Stakes high for OSU and MSU in Big Ten title game

Published on NewsOK Modified: December 1, 2013 at 5:46 pm •  Published: December 1, 2013

Stakes will be high for No. 2 Ohio State and No. 10 Michigan State in the Big Ten championship game — though there might be some cool consolation prizes for the loser.

The Buckeyes (12-0, 8-0 Big Ten) need a win to keep their national title hopes alive and it would help if it was an impressive victory to fend off a one-loss SEC champion in the BCS standings. Even with a loss, the Buckeyes are well-positioned to receive an at-large BCS bid.

But it is all about the Big Ten this week for the Buckeyes.

Coach Urban Meyer said Sunday during a teleconference with reporters that he planned to spend no more than a few seconds talking with his team about the BCS.

"Our focus is on this game and that's it," Meyer said. "It'd be a disservice to our players if I went and worried about it. We have to move the ball against a great defense, and that's my focus."

The Spartans (11-1, 8-0) need a victory to guarantee a desperately coveted spot in the Rose Bowl, where they haven't played since 1988. But if they lose, and Ohio State plays for the national title, the Spartans could go to the Rose Bowl anyway.

"I don't know," said Michigan State coach Mark Dantonio when asked about the possibility to losing the Big Ten and playing in the Rose Bowl, "I'm not thinking about losing.

"We're going to look at the things we can control."

The Leaders Division-champion Buckeyes, coming off a 42-41 victory against Michigan, have one of the top offenses in the country, averaging 48.2 points a game to rank third in the country and 530.5 yards to trail just five teams.

The Legends Division-champion Spartans are among best on defense, giving up a nation-low 237.7 yards and 11.8 points per game to rank fourth.

Soon after Ohio State stopped archrival Michigan on a 2-point conversion Saturday with 32 seconds left to stay undefeated, linebacker Ryan Shazier nailed a scouting report on Michigan State.

"They're a really good team with a really good defense and an offense that's getting better," the Butkus Award finalist said. "I can't wait to play them in Indianapolis."

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