It's only Week 5, but this is arguably the biggest game on the schedule, not only for No. 4 Ohio State and No. 23 Wisconsin, but for the entire Big Ten as well.
While the implications have been downplayed by both teams' head coaches, there are high stakes on the line. The winner essentially jumps out to a two-game advantage in the Big Ten Leaders Division, going one-up in the loss column and owning the tiebreaker for the division crown.
There's obviously a long way to go in Big Ten conference play, so such an important matchup this early in the season is almost a travesty. But it also means both teams may have time to recover from a defeat with seven games remaining on their schedules.
The Badgers (3-1) have actually already begun conference play, defeating Purdue, 41-10, in Madison, Wisc. The Buckeyes (4-0) finished off non-conference play with the 76-point slaughtering of Florida A&M.
Recent history in this rivalry has not been kind to the Badgers. Ever since Wisconsin knocked off No. 1 Ohio State in 2010, it has lost two hotly contested games to the Buckeyes—one on a Hail Mary pass in Columbus, Ohio, in 2011, and the other in overtime at Camp Randall last season.
Ohio State is postseason-eligible, so the Badgers will be hard-pressed to get away with a loss this time around.
We break down the players to watch, keys to victory and offer a prediction for the showdown at The Shoe.
Day, Time: Saturday at 7 p.m. CT
Place: Ohio Stadium, Columbus, Ohio
Spread: Ohio State -7 (via Bovada.lv)