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Can Bucks burn down ‘Big House?’

November 25, 2011
By RICH GIBSON - Buckeye Blitz , Times Leader

Woody vs. Bo, it aint. Fickell vs. Hoke? Whatever.

One thing hasn't changed and that is college football's greatest rivalry - this season of the Thanksgiving weekend variety.

A 6-5 regular season generally doesn't get in done for the Buckeye Nation. However, should the Scarlet & Grey burn down the Big House Saturday afternoon, a fairly large number of OSU alumni and fans will consider 2011 an unavoidable bump in the road.

It's not like the Buckeyes aren't capable. Consider the following: Luke Fickell's club had every reason to close out a huge road win at Nebraska but managed to let it slip away.

It goes without saying Ohio State had no business losing at Purdue, a setback which, for all intents, likely sealed Fickell's fate as head coach.

Yet another excellent opportunity for victory went by the wayside last week when the Buckeyes couldn't score in the second half of a 20-14 Horseshoe setback against Penn State.

A third consecutive loss Saturday results in a 6-6 finish with a possibility of landing in a low profile bowl appearance.

One online website is matching the Buckeyes against Ohio's Bobcats in Detroit's Little Caeser's Pizza Bowl. Lord have mercy.

While Michigan State has already earned a berth in the Big Ten's inaugural Championship Game Dec. 3, the Leaders Division opponent will be determined this weekend with Penn State and Wisconsin vying at Madison.

Here are our final regular season projections - and not a moment too soon.


IOWA (7-4, 4-3) AT NEBRASKA (8-3, 4-3). Both the Cornhuskers and Hawkeyes are postseason bound. The winner here earns a greater share of bowl revenue.

Cornhuskers, 27-17.


OHIO STATE (6-5, 3-4) AT MICHIGAN (9-2, 5-2). An otherwise disappointing, dismal season has a legitimate chance for a happy ending.

Buckeyes, 24-21.

MICHIGAN STATE (9-2, 6-1) AT NORTHWESTERN (6-5, 3-4). Since losing five in a row, Northwestern has rebounded to win its last four, including a victory at Nebraska.

Sparty beware. Spartans, 31-27.

PURDUE (5-6, 3-4) AT INDIANA (1-10, 0-7). All Boilermakers must achieve here is a win to become bowl eligible. Hoosiers will not go quietly.

Boilermakers, 27-21.

PENN STATE (9-2, 6-1) AT WISCONSIN (9-2, 5-2). With those national title hopes up in flames, Badgers can still win and earn rematch with MSU.

Badgers, 27-14.

ILLINOIS (6-5, 2-5) AT MINNESOTA (2-9, 1-6). Hard to believe Illini were once 6-0 and thought to be a top-20 caliber ball club.

Barring total collapse, their five-game skid should end.

Illini, 31-20.

Gibson may be reached at



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