Aside from the numerous Big Ten tiebreaker scenarios and poll watching, Ohio State’s goal for the last three games of the season is simple: win out. While beating Penn State and Michigan at home shouldn’t be a problem, taking out Iowa in Kinnick Stadium will surely be no walk in the park.
A closer look at OSU's last three regular season opponents:
The Good: After getting pounded by Iowa and Illinois, Penn State has rebounded nicely in the last two weeks with wins against Minnesota and Michigan. After missing last weeks’ game, quarterback Rob Bolden should be good to go against Northwestern. Evan Royster broke the school rushing record last week.
The Bad: Penn State finishes up against Northwestern, at OSU, Indiana and Michigan State. It’s very likely they could finish 7-5. The defense is also allowing 20 points a game.
The OSU Result: Penn State would stand a chance if this game was in Happy Valley. Then again, the Buckeyes dismantled the Nittany Lions last season in front of a whiteout, Darryl Clark and a veteran defense. 34-10 Ohio State.
The Good: The Hawkeyes are the best two-loss team in the country. If they didn’t lay an egg in the first half at Arizona and fall for a fake punt at home against Wisconsin, they’d be undefeated. Nevertheless, they’ve put themselves in this position, which isn’t exactly bad and could still end in a share of the Big Ten title. Even with 19 touchdowns, two interceptions and nearly 2,000 yards to his credit, Ricky Stanzi still isn’t in the Heisman discussion. (Kidding, everyone knows it’s a toss-up between Auburn’s Cam Newton and Oregon’s LaMichael James at the moment).
The Bad: Nothing really. They finish at Northwestern, home against OSU and at Minnesota. Another loss probably drops them out of the BCS although they could still land in a New Year’s Day bowl.
The OSU Result: Everything points to a loss at Iowa for OSU. They’re banged-up on defense gives Iowa’s balanced offense an edge (think Wisconsin with a more talented quarterback). OSU’s special teams are still very iffy. But I think this OSU team knows their destiny. They don’t want to be the ones to end the streak of Big Ten titles. 24-21 Ohio State.
The Good: Denard Robinson. So what if he won’t win the Heisman? The sophomore from Deerfield Beach, FL still has a ridiculous statistics: 1,509 passing yards with 10 passing touchdowns and 1,287 rushing yards coupled with 12 rushing touchdowns.
The Bad: Michigan has once again floundered after a hot start (5-0, 4-0 in 2009). The problem lies in their defense. They simply can’t stop enough. They aren’t physical enough or fast enough to control anyone’s offense (giving up 41 points to Penn State and their backup quarterback is a major red flag). While they stand a good chance of beating Illinois and Purdue, the Wolverines will surely fall to Wisconsin and OSU to close out their regular season at a probable 7-5.
The OSU Result: The Wolverines may put some numbers and even a few points against OSU, but the “Silver Bullets” will hit Robinson like he hasn’t been yet this season. Plus, Michigan won’t be able to contain Terrelle Pryor. 48-17 OSU.