Created on Friday, 27 September 2013 Written by RUSTY MILLER, AP Sports Writer
COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — What's brewing with the 2013 Ohio State Buckeyes ...
BUCKEYES BUZZ: It's partly paying respect, partly upsetting his players.
When Urban Meyer referred to Wisconsin as "king" of the Big Ten, he was acknowledging the fact that the Badgers have played in and won the conference's championship game each of its two years in existence and have been to the last three Rose Bowls as the Big Ten's representative.
But that also upset his own players, who refuse to concede that anyone is better than them — even though they've never played in a title game.
Despite that, the Buckeyes won't abide talk of Wisconsin being the best in the Leaders Division, the Big Ten or anywhere else.
"We know we're the king, so we're not worried about anybody else," CB Bradley Roby said Wednesday. "Simple as that."
The last three games between the schools have been heart-stopping classics.
A year ago the Buckeyes won in overtime, 21-14. The year before, Braxton Miller lofted a Hail Mary touchdown pass in the final seconds of a 33-29 upset. In 2010, the Buckeyes were ranked No. 1 when they were upended by the Badgers, 31-18, at Camp Randall Stadium.
"They're the leaders of the Big Ten right now, they're the top dog in the Big Ten," Meyer said. "So it's a challenge. Our players get it. I feel it around here. That just comes from mutual respect, a good rivalry like that."
NEW LOOK: It was a big secret for some reason, but now it appears Ohio State will come out in uniforms almost identical to what they wore last year at home against rival Michigan.
The helmets are chrome instead of gray, with large, green buckeye leaves. The jerseys are scarlet with large gray numbers and black, red and white stripes on the sleeves, with player names in black. The pants are standard-issue gray.
"I wish we could have those for every game," TE Nick Vannett said. "They're really sweet. It's a good deal, switch up the uniforms every now and then."
He said that some players actually perform better when wearing a different look.
"Some guys, they tend to play good when they know they look good, so, for some of us it kind of helps," he said with a chuckle.
OL Jack Mewhort also likes the so-called rivalry uniform.
"It's something cool. It's something different," he said. "Obviously, the classic helmet is my favorite, but it's cool to switch it up a little bit."
Meyer was asked about the new uniforms.
"The feedback from the rivalry game last year was incredible, not just from our players and recruits, but from Buckeye greats of old," he said. "It's a good chance we'll be wearing the rivalry uniform."
Asked if he liked the look, Meyer reflected on the 26-21 win over Michigan and said, "I liked the result of the look. I'm not so much into looks. I'm into good players and recruiting."
SPEAKING OF WHICH: New uniforms and multiple looks are important to recruits. Oregon is Exhibit A for this phenomenon with all variety of green, black and gray on their uniforms, also from Nike, which set a standard for programs across the country.
It's not enough to just be a good program. To appeal to recruits, you have to be a good-looking program.
Saturday night, for instance, is the centerpiece of a huge recruiting weekend for Ohio State.
"Yeah, we've got some good players coming in," he said. "This is a showcase game."
Meyer said the recruits will be able to watch much of the pregame preparations, will join the team for numerous activities and will be immersed in scarlet and gray. Oh, and they'll undoubtedly be shown what they might look like in those new rivalry uniforms.
"They'll get down on the field and watch pregame warmups, like a typical visit," Meyer said. "But it's a night game, so they'll be here most of the day when they get in. And experience the pregame atmosphere, which is incredible. The quick cals, the band, and then obviously, the team during the game. It's going to be late at night, afterward, but hopefully we'll get to celebrate a nice victory."
LINGERING QUESTION: Meyer does not hide his affection for Wisconsin coach Gary Andersen. Yet when Meyer left for Florida after his second season at Utah (and first and only year with Andersen as an assistant), Andersen stayed behind with the Utes and continued to serve Meyer's replacement, Kyle Whittingham.
Andersen explained the situation earlier this week.
"That was definitely in the equation (to follow Meyer to Florida), and it was discussed and talked about, but Meyer knew that I needed to stay there with Kyle, and that's what I wanted to do," Andersen said. "So it was a very brief discussion, and I had already made that commitment to Kyle that, if he was going to take the head job, that I would stay there and stay with Kyle at Utah. So that's what I did."
Andersen went from Utah to become a head coach at Utah State, then moved to Wisconsin when Bret Bielema left abruptly to take the Arkansas job.
QUOTABLE: Ohio State WR Evan Spencer on Wisconsin not giving up a TD pass all year: "I know they're a good defense. And I know they're real disciplined with their assignments and what they have to do. But we're really an explosive offense. So I can tell you right now that little record thing, that probably won't stand too long."