- Adam Rittenberg, ESPN Staff Writer
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MADISON, Wis. -- Greetings from America's dairyland, where today Ohio State puts its perfect record on the line against Wisconsin.
Coming off of an open week, the Buckeyes (10-0, 6-0 Big Ten) can clinch the Leaders Division title with a win. Wisconsin, meanwhile, will represent the division Dec. 1 at the Big Ten championship in Indianapolis. The Badgers can earn a share of the division title by winning out and having Ohio State lose next week to Michigan.
Wisconsin (7-3, 4-2) hasn't dropped consecutive home games since the 2008 season, and had its 21-game win streak at Camp Randall Stadium stopped by Michigan State on Oct. 27. It's senior day, and among those being honored is running back Montee Ball, who needs two touchdowns -- of any kind -- to become the NCAA's all-time leader. Ball needs one rushing touchdown to eclipse former Badgers star Ron Dayne for the Big Ten rushing touchdowns record. Ball has been fabulous at this time of year, averaging nearly 180 rush yards and three touchdowns in his past nine November games.
Curt Phillips makes his second start on offense after doing a nice job despite limited passing last week against Indiana. The senior likely will need to put the ball in the air more than seven times today.
Ohio State regains a big piece of its linebacking corps in senior Etienne Sabino, out since suffering a broken leg Oct. 6. Wisconsin, meanwhile, might be without its top defensive playmaker in linebacker Chris Borland (hamstring). Borland will test his hamstring in pregame warm-ups.
Although The Game always will mean more to Ohio State, the Wisconsin rivalry has been growing and could be a more significant game in most seasons because the teams are in the same division. This week, Ohio State wide receiver Corey Brown told reporters, "I hate Wisconsin just as much as Michigan." While coaches Bret Bielema and Urban Meyer downplayed their post-signing day flap, if either man gets the chance to tack on a few points, I think he will.
Weather should be great. Sunny skies, temperatures in the mid to high 40s and winds at 7-10 mph.
Check back for continued coverage of the Badgers and Buckeyes throughout the day.
8hSam Khan Jr.
10hDavid M. Hale