We all know what happened last week at Iowa. We don’t need to talk about that anymore.
We all know that Ohio State’s playoff chances are essentially dead but there is still something left to play for: the Big Ten Championship.
The Buckeyes haven’t won the Big Ten since 2014 and despite not being in the run for the national title anymore, winning their 36th Big Ten championship in program history would still make the season a success.
There’s one thing that stands in the way of that goal today: Mark Dantonio.
Just hearing this man’s name should strike fear into the hearts of Buckeyes everywhere as Dantonio has stood in the way of postseason success for the Buckeyes numerous times since Urban Meyer came to town.
The first time he played spoiler to Buckeye title hopes was in the 2013 Big Ten Championship game, as the Spartans beat the Buckeyes, 34-24, preventing previously undefeated Ohio State from playing in the BCS National Championship game against Florida State.
The second time Dantonio played spoiler to Ohio State’s postseason goals was in 2015. Ohio State was the reigning national champions after winning the first-ever College Football Playoff and they were riding a 23-game winning streak, the second 20+ game win streak in Urban Meyer’s tenure at Ohio State.
In just the second-to-last game of the regular season, Michigan State came into Ohio Stadium and upset the heavily-favored Buckeyes, 17-14, on a last-second field goal to effectively end Ohio State’s dreams of repeating as national champions.
Last year, Dantonio almost played spoiler again as the Buckeyes went up to East Lansing with playoff hopes on the line and barely escaped with a 17-16 win over a Michigan State team that didn’t even make a bowl game.
If Ohio State wants to still have their Big Ten hopes in tact by the end of the day, they have to stay composed against a highly-ranked Michigan State team.
That task will be even tougher today as Ohio State will be without their star linebackers Jerome Baker and Dante Booker.
Kickoff today is at noon on FOX.