Yep. Less than a month after losing to a Purdue team that had won just one of its first six games, the No. 10 Buckeyes find themselves needing only a win over the 15th-ranked Hawkeyes to start booking flights for
“No, I had no idea,'' Ballard said, trying hard to not let his jaw hit the table in front of him.
To get back to the Rose Bowl for the first time since the 1996 season,
Oddsmakers from online sports book Sportsbook.com have made
The Buckeyes handled then-No. 11 Penn State 24-7 in
Those two outcomes set the stage for a winner-take-all slugfest at Ohio Stadium. The victor is assured of a Rose Bowl berth against an opponent from the muddled Pac-10 (the front-runners are
The Buckeyes (8-2, 5-1) have won three games in a row since that 26-18 loss in
Coach Jim Tressel said his players realize beating the Nittany Lions doesn't mean much if they don't follow up.
“They knew once the ball game was over that although that was awfully tough, what lies ahead is even tougher,'' he said.
The Buckeyes have been contemplating this stretch of three games ever since the calendar changed.
“It's going to be a battle in November. Whoever wins November is going to win the Big Ten championship,'' defensive end Cameron Heyward said. “You can kind of look at it like a boxing (championship). You can't just win one fight and win (a title). It's going to be critical for us to bring it every game.''
Now all that separates the Buckeyes from at least a share of a fifth consecutive conference championship is an
“It's not our first road trip this year,'' Ferentz said. “We've handled it. We haven't let it be a distraction. From that standpoint I think that's certainly a positive. But I don't know if it's going to be enough for us. We're going to have to do everything right to win this football game.''
Tressel knows that there's no margin for error despite the changing fortunes of the two teams.
“It's pretty hard to be more nervous than I am normally,'' he said. “It is harder to handle success, it's just the truth, but I'm probably most concerned with the fact that I know how good
The Buckeyes are well aware of the enormity of the
“After it's all said and done, people looking back on this season will say that Penn State and Iowa were turning points of that season,'' Ballard said, finally catching on to what was at stake. “And the Buckeyes really came together.''
Posted: 11/10/09 7:48PM ET