Two recent developments have changed the very core of Halloween. First, it has transformed from a one-day trick-or-treating fest into a week-long event because the actual holiday falls on Wednesday. Can anyone say five-night weekend?
Second, costumes have gotten truly ridiculous. Last night, one of my roommates wore a Michael Vick jersey, complete with a stuffed dog hanging from a noose. What happened to ghosts and vampires?
But the worst thing I’ve seen over the past week occurred last Saturday. Out and about on the streets of Ann Arbor was a student dressed as Jim Tressel, sweater vest and all.
The man gets enough respect around the country for building a mini-dynasty in Columbus. The last thing he needs is an ego boost, courtesy of his biggest rival. This particular student’s admiration only added to the fact the Buckeyes had dominated Penn State 37-17 just hours earlier.
But maybe, just maybe – get your sweater-vest voodoo dolls out – Tressel and Ohio State will finally fall from their pedestal when they face Wisconsin this weekend.
No. 21 Wisconsin at No. 1 Ohio State, Noon – Big Ten Network
Heading into last weekend’s beatdown of Penn State, everybody knew about the Buckeyes’ daunting defense, led by Legion of Doom spawn James Laurinitis.
But there were still doubts about quarterback Todd Boeckman and the entire offense. Consider those questions answered after Boeckman threw three touchdowns against a Nittany Lion defense littered with future pros.
Ohio State has a ground game to match, too. Sophomore Chris Wells has shown he belongs in any talk about the Big Ten’s best running backs, rushing for 996 yards on 5.7 yards per carry.
Wisconsin boasts its own elite back, sophomore P.J. Hill. But there’s concern about whether he will play this weekend. Hill suffered a lower leg bruise in last week’s 33-3 win over Indiana.
The only chance Wisconsin has to win this game is by grinding down the clock with its running game.
But would you trust a game pick on a guy with one of the most absurd last names ever? That’s right, Hill’s backup is fellow sophomore Lance Smith-Williams.
I just can’t get past two of the most common last names joined together as one superhuman last name.
Ohio State 31, Wisconsin 14
Purdue at Penn State, Noon – ESPN
The school once known as Linebacker U has looked like anything but a defensive juggernaut the past two weeks. After giving up 31 and 37 points against Indiana and Ohio State, respectively, the Nittany Lions are searching for answers. The Buckeyes didn’t even have to punt last week. Add in quarterback Anthony Morelli’s inconsistency, and there is real cause for concern in not-so-Happy Valley.
Things don’t get much easier with 7-2 Purdue coming to town. The Boilermakers have quietly won each time they were favored, losing to just Ohio State and Michigan – the two conference undefeateds.
This has the makings of one of those classic Big Ten slobberknockers where winner takes all. And by all, I mean an invitation to the Outback Bowl.
As for my prediction, I just don’t see Penn State dropping two in a row at home.
Penn State 27, Purdue 24