For almost two full seasons, Ohio State was both the hunter and the hunted.
The Buckeyes were unbeaten all of last season and all of this season. But NCAA sanctions kept Ohio State out of the 2012 postseason, and the logjam of Alabama and Florida State kept the Buckeyes out of the desired top two this season.
But with Alabama's loss to Auburn last Saturday, Ohio State is on course to make the Big Bowl. Provided the Buckeyes beat Michigan State in the Big Ten Championship Game on Saturday.
“We just have to win this game," Ohio State center Corey Linsley said. “And it's all set for us. We're not paying any attention to that other stuff right now. That's the beauty about the position we're in right now. We really do control our destiny."
Michigan State will have something to say about that. The 10th-ranked Spartans play tough defense. They gave up 17 points to Notre Dame, 14 to Iowa and six to Iowa. The last two weeks, Michigan State has outscored Northwestern and Minnesota by a combined 44-9.
“They've got a bunch of tough guys, they've got a bunch of good players and stuff, but their scheme up front, the things that they do, the level of how sound they are on defense to their principles, it's something I haven't seen all year.”
Ohio State has won 24 straight games. Make it 25, and the Buckeyes are in the national title game.