As the Badgers get ready to take on the No. 1 Ohio State Buckeyes Saturday night, we thought we would get you ready by getting insight on OSU straight from one of the best web sites covering the team. Jim from The Buckeye Battle Cry was nice enough to answer give questions for us. Here's how it went down:
B5Q: On the surface, it doesn't seem like Ohio State has played like a No. 1 team in the country. Do Buckeye fans feel the same way? If so, where do you think they should be ranked?
TBBC: The 2002 national championship run taught Ohio State fans that it doesn't matter how you win, just win and everything else will fall into place. Voters across the country feel like the Buckeyes have played like the No. 1 team, and that is good enough for me.
B5Q: Last year's game between Ohio State and Wisconsin was one of the most bizarre games I have ever seen. For the Badgers to dominate the total yards and time of possession as much as they did but lose by 17 points was just amazing. I'm curious how Buckeye fans felt after that game and now that this game is going to be played in Madison this year, are those numbers worrisome?
TBBC: It was certainly a bizarre game thanks to the two interceptions and kick Ohio State returned for touchdowns. Many fans were concerned after the game thanks the lack of offensive production from the Buckeyes, but the fact was, Ohio State didn't have the ball enough thanks to all of the non offensive touchdowns to establish anything.
The Wisconsin offense was able to sustain drives (when they weren't throwing pick sixes) which resulted in the domination of the clock and offensive yards. What impact last year's game will have this year? I don't know.
The fact that Wisconsin so thoroughly dominated the time of possession and total yardage but still only scored 13 points and didn't come close to having a 100 yard rusher is encouraging to me, if anything.
B5Q: There always seems to be a concern about Terrelle Pryor as a passer. Are those concerns warranted or has Buckeye Nation finally accepted him as a quarterback?
TBBC: In my opinion, being concerned about how Pryor will perform as a passer in any given game and accepting him as the quarterback are two separate issues.
There will always be Ohio State fans that whine and complain at anything short of perfection. For that group, I don't know if there is anything Pryor or any other quarterback at Ohio State could do to be truly accepted.
Minus the crowd that will never be satisfied, the difference between 2009 Terrelle Pryor (72/128, 948 yards, 9 TDs, 6 Ints) and 2010 Terrelle Pryor (104/153, 1349 yards,15 TDs, 3 Ints) through six games is night and day.
There is always a concern that Pryor will make some costly turnovers, and the 2009 Purdue game still lingers large for many fans, but turnovers on the road are a concern of any fan base and any quarterback, whether their name is Terrelle Pryor or not.
B5Q: Tell me about the Ohio State defense. I know it lost a lot from last year. Is the defense better, worse or about the same? Who are the playmakers?
TBBC: The Ohio State defense is very, very good.
It is only halfway through the season, but they are certainly on their way to being at least as good as last year with the potential to match some of the decade's top squads.
The main thing that Ohio State lost from last season's defense was the two starting safeties and depth on the defensive line.
While Ohio State's defensive line rotation is less experienced than last season (which could be an issue if Wisconsin can establish the run), there is no drop off with the starting four, who have been extremely disruptive so far this season.
The entire defensive line is worth keeping an eye on, but true freshman reserve Johnathan Hankins (#52) in particular is worth watching (he is hard to miss at 6'3" and 335 lbs.). Against your power run game, Hankins' ability to come off the bench and clog the run lanes could play a big role in the outcome of the game.
Injuries have compounded the issue of replacing the two safeties, but the front seven have eased many of the growing pains in the secondary.
Ohio State has looked vulnerable to quick passes in the middle of the defense (most notably against Eastern Michigan), and with Wisconsin's tight ends, that may be a concern for Ohio State and something to watch.
Ross Homan (#51) at linebacker and Jermale Hines (#7) at safety will be the main playmakers cleaning anything up that gets past the line.
B5Q: Prediction time. Give me a score and an explanation.
TBBC: I don't like making specific predictions on scores (it's a good way to look dumb, even when you are right), but I think Ohio State will win the game.
Stopping the run is something that Ohio State has always been able to do, and as long as Ohio State
can establish some sort of offense, they should come away with the victory.
Of course, turnovers or giving up big returns (which have been a problem) could swing the
momentum of a close game drastically, and losing momentum at Camp Randall is not something that I look forward to.
Barring any turnover or big play issues on the road, I will say 24-13 Buckeyes (since you asked nicely for a score).