Should Ohio State Really Be the Big Ten Favorite over Michigan State?

It only took three hours for Urban Meyer and Ohio State to lose it all.

The No. 2-ranked Buckeyes were riding high entering the Big Ten title game last season—just a week separated from a thrilling 42-41 victory over archrival Michigan. It was the most recent triumph in a string of 24 consecutive victories, and Ohio State was one win away from booking a trip to Pasadena, Calif., for a shot at Florida State and a national title.

Michigan State was just too strong.

The Spartans limited a previously unstoppable Buckeye rushing attack and held Braxton Miller to just eight completions and 101 passing yards. Connor Cook torched Ohio State with 304 passing yards and three touchdowns, while Jeremy Langford kept the Buckeyes off balance with 128 rushing yards and another score.

The result? Michigan State came away with a 34-24 victory, the Big Ten Championship and the joy of dashing Ohio State’s title run.

“It’s going to haunt all of us,” Meyer said of the game, according to Bill Rabinowitz of The Columbus Dispatch. “I would imagine, for a little while.”

“A little while” was an accurate prediction.

Despite being outclassed by Mark Dantonio’s underappreciated squad just seven months ago, various media outlets (and the good folks in Vegas) are pegging Ohio State as the favorite to win the Big Ten in 2014.

Is that fair?

The Buckeyes do return the conference’s two-time MVP in Miller, and…

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