MSU vs. Ohio State: This is what good football looks like

Get me some visine. My vision must be blurry. I thought I just saw two Big Ten teams ranked in the top 10 of the BCS Standings — and both teams are well deserving of it. Really? This is happening?

Well, let me check this again… Yup. It’s still there. Make a mental note of this Big Ten football fans. This is what good football looks like.

[ MORE: Ohio State moves up to No. 2 in AP and Coaches Polls ]

It looks like the Ohio State Buckeyes, jumping up and down in celebration after defeating rival Michigan 42-41, securing the program’s second consecutive 12-0 regular season.

It looks like the Michigan State Spartans, completing a perfect 8-0 record in Big Ten play, while sporting one of the most dominant defenses that college football has seen in recent memory.

It looks like this: Two exceptional college football teams, the Spartans and the Buckeyes, doing what the Big Ten conference prides itself on– Winning football games and playing for championships.

“I think it’s great for our conference,” Ohio State coach Urban Meyer said of the two programs success this season. “The Big Ten should be doing this, and I believe it will continue to do so from here on out.”

There are numerous intriguing story lines heading into the Big Ten Championship Game — A dominant defense vs. a dominant offense, two exceptional running backs, two great coaches with a pedigree for winning big games. You could even note that MSU coach Mark Dantonio has coaching ties to Ohio State, where he served as the defensive coordinator during the Buckeyes’ 2002 National Championship season.

But here’s what we should be zeroing in on: A Big Ten Championship Game that features undoubtedly the top two teams in the conference. No questions asked.

It is a game that has not only major BCS Bowl implications, but National Championship implications as well.

It is possible that this year’s BCS National Championship Game may not feature a team from the SEC. That may be hard for SEC fans to swallow, but it’s the truth of the matter. And the reason for that isn’t because the SEC has been down this year– it is still an exceptional college football conference. The reason is because the top of the Big Ten has also been exceptional.

It has been 11 years since a Big Ten team has won a BCS National Championship. It has been three years since the Big Ten won a Rose Bowl, which was the lone Rose Bowl victory over the past 13 years.

This season, the Big Ten has a chance to do both. A good chance at that.

“It’s very exciting,” MSU head coach Mark Dantonio said. “There’s obviously a buzz throughout the Big Ten and nationally about these two teams and this game.”

The Big Ten has had plenty of dominant teams over the past century. Four of the top 20 winningest programs in college football history reside in the conference– Michigan, Nebraska, Ohio State and Penn State. We have seen both National Championship and Rose Bowl victories. But it hasn’t been the norm as of late. It’s a refreshing sight to see for Big Ten fans.

Two great teams. Two great coaches. One great conference Championship game ahead. Think twice before we criticize the legitimacy of this conference. It may be more fair to recall the Big Ten not for how it has shrunk, but for how it has grown.

And it all starts with these two teams that will take on field on Saturday night in Indianapolis.

About Sean Merriman web editor Sean Merriman covers football and men’s basketball and provides original content for You can follow him on Twitter @BTNSean.


Your Opinion?
Show Comments (20 Comments)
shookwriter27 on 12/1/2013 @ 9:03pm EDT Said:

This week’s Big Ten Championship Game looks to be something special.

greg on 12/1/2013 @ 10:18pm EDT Said:

stop quoting stats like, the winningest programs in college football history….UofM hasn’t been relevant in 10 years, hasn’t won a championship of any kind since early 2000s. And many of Michigan’s wins came in the 1800-1950, when they wouldn’t leave Ann Arbor and didn’t play the hardest of schedules. What are the winning percentages in the past 13 years? I’ll bet UofM and Penn State both aren’t in the top 5 or top 10 or maybe even the top 50.

MarkD on 12/2/2013 @ 12:51am EDT Said:

Could not agree more of the importance and significance of this game which unfortunately is not reflected in the upcoming programming of BTN this week which wants to continue pounding us over the head with UM-OSU games and UM documentaries like Tiebreaker.

Although the documentaries were well done, they were attempts to get the UM football program some much needed positive PR. In reality, the only thing UM football has won recently in the Big Ten are the mythical Recruiting wars which is even is question. The Tiebreaker documentary has aired on the BTN in prime time every night for almost 2 weeks.
We know how to use DVRs if we want to watch it again. Prior to that was the documentary on the UM RB Taylor from the early 70s that aired numerous times.

Time to focus on the biggest game the Big Ten has seen in years and not a UM football program that is 1-5 against MSU and 1-10 against OSU in recent years.

BTN should air a different MSU-OSU game every night this week in preparation for the big game. I’m sure if UM was playing in the game instead of finishing 5 games behind MSU, that’s what we would be watching this week.
How about airing the 74, 98 and 2011 MSU victories and then 2 OSU wins along with their 17-16 win last year which like the 74 game was very controversial.
Then air the best played BT game in recent years which was the inaugural BT championship game, a 42-39 MSU loss to Wisconsin in another controversial finish but extremely well played game.

I love watching the BTN but am frustrated with all the UM hype on their so called glory years of the past as I know many other BT fans are as well.
One last thing, if you really want to do another controversial documentary, here are three options

Documentary A – MSU-ND 66 game that was tagged the game of the century featuring 4 MSU players taken in the first 8 picks on 1967 NFL draft. At least Woody tried to pass with a backup QB who threw a pic at the end of the 10-10 73 game giving Lantry another chance. In the 10-10 MSU ND 66 game, Ara sat on the ball in a very similar situation that Woody faced at the end of the game.
If you prefer not to do a documentary on this historic game since ND is not officially a BT team, go for

Documentary B – Evolution of the Big Ten Conference including the initial voting of UM to not allow MSU into the Big Ten. UM even opposed the changing of the Universities name to Michigan State University. Prior to 1947, MSU had to play 29 of 33 games at UM. I’m sure this documentary could also have other controversial but insightful stories from other universities.

If you choose to do neither, how about

Documentary C – Debate on why some Archie Bunker clones responsible for TV programming think Big Ten football started and ended with Woody/Bo. Big Ten football has so much more tradition than this 10 year period and it’s time the BTN take the lead on showing this to the rest of the country.

I’d be very curious to know what other Big Ten fans think of the repeated airing of the Tiebreaker show and the relentless promotion of UM football even in down years.
Come on BTN, show us the OSU-MSU tradition and build up this game the way a Championship game should be promoted.

Kerry Ragsdale on 12/2/2013 @ 3:39am EDT Said:

In regards to Greg’s comment…he is right about Michigan. However… Ohio State has very much held up our end….Winningest program in the country in the last twenty years, more BCS wins, played for three national titles and won one. Plus a history of seven Heismans…seven National titles …etc…we need other BigTen schools to step up their game..,much like basketball..Go Big Ten! GoBucks!

scott s on 12/2/2013 @ 10:15am EDT Said:

ok your top articlesays that this iswhat good football looks like really…….. state cant score period 14pts against minny??? really…. they will not c ome close to scoring 40 points against ohio like mich. did they dont have the fire power to do it. i do want state to win.. but i just dont see state scoring alot there qb isnt that good… there schedule was the weakest in the big ten so come o people…. really

Allan on 12/2/2013 @ 10:36am EDT Said:

Scott, disagree whole heartedly with your take. Michigan St destroyed Michigan this year. When they have the lead and the other team only has 3 points the offense goes on lockdown and dominates the clock. Points are a meaningless stat when the defense dominates, game changes.

Doug on 12/2/2013 @ 10:40am EDT Said:

scott quit hating, MSU only gave up 6 to michigan while osu gave up 41 to them so how about that ? on 12/2/2013 @ 10:42am EDT Said:

You sound like football continues to remain where you expect to read the headlines you normally read in the morning. Times are changing. Don’t look now but yes Florida State is number one! And Ohio State will get there chance this weekend to see what a defense looks like. You can come out from under your rock on Saturday.

squeekeron on 12/2/2013 @ 11:33am EDT Said:

Ohio State’s defense better get a whole lot better this week. Even Urban Meyer said so. Their failure to adjust to the misdirection wide-out screens was appalling. Playing “Prevent” and allowing the 10 yard completions over the middle was also unacceptable for a championship team. Tackling, which seemed to be getting better this year, took a few steps backward as well.

AVENGER on 12/2/2013 @ 11:45am EDT Said:

Every time I read the comments they’re full of nothing but bitching. I’m getting tired of it because it’s not productive. But on a brighter note, I can’t wait for Saturday Night and it will for sure be an awesome game against two awesome teams! Lee Corso better be wearing Brutus’ head on Gameday!

Bill on 12/2/2013 @ 12:17pm EDT Said:

agree, why perpetuate a mythical idea of the BIG?! I would like to see more non-bowl game play across major conferences – i think the “SEC dominance factor” that ESPN loves and helped create would be challenged significantly.

MarkD on 12/2/2013 @ 12:22pm EDT Said:

Huge game coming up this weekend for the Big Ten.
Would be great to see some of the past MSU-OSU games this week on BTN getting us ready for the Big Ten Championship game like we have been seeing the last 2 weeks of OSU-UM games and the Tiebreaker.
OSU (10-1) and MSU (5-1) have pretty much had their way with UM in recent years so maybe hold off on anymore UM football for at least a week and show the great MSU-OSU games of the past to lead into the biggest game in the Big Ten in years.
MSU wins in 74, 99, 2011 and OSU wins in 2012 and 2 other Buckeye wins would be great for all Big Ten viewers.

Steph on 12/2/2013 @ 2:28pm EDT Said:

I see what MarkD is talking about, I just checked the scheduling for this week and see there is only one OSU-MSU game being shown and nothing on the history between the two teams.

What a shame.

The Tiebreaker is being shown again tonight for the 12th day in a row along with that arena football game that was played in Ann Arbor last Saturday where neither defense showed up to play.

Amazing that MSU is the first team in Big Ten history to win all 8 conference games by double digits but all BTN wants to show is UM football propaganda. Does the BTN scheduling team realize UM finished 5 games behind MSU in the Legends division.

Bill Perry on 12/2/2013 @ 2:29pm EDT Said:

Yes, Time for the Big Ten Network to get with the program…this week’s feature Michigan State versus Ohio State great games….

Scott on 12/2/2013 @ 3:11pm EDT Said:

Bill, if you want t see other games, no one is stopping you There were more than 20 games shown on Saturday when you add up the ESPN, BTN, ESPN2, ABC, CBS, ESPNU, FoxSports1, CBS College Sports, NBC Sports, and the regional Fox channels. If you want to see more games that do not involve BCS conference members, then just use the remote an check them out.

Dean on 12/2/2013 @ 5:05pm EDT Said:

Scott…. Really?? Forget about the article, forget about the game, …… please go back to grade school and learn some basic grammar ….. you are an embarrassment to whatever school you may have attended (although, I doubt that you made it through 6th grade). Obviously you didn’t attend any Big Ten university that I can think about…. you wouldn’t even get admission to either OSU or MSU!!

Jeff Price on 12/3/2013 @ 2:04am EDT Said:

This Auburn fan is completely rooting for Michigan State this weekend! Go Spartans, and War Eagle!

Larry Zabkar on 12/3/2013 @ 3:34am EDT Said:

Suspend the players ejected in the Michigan game. Come on, Urban Meyer back up you rah rah with some punitive action

jedmrm on 12/3/2013 @ 8:18am EDT Said:

Mark D is entirely right…I’m going to vomit if I see one more U of M propaganda bit.
MSU has a rich tradition and history and its time some of it gets shown on the BTN.
Coach D also wins the right way without paying players and cheating.
John D

MSUDersh on 12/3/2013 @ 6:25pm EDT Said:

I’m so pumped for this game. Tosu is a great team but I’m confident in my Spartans. They’ve been completely vanilla on O the past few weeks and really dialed back the blitzing in the MN game (and didn’t blitz at all vs NW). I have a feeling that both Narduzzi and BollmanWarner will have a lot of surprises for the Ohio Nuts on Saturday!