"We don't talk about it at all. We know each other way before it and will know each other way after. The rivalry is big, of course, and we don't block it. But when it comes to being around each other, it's playing video games, laughing, talking about other things."
- Mike Weber via Mark Snyder, Detroit Free Press
Ohio State running back Mike Weber has some high expectations this season, with Ezekiel Elliott heading to the NFL and only Bri'onte Dunn fighting him for carries on a team that will likely run the ball more than its fair share under coach Urban Meyer. Weber, a former Michigan commit, recently spoke about the rivalry and being one of the few players in the two teams' history to decommit and switch to its arch-rival school. Weber insists that the rivalry will be kept on the football field alone, as Weber has friends of his own playing for the Wolverines. Recruited out of Cass Tech in Michigan, Weber still has plenty of ties to Michigan and will likely be a storyline throughout his career playing for Ohio State.
After a season that including sitting behind a Heisman Trophy contender and a torn meniscus, Weber is looking to have a breakout year of his own. Though it hasn't been officially decided who will start at running back quite yet, Weber has made a strong case in spring to get the bulk of the carries. Either way, expect to see plenty of the sophomore running back and if he wants to make his mark, there's no better time to do it than during the next edition of The Game between the Buckeyes and Wolverines.
"Ohio State might return an FBS-low six starters, including three on offense and three on defense. However, one of those returners is quarterback J.T. Barrett."
- Bryan Ives, ESPN
ESPN went through the top 25 teams in college football this season and chose each team's best "number" to brag about. For Ohio State, it was quarterback J.T. Barrett's statistics as a starter. As the numbers show, Barrett is more effective as a starter (splitting time with Cardale Jones last season) with a touchdown-to-interception ratio of 3.4 and 12 percent of his pass attempts gaining 20-plus yards. When you throw in the fact that Barrett has a 15-2 record as a starter (Virginia Tech and Michigan State were his only losses as a starter), it has to be comforting for the coaching staff to have a leader of Barrett's caliber under center.
Last season, Barrett threw for just under 1,000 yards (and was only 200 yards or so from 3,000 yards in 2014) with 11 touchdowns. Barrett also added 682 rushing yards and another 11 touchdowns on the ground. His freshman season was tremendous as he helped lead the Buckeyes to the Big Ten championship game before suffering an injury against Michigan and Jones took over to lead Ohio State to a national championship. Now Barrett is set as the lone starter, fully healthy, and has young talent at his disposal at wide receiver.
"Big Ten Ultimate Road Trip Week 7 - Unanimous pick: Ohio State at Wisconsin"
- Josh Moyer, ESPN
The Big Ten ESPN crew continues their series of the Big Ten Ultimate Road Trip, in which they pick the most intriguing matchup, the best atmosphere, or notable players for a game during the Big Ten season. For week seven, the crew chose Ohio State at Wisconsin on Oct. 15. The Buckeyes will be making the road trip to Madison and Camp Randall to take on the Badgers. The last time these two teams met, Ohio State steamrolled Wisconsin in the Big Ten championship game 59-0. But it seems like most of the time the two teams clash, it ends up becoming a tightly contested game. There are plenty of classic examples, including a Hail Mary touchdown throw from Braxton Miller in 2011, the Badgers notching an upset win over a No. 1 ranked Ohio State team, and the list goes on.
This is a good choice by the crew over at ESPN for several reasons. The atmosphere surrounding the game should no doubt be excellent, as Wisconsin fans know all about how to jump around their stadium. It's certainly one of my favorite college football traditions and is a blast for fans and players alike. Of course, it helps that the game will likely come later in the evening, which always adds to the intensity.
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