Things Suddenly Interesting Again For OSU

Amazing what one little victory will do. Ohio State is back on track for, yes, a shot at the Big Ten championship game and we'll break that down along with news and notes from Around The Country, This Week In College Football History and the Fearless Forecast.

While all of the Chicken Littles out there were cowering under their beds and waiting for Urban Meyer to ride in on a white horse, Ohio State saved its potentially lost season Oct. 15 with a good, old-fashioned, smash-mouth victory at Illinois.

The win produced a number of affirmatives for a team desperately in need of positive reinforcement. It mended a collective psyche quite possibly fractured by the second-half collapse at Nebraska. It proved the Buckeyes are still pretty good at basic Big Ten football – running the ball down an opponent's throat and stonewalling said opponent on defense.

Perhaps best of all, however – and no one even dared think this after that dark night in Lincoln – the Buckeyes are back in the hunt for a berth in the first-ever Big Ten championship game.

Most of their hope hinges on a game the team can watch from the comfort of their own living rooms. While Ohio State takes the Oct. 22 weekend off, Wisconsin and Michigan State will get together in East Lansing for an ultra-important game that will go a long way toward determining who plays in spacious Lucas Oil Stadium in December with the Big Ten's automatic BCS berth on the line.

After three weeks of conference play, the smart money has already been placed on Wisconsin representing the Leaders Division in the conference title game. After all, the No. 4 Badgers are undefeated and have largely been unchallenged in their first six games. Coming off a 59-7 pounding of Indiana, Wisconsin has outscored its opposition by a tidy 301-58 margin. Their closest game so far was a 31-point blowout of Nebraska.

The knock, of course, is that the Badgers haven't played anyone yet. That changes in a big, fat hurry when the Spartans roll out the welcome mat anchored by a defense ranked among the nation's top four in all five major statistical categories.

It might also interest you to know that Michigan State has beaten Wisconsin each of the last three times Bucky has visited East Lansing, including last year's 34-24 triumph and a 49-14 trip to the woodshed in 2004 when the unranked Spartans upset the fourth-ranked Badgers.

Every member of Buckeye Nation should root for a Michigan State victory because that would pretty much put Ohio State's destiny back into its own hands.

Read the rest by clicking on this link: Rea's Day Blog: Oct. 21.

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