Ohio State, Michigan State to Meet in 2013 Big Ten Championship Game

Brian LeighFeatured ColumnistNovember 23, 2013

EAST LANSING, MI - SEPTEMBER 29:  Braxton Miller #5 of the Ohio State Buckeyes looks to get around the tackle of Denicos Allen #28 of the Michigan State Spartans at Spartan Stadium on September 29, 2012 in East Lansing, Michigan. Ohio State won the game 17-16. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

Ohio State and Michigan State each clinched their respective divisions, the Big Ten Legends and Leaders, on Saturday, setting up the first confirmed conference championship game in the FBS this season.

Sparty will meet the Buckeyes—which pasted Indiana 42-14 on Saturday—in Lucas Oil Stadium on Dec. 7, with the fate of the Big Ten and potentially much more at stake.

If Ohio State remains undefeated and gets some help from Alabama, Florida State and Baylor, it might still have a chance at the BCS National Championship. The Buckeyes still need to win at Michigan in an epic rivalry game, but Michigan State seems to be a much bigger hurdle, given both teams' current form.

The Spartans thoroughly dominated Northwestern in Evanston on Saturday, winning by a count of 30-6. It's an unfair comparison, since Northwestern was playing so much better (and was so much healthier) at the start of the season, but Ohio State nearly lost at Ryan Field in October.

Last year, in a season where the Buckeyes went undefeated and Michigan State lost six games, the Spartans nearly beat Ohio State in East Lansing, losing 17-16. It was the closest call in Ohio State's perfect season, by almost every account.

The same might be expected in the Big Ten Championship Game, since Michigan State and its world-beating defense are good enough to slow down Carlos Hyde and keep Ohio State's offense in check.

But is Connor Cook and the MSU offense—which has improved by leaps and bounds this season—good enough to put up points on the Buckeyes defense?

Only time will tell. This is officially not hypothetical.