Unbeaten Ohio State Looking for Statement Win Over Michigan to Gear Up for Big Ten Championship

1385596512_oioLast week, the Ohio State Buckeyes (11-0, 7-0 Big Ten) barely clung to their No. 3 ranking in the BCS standings over Baylor. But what a difference a week can make, as Baylor took a loss against Oklahoma State while Ohio State remained undefeated, significantly widening the Buckeyes’ hold on third and their status on the NCAA futures.

Ohio State will look to maintain that perfect record, and hopefully catch up a bit to No. 2 Florida State and get themselves into the BCS Championship Game, but at this point, that won’t be easy. With games remaining against Michigan to conclude the regular season and Michigan State in the Big Ten Championship, it looks like the Buckeyes may have to “settle” for a perfect season with a Big Ten championship and a Rose Bowl appearance.

It will take at least a loss from the top two BCS contenders in Alabama and Florida State for Ohio State to even have a chance of making the big game, which has given Ohio State 6-1 to win the BCS Championship at the Bovada Sportsbook.

But first, of course, they have to secure that perfect season, and next up is Michigan. The Wolverines haven’t been much of a threat lately, losing four of their last six (two of those losses went to at least three overtimes), and they haven’t managed to score more than 21 points since a wild 63-47 win over Indiana on October 19.

Would a walloping of Michigan (15-point dogs) this Saturday help lift Ohio State into the No. 2 rank? Probably not, but that doesn’t mean they shouldn’t try to make a statement against the Wolverines, if for no other reason than to show that the Big Ten should get just as much consideration for the BCS Championship as the SEC does.

Braxton Miller has been everything the Buckeyes could ask for and more under center this season. After 2012’s 2,039-passing-yard performance, he’s actually on pace to fall short of that mark this year, but his overall game has drastically improved. He currently has 1,626 passing yards, 19 touchdowns (up from 15 in 2012), four interceptions (down from six) and 12 sacks (way down from 28 in 2012 and 39 in 2011).

Miller has also rushed for 738 yards and five touchdowns on 116 carries this season, showing just how talented he is in several different aspects of the game. He’s been nearly impossible to shut down, and the Buckeyes have prospered under his leadership.

The fact that Ohio State is expecting linebacker Curtis Grant and cornerback Doran Grant back in the lineup won’t hurt either. They’ll look to further stabilize the Ohio State defense against a Michigan offense that has been nothing but inconsistent this season.

Ohio State is still a big player on the college football moneyline. As one of the top scoring teams in the country, there’s always something interesting going on, and with a school record 23 wins in a row, you can definitely expect more eyes to be on the Buckeyes than perhaps any other team playing this weekend as they gear up for the Big Ten Championship at the Big House on Dec. 7.

Photo via Twitter/@11W

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