The No. 14 Northwestern Wildcats and No. 4 Ohio State Buckeyes will meet at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis, Indiana, this Saturday for the 2020 Big Ten Championship Game.
This is the second time these teams will meet in the title game. Ohio State is a -21 point favorite, according to oddsmakers. Kickoff is slated for noon est.
Controversial Decision Leads to Ohio State Appearance
Prior to the Covid-19 shortened season, each school’s athletic directors met to compile some Covid related guidelines for the season. One of those was that teams would have to play a minimum of six games to qualify for the Big Ten Championship Game.
Ohio State did not meet that requirement due to three of their games being canceled due to COVID-19 related issues. This would have had the Indiana Hoosiers represent the East Division in the title game.
Queue the controversy. Big Ten officials met and voted to change the rules and allow Ohio State into the Big Ten Championship Game. They will now take on Northwestern in the title game for the second time in three years.
Recent History Is Not On Wildcats Side
The last time these two teams met was in October of 2019. Ohio State demolished the Wildcats to the tune of 52-3. It was ugly from the beginning, and Ohio State never looked back.
The last time they met in this Championship Game, Ohio State blew out Northwestern on the National stage 45-24. Needless to say, these games have not gone well for Northwestern lately.
Northwestern Defense Must Play Well
If Northwestern is to have any chance against the high powered offense of Ohio State, then their defense must step up and play like it has all season.
The Wildcats have not played an offensive juggernaut like Ohio State this year, and this will be their first real test against an offense like this.
Northwestern held Iowa to just 20 points in a 21-20 come from behind victory, but despite being decent on offense, Iowa is no Ohio State.
Justin Fields Is Ohio State’s Superman
The Ohio State high powered machine is fueled by their future first-round pick quarterback, Justin Fields. He has thrown for 15 touchdowns to just three interceptions. He is also a threat with his legs, adding an additional five touchdowns on the ground.
If Northwestern has any shot in this game, it will have to be slowing Fields down through the air and on the ground.
If there is a weakness on this Ohio State team, it is their defense. It just hasn’t been as stout as we have seen in years past. They are allowing 23.5 points per game, and lesser teams are sticking around longer in games.
The Pick Is In
Ohio State is just more talented than Northwestern. The Buckeyes are a -21 point favorite and will cover that spread rather easily against the offensively challenged Wildcats. I have Ohio State coming out on top 45-17.
The Pick: Ohio State -21