Saturday's matchup in the Big Ten Championship Game is being billed as the conference's best offense versus the best defense.
It's also being billed as Ohio State's Braxton Miller and Carlos Hyde versus Michigan State's Max Bullough and Darqueze Dennard.
Those billings aren't just hyperbole, but before we look ahead to the matchup this weekend, it's wise to take a step back and assess just how good Ohio State's offense actually is.
We all know it's a powerful group and has scored a ton of points, but few are seeing the big picture with this group. Not only is this Ohio State offense topping the Big Ten in 2013, it's one of the historically great offenses in conference annals.
No, that's not hyperbole—the numbers suggest that Ohio State is having one of the greatest scoring and rushing seasons of any offense in conference history and certainly in the modern era (post-World War II) of Big Ten football.
Ohio State has scored 578 points so far this season, which puts it fifth in Big Ten history with two more games to go. Should the Buckeyes score more than 30 points a game over the next two contests, it will be in the company of the best-scoring teams of all time.
This team is currently on pace to be the second-best-scoring team of all time in the Big Ten, only topped by the 1904 Minnesota Golden Gophers (725).
It would mean this offense is the best scoring offense in the modern era of Big Ten football.
OSU's scoring average (48.2) is fifth in conference history already, and the team is currently sixth in total touchdowns (75). The 48.2 points-per-game average would put them inside the top 20 all-time in NCAA history, depending on what Baylor and Florida State do the rest of this season.
By the time this season is over, Ohio State has a chance at becoming the No. 3 scoring offense in conference history, topping what the 2011 Wisconsin offense was able to do in scoring 85 total touchdowns.
It would also put them in the same group as the 1903-1905 Minnesota and Michigan teams.
As for total yards, this group's 6,366 yards already rank fourth in conference annals, and its average of 530.5 total yards a game is first in conference history.
What is the Best Offense in the Modern Era of the Big Ten?
Ohio State is topping Penn State's 1994 record of an average of 512.7 yards per game.
The Buckeyes rushing offense is also historically great, with its total of 3,855 yards already fourth and its average of 321.2 fourth as well. OSU also ranks fifth in first downs gained via rushing (192).
What about Ohio State's passing offense? It certainly hasn't put up amazing totals, passing for just 2,511 yards as a team so far this year.
However, it too is setting historically significant numbers as well. The OSU completion percentage of 66.6 percent is sixth all-time, and its total of 35 passing touchdowns is already third in conference history.
The Big Ten record is 43 passing touchdowns by the 1998 Purdue offense. It's a record OSU could reach with great passing results in the next two games.
More realistically, though, Ohio State has a real shot at the No. 2 spot in conference history, which is the 2004 Purdue offense that put up 38 passing touchdowns.
Not only is the Buckeyes offense historically very good in conference terms, it's also very good in 2013 terms as well.
|Passing Completion Percentage||66.7||13th|
CBSSports.com and ESPN.com
The numbers so far this season add up to an offense that not only holds up as one of the best of 2013, but one of the single greatest seasons in Big Ten football history.
At the very least, we are all witnessing perhaps the best offensive season of the modern era in Big Ten football.
It all means that on Saturday, something has to give. Will it be Ohio State's historically great offense, or Michigan State's stingy defense?
Fans could be in for one of the wildest and most intriguing matchups in the early history of the Big Ten Championship Game based on where these two teams stand.
*Andy Coppens is Bleacher Report's lead writer for the Big Ten. You can follow him on Twitter: @ andycoppens.