The ESPN College GameDay crew hits Big Ten territory Saturday for a game with College Football Playoff implications when the No. 8 Wisconsin Badgers host the No. 2 Ohio State Buckeyes.
Ohio State has cruised through the first five games of the season, though the same doesn’t apply to a Badgers team that is flirting with the idea of two losses and elimination from the CFP discussion by midseason.
Wisconsin lost to then-No. 4 Michigan 14-7 last time out, which put the Badgers in a precarious position at home in front of a crowd that is sure to display the same sense of urgency.
As always, the crew of Rece Davis, Lee Corso, Kirk Herbstreit, Desmond Howard and David Pollack, among others, will invade town to cover the must-see affair.
ESPN College GameDay Week 7 Info
Date: Saturday, Oct. 15
Time (ET): 9 a.m. to noon; game is at 8 p.m.
Location: Camp Randall Stadium, Madison, Wisconsin
Watch: ESPN; game is on ABC
Live Stream: WatchESPN
Fans of either side might want to listen to what Corso has to say about this one on College GameDay.
ESPN MediaZone’s Rachel Margolis Siegal provided context to Corso‘s picks when it comes to Ohio State: “Corso has put on Ohio State headgear 20 times—second only to Alabama (24). He is 14-6 when picking Ohio State, but Ohio State has lost two of the last three times he has picked Ohio State.”
Superstitions aside, Wisconsin has had a week off to make sense of the loss to Michigan and save postseason aspirations against perhaps the best team on its schedule. Against the Wolverines, Wisconsin quarterback Alex Hornibrook tossed three interceptions, and the normally stout rushing attack managed only 2.5 yards per carry.
Three turnovers and only 159 total yards to Michigan’s 349 provided the proverbial nail in the coffin.
Now Wisconsin has spent extra time scheming to keep Hornibrook effective against an Ohio State defense that has yet to surrender more than 24 points in a game.
“It is a good scheme, sound,” Wisconsin head coach Paul Chryst said, according to ESPN.com. “And they’ve got guys that play it well. And I think they are playing with confidence.”
Defense isn’t the only strength for the Buckeyes. Urban Meyer‘s offense has scored 45 or more points in four games this year. Quarterback J.T. Barrett has 15 touchdown passes to three interceptions, and the two top backs—Mike Weber and Curtis Samuel—sit on averages of 6.8 yards or better and seven combined touchdowns.
Normally a 38-17 win sounds good for any team, but the Buckeyes enter the weekend disappointed about such a final line against Indiana last week. In a tune-up game before facing Wisconsin’s strong defense (no more than 17 points allowed in a game), Barrett threw one touchdown and an interception while the offense needed four rushing scores.
“We’re going to go to the drawing board and clean it up next week,” Weber said. “Eliminate [mistakes] and get bigger wins.”
In a way, both teams enter Saturday disappointed and ready to make a statement to the rest of the country while remaining at the forefront of the CFP discussion.
Don’t think this game is a historic occasion?
Peep a note by ESPN Stats & Info:
No pressure, right?
Speaking of pressure, that’s the game plan for Ohio State’s defense, given that the freshman Hornibrook has four touchdowns to five interceptions. The Buckeyes haven’t struggled against a quarterback all season, with even then-No. 14 Oklahoma’s Baker Mayfield tossing a pair of touchdowns and interceptions in a 45-24 Ohio State win on the road.
So while Ohio State slipped up last week (by the players’ terms) and the offense might stutter here and there, it is the defense that puts the Buckeyes at a major advantage.
Such logic likely explains why Las Vegas favors the Buckeyes on the road by 9.5 points, per Odds Shark. It’s hard to argue, especially after Wisconsin showed critical flaws last time out—flaws Ohio State can capitalize on in another Big Ten bout.
Prediction: Ohio State 34, Wisconsin 21
Stats and information via ESPN.com unless otherwise specified.
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Source: Bleacher Report-CFB News