And I’m not just talking about winning the Big Ten — obviously that’s the first and foremost important part of Saturday’s game.
You see, I’m talking about the peripheral aspects. The things that could be determining factors for both team’s post-season hopes. Though nothing in college football is ever a certainty (all in thanks to a little thing called the BCS), the outcome of Saturday’s game makes what will happen next for both teams damn near a certainty.
As the situation stands, barring any more craziness — I don’t think this coming weekend can get any crazier than last weekend — Ohio State is in line to play in the National Championship game; they’re currently No. 2 in the BCS standings behind Florida State.
Auburn and Alabama are a close third and fourth, respectively, but since they both have one loss apiece, undefeated Ohio State and Florida State are the favorites. Though the Buckeyes might not have the strength of schedule that an Alabama or
(Enter any SEC team) has, an undefeated season in a decent Big Ten is nothing to scoff at. If the Buckeyes beat Michigan State they should play for the ‘Ship.
But Michigan State has a chance to take all that away. There’s a lot less at stake for the Spartans. You know
besides trying to win their first Big Ten football title in too many years to count and trying to earn a berth to their first Rose Bowl since 1988. The Spartans also get the enjoyable job of being able to spoil Ohio State’s title hopes.
And let’s be honest here. There’s nothing better than taking something really important — something they’d probably kill for — from the Buckeyes. With a victory, Michigan State will send Ohio State to a different, still respectable but way less-important BCS bowl game, while making a very loud statement: something they’ve be trying to do for a long time.
Almost every year since Mark Dantonio took over, Michigan State has always been on the brink of excellence, coming up just short every year. This win, and ensuing Rose Bowl berth, will do just that: it’ll take them from obscurity into a whole different ball game — literally and figuratively.