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Michigan: Final game for Ohio State

November 19, 2012
Associated Press , The Herald-Star

COLUMBUS - What's brewing with the 2012 Ohio State Buckeyes ...

BUCKEYES BUZZ: No wonder they call it "The Game" - it's the only one left for the Buckeyes.

Ohio State (11-0, 7-0) can post just the sixth perfect record - no losses, no ties - in the program's 123 years of intercollegiate football when it hosts Michigan (8-3, 6-1) at noon next Saturday at Ohio Stadium.

Article Photos

THE GAME — Urban Meyer will participate in his first game against rival Michigan as Ohio State’s head coach. They will tee it up at noon Saturday in the Horseshoe.
-- Associated Press

The Buckeyes captured the outright Leaders Division title on Saturday with a dramatic 21-14 overtime victory at Wisconsin, which scored in the final seconds to force the extra session. Carlos Hyde's burst up the middle supplied a lead on the first possession with the defense stifling the Badgers to clinch the win.

Jump around, indeed.

"This was a great game against a very good team that's been to the Rose Bowl a bunch," Ohio State coach Urban Meyer said after the tense victory. "(But) this is not our rival. The next one is. So when you use that R-word, we're talking about this week. We're going to dive into it as soon as we get back."

Michigan still has a chance of playing in the Big Ten title game. Tied for the Leaders Division lead with Nebraska, the Wolverines would need to win at Ohio State, of course, with the Cornhuskers losing at Iowa.

Also, it goes without saying, the Wolverines would like nothing better than to ruin Ohio State's perfect record.

AN AP TITLE? Yes, Ohio State still could win the media voting, even though it's never been done by a team on NCAA probation. (Teams being sanctioned are not eligible for the BCS standings.) But it would take a dramatic turn of events.

Almost all the other top contenders would probably have to lose again, or at least play very, very poorly or win on a fluky, controversial play.

That's possible. One need look no further than 2007 when the Buckeyes were eighth in the BCS rankings after losing to Illinois in their next-to-last game of the season, but then climbed the ladder by beating Michigan while every single team ahead of them lost at least once.

Ohio State ended up No. 1 going into the BCS title game (where they were manhandled by No. 2 LSU).

Working against the Buckeyes are several factors. First, despite a perfect record that can only be matched by Notre Dame, they've struggled in almost every game this season except for two or three. Second, almost every national expert considers this an awful year for the Big Ten. Being the best team in a bad league isn't as good as being a very good team in a superior conference, the thinking goes. Third, Ohio State's opponents are just 57-65 this season, with most evaluators of strength of schedule putting the Buckeyes somewhere in the middle of the pack in FBS.

After Saturday's victory at Wisconsin, Meyer said that his team has shown a lot of backbone by winning in three difficult environments. He's referring to road games at Michigan State, Penn State and Wisconsin. The Buckeyes won those three games by one, 12 and seven points (in overtime) against teams with a combined 14 losses.

 
 

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