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Buckeyes & Spartans to Meet in the Big Ten Championship Game

#2 Ohio State Buckeyes vs. #10 Michigan State Spartans Preview

Start Time: Saturday, December 7th 2013 at 8:15pm ET
Location: Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis, Indiana
Station: Watch Live on FOX

The Big Ten Championship Game on Saturday has huge implications for the Ohio State Buckeyes 12-0 (8-0 Big Ten). If the Buckeyes can beat the Michigan State Spartans 11-1 (8-0 Big Ten) they should earn a spot in the BCS National Championship in January.

Who is Favored in OSU vs. MSU?

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Ohio State comes into this game as a deserving favorite, but –5.5 points might be a little too much. The Spartans defense is amazing and I expect this game to be close although I want OSU to win. The over/under is 51 points and I honestly don’t have a lean.

Can Braxton Miller Lead the Buckeyes to Another Undefeated Season?

The Buckeyes went undefeated last season, but they had a bowl ban. This season expectations were high for the Buckeyes and so far they’ve lived up to them. However, their schedule has been weak this season and many people are still questioning this team.

Offensively there isn’t much to worry about. The Buckeyes average 209.3 PYPG (83rd), 321.3 RYPG (2nd) and 48.2 PPG (3rd). Ohio State has put up 42+ pts in each of their last five games. Their lowest offensive output was 31 points against a tough Wisconsin defense.

Defensively the Buckeyes only allow an average of 20.3 PPG (18th), but they’ve had their problems. They’ve allowed 20+ points in 7 of their games this season. Last week they went right down to the wire against Michigan, as the defense allowed 41 points.

Braxton has been extremely efficient this season. He has completed 65.7% of his passes while throwing 21 TD’s and 5 INT’s. Where this team excels is on the ground. They have too much talent at RB including Carlos Hyde, Jordan Hall and of course Miller.

This will be the toughest test of the year for OSU, as the Spartans defense is super tough to score on. Michigan State is only allowing 11.8 PPG (4th), 177.6 PYPG (8th) and 65.6 RYPG (1st). The Buckeyes need to be able to establish the run in order to stay undefeated.

The Spartans have a great defense, but the offense isn’t nearly as strong. Like OSU, MSU likes to run the football (186.2 RYPG – 47th). Michigan State also averages 194 PYPG (95th) and 29.4 PPG (64th), but clearly Ohio State has way more playmakers on offense.

Look for Jeremy Langford to get a lot of carries on Saturday. Langford leads MSU with 245 carries for 1210 yards and 16 TD’s. They’re going to want to keep Miller and the Buckeyes offense the field and the best way to do that is by running the football successfully.

Ohio State has been good at stopping the run this year (104.5 RYPG – 6th), but their secondary is weak (276.4 PYPG – 111th). If MSU wants to beat OSU they have to be willing to throw the football and allow Connor Cook the chance to beat the OSU secondary.

Biggest Game Changers

The 6’1’’, 198-pound junior WR, Devin Smith has to be a game changer. Smith has 41 receptions for 644 yards and 8 TD’s. He leads the team in average yards per catch (15.7). Last year against MSU Smith had 2 catches for 79 yards and 1 TD as well.

We know both teams are going to look to run the football often, but they’ll have to switch it up as well. OSU has been beat up in the pass game on defense this season. Cook has had some accuracy issues, but if he’s on his game he could win this game for MSU.

My Picks for the Big Ten Championship

These teams played last year and the Buckeyes won 17-16 in a game that was close to the end. Braxton Miller had a monster game to help his team win and he’ll have to do the same again. He threw for 179 yards (1 TD & 1 INT) and rushed for 136 yards.

Last year MSU opted to throw the football a lot (42X) with Andrew Maxwell. This year I expect them to run a lot more to keep the game close. The defense is better on MSU this year and they should keep Miller more contained. I like getting the points in this one.

ScottThis article was written by Scott

Scott is one of the original degenerates working for MobileSportsBetting.com. Although he's most successful betting on NFL football and international soccer, he's also active in UFC and NHL hockey betting.

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