No. 1 Ohio State has the promised land in its sights and the Buckeyes under first-year coach Ryan Day are one victory away from securing a berth in the College Football Playoff. All OSU has to do is walk into the Big Ten Championship Game on Saturday in Indianapolis and pull something off they did handily already this year: beat No. 8 Wisconsin.
While some want you to believe conference championship games don't matter, nobody who plays or coaches for a team feels that way. Ohio State has been the best team in the Big Ten by a long shot all season and wants to claim its third consecutive Big Ten title, not just a playoff berth. Then there's Wisconsin, which is playing in its sixth Big Ten Championship Game. That's more than any other Big Ten program, but the Badgers haven't won in Indianapolis since 2012.
While these teams have gotten very familiar with one another over the years, beating the same team twice in the same season is never an easy task, especially now that Ohio State is coming off tough games against Penn State and Michigan. Let's take a closer look at what you can expect to see in Indianapolis on Saturday night.
Ohio State: Ohio State has dominated the Big Ten this season. It's 9-0 record in conference play doesn't begin to tell the whole story, as those nine wins came by an average of 35.6 points per game. The smallest margin of victory for the Buckeyes in those nine games was an 11-point win over Penn State. Even that game wasn't as close as the score suggested, as a couple of Ohio State turnovers resulted in 10 of Penn State's 17 points.
This is also a team that could send three players to New York for the Heisman Trophy ceremony. Quarterback Justin Fields, defensive end Chase Young and running back J.K. Dobbins are all likely to receive their fair share of Heisman votes, and this game will be the last chance for all three to make an impression on voters.
Wisconsin: Wisconsin has had one rough stretch this season. After getting off to a 6-0 start to the season, the Badgers were upset on the road against Illinois, and then crushed a week later in Columbus. They've won four straight since by an average of 15 points per game, including a 21-point win over Minnesota on the road last week. But is this team good enough to take down the Buckeyes?
The Badgers had a difficult time finding any success on offense in the first meeting largely because Ohio State took Jonathan Taylor out of the gameplan. Taylor is one of the best backs in the country, but Ohio State is one of the few defenses capable of eliminating him. Whether or not Wisconsin is able to pull off the upset in this game will likely come down to whether or not it can find ways to get Taylor going against the Buckeyes.
Date: Saturday, Dec. 7 | Time: 8 p.m. ET
Location: Lucas Oil Stadium -- Indianapolis, Indiana
TV: FOX | Live stream: fuboTV (Try for free)
Game prediction, picks
If you're betting the spread in this game, I feel like it's Ohio State or nothing at all. As I said above, these Buckeyes are just so much better than everybody else in the Big Ten. Still, my concern is that Justin Fields is dealing with a sprained MCL, which could limit his effectiveness, and that could limit Ohio State's offensive ceiling against a good Wisconsin defense. The problem for Wisconsin is I just don't know where its points will come from. So if you're betting the spread, take Ohio State, though I like under 56.5 more than anything in this game. Pick: Ohio State (-16.5)
So who wins Wisconsin vs. Ohio State? And which side of the spread can you bank on in well over 50 percent of simulations? Visit SportsLine now to see which side of the spread to jump on Saturday, all from the advanced model that is up almost $4,000 on its top-rated picks.