Ohio State demolished Illinois 55-14 last week, giving J.T. Barrett the second half off, and giving snaps to multiple freshman and newcomers. For their efforts, Ohio State moved up a few spots in the College Football Playoff Rankings, but Ohio State still sits behind multiple one-loss teams in their quest to move into the top four.
What's holding Ohio State back? Certainly Ohio State's loss to Virginia Tech, who might not even make a bowl game, is a millstone around their neck. But Ohio State also doesn't have a quality win. They need a chance to beat somebody else who is regarded highly by the football establishment.
Enter Michigan State week.
The eighth ranked Spartans are currently the class of the Big Ten, and an Ohio State win, on the road no less, will not only put them in the driver's seat to win the Big Ten East and advance to the conference championship game, but could vault them right back into the playoff discussion. But only if they win.
Ohio State released the depth chart for the Michigan State game, and there aren't any listed changes from last week's depth chart for the Illinois game. That doesn't mean there won't be any changes though. Yesterday, Urban Meyer said that Armani Reeves is unlikely to play against Michigan State, and that Cam Burrows would start in his stead at nickel. Reeves is recovering from an undisclosed injury.
The other position group to watch are the running backs. With the departure of Rod Smith and the injury to Bri'onte Dunn, Warren Ball continues to sit as the third string running back, and with Ohio State struggling in short yardage situations, it's possible Ball may get a few carries. Ezekiel Elliot remains atop the depth chart, but backup Curtis Samuel is likely to get touches as well.