeated Michigan State two weeks ago. And, Home-Sweet-Home is right where the Badgers want to be for this matchup, as the team boasts one of the nation’s best home records since the last victory over Ohio State (40-4).
So, what will be the key matchup this weekend?
Wisconsin’s running backs, John Clay and James White, are leading a rushing offense that averages more than 240 yards per game (the eleventh best in the nation), while Ohio State’s rushing defense has only allowed 78 yards per game (the fourth best in the nation).
If the Badgers hope to pull off the upset Clay and White will have to find a way past Cameron Heyward and the rest of Ohio State’s defensive front.
It will be a classic Big Ten matchup between two of the conference’s powerhouse programs, with the winner staking a claim as a frontrunner team for a conference on the cusp of supplanting the SEC as the premier collection of football universities.
It is the game of the year for the best conference in the country.