Good morning and welcome to your Wednesday Skull Session.
I don't know about you guys, but that bye week seemed like a full offseason to me – I cannot wait for this Saturday's game.
We mentioned this a little during Penn State week, but I absolutely agree with Corey-Philly Brown that Wisconsin has assumed the #2 spot on my Biggest Rivals list – maybe even the 1B to Michigan's 1A.
Part of it has to do with that 2010 game, part of it has to do with me living with a Wisconsin fan for the last two years, and part of it has to do with Bret Bielema, undoubtedly.
The fact that Wisconsin is finally pulling things together after some early-season woes – remember when they were ranked here? – makes me want to beat them more.
So read up on Wisconsin's strategy and let's get to some stats.
PUT DOWN THE WISCY, VEGAS. I still can't get over the fact that Wisconsin opened as 2½ point favorites over the Buckeyes. I must be in the minority, because the line has now jumped to 3 points.
So what am I missing? Let's breakdown some of the statistical matchups:
1. Ohio State rushing defense vs. Wisconsin rushing offense: While Wisconsin brings in the 17th-ranked rushing offense, this ranking is entirely due to three games: Purdue, Minnesota, and Indiana – i.e. turrrrible rushing defenses.
Against FBS-winning teams, Wisconsin only averages 146 yards per game and is ranked 53rd. Ohio State, in comparison, averaged 119 yards per game (16th overall) against ranked teams.
Further, when we disaggregate Ohio State rush defense by type of opponent offense, we see that Ohio State has been much better at defending pro-style rushing attacks than spread-based rushing attacks.
To be fair, Ohio State has played few overall quality spread teams (Nebraska is the only ranked "spread" opponent) and not all spread offenses are created equal, but even bad spread-offense teams found success against Ohio State's defense earlier in the season: