Everybody knows that one of the best parts of being a sports fan is debating and dissecting the most (and least) important questions in the sporting world with your friends. So, we’re bringing that to the pages of LGHL with our favorite head-to-head column: You’re Nuts.
In You’re Nuts, two LGHL staff members will take differing sides of one question and argue their opinions passionately. Then, in the end, it’s up to you to determine who’s right and who’s nuts.
Today’s Question: Which remaining game against an unranked team will be the Buckeyes’ biggest challenge?
Jami’s Take: Minnesota
Crazy Jami is back again with another insane lady statement. I know you’re already rolling your eyes (Matt sure is—and honestly, can you blame him?)
When the Minnesota Golden Gophers take the field against Ohio State on Nov. 18, they won’t even have the home-field advantage Purdue, Wisconsin, and Rutgers do. These Golden Gophers will have been walloped by Michigan (a 52-10 loss) and handily beaten by UNC (31-13). They didn’t even beat Northwestern, and they barely beat Nebraska.
So I know I’m a little insane for thinking this team even belongs in the stadium with Ohio State. But here’s the thing: of the remaining unranked teams left for Ohio State to face, Minnesota is the team they are most likely to look past.
Purdue has a history of stepping up just to ruin a perfectly good football season. Even in their off years, they seem to find a spark when they’re playing the big games. And I think Ryan Day is smart enough to expect something of that nature come Saturday.
The same is true of Wisconsin. Even in their worst year, Madison is a HARD place to play a road game, and with Luke Fickell, there’s an element of the personal against Ohio State. The Buckeyes will prepare for this.
In fact, I expect the Buckeyes will prepare for both of those teams as if they are ranked opponents, which makes me feel like I can breathe a little bit in those two games.
But Minnesota? We play the dear, sweet Golden Gophers in the second-to-last week of the season, and given Minnesota’s season thus far, it would be perfectly reasonable for Ohio State to be looking past them to the following week’s Michigan game.
Herein lies my worry.
A great football team the Golden Gophers are not. But if they have a great day and Ohio State’s head is elsewhere, this could be Minnesota’s opportunity to find a reason to celebrate this season. Minnesota will have to play pretty close to a perfect football game, especially given that they are simply outmatched physically by this Buckeye squad in many respects.
But sloppiness from Ohio State if they’re not focused on this game could open a door for Minnesota, and it’s exactly the kind of win that team needs to avoid a future of irrelevancy. That kind of motivation, coupled with any sort of lack of focus from our guys in Scarlet and Gray could be reason for pause.
So I for one will not be looking past the Golden Gophers to The Game. I’ll just consistently be holding my breath from this Saturday on.
Matt’s Take: Wisconsin
I appreciate where Jami is coming from on this one, but looking at the remaining schedule, I think I have to go with our good friend Luke Fickell’s team. I know that they lost in Week 3 to Washington State, but the Cougs have equated themselves very well this season and that looks like it was a fairly decent L for the Badgers.
Under the first-year coach, Wisconsin has been a pretty middle-of-the-pack Big Ten team, but the game will be at Camp Randall, a week after what I suspect will be a physical, tightly-contested game against Penn State, and there is the potential that it could be at night (although, I wouldn’t be surprised if Fox selects it as the Big Noon game). Wisconsin has long been a difficult place to play if for no other reason than their fans are some of the most aggressive and violent in the B1G.
From throwing marshmallows lined with quarters at players and fans to being generally hostile, Badgers fans do not make Madison a friendly place for opposing teams or fans. While most of that doesn’t directly impact the play on the field, it does add to the overall fraught environment.
This will be the first time that the Buckeyes have been back to Camp Randall since 2016 thanks to the divisional breakdown of the league, so no one on this team has any experience playing in the iconic stadium. Granted, OSU hasn’t lost to Wisconsin on the road since 2010, but I still never feel great about going there.
When you throw in the extra motivation of Fickell hosting his alma mater and the Badgers needing a statement win to stay a game ahead of Iowa in the West Division standings, there will be a lot on the line for both teams, and if Ryan Day’s squad gets caught looking ahead to Penn State next week at all, it could be an ugly trip up to the not-yet-so frozen tundra on Saturday.
Who has the right answer to today’s question?
This poll is closed