Not listening TO title talk
Urban Meyer was taken aback this week. That’s not easy to do. On the Big Ten coaches teleconference Meyer was asked if, should Ohio State finish 12-0, it should be considered the national champion. “Oh, no disrespect, sorry,” he began, sounding flustered.
Then he regained his equilibrium and responded, “I haven’t given it any thought and we’re not going to have any discussion about that with our players. We are who we are right now. The good thing about the players and the guys that are important to me, and that’s the kids I coach, they know who we are. We have a lot of holes that we’re still trying to patch and put together and become a better team. At some point that might be worth discussion, certainly not now.”
The battle with Ohio State on Saturday at Camp Randall Stadium will be Wisconsin’s final home game of the season. A lot of people will be watching, and not just because the game pits the sixth-ranked Buckeyes, trying to finish unbeaten, against a team they clearly don’t like which will be representing the Leaders Division in the Big Ten championship game.
Wisconsin RB Montee Ball needs just two touchdowns to become the all-time leader in major college football. Ball has 77 career touchdowns, one fewer than FBS record-holder Travis Prentice of Miami (Ohio). “It’s going to be extra special to do it at home — if it happens,” he said. “It’d be ideal to break a record like that on home turf, in front of our fans.”
But coach Bret Bielema isn’t as concerned with pleasing the home fans with the record as he is with winning the game. He said he won’t change his game plan or gimmick up a play so Ball can set the mark in front of friends and family. “If he breaks it, it’s going to be in the constant flow of the game,” he said.
Center Corey Linsley says the Buckeyes will not be looking past Wisconsin to the game a week later at home against rival Michigan. “They’re all tough dudes that we all respect. Nobody’s taking them lightly at all,” he said of the Badgers. “Definitely we respect the heck out of their front seven. We’re going to have to prepare for a tough football game.”
SCRUBS TO STARTERS
Nobody from Ohio State is nominated — although five Big Ten players are — for the Burlsworth Trophy. Haven’t heard of it? You’re not alone, even though this is the third year for its existence. It’s given annually to the most outstanding football player in America who began his career as a walk-on. A walk-on is defined as a player who began his first season of participation with a Division I (FBS) football program without financial aid of any kind from his university’s athletic department. Among the 50 nominees this season are Ohio University LB Keith Moore.
Others up for the award include a player the Buckeyes will face this weekend, standout Wisconsin WR Jared Abbrederis, along with Penn State QB Matt McGloin and Michigan’s Jordan Kovacs, a Toledo-area native. Ohio State’s Nate Ebner was a nominee a year ago.
The award is named after Brandon Burlsworth, who arrived at Arkansas in 1994 in 1994 with “no money, no famous last name, and absolutely no Division I scholarship offers.” Through hard work, he became a team captain and a first-team All-SEC player. Burlsworth was drafted by the Indianapolis Colts with the 63rd pick in the 1999 draft and was projected to start as a rookie after mini-camp. But Burlsworth was killed in a head-on collision just 11 days after the draft.