Former Ohio State standout and Heisman Trophy winner Eddie George appeared as a guest on #BTNLive this morning at the Indianapolis Convention Center. I caught up with George after the show and asked him about his thoughts on tonight’s big game.
BTN.com: It’s no secret that Ohio State’s offense is going to be tested tonight against Michigan State’s defense. What do you see that stands out to you about this Spartan defense, from a former player’s perspective.
George: This is a 60-minute game, and it’s going to be physical for all 60 of those minutes. It’s less about the X’s and O’s and more about the spirit you bring to the table. Ohio State is coming off a big win against their rival, and typically you don’t have a game the week after you play Michigan. You leave everything out on the table for that game. So now, if I’m a member of this Ohio State offense, it’s all about my pro-will to want to win. You have to take the fight to that Michigan State defense and have to break their will in the third or fourth quarter.
BTN.com: The Big Ten Championship game wasn’t around when you were a player. Are you a fan of the conference implementing this game into the schedule?
George: I am. I think it’s the natural progression of college football. I think the edition of having the Big Ten Network is huge. It gives the conference its foundation. I also think that it’s good because we can now determine a champion on the field, as oppose to using human poles and these calculations and all that other nonsense. It is now determined between the white lines, where it should be and really holds onto the integrity of the game.
BTN.com: Everybody has said that this Big Ten Championship game is a matchup of a great defense (Michigan State) vs. a great offense (Ohio State). Outside of that, what do you see as the key to this game that could make the difference in the final outcome tonight.
George: Two things stand out to me. First is the energy of Ohio State. Which team are we going to see? Are we going to see an exasperated team that beat Michigan, or a team that feels disrespected from a National standpoint that they don’t deserve the attention they have garnered. And for Michigan State, they have been a team with one loss that no one has talked about, so they feel disrespected, so I think that is going to be a key there. Now, X’s and O’s wise, how are they going to defend Braxton Miller? They can not allow Carlos Hyde at all costs to get going. They need to take him out of the game and then hedge your bets with containing Braxton Miller — keeping him in the pocket and forcing him into some bad throws and making some mistakes. I think Michigan State feels very confident where they are right now under the radar, outstanding defense, improving offense, and they have a chip on their shoulder too.
BTN.com: Can you close it out with a prediction?
George: I think it’s going to be a tight ballgame. I’m thinking the offenses will find their rhythm in the second half. I’m going to say Ohio State wins, 27-20.