Submitted by Jim Hurley on Friday, September 27, 2013 at 7:00 PM
The way their 2013 college football schedule currently shapes up, the #4 Ohio State Buckeyes may be playing their two toughest games of the regular season in the next two weeks. They host Wisconsin Saturday Night in a game that will be nationally televised by ABC. They visit dangerous Northwestern next week in an obvious letdown spot.
After that, OSU will be clear and decisive favorites over Iowa, Penn State, Purdue, Illinois, and Indiana.
The season finale at Michigan at first looked like it would be a toughie. But, Michigan played so badly the last two weeks against Akron and Connecticut that you have to wonder what the heck is going on in Ann Arbor. The Wolverines may be much worse than anticipated, meaning that OSU would also be a prohibitive favorite there.
Many in the country are rooting against Ohio State to run the table. Fans of other powers don’t want the Buckeyes sneaking into a championship game at the expense of Oregon, Alabama, or any SEC champ that happens to take out Alabama. Also, Urban Meyer seems to create enemies wherever he goes! Wisconsin’s already big and loyal fan base will magnify in size dramatically this weekend. Do the Badgers have a chance to make everyone but Buckeyes fans happy?
Wisconsin (-44) beat Massachusetts 45-0 (winning yardage 598-212)
Wisconsin (-44) beat Tennessee Tech 48-0 (winning yardage 606-112)
Wisconsin (+5) lost at Arizona State 32-30 (losing yardage 468-441)
Wisconsin (-23.5) beat Purdue 41-10 (winning yardage 546-180)
Wisconsin could easily be 4-0. Their fans would tell you they SHOULD be 4-0 because of the screwjob finish at Arizona State. What’s worth remembering there is that inexperience dealing with a close finish hurt the coaching staff and the quarterback…which might come into play late in a nailbiter this week.
Tough to forecast a matchup with Ohio State given those opponents. You have a pair of tiny college scrimmages. You have a road game against a finesse pass-happy team rather than a physical juggernaut. And, you have a rout of probably the worst team in the Big 10. Wisconsin was tested in the desert, they haven’t exactly been battle tested for the challenge in Columbus.
Ohio State (-34) beat Buffalo 40-20 (winning yardage 458-265)
Ohio State (-28) beat San Diego State 42-7 (winning yardage 445-280)
Ohio State (-14) won at California 52-34 (winning yardage 608-502)
Ohio State (-50) beat Florida A&M 76-0 (winning yardage 603-80)
On the other hand, Ohio State hasn’t played anybody yet! All we know so far is that Ohio State can bully weaklings. Remember that California is one of the worst teams in the Pac 12 this year, barely getting by Portland State. Ohio State had an easy schedule last year…didn’t go to a bowl…and hasn’t played anybody of note yet this year. They’re even LESS battle tested than Wisconsin. Even with turnover at head coach and quarterback, many current Badgers won the Big 10 last year and gave Stanford a tough battle in the Rose Bowl.
Current Vegas Line: Ohio State by 6, total of 55
Wow…a total of 55 in a Wisconsin/Ohio State game! That’s because the Buckeyes seem to have a potent offense but an unproven defense. And, Wisconsin played into the 60’s at Arizona State even with a bruising rush attack that’s capable of running clock.
This is a very complicated game for handicappers to deal with. Among the reasons:
*The current stats don’t matter much because neither team has played a comparable opponent.
*Longterm trends and angles don’t matter much because both head coaches are new to the rivalry.
*Information may not be an issue because injury updates have been well publicized, and there’s no reason for either team to be flat after they coasted through tune-ups last week.
JIM HURLEY has been working very closely with his SCOUTS and SOURCES with each team to study personnel matchups at every key position. This game is going to be won and covered by the team that figures out a workable plan and executes it best. That could mean a road upset for the dog. That could mean a surprisingly easy win for a home favorite that’s better than currently realized.
To find out if Wisconsin/Ohio State made the cut, you can purchase the full Saturday ticket before the early games kick off right here at the website with your credit card. If you prefer doing business with a live human, call the Vegas-Sports-Masters office to speak to a HURLEY representative. The number is 1-888-777-4155.
This is the best Saturday schedule so far this season…with blockbusters up and down the slate. Be sure you take care of business before the early games go off!
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