The Ohio State Buckeyes have two major goals remaining this season: Beat Michigan to finish undefeated, and improve Braxton Miller's shot at the Heisman trophy.
Accomplishing both goals would send the Buckeyes into 2013 with great momentum. It could be enough to put the team in the top two to begin next season. Urban Meyer has set this team up to be a major national contender in 2013.
That said, the 11-0 season has been a bit of a surprise. Most expected the team to be highly competitive but not to run the table.
Despite the great success, the Buckeyes need to win this game to maintain the buzz they have established. Not being eligible for the postseason will already dull the shine of their season, but losing to a disappointing Michigan team would hurt the perception of the season even more.
The Buckeyes are at home, and they are four-point favorites per Oddsshark.com. The Wolverines are currently ranked No. 19 by ESPN after winning their last three games, but they have been largely inconsistent.
The Wolverines have spiced things up a bit on offense by starting Denard Robinson at tailback in their last win over Iowa, but the Buckeyes should be wary of overreacting to his presence.
Brady Hoke isn't likely to call a ton of HB Options. Without that wrinkle, the Bucks would be wise to approach Robinson as they would any other ball carrier. If they tackle well and don't turn the ball over, they should win this game.
This is one of the biggest rivalries in all of sports. If the Buckeyes had to lose one game this season, you can bet the season finale wouldn't be the one they would chose. They have come this far in this strange season, and now they need to finish it.
A win and a great performance may not give Miller the Heisman this year—though he definitely deserves it—but it would definitely make he and Johnny Manziel of Texas A&M the clear favorites for 2013.
Next season figures to be a year of high expectations and championship opportunities, but much of it begins with a win over their rivals on Saturday.
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