Ohio State has reached its one and only bye week for the regular season, and its significance may be greater than ever.
The Buckeyes (4-3, 1-2 Big Ten) are coming off a huge win over the previously undefeated Illinois Fighting Illini in which they held Ron Zook's offense to just seven points and is the second team this year to keep it from compiling at least 473 total yards (285).
Not only does this victory look nice on the stat sheet, but it was imperative to keep driving this young squad forward, especially with three losses halfway into the season.
However, OSU will find itself in its toughest matchup thus far—and most likely the entire year—as it takes on Wisconsin in the Horseshoe next week. The Badgers are currently undefeated (6-0, 2-0 Big Ten) and ranked No. 6 in the BCS Standings. Their offense scores 50.2 points weekly (No. 1 in the NCAA) and they allow just under 10 points per game (No. 3).
The outcome doesn't look good for Ohio State. With the way we have seen the Bucks play during their losses to Miami (FL), Michigan State and Nebraska (heck, OSU looked bad vs. Toledo), people are worried of a potential blowout in Columbus, favoring the Badgers.
But there is hope.
Ohio State has won two-straight against Wisconsin at home and will be well-rested. The Badgers are going on the road to face Michigan State for their first true road game of the season this weekend and will not yet be acclimated to having back-to-back away visits.
If the Badgers lose Saturday in East Lansing, it gives Luke Fickell the possibility of facing a vulnerable team.
It would be a huge opportunity to skyrocket in the Big Ten's Leaders division.
However, if the Buckeyes want this chance, there are three things that need to be focal points during the bye week.