Who: Legends Champion No. 10 Michigan State Spartans vs. Leaders Champion No. 2 Ohio State Buckeyes
What: Big Ten Championship game
Where: Lucas Oil Stadium, diagnosis Indianapolis, Indiana
The line: Ohio State -5.5
Why you should care: In short, if Ohio State wins, they go to the Rose Bowl for the BCS
National Championship game to most likely play Florida State. If Michigan State wins (and, in all likelihood, if they lose), they also go to the Rose Bowl to play in the actual Rose Bowl. And you go to Pasadena! And you go to Pasadena!
The numbers: This one will be quite an interesting matchup since Ohio State’s sixth-ranked offensive averages 531 yards and 48 points per game and Michigan State’s defense allows a nation-leading 237 yards and less than 12 points per game. They’re first in run defense, which is exactly what they’ll need to be to beat Ohio State.
The names: Let’s start with Braxton Miller. You’ve probably heard of him. The Ohio
State quarterback was named Big Ten Offensive Player of the Year for the second time in a row. And he deserves it; he had 21 touchdowns with only five interceptions. he threw for 1759 yards and ran for 891 yards. Most of the conference’s running backs didn’t even have that many. And he did all of this while missing the majority of three games with a knee injury.
Another Buckeye to keep an eye out for is tailback Carlos Hyde. Him and Miller account for something like 187,263% of the offense (approximately)…and people still can’t stop them.
For the Spartans, Max Bullough is the leader in the nation’s best defense; him and
Denicos Allen combined for 156 tackles this season. But a name to watch out for is defensive end Marcus Rush; last week verses Minnesota, he recorded two sacks. If the Spartans want to stop Miller from racking up a ton of yards in the air, cornerbacks Darqueze Dennard and Trae Waynes will need to play a near perfect game. Luckily, this duo is one of the best (if not the best) due on the nation. And finally, there’s sophomore defensive end Shilique Calhoun. He’s got 32 tackles on the season -13.5 of them for a loss – and seven sacks. Calhoun won the Smith-Brown Defensive Lineman of the Year award (for the top defensive lineman in the Big Ten).
The coaches: I have to be honest. I’m not the biggest Urban Meyer fan (and neither is much of the nation) but he’s a great coach with a team full of talented (and trouble-making) future NFL journeymen.
Bad judge of character or not, the man can do the two things every college coach vying to win national title’s at three different schools needs to do well: recruit the best talent and have the best game plan.
On the other side, Michigan State coach Mark Dantonio has a near 70% winning percentage at 62-29 so he knows his way around the sidelines.
The mascots: You know this wasn’t a Sharon post without some mascot goodness. And I’ve got to say, these are two of my favorite mascots in sports (after Benny, of course). First, we’ve got Sparty. He’s got it all: big muscles, awesome photobombs, awesome headgear, and the (for now) top-ranked basketball team in all the land. Then you’ve got
Brutus. And I love him. You know why? Because he hit us with dougie.
My take: I’m thinking Ohio State wins, both teams end up in Pasadena and people will give this current BCS format the Marcus Hall…until they find more reasons to hate the new “playoff” system.
But seriously, this game is going to be epic. You’ve got the best defensive against the best offense. And both of these teams are non-ironically playing for roses. There’s talk of a Michigan State upset, and a potential Ohio State matchup with a scary-good Florida State team. Whatever happens we should all send the college football gods thank you notes, because we get to end a pretty bland Big Ten football season with a game that will be one for the ages (or at least College Gameday).