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BIG 10 Championship Game: Wisconsin vs Ohio State

BIG 10 Championship Game: Wisconsin vs Ohio State

As the two best teams in the Big 10 ready themselves for a showdown in the Big 10 Championship Game to be played on December 6 at 8:17pm EST in Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis, Indiana, one team enters the game with a series of big questions to be answered. The game pits the #13 Wisconsin Badgers (10-2) against the #5 Ohio State Buckeyes (11-1). A win by Ohio State might earn them a spot in the National Championship Playoffs.

The Badgers, led by Head Coach Gary Andersen, come into the game off seven straight victories. While the passing game leaves something to be desired, the Badgers will go as far All-American and Heisman Trophy candidate Jr RB Melvin Gordon's legs will take them. Gorden led the nation in rushing with 2,260 yds gained from scrimmage to go along with 26 TDs. If Melvin needs a breather, the Badgers can count on Soph RB Corey Clement (844 yds/9 TDs) to pick up the slack. On the defensive side of the ball, the Badgers bring the second best defense in the country, allowing just over 260 YPG and 16 PPG.

As mentioned above, the Ohio State Buckeyes enter this most important game under less than ideal circumstances. After losing projected starting QB Braxton Miller at the start of the season, the team settled in with backup Fr QB JT Barrett who did a great job until he went down with an injury late in the last game of the season versus arch-rival Michigan. With a spot in the playoffs on the line, the reins will be turned over to little used Soph QB Cardale Jones. As if that wasn't enough to deal with, the sudden and tragic suicide death of reserve lineman Kosta Karageorge that occurred after the Michigan game left players reeling. Head Coach Urban Meyer will have to rally the team behind a rushing game that features Soph RB Ezekiel Elliot who gained 1,182 yds and 10 TDs. If the defense fails to stop the vaunted Badgers running game, the Buckeyes could be in for a long night.

Wisconsin Trends:  Badgers are 4-1 ATS in their last 5 games after allowing less than 170 yards passing in their previous game.  Badgers are 2-6 ATS in their last 8 games following a ATS loss.  Badgers are 1-5 ATS in their last 6 neutral site games.
Ohio State Trends: Buckeyes are 29-14-2 ATS vs. a team with a winning record.  Buckeyes are 2-6 ATS in their last 8 games following a ATS loss.

Straight-Up Prediction: As much as folks will be rallying behind a hurting Buckeyes squad, Jones has only thrown 17 passes this season. This is a high-pressured place to start a football career and the Badgers are capable of beating anyone in the country on the ground. Coach Meyers will try to hold his team together, but look for the Badgers to grind out a victory on the way to a major bowl game.