Created on Monday, 25 November 2013 Written by RUSTY MILLER, AP Sports Writer
COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — What's brewing with the 2013 Ohio State Buckeyes ...
FILE - In this Oct. 19, 2013 file photo, Ohio State running back Carlos Hyde, top, dives over the goal line to score a touchdown during an NCAA college football game against Iowa in Columbus, Ohio. After being suspended for the first three games of the season, Hyde is trying to make up for lost time. So far, he's made up a lot of ground. (AP Photo/Jay LaPrete, File)
BUCKEYES BUZZ: Make no mistake about it: It's big that the Buckeyes are playing in their first Big Ten championship game.
As winners of the Leaders Division, they'll face off against Legends Division winner Michigan State in their first conference title game on Dec. 7 at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis.
Still, no Ohio State player is pointing for that when Michigan is standing in the way.
The Buckeyes (11-0, 7-0) play the Wolverines (7-4, 3-4) at Michigan Stadium on Saturday at noon.
So, sure, it's a big deal to be playing for Big Ten bragging rights. But before that, there's the bragging rights in "The Game," considered one of if not the most hotly contested rivalries in all of college football.
"We're not looking forward to the championship game. We have a huge game coming up this week," TB Carlos Hyde said after running for 117 yards and two touchdowns in Saturday's 42-14 win over Indiana on senior day at Ohio Stadium. "We want to focus on that. Try to get the win in that, THEN focus on the next one."
Occasionally, it takes time to get into the rhythms of the rivalry.
RB Dontre Wilson was a senior in high school in DeSoto, Texas, a year ago, far removed from the hub-bub of the grudge match.
"I watched the game on TV last year, but to be honest I don't really know that much about it," he said. "I'm sure going to find out soon, though."
Yes, Dontre, you surely will.
NEXT FOR THE BIG TWO: This is, of course, the craziest of weeks in college football in Ohio and Michigan. It promises to be a wild week around the nation as well.
The pick of the litter of games involving the top teams is The Iron Bowl game with No. 1 Alabama playing at fourth-ranked Auburn.
In the other game of particular interest to Ohio State fans, No. 2 Florida State puts its perfect season on the line at rival Florida.
Now, most Buckeyes fans were talking about ex-No. 3 Baylor's stunning 49-17 loss to No. 11 Oklahoma State on Saturday night, which moved Ohio State up to No. 3 in all of the polls and gave it some breathing room for a change over its closest pursuers.
But maybe the most shocking score of the weekend came on Florida's home field where FCS-level Georgia Southern hung a 26-20 shiner on the Gators. It was Florida's sixth loss in a row, dooming it to a losing season (4-7).
Amazingly, Georgia Southern didn't have to complete a single pass to win, either.
THE WEEK AHEAD: In other marquee games involving two AP-ranked teams this week: No. 8 Stanford plays at No. 25 Notre Dame, No. 6 Clemson is at No. 10 South Carolina and No. 22 UCLA plays at No. 23 Southern California.
B1G GAMES: Even though the division champs have already been decided, it's still rivalry week in the Big Ten, too.
On Friday, Iowa plays at Nebraska in The Heroes Game. Saturday's contests include Purdue playing at Indiana for the Old Oaken Bucket, Minnesota at No. 11 Michigan State, Northwestern and Illinois decide the Land of Lincoln Trophy and Penn State is at No. 14 Wisconsin.
HOKE ON OFFENSE: After Michigan kicked away a 21-7 halftime lead to lose at Iowa 24-21 on Saturday, Wolverines coach Brady Hoke was asked what the big problem was with his ineffective and inconsistent offense.
"It's a combination of all 11 guys who are out there," he said. "At times we hit on all 11 cylinders, then its 10, then it's nine. But it seems to be rotating through."
Michigan has lost four of its last six games by a set of scores that point to Jekyll and Hyde running the offense. The Wolverines have won by scores of 63-47 against Indiana and 27-19 in three overtimes at Northwestern, and have lost 43-40 at Penn State, 29-6 at Michigan State, 17-13 against Nebraska at home and then at Iowa in a game in which it was shut out in the second half.