After Ohio State failed to beat Nebraska Oct. 8, I really didn't think the Badgers' trip to Columbus would be anything more than another relatively easy win for Wisconsin. In that game, the Buckeyes thoroughly dominated the Cornhuskers in the first half and in the early parts of the second half. However, they were unable to hold on after being up 27-6 in the third quarter, eventually falling 34-27.
The loss dropped the Buckeyes to 3-3 and 0-2 in the Big Ten. They had already lost to Michigan State and Miami, and it looked like Ohio State might be in for a historically bad season a la Michigan's 2008 debacle. Meanwhile, the Badgers had a bye and were fresh off a laugher of a win over that same Nebraska team. All signs pointed to an easy win for Bucky this week.
Then the last two weeks happened.
First, Ohio State may have saved its season from embarrassment with a big road win over Illinois. Then the Badgers collapsed against Michigan State in the following week while Ohio State got a head start on preparing for Saturday's game during their bye week. All of a sudden, I'm worried about the game. Still, the voice of reason tells me the Badgers should be expected handle the Buckeyes. It's never easy to win on the road, but Ohio State has been very inconsistent from week to week and within games. They only attempted four passes against Illinois and still have the look of a desperate team.
Wisconsin needs a big response after losing their first game of the year and Ohio State needs to prove the win in Champaign wasn't a fluke. Though it didn't have the look early in the season, this game will go a long way towards defining the 2011 season for both teams.I wrote last week that it seemed almost impossible that the Badgers could beat themselves, but that had a lot to do with Saturday's loss. Especially on special teams.
Here's Jeff Potrykus' weekly opponent preview.
The Davey O'Brien Foundation named Russell Wilson a semi-finalist for their annual award.
Unsurprisingly, the Badgers' trip home after Saturday's loss was a quiet one. The team does sound upbeat about heading to Columbus, though.
Hoops: Tom Oates says the Badgers need to get to the line more to be successful in 2011.