From a purely technical standpoint, Ohio State and Wisconsin are not rivals. The two teams battle frequently, but the winner of this matchup doesn’t take home any kind of trophy. Even Wikipedia refuses to acknowledge it as a rivalry, and Wikipedia knows everything.
Just don’t tell that to anyone on the Ohio State football team.
As media met with head coach Urban Meyer and members of the Ohio State football team Monday afternoon, talk was aimed toward the Buckeyes’ upcoming matchup with the Badgers this weekend.
Meyer was asked for his thoughts on Wisconsin, and his response was blunt:
Ohio State's Urban Meyer on Wisconsin: "This is a rivalry game."— Lori Schmidt (@LoriSchmidt) November 12, 2012
Wisconsin coach Bret Bielema would agree. When the Buckeyes defeated the Badgers 31-13 back in 2009, Bielema couldn’t hold back his hatred for Ohio State, ''I hate losing to these guys. Absolutely, it's something I can't stand for whatever reason.”
And regardless of what Meyer and Bielema say this week in preparation of Saturday's clash, the two coaches have a rather unpleasant history.
Just months after taking over at Ohio State, Meyer and Bielema bumped heads—not on the football field, but on the recruiting trail. Kyle Dodson, an offensive tackle who had verbally committed to Wisconsin before Meyer's arrival in Columbus, flipped his pledge and signed with the Buckeyes last February.
The situation got worse when Bielema accused Meyer of illegal recruiting practices, prompting a swift response from Ohio State refuting the accusation.
Of course, both coaches insist there's no hard feelings going into the game, chalking up the whole situation as a misunderstanding blown up by the media. Believe what you want, but both coaches are treating the situation like, well, this.
The bad blood between these two squads isn't exclusive to the head coaches. Players from both teams treat this game like a rivalry. For wide receiver Corey "Philly" Brown, Wisconsin is at the top of his list:
“I hate Wisconsin just as much as Michigan”- Ohio State wide receiver @phillybrown10— Ben Axelrod (@BenAxelrod) November 12, 2012
Ohio State has won four of the last five games against Wisconsin, but the lone loss came in 2010 when the Badgers upset the top-ranked Buckeyes in Madison. That game was the only loss in an otherwise perfect season that was later vacated by the NCAA.
Last year's contest gave the Buckeyes an opportunity to avenge that loss, and Braxton Miller helped the Buckeyes exact their revenge.
Wisconsin will be looking to get some revenge of their own this Saturday.
Follow David on Twitter @davidreg412