Ohio State coach Urban Meyer was hired for many reasons, but his ability to win championships was the most important. His gift will be put to the test on Saturday night when the No. 2 Buckeyes take on No. 10 Michigan State in the Big Ten Football Championship in Indianapolis.
The stakes could not be any more significant. On the line for the Buckeyes are a trip to the BCS Championship game, a chance to extend their winning streak to 25 and an opportunity to end the SEC’s seven-year run on titles.
For the Spartans, they have a chance to earn a trip to their first Rose Bowl since 1988, dethrone the Buckeyes from the top of the Big Ten and prove to everyone outside of East Lansing that they belong among the elite teams in the country.
As fate would have it, Meyer is also trying to undo the carnage that he created in the first place. Ohio State’s image—and, subsequently, the Big Ten’s—started to crumble after Meyer’s Florida team thrashed the Buckeyes in the 2007 BCS National Championship.
Coincidentally, he is trying to beat Mark Dantonio, a coach who is held in the highest regard at Ohio State for helping restore the glory in 2002 when his defense carried the Buckeyes to the championship.
This game matches strength versus strength; Meyer’s uptempo, high-octane offense versus Dantonio’s blue-collar, stone-wall defense. The Buckeyes will look to play fast and push the ball down the field quickly. The Spartans will try to force a…