Thomas Jefferson once said, “I like the dreams of the future better than the history of the past.” This is the advice I would give to Wisconsin as they prepare for the Big Ten Championship game against Ohio State.
Ohio State leads the overall series 58-18-5, and Wisconsin will look to notch their 19th win in the series when they take on the Buckeyes in Indianapolis on Saturday night. In more recent history (2010-17), Wisconsin has only won a single game and Ohio State has won five.
That single win for Wisconsin, however, was the biggest program victory since they won the Rose Bowl in 2000. The win in 2010 saw No. 18 Wisconsin dominate a No. 1 Ohio State 31-18. It provided the greatest moment in Wisconsin football history on the very first play of the game.
In that game John Clay rumbled down the field for 104 yards and two touchdowns on 21 attempts, averaging 5.0 yards per carry. Fellow back James White added 75 yards and a touchdown.
Quarterback Scott Tolzien was almost perfect on the day, minus an interception and only three incompletions.
On the defensive side of the ball, J.J. Watt showed out with three sacks, limiting mobile quarterback Terrelle Pryor‘s ability to escape the pocket.
Saturday, this year’s Wisconsin team will have to do the exact same things if they hope to have a shot at punching their ticket to the College Football Playoff. Establish the run, minimize mistakes at the quarterback position and limit a mobile opposing quarterback.
Other than the single win Wisconsin has in the past seven years, the Buckeyes have owned the Badgers. All of those wins though have been one score games, highlighted by two overtime loses in 2012 and in 2016.
Oh and a last minute hail mary which is sure to make your blood boil.
The only time in the past seven years the Buckeyes have shell-shocked the Badgers was in the 2014 Big Ten Championship game, when this years seniors were freshman.
Ohio State accumulated 558 yards of offense to Wisconsin’s 258 yards. The final score was 59-0 and catapulted Ohio State into the first College Football Playoff on their way to a National Championship.
On Wisconsin’s sideline, it was one of the number of reasons then head coach Gary Anderson decided to leave the Wisconsin program. Which, in hindsight has been beneficial to the Badgers as Paul Chryst took over in the next season and has continued Wisconsin’s sustained success.
All of this history will be running through the minds of fans and players alike as Wisconsin takes the field Saturday and hope to see Paul Chryst and company well on their way to the College Football Playoff.