Ohio State is certainly no exception to this premise. Before the season, I predicted this game versus Wisconsin at Camp Randall Stadium as being the toughest game on Ohio State's 2012 schedule. It would be fair to say most Ohio State fans probably would have marked this game as a loss for Ohio State. Wisconsin even enters this game as a 3 point favorite over the Buckeyes after opening as one point favorites.
Through the years, Wisconsin has been a major thorn in Ohio State's side. Growing up, I can recall Ohio State losing to Wisconsin when Earle Bruce was the head coach for Ohio State. During the 1980s, Wisconsin seemed to be the team Ohio State would inexplicably lose to, despite Ohio State having superior talent than Wisconsin.
Former Ohio State head coach John Cooper was not impervious to losses at Wisconsin during his tenure at Ohio State.In 1992, Ohio State lost at Wisconsin, 20-16. In 1993, Ohio State tied at Wisconsin, 14-14. (Remember when college football used to have tie games?) That tie game with Wisconsin allowed the Badgers to claim the Rose Bowl berth at the conclusion of the 1993 season instead of Ohio State.
Another former Ohio State head coach, Jim Tressel, had mixed results when it came to leading Ohio State to victory at Wisconsin. As memories go, two of the most painful losses during Coach Tressel's tenure took place at Camp Randall Stadium.
In 2003, Ohio State was undefeated when the Buckeyes took on the Badgers in Camp Randall Stadium. Ohio State, despite having virtually no threat of a running game because of the season-long suspension of star running back Maurice Clarett, was ranked number three and in contention of another national championship.
And then Chris Gamble cheated on coverage. Lee Evans blew right by him. And Wisconsin knocked Ohio State from the ranks of the unbeaten, 17-10. The dream of back-to-back national championships were essentially gone that night in Camp Randall Stadium in 2003.
Want to think back to the last time Ohio State visited Wisconsin? I know the answer is an emphatic "no", but let's look back at that painful episode in 2010.
During the 2010 season, Ohio State was ranked number one in the BCS when the Buckeyes took on Wisconsin in Camp Randall Stadium. David Gilreath of Wisconsin took the opening kickoff 97 yards to stake Wisconsin an early 7-0 lead over the Buckeyes. Ohio State trailed Wisconsin 21-3 at the half. Even though Ohio State rallied to make it a game, Wisconsin physically dominated Ohio State on its way to a rather dominant 31-18 victory over the Buckeyes.
Of course, there is one important concept for Ohio State fans to hang their hats upon. The 2010 season, with the exception of that Wisconsin loss, did not take place. All of the Ohio State victories were vacated from 2010.
I kind of look at that 2010 Wisconsin game with a dose of the wisdom of George Costanza: "Just remember – It's not a lie if you believe it.".
Will this year's contest at Camp Randall be a positive trip? We shall see Saturday afternoon, beginning at 3:30pm EST.