The Ohio State Buckeyes (10-0) are traveling north this weekend to take on the Wisconsin Badgers (7-3) in what should be an exciting Big Ten matchup between two determined teams.
The Buckeyes are suffering from sanctions at the hand of the NCAA, but it hasn't stopped them from maintaining a perfect record up to this point.
With narrow victories over California, Michigan State and Purdue, the Buckeyes have shown an ability to win in tight games, while they're also capable of achieving blowout victories, such as last week's 52-22 win over Illinois.
As for the Wisconsin Badgers, their hopes were crushed early on with a Week 2 loss to Oregon State, followed by a Week 5 loss to Nebraska. But since the Beavers and Cornhuskers have been better than advertised in 2012, those losses no longer seem so shocking.
The Badgers have struggled against ranked opponents this season, but they've found their stride as of late, winning four of their last five games.
If Wisconsin wants respect from the BCS, a win over the Buckeyes is a must. With Penn State being the only remaining team on the schedule, this could be the last chance for the Badgers to break into the Top 25.
But stopping the insanely versatile Braxton Miller and a Buckeyes team that's eager for perfection is a daunting task.
Where: Camp Randall Stadium, Madison, Wisconsin
When: Saturday, November 17, 3:30 p.m. ET
Watch: ABC, ESPN2, Big Ten Digital Network (Live Stream)
Listen: Sirius 91
Spread: Wisconsin -2.5 (Odds Shark)
It's not terribly shocking to see Wisconsin as the favorite leading up to the game.
Ohio State has been through a number of close games that have nearly spoiled its perfect record, while Wisconsin will have the luxury of playing in front of a Madison home crowd.
Ohio State fans may consider the opening spread an outrage and a conspiracy, but if Vegas put Wisconsin ahead, then they certainly did it for a reason.
Having said that, it is somewhat laughable that an undefeated school would ever be considered an underdog against a three-loss team in their own conference.
Not to mention, every time Wisconsin has faced a credible team—Oregon State, Nebraska, Michigan State—they have lost.
It doesn't matter where the game is being played, when the Badgers have done nothing this season to show they can outmatch the Buckeyes.
Over/Under: 57.5 (Odds Shark)
The over/under of 57.5 is a realistic estimate of the game's total points, but it's certainly somewhat of an underestimation.
Both teams have exceeded 30 points in four of their last five games, while they've remained consistent on offense for the majority of the season.
The Buckeyes are averaging an eye-popping 39.9 points per game, while the Badgers have scored an impressive 29.5 points per game.
Unless one of the teams is completely shut down, they should reach the over.
Ohio State Injuries (According to USA Today)
LB Etienne Sabino (Leg)
DB Devan Bogard (Knee)
RB Jordan Hall (Knee)
RB Warren Ball (Foot)
Wisconsin Injuries (According to USA Today)
QB Joel Stave (Shoulder)
DL Jesse Hayes (Leg)
LB Cody Byers (Concussion)
Ohio State is suffering from NCAA sanctions, so its success is irrelevant in the eyes of the BCS, but improving in the AP Top 25 is still an achievable objective.
A BCS Championship or bowl game appearance is completely out of the question, so the Buckeyes can only focus on the final two games, as well as the Big Ten Championship.
With victories over Wisconsin and Michigan to close out the season, combined with a Big Ten title, the Buckeyes will have done all they can possibly do under the current circumstances.
It won't give them a National Title, but it should land them among the Associated Press' top-three teams.
As for the Badgers, they're just barely sitting outside the BCS Top 25, but a win over an undefeated Ohio State could launch them into the high teens.
If the Badgers fall short, they'll likely end the season as an unranked team, even with a win over Penn State in the finale.
Ohio State Players to Watch
QB Braxton Miller
Whether you love or hate the Buckeyes, there's no denying that Braxton Miller is a fun football player to watch on Saturdays.
Miller has produced 2,919 yards of offense this season. The next most productive player—Carlos Hyde—has produced just 737 yards.
Miller is a one-man show on the football field and the success of the team begins and ends with his personal performance.
Miller will have a monster game on Saturday and continue to make a case for the Heisman trophy.
WR Devin Smith
Wisconsin has held its last three opponents to under 100 rushing yards, which means the Buckeyes cannot solely rely on Braxton Miller's legs to win the game.
The ground game will be a factor, but it's also important that a rhythm is developed through the air, which will require a receiver to step up.
Devin Smith has been the go-to-guy at wide receiver and is leading the way with 514 yards and six touchdowns.
It's important for Smith to scare the Wisconsin secondary and provide Miller with a consistent option through the air.
Wisconsin Players to Watch
RB Montee Ball
Montee Ball had a Heisman-worthy season in 2011 with 1,923 yards and 39 total touchdowns.
He hasn't had the same insane level of production in 2012, but with 1,226 yards and 16 touchdowns he's still an elite player in the NCAA.
The Ohio State run defense has been inconsistent. In the last four games, the Buckeyes have given up over 100 yards twice, while they've held their opponent to under 75 yards in the other two games.
Ball will have to be at the top of his game, which will force the Buckeyes defense into another rut.
QB Curt Phillips
Starting quarterback Joel Stave is out of action with a collarbone injury and is expected to miss Saturday's matchup with Ohio State and possibly the season (according to Tom Lea of ESPN).
As a result, the Badgers will be going with backup Curt Phillips this Saturday.
Phillips has zero career starts and only has 41 passing yards on the season as the result of several appearances in garbage time.
Phillips was riding the bench a week ago, but now he's suddenly preparing to play in front of a national audience against one of the best schools in college football.
The success of the Badgers depends on Phillips' ability to maintain composure and produce under pressure.
Even though Ohio State has won four of its last five games against Wisconsin, these two teams have developed a heated rivalry in recent years.
So regardless of the outcome, this is a much-watch game for any college football fan.
It's a difficult game to predict and there's certainly things to like about Wisconsin in this game, such as their homefield advantage and powerful run game, but there's a reason Ohio State has a perfect record.
Braxton Miller is guaranteed to produce, and his offense will be too powerful for the Badgers to outscore, especially since Wisconsin is at the mercy of its backup quarterback.
The game will be entertaining, but the Buckeyes will prevail.
Like the new article format? Send us feedback!