“Watch My Shoes”

Saturday Spotlight

(13) Wisconsin Badgers at (3) Ohio State Buckeyes

Wisconsin: All year, they’ve looked unbeatable. They’ve cruised by teams and won in convincing fashion which had people noticing. The win against the Michigan Wolverines still stands out to me because of how dominant they were in each phase of the football game. Let’s fast forward to the present moment. After winning their first six games of the season, the Wisconsin Badgers had a shoo-in victory against the Illinois Fighting Illini, right? That’s where you’re wrong. The crazy thing about our sport is teams have a strong tendency take an opponent too lightly along with looking ahead to the next opponent. My advice is simple: First, stay locked in on the opponent you have in front of you and two, never take anyone too lightly because anyone can be beat on any given Sunday or in this instance, Saturday. For the second straight week, the college football world saw an upset take place again. This time, it was in Champaign, Illinois against the University of Illinois. To put it this way, Wisconsin fell asleep in this game. They couldn’t really pull away as they have in many of their games this year. Whenever a team overlooks an opponent, this must be pointed to the coach. This is shocking for me to say because I respect Paul Chryst a great deal. But the responsibility to the head coach is to keep his team focused in the moment. However, they’re still on top of their division in the Big Ten West. Jonathan Taylor is a top three Heisman candidate and probably the best offensive weapon that’s not a quarterback in the country. Their offense can light it up at any time. They power block up front, they run the ball obviously and they’re a balanced offense. The defense has been the backbone of this football team. They’ve allowed only 7.6 points per game. The horror of last week is behind them with their biggest game of the year set to take place this morning.

Ohio State: Of course, I’ve seen a lot of college football this year. After all the games, I truly believe the Ohio State Buckeyes are the best team in the country right now. Yes, the Alabama Crimson Tide maybe ranked number one, but just because they have the top spot doesn’t mean they’re the best. Next to the LSU Tigers, the Buckeyes are the most complete team I’ve seen all year long. The crazy thing is people immediately gave the Big Ten East to the Michigan Wolverines because Urban Meyer was gone, and Dwayne Haskins decided to go play at the next level. I wasn’t one of those people simply because I don’t trust Michigan number one and secondly, Ryan Day learned from Urban. Now look at them. This is their most complete team I’ve seen in years. The offense is prolific with how they put up points within seconds. It doesn’t matter where the ball is, they’ll find a way to get their six points. When they start fast, it’s over for their opponent. Justin Fields has become so much fun to watch. He’s electric and whenever they have the ball, all eyes are on him to see what he’s going to do next. He’s always moving and displays tremendous vision of the entire football field. Here’s one thing I don’t get. Why isn’t he being discussed as a Heisman candidate? Justin has accounted for 30 touchdowns on the season (22 passing and eight rushing). He takes great care of the football as he’s thrown only one interception all year long. The biggest weapon to this entire offense by far is J.K. Dobbins. He’s capable of making a big play at any time for this offense in the running game or passing game. When I say this team is so complete, I mean it. Look at what they’ve done on the defensive side of things. That’s been a big question mark for them over the years. I’ve seen so many improvements with them because they’ve done the little things consistently. Tackling, making stops, rushing the passer to name a few. Their bye week is over, and Wisconsin comes rolling into Columbus.

Wisconsin Player to Watch: Zack Baun– He’s the prototypical Big Ten linebacker. He plays with good leverage to get around the offensive linemen so he can get to the quarterback. Zack is a true edge rusher. He has an excellent first step, a good dip to go under then bam, he’s in the backfield pressuring the quarterback. He and the rest of this Badgers defense will have their hands full trying to pressure Fields.

Ohio State Player to Watch: Malik Harrison– He’s an athletic freak that will need to bring that intensity today when facing the great Jonathan Taylor. Malik has phenomenal speed from sideline to sideline and he’s not afraid to stuff the middle to make a stop. He led the team in tackles last week in the win against Northwestern and will probably need to do the same for them in this game against the Badgers.

Final Analysis: We’ve waited and it’s finally here. This could also be a sneak peek of the Big Ten title game in Indianapolis come December. Now, Wisconsin can focus on the opponent that’s in front of them. The Badgers have been successful at keeping their offense on the field along with shortening the game. This formula will be crucial today in this game. Ohio State comes into this game strong in most defensive categories except stopping the run. The time of possession battle will be crucial in this one for Wisconsin. Keep Fields and that offense on the sideline. To limit the Buckeyes offense, the Badgers will have to win the line of scrimmage defensively. Getting after Fields is key. For Ohio State, lane discipline will be key for them on defense. If they miss gap assignments, Taylor will get into the open field and potentially score. This will be the toughest defense that the Buckeyes offense will have seen all year, but I think they’re up to the task. Use Dobbins who’s just as effective as a receiver as he is a runner.

Prediction: Ohio State 31 Wisconsin 17

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